The 7 Stage Facilitation Journey – Which One Are You On?


This blog is for you! Whether you are just figuring out what process facilitation is or whether you have reached the pinnacle of your career as a professional facilitator. It is for you if you occasionally lead team meetings in your own organization and want more OR if you have your own business as a facilitator – trainer – consultant. It is for you because (honestly) we’d love your feedback on whether we got the stages of the journey more or less correct.

So today, we offer you an awesome, colorful, easy-to-use, five page resource guide to help you think about every stage totally FREE. EVEN FIVE MINUTES GLANCING AT IT WILL STIMULATE THOUGHTS. We hope it will be thought provoking as you ponder your further development as a peace maker in the world.

Thank you to our colleagues for reviewing this handout prior to the blog: Marem Flores, Stephanie Gonzalez, Lilian Wang and Lyn Wong from two different continents and two generations!) REMINDER: Fill out the poll at bottom of the page to tell us what stage(s) you think you are currently in. Email us with what needs to change or add your comments at the bottom of the blog.

Below we give you a taste of the stages of the journey are. The meat of this blog is in the handout – be sure to download!

Stage 1: Seeker

You participated in a well-run facilitated session and noticed “something cool is going on here”. Or, you led a meeting and something you did helped everyone to participate beautifully. You’re not sure what happened but – you have the spark.


Stage 2: Researcher

You are very curious. How does this work? You talk to other people about how they got to be good facilitators. You check out “what is facilitation” and is this something for you?


Stage 3: Explorer

You’ve decided to invest something in this possible path. You research and participate in high-quality, relevant skill-building. You’re glad to have developed some basic skills.


Stage 4: Adventurer

You have had some practice and are getting serious. You look for a mentor – someone with whom you can co-facilitate with or get design help. You are growing and happy!


Stage 5: Marketer

You know enough now to facilitate a few groups so you tell everyone you know you are looking to practice. You outline what you can offer and when. You relentlessly offer your skills.

Stage 6: Warrior

Your reputation is growing. You feel good although scared about facilitating on your own. You keep selling yourself. People gladly accept your offers to facilitate because they hear things go better when you facilitate.


Stage 7: Practitioner

People seek you out because you are an excellent facilitator. Some jobs are more challenging but you’ve built your skills or work with others to ensure every job was “the best you could do”. You take care of yourself. You are unconsciously competent.


I’ve created 2 more stages…

For stages 8 and 9, visit my blog “Keeping the Faith: The Last 2 Stages of the Facilitator Journey”.

So where are you on the journey?

Click the banner below to enter your email for a free self assessment download, “The 9 Stages of an Excellent Process Facilitator”.

After downloading the free handout, please review page 4 and let us know what stage(s) you think your are currently in by filling out this Survey Monkey Poll. Thanks to your participation, this will give us some great feedback about what free webinars to teach next and what online courses to develop. You can also email comments, try it out with your peer facilitators or IAF chapter groups.

Take the Poll Here

Barbara MacKay

Barbara loves “everything facilitation”. She thinks BIG! She loves working with other facilitators around the globe to create transformational results for client groups. She loves teaching others how to do that. She loves presenting at global facilitator conferences. She loves certifying new professional facilitators. If you also love what process facilitation can do for the world, connect with her – virtually or in person. She believes facilitation processes, used well, will provide the roadmap to a more just and sustainable world.

1 Comment

  1. Rick Livingston on November 30, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    Thanks for creating and sharing this resource: it’s clear, helpful and thought-provoking (as advertised!). Two typos: on the p.2 Road Map, #4 and #5 are reversed (Adventurer labelled #5). On p. 5, similar issue (marketer before adventurer).

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