5 Elements of Facilitation Design

Coming Again Soon!



  • What:  1 or 2 Day “retreat” workshop; or 6 week live virtual training
  • For:  Facilitators, leaders, adult educators, coaches, mediators and organizational development consultants
  • Why: You want to go deeper with your groups with more success and less effort and do this every time. You want to deepen your presence as a facilitator.
  • When: TBA
  • Where: TBA
  • Cost: TBA – Facilitators 33 and under please inquire about our Young Adult Scholarship. Sending 3 people? We have a group discount available. Email us for details.

What’s Unique About This Course?

A process framework that is creative and easy to use.Learn the framework and apply it to a real life example so you understand its application to facilitation, consulting, training, and curriculum design.

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Course Objectives

  • Learn a creative and thought provoking, easy to use framework to apply to all your meetings, workshops & process interventions.
  • Sharpen your ability to design meetings and workshops with your clients, organizations, teams, etc.
  • Deepen your own presence and creativity with groups.
  • Experience and practice tools to enrich the experience of your groups.
  • Reduce time it takes you to prepare beautifully crafted agendas and workshop designs that flow well and use the energy of the group appropriately.
  • Increase your confidence when working with your client and the group before, during and after the intervention.
  • Accelerate your skill and mastery in all aspects of facilitation design.
  • Meet new colleagues from around the world to support you throughout the course & beyond.
  • Improve your chances of facilitator certification

Course Content

  • Theory and applications of the 5 elements of facilitation design.
  • Each subsequent part will focus on 1 design element.
  • The last part summarizes so you can see how it looks when layered and integrated into your real examples.
  • Full PDF workbook, handouts & audio/video provided.
  • Activate multiple learning intelligences with audio, visual, print materials, discussions, personal reflections, and lots of fun.
  • Balance individual, small group, and whole group experiences during and between workshops with participant practice group & coaching sessions


Elements_only Part 1: Learn the framework and apply it to a real life example so you understand it its application to facilitation, coaching, consulting and training. Understand the why & how of “presence practices” to help you grow as a facilitator.
earth Part 2: The earth element – learn how to create stability, depth and cohesion in your design – factoring it in early and at critical stages of the workshop.
water Part 3: The water element – see how important flow and transparency is. What tools, tips and processes do you use to keep the water element flowing throughout? How do you put out “fires” with water processes and statements?
fire Part 4: The fire element – how do you give the group significant spark when it is lagging? How do you create warmth and safety of the fire? What are some natural things to say or do when the fire/ energy gets out of control?
air Part 5: The air element – how do you keep the freshness of air circulating? How do you “cool” the group or clear out old, redundant thinking as needed? What specific tools and processes have the air effect?
space Part 6: The space element – how do you give the group the right space? How do you set up the physical space according to the theme or content of the workshop? How do you ensure you have enough pauses and reflections? What questions and activities do you use to ensure there is enough but not too much space?
Elements_only Part 7: What does a good design look like when all the elements are integrated, balanced and paced for maximum impact?



If you have been practicing process facilitation for 2-20 years, and have some formal training in facilitation or related subject areas…

This course will take you to the next level of your practice.



Pricing & Cancellation Policy:

You will be refunded all but $125 of your registration fee if you cancel more than 10 days prior to the course start date. If you cancel 10 days or less before the start date, you will not receive a refund. You will have the option to transfer your registration fee to a virtual course offering.

Your Workshop Guides

BMackay-2014Author Barbara MacKay, Certified Professional Facilitator, Master of Science has been facilitating since 1981.  She specializes in strategic planning, facilitation processes, training, and consulting. Barbara has had her own facilitation business since 1995. She has designed and led thousands of facilitated meetings, conferences and workshops all over the world.  Barbara’s strong interpersonal communication skills and experience allow her to work skillfully with a wide variety of participant perspectives. Barbara specializes in helping groups participate, problem-solve, plan and make progress in challenging and complex situations. She is also a certified assessor with the International Association of Facilitators and has certified facilitators from 5 continents.  Barbara offers multiple courses in facilitation skills and has spent the last 20 years researching and practicing a variety of tools and approaches.  Her core work is based in the Technology of Participation approach and this is supplemented with a rich infusion of accelerated learning techniques (the neuroscience of learning), cross cultural and non-violent communication methodologies.  Barbara has a playful sense of humor and delivers her workshops with an energetic, respectful style with clear delivery.  She has also been described as having a calm, authentic presence.

Eunice-Shankland-smEunice Shankland, owner of Shankland and Associates LLC, an independent consulting firm with thirty years of international and US experience based in Centennial, CO. Eunice is a professional trainer and facilitator and a founding member of the International Association of Facilitators. She is a Technology of Participation (ToP®) Mentor Trainer for the Institute of Cultural Affairs and has served as one of its Directors. She was responsible for staff oversight and ICA-International’s strategic directions in the 70s and 80s. Eunice currently works with organizations, associations, agencies, businesses, and United Nations agencies in the U.S. and internationally. She currently works extensively work with Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in Rome, Italy and many countries worldwide. Her focus at FAO is on developing staff capacity in organizational effectiveness and group facilitation methods. She works on projects focused on poverty alleviation and food security from policy development to grassroots empowerment. She also works with associations, not for profits, government agencies, and the private sector on projects ranging from values identification to partnership building. Eunice uses group facilitation methods to develop business models that make the organization responsive to the changing demands of their clients. She believes in the power of eliciting the group’s collective genius that enables them to adapt to the changing demands of their clients.

Mari-ChuMari Mizobe Chu – My journey as a community healer and advocate for peace and social justice began early. Born to multi-ethnic parents and raised in several different countries, I had a unique challenge and opportunity as a young child to experience first hand the complexities of difference. I was a curious child, seeing and questioning socially identified differences, power and inequities that are taken as “normal”. Discrimination in my family, among friends and the community around me affected me deeply. Yet at the same time, I was inspired by the capacities of people – together as communities or even as one individual – to engage in courageous efforts towards personal and social transformation. When I began volunteering as a dialogue facilitator among young adult Muslim, Arab, Jewish and Western students, I saw the power of listening and sharing stories in transforming relationships from those of blame and mistrust, to empathy, connection and collaborative action. Later, during a life-changing experience in which I myself was a participant in a dialogue, I decided that this would be my life’s work. I left a position as a university instructor to follow my vision of empowering individuals and communities to create healthy, socially just and peaceful relationships. I have a M.A. in Conflict Resolution and a Certificate in Basic Mediation from the University of Oregon School of Law, and was a Ph.D. student in multicultural education at Simon Fraser University. My unique approach to facilitation integrates research and practice from a variety of perspectives including intergroup dialogue, critical pedagogy, restorative justice and non-violent communication. I listen with empathy, and create spaces where diverse voices are included and power is balanced. I also use methodologies developed by the Institute for Cultural Affairs (ICA), a leading international organization that provides training and facilitation in effective participatory group processes for sustained organizational and social change. I am an active member of the International Association of Facilitators. In order to be my most effective and compassionate self when I support others through their challenges, I keep my life well-balanced. I love spending time with my family, swimming and biking around town, all the while wondering when the weather will warm up so that I can grow vegetables on my balcony. I also teach yoga and cooking. I am learning about traditional Chinese medicine, and my latest adventure has been to start practicing tai chi and kung fu.  Read more about Mari on her website.