Become a Certified Professional Facilitator in the UK this year!

ToP facilitation with a group of people with learning difficulties

Are you interested in taking the Certified Professional Facilitator assessment of the International Association of Facilitators in the UK this year, likely in London or Birmingham in December?

I and other CPFs have found the process a tremendous learning experience, and the designation itself a valuable professional distinction. Now is a great time to take the plunge yourself, as a group of around a dozen prospective candidates already is beginning to form to support each other through the process and get assessed together locally – and because the fee, which has remained unchanged for many years, is about to rise significantly in the new year.

The IAF CertifiedTM Professional Facilitator (CPF) is the professional designation for IAF members who demonstrate having Core Facilitator Competencies.  The Core Competencies represent a fundamental set of skills, knowledge, and behaviours that support effective facilitation in a wide variety of contexts.

The CPF designation benefits both facilitators and their clients. Facilitators achieve a formal certification and undertake valuable self-reflection and learning. For clients, working with a CPF provides an assurance that the facilitator has met the internationally recognised standard for effective facilitation of group processes.

To learn more about the CPF and its principle advantages, please visit Benefits of the CPF. To learn more about the CPF assessment process, please visit Becoming a CPF. For scheduled CPF assessment events worldwide, see CPF events.

There is no need to make any immediate decision or commitment, however you can help to make it possible to be assessed in the UK this year by expressing an interest now.

If you are interested, please:

  • email the IAF office <certification@iaf-world.org> to express an interest in registering for a CPF assessment event in the UK this year – this is what it takes to ensure that an event is scheduled and available for registrations
  • RVSP for our IAF E&W Certified Professional Facilitator assessment meetup (dates & locations to be confirmed) in order to connect with other prospective candidates and to join the online conversation on how to support each other through the process
  • respond to the doodle poll to indicate which dates would suit you best for a one-day assessment event in the UK – so far mid-December dates are most popular

For an indication of the type of documentary evidence that is required prior to the assessment day, and for re-certification each 4 years, see my own Evidencing facilitation competencies: planning with people with learning difficulties and Evidencing facilitation competencies – reflecting on lessons learned – and watch this space as I am due to re-certify again later this year…

For more on why you might want to get professionally certified as a facilitator, and on which certification process to follow, see also this short clip from IAF CPF and ICA CTF assessor Barbara MacKay of North Star Facilitators in the US:

If you are interested in facilitation, regardless of whether you are ready to consider certification or whether you are an IAF member, do join IAF England & Wales’ free facilitation meetups to meet, network and learn with others near you:


For more on my work, and what others have to say about it, please see how I workwho I work with and recommendations & case studies – or view my profile and connect with me on LinkedIn.

You can connect with me also by joining IAF England & Wales’ free facilitation meetups in London and elsewhere, and by joining my free facilitation webinars.

ToP facilitation training – what’s it like, and is it worthwhile?

Chris Mapitlan with certificate

Have you considered taking ToP facilitation training, with me in Brussels or elsewhere, and wondered what it would be like and whether it would be worthwhile?

Below is what some have had to say on LinkedIn about my own recent courses in Brussels and London, and a short time-lapse video offering a glimpse of ToP facilitation training – for more glimpses see also #ToPfacilitation on Twitter.

Scroll on for details of my own upcoming courses in Brussels in 2017, and book now on Eventbrite.  Discounted rates are available for voluntary organisations and independent professionals, and in particular to ICA colleagues, to staff and members of Social Platform and other European NGO platforms, and to members of IAF & IABC. Your fee includes one hour’s free telephone coaching after the course.

Regularly scheduled public ToP training courses are also provided by ICAs including in AustraliaCanada, Taiwan, UK, Ukraine & the USA.  Other ICAs also offer public courses, and in-house courses on request – see ICA Worldwide.

See also ToP facilitation training at your place – and free places for you!


Michael NordMichael Nord, Principal, Facilitator, Strategist & Networker, Amsterdam

“I joined Martin for Group Facilitation Methods training in Brussels, 2 days packed with tips, tricks and hands-on exercises. It was great experience and, though I work as a facilitator with my clients, it gave me a boost to do more, using the ToP methods. I would really recommend anyone who has done facilitation, but need a refresher or inspiration, to join one of Martin’s sessions. He is inspiring, he checks with attendees that they are OK, and he follows up afterwards.”


Nina Elzer

Nina Elzer, Policy Advisor at CENTR, Brussels

“Martin trained the Chairs of the CENTR Working Groups on facilitation. It provided them with valuable tools and techniques to make agenda-setting more efficient and meeting facilitation more effective – some have already been able to successfully implement what they learned. I would recommend Martin to anyone who is looking for an engaged trainer and thorough listener.”


Eve GeddieEve Geddie, Deputy Director at PICUM, Brussels

“Meetings are a key part of what we do. As a diverse, transnational, multilingual membership network, successful meetings are key to our internal and external successes. Many of our staff mentioned Martin’s training as a highlight in their end of year reviews – several said it was the most useful training they had ever attended, and there was a clear consensus that we should work with him again.”


Miriam ElstMiriam Elst, Facilitator Design Thinking and LEGO® Serious Play®, Lead UX researcher & strategist, Service designer, Brussels

“Martin is a very inspiring trainer, he is very skilled and knows how to facilitate facilitators in a structured and insightful way. I have been able to successfully use his personal advice and facilitation techniques straight away!”


Mike PounsfordMike PounsfordEmployee engagement, communication and change specialist, London

“I went on a course run by Martin and found it really helpful. Martin established a really good group learning process and displayed mastery of his subject. I am very glad I went on it and very glad he ran it!”  


Pierre BaussandPierre BaussandDirector of Social Platform, Brussels

“I would recommend the course as something that can easily be used in practise for leaders, facilitators and participants of group meetings”.


Katherine SargentKatherine Sargent, Country Programme Manager at Trócaire, London

“What made it so useful for me was the opportunity to practice the techniques in a supportive environment and the practical tools we took away from the course. This gave me the confidence to try out the techniques in the ‘real world’. I have been using techniques I learnt during the course to prepare for meetings and it has really helped me focus my thoughts. Since the course I have facilitated a session for one of our partners using the Consensus Workshop approach. Not only did everyone actively participate, we reached consensus and I received very positive feedback from the participants!”


Meetings That Work (New for 2017)

Practical tools to design and lead effective meetings 

2 days14-15 September in Brussels & 18-19 September 2017 in London.

 

How can I turn meetings into “events” that people want to attend? How can I increase participation, and get the best input and results from everyone?  How can I increase commitment to action, and handle difficult or controversial items?

This course will provide you with tips, templates and practical tools from professional facilitators that will enable you to get more from meetings than you ever thought possible. For this new course I shall be joined by Bill Staples of ICA Associates Inc of Canada as guest trainer.


FC&CW method imagesGroup Facilitation Methods

Introducing the foundations of the Technology of Participation (ToP) approach, two powerful techniques for structuring effective conversations and building group consensus

2 days21-22 March, 20-21 June & 7-8 November 2017 in Brussels and (for ICA:UK 13-14 December 2017 in London)

How can I have more purposeful & productive conversations, bring out the wisdom of a group, encourage feedback between people, and reach shared awareness in meetings? How can I generate and weave together a diverse range of ideas, develop creative solutions and build a group consensus?

This course provides a structured introduction to the ToP Focused Conversation and Consensus Workshop methods, which form the foundations of the ToP Action Planning method, Participatory Strategic Planning and other applications.


Action PlanningAction Planning

Participatory planning for short-term projects and events 

1 day – 23 March & 22 June  2017 in Brussels.

How can I get all members of a group to participate in planning a project or event together, and build their commitment and responsibility so that they can successfully implement their plan?

This course introduces a structured, participatory process to enable the successful implementation of a group project or event.  The ToP Action Planning method uses the ToP Focused Conversation and Consensus Workshop methods to engage all members of a group effectively, and so it builds commitment and ownership at all stages. The method is suitable for planning short to medium-term projects, or completing projects that have stalled.


Participatory Strategic PlanningToP Participatory Strategic Planning

Bringing people together to create strategies for action

2 days – November 9-10 2017 in Brussels

“How can I enable my group to come to a common vision for their future? How can I help them make their vision happen by creatively addressing the root causes of the challenges that are blocking them, rather than focus simply on fire-fighting and problem-solving? How can I ensure a real sense of ownership, so that for once their plan actually happens?”

The course presents a structured long-range planning process which incorporates the ToP Consensus Workshop method for building consensus, the ToP Focused Conversation method for effective group communication, and an implementation process for turning ideas into productive action and concrete accomplishments. Those with more experience of facilitation, strategic planning or ToP facilitation may need no further support to apply the process effectively in their own situations, and for others the course serves as a powerful, experiential introduction to the process.


BOOK NOWor please contact me with any questions or for further details.

See also about mehow I workwho I work with and recommendations & case studies, and please contact me about how we might work together.

Register now on Eventbrite for my free facilitation webinars, and for my regularly scheduled ToP facilitation training courses in London and Brussels.

A glimpse of ToP Group Facilitation Methods training

“How can I have more purposeful & productive conversations, bring out the wisdom of a group, encourage feedback between people, and reach shared awareness in meetings? How can I generate and weave together a diverse range of ideas, develop creative solutions and build a group consensus?”

The ToP Group Facilitation Methods course provides a structured introduction to the ‘Technology of Participation‘ Focused Conversation and Consensus Workshop methods, which form the foundations of ToP Action Planning, ToP Participatory Strategic Planning and other applications

The course presents the two methods in a practical and participatory way. Each method is first demonstrated, then analysed and discussed, and then practiced in supportive small groups with guided reflection & feedback. Finally, participants plan how they will apply each method in their own situations.

This short timelapse video, from last September’s ICA:UK Group Facilitation Methods training at NCVO in London, shows the interactive walk-through, analysis and discussion of the Consensus Workshop method.

I am grateful to those attending the training for featuring in it, and to Michael Ambjorn for making it for us. As well as being an accomplished photographer and timelapse enthusiast, Michael is himself an experienced facilitator, a member of the International Association of Facilitators (IAF) and Chair of the International Association of Business of Communicators (IABC), and founder Director of AlignyourOrg. You can follow Michael on Flickr and on Twitter.


For more on my work, and what others have to say about it, please see how I workwho I work with and recommendations & case studies – or view my profile and connect with me on LinkedIn.

You can connect with me also by joining my free facilitation webinars online, and IAF England & Wales’ free facilitation meetups in London and elsewhere.

Register now for ToP facilitation training in Brussels in 2016.

Happy New Year – IAF facilitators & friends meetups in 2016

IAF England & Wales facilitators & friends 1000x565IAF_Logo_Europe_NS_RGBHappy New Year to IAF England & Wales facilitators & friends in our three regional meetup groups – London & South East England, South West England and the North of England. Welcome in particular to new members to the latter two groups, new since November.

Please do take another look at our growing regular schedules of free facilitation meetups in all three regions for 2016, and RVSP now for those that you plan to attend – just follow the links:

Please add comments to any of these events to indicate what you could offer or what you would like to gain from the event.

Please contact me if you are interested to help to organise and publicise events in your area, by joining the leadership team of one of the three existing regional groups or of a new group for the English Midlands or for Wales – one or two more for each region would be very welcome!

Please also let me know if you can offer or suggest any organisation to support the groups as sponsors, by promoting them or by hosting events or otherwise. We are grateful to ICA:UK for already agreeing to sponsor the three groups by promoting them to trainers and trainees of its national programme of regular public facilitation training courses.

Please do let me know if you have any questions or other suggestions. I look forward to seeing you at a meetup soon!


For more on my work, and what others have to say about it, please see how I workwho I work with and recommendations & case studies – or view my profile and connect with me on LinkedIn.

You can connect with me also by joining my free facilitation webinars online, and IAF England & Wales’ free facilitation meetups in London and elsewhere.

Book now for Group Facilitation Methods training in London!

photo by Adam SwannI am pleased to be leading ICA:UK’s Group Facilitation Methods course in London on February 24-25. Book now to reserve your place!

Places for this course are also available on earlier dates with other experienced ICA:UK trainers – January 19-20 in London and February 3-4 in Manchester.


Group Facilitation Methods

Introducing the foundations of the ToP approach, two powerful techniques for structuring effective conversations and building group consensus – 2 days.

ToP logo (289x120)I am a licensed provider and experienced lead trainer of this and other ICA:UK Technology of Participation (ToP) facilitation training courses – see how I work, and please contact me with any questions or for further details.

“I found Group Facilitation Methods both practical and participatory.  As tools the methods allow for different ways of seeing and thinking to be incorporated, and they also enable groups to reach informed consensus and decisions with relative ease. I have used them in a variety of contexts, and would recommend them to all group leaders and facilitators”. – Ruth Moore, Upper North Belfast Community Empowerment Programme

Who this course is for

The course is for all those who want to be able to engage people more effectively to build shared understanding and consensus, including team leaders and managers within organisations, those working with Boards, management teams, partnerships and external stakeholders, youth and community workers and independent facilitators. This course has no pre-requisite, but is the pre-requisite for Participatory Strategic Planning. It is recommended both to newcomers to facilitation, and to experienced facilitators who are new to our approach.

Questions this course answers

“How can I have more purposeful & productive conversations, bring out the wisdom of a group, encourage feedback between people, and reach shared awareness in meetings? How can I generate and weave together a diverse range of ideas, develop creative solutions and build a group consensus?”

This course provides a structured introduction to the ToP Focused Conversation and Consensus Workshop methods, which form the foundations of the ToP Action Planning method, Participatory Strategic Planning and other applications.

What you will gain

By the end of the course, you will

  • be able to identify when and how to use the Focused Conversation and Consensus Workshop methods
  • have gained confidence in the use of these methods
  • have recognised and explored elements of participation, creativity, teamwork and action
  • have built links with others to promote future collaboration and support in the use of the methods

ToP Focused Conversation methodThe Focused Conversation method provides a structured, four-level process for effective communication which ensures that everyone in a group has the opportunity to participate.

ToP Consensus Workshop method overviewThe Consensus Workshop method is a five stage process thatenables a facilitator to draw out and weave together everybody’s wisdom into a clear and practical consensus.

These methods have been featured in publications including:

Learning style

The course presents the two methods in a practical and participatory way. Each method is first demonstrated, then analysed and discussed, and then practiced in supportive small groups with guided reflection & feedback. Finally, participants plan how they will apply each method in their own situations.

What do participants say about this course?

93% of GFM participants rated the course 8/10 or higher. Comments from participants’ end-of-course evaluations included:

  • brilliant – a must-do if you want better, more effective meetings
  • provides two practical, easy-to-use methods to discover deep insights from diverse groups – useful tools for any group, organisation or community
  • benefits for experienced facilitator and novice alike
  • worth every penny – excellent content & great presentation

For further details

Please contact me with any questions or for further details – including how to commission a tailored course for your group and availability of scheduled public courses, in the UK and worldwide. See also ToP facilitation training at your place – and free places for you!