Facilitator? Instructor? Presenter? Coach?

Is facilitation really so distinct from other fields and disciplines?

Many points of intersection exist between facilitation and other fields such as education, adult education, organization development, coaching and presentation. There are, however, some very important differences in the outcomes being sought, and therefore the mindset, tools, and frameworks adopted to achieve desired results.

Facilitation is leading a group (from 5 to 500) through guided processes towards desired outcomes with as much participation, creativity and productivity as possible, to achieve results all understand, have appropriately contributed to, and accept. The results are generated by participants with no input from the facilitator. About 20% of a facilitator’s time is devoted to neutrally guiding a group through structured process vs. 80% listening/involving.

Coaching is guiding an individual through focused questions and conversation to enable insight, personal learning and improved performance and achievement of goals. A good coach spends about 10% of their time asking questions and as much as 90% listening, mirroring, reflecting back.

Education, instruction and training use different methods and activities to assist learners to acquire knowledge and develop new skills, behaviours, and attitudes. The best practices of active learning suggest that about 50% of an instructor’s time is devoted to imparting content vs. 50% on inviting co-learning and student interaction. (Note: The adoption of facilitative methods greatly contributes to the instructors ability to design and deliver engaging learning programs.)

Presenting is about sharing information and wisdom. About 80% of a presenter’s time is spent in one-way telling vs. 20% listening or engaging participants.

Call to Action:  Interested in enhancing your facilitation and facilitative instruction skills? If you are:


Author: myriamlaberge

M.A. (Economics), Certified Professional Facilitator Founder & Managing Director