We are two experienced facilitators who got inspired by the idea of developing a training programme for people who want to do more facilitation in their own work. We started this blog so we can share what we do and what we are learning.
Isobel McConnan is a professional facilitator and coach who’s been working with groups and teams working for change over the last 30 years. Her experience of facilitation began as a teacher in Palestine, continued through her leadership of a health NGO, and expanded into her current facilitation practice. At the last count, she’s designed and facilitated over 65 events, from small team meetings through to large groups and conferences, in culturally diverse and often challenging contexts. Thematic areas have included governance and active citizenship, gender, ageing, tax justice, HIV/AIDS, health, conflict and fragility, disaster risk reduction, children involved in armed conflict, quality and accountability. She loves creating spaces where people can bring more of themselves, have the conversations that matter and build the relationships they need to get things done.
Pete Cranston’s early work was with adult learners, initially teaching English but later working with migrants and refugees in UK post-16 education. So how adults learn and collaborate remains at the core of his practice as a facilitator. Working face-to-face or online, with groups of all sizes, Pete has designed and facilitated events and workshops for UK and International organisations, from the tiny to the enormous. Participants and clients have included specialist agricultural and climate scientists, NGO staff at all levels, diplomats, community based organisations and community representatives. If necessary, Pete can manage tightly designed meetings but prefers working in a team on events and workshops where, in a bounded space, participants engage in fun and dynamic activities that encourage ideas and consensus to emerge. Pete also works as a KM and digital media specialist. Online meetings and events have therefore been at the centre of his work since Development organisations began to embrace ICTs and Pete is currently working with a small group on how traditional online and more recent ‘blended’ meeting formats – and constantly changing technologies – can encourage rather than constrain productive conversations.