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Episode 097

January 27, 2021

097: Keeping Facilitation Human with Paul Nunesdea

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    As a former Board member of the International Association of Facilitators (IAF), and co-Founder of the Digital Collaboration Academy, there are few people better placed to discuss where our industry is and where it’s going than Paul Nunesdea.

    We certainly captured some fascinating predictions and provocations in our wide-ranging conversation in this episode.

    A central focus was the importance – and limitations – of the IAF’s stated ‘core competencies’ for facilitators. We also explored the role AI might play in the future of facilitation, why neutrality can never be the aim, and how facilitators and clients can each make sure they’re choosing the right collaborator.

    This episode is your opportunity to hear many opinions from the very top of facilitation’s leading professional body. It’s not every day I get to say that!

    Find out about

    • Why spirituality might be the missing dimension in facilitation
    • Why individuality and a lack of neutrality are actually key to our effectiveness
    • What Paul believes is the most important core competency of facilitators
    • Why it helps to have different versions of the same consensus across communities
    • What Paul considers his biggest discovery in 2020
    • How Paul pictures the future of facilitation – including the strengths and limitations of facilitation by AI
    • Understanding collaboration architecture and how it appears in workplaces

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    Feeling inspired by the conversation in this episode? We can have our own – take a seat at my virtual table as part of a Mastermind Group.

    A huge thank you must go to SessionLab, the sponsor of Workshops Work. Claim your free two months of SessionLab Pro now – this deal is exclusive to Workshops Work listeners!

    Questions and Answers

    01:17When did you start calling yourself a facilitator?

    04:12What are the core competencies of a facilitator and how do they separate us from consultants?

    06:10What do you mean by “a spiritual dimension”?

    07:55What motivated you to join the International Association of Facilitators?

    12:23How can a client select the right facilitator?

    16:14What is the benefit of being an accredited facilitator?

    16:59Can you share some examples of the core competencies of facilitation?

    19:25Can there be a true ‘standard’ of facilitation when we have so many subgroups and specialisms?

    21:07Have the core competencies changed as we’ve moved to online meetings?

    24:57What makes a workshop fail?

    27:57What’s been your biggest technological discovery in the last year?

    30:57Do successful workshops really require us all to be in the same room?

    33:03What is the future of facilitation, from your perspective?

    37:26Would the introduction of AI remove innovation and nuance from facilitation?

    38:53What is a key characteristic of a good humaniser?

    40:19Would you recommend an exercise to bring spirituality into workshops?

    43:49What damages facilitators’ reputations?

    45:31What is “collaboration architecture”?

    48:28What makes collaboration stick?

    51:36Are there red flags to look for when it comes to ‘difficult’ clients?

    53:10What makes a workshop fail?

    55:04What is the one thing that you would like listeners to take away from this episode?


    Paul’s books

    Digital Collaboration Academy, co-founded by Paul in 2020

    Connect to Paul