Physician, Heal Thyself

I am currently participating in board meetings of the International Association of Facilitators, in my new role as Regional Director for Canada. Seventeen of us have gathered for three days in Kuala Lumpur.

We’re right in the thick of things, but two insights I’ve gained so far:

  1. Even a bunch of facilitators can struggle with getting stuck in the weeds, and it happens predictably in the early afternoon. (But that’s a post for another day!)
  2. It is both hard and good for me to be a participant sometimes.

Part of why I sit on boards is to ensure my practice has integrity, in the sense that I coach and teach what I actually do in real life: facilitation, stakeholder engagement and governance. The uncomfortable flipside of that commitment is that I have to experience what it is like to sit around a board table without actually chairing the meeting.

I’m finding it so difficult!

So this post is one of thanks, to all of you who have participated in meetings I’ve led and have “played along,” have leaned in during the messy parts and have stayed present even when you were tempted to disengage.

It’s also one of encouragement. If you ever have the opportunity to take the place of your clients, your staff, your customers or your participants — do it. Walk in their shoes whenever you can. Building empathy for them can only be a good thing. Even when it’s hard.

If you are curious about the International Association of Facilitators, you can find out more here. They offer certification in professional facilitation and excellent learning events. I’m especially excited about the Global Summit happening in Stockholm in October.

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