Facilitating by Heart

A 5-part training series shaping authentic, effective facilitators

“Facilitating by heart” implies that one has all the tools and skills necessary to facilitate with comfort and proficiency from memory, or "by heart." It also means that the facilitator brings a strong sense of integrity and authenticity to the situation, paying mindful attention to the work of the heart. People who facilitate by heart care not only about getting the task accomplished but also about how the work gets done. A facilitator by heart is able to read the pulse of the group to sense what individuals need and what the group needs as a whole in order to work productively and collaboratively.

At a glance

What: 5-session training series

When: Attendence of all sessions is required. Five 2-day sessions, April through October of 2016, view details below»

Time: 8:30am-4:30pm

Where: The Pyle Center, 702 Langdon St, Madison map»

Cost: $1,350 for 2016 series (down payment of $675 at time of registration)

Or by phone:
Call 608-262-7942 or 800-725-9692

Questions? Contact Barry Orton at bmorton@wisc.edu or 608-262-2394

UW Credit Union Senior Vice President Rob Van Nevel on why he sends his employees to UW-Madison Continuing Studies "Facilitating by Heart" training year after year.

Interested in more testimonials about how "Facilitating by Heart" can change your workplace for the better? View more videos below.

The series will support you in learning how to:

  • Create inclusive environments that encourage multiple perspectives and full participation of all group members.
  • Understand and capitalize on group members’ learning patterns.
  • Use centering to find the mental/emotional clarity to respond effectively to group process.
  • Listen without judgment to understand others’ perspectives.
  • Ask questions that foster shared understanding.
  • Work successfully with conflict to achieve more innovative, sustainable solutions.
  • Use practical tools for effective agenda-setting, decision-making, and managing data.

Our approach to training is to create a safe, collaborative learning community where you can bring your full self to the learning experience. We use process-oriented, interactive facilitation methods that address all learning styles.

Wisconsin Hospital Association Quality Improvement Manager Stephanie Sobczak on how "Facilitating by Heart" can teach anyone to be an authentic leader.

Our teaching methods include dialogue, self-reflection, experiential activities, theory, case studies, modeling, coaching, practice using the skills and tools, and fun. Attendance in the series is limited to 25 participants so we can create a learning environment where you feel comfortable participating and where we can attend specifically to your needs by offering individual feedback and support.

Please note: attendance is required at all sessions. The series is sequential, with each session building on the skills and tools taught in the previous session. It is not an option to pick and choose which sessions to attend—you must attend them all. Maximum 24.

Who you'll be working with

Your instructors have more than 50 years of combined experience teaching, facilitating, and consulting with educational, human service, healthcare, governmental, and business organizations. They specialize in communication skills, team development, conflict transformation, diversity issues, and perceptual thinking patterns.

Kathy Germann has facilitated trainings on a broad range of human relations issues since 1982. She has taught on 3 college campuses and managed 2 nonprofits, and she brings passion and a healthy sense of humor to her work. kathygermannconsulting.com»

Denise Jess has facilitated trainings on a wide range of human relations issues since the mid-1980s, including teaching in a learner-centered classroom for 11 years. She is committed to creating inclusive environments where all voices are respected. denisejessconsulting.com»

Session descriptions

Session 1: Building the Learning Community, Overview of the Facilitation Model, Agenda-Setting
April 12-13, 2016

How a group begins can set the tone for how well it functions together. We will model how to lay the groundwork for creating an effective work group.

UW-Madison Training Officer Senior Shoko Miyagi on how "Facilitating by Heart" training creates more warm, well-rounded humans in the workplace.

We’ll take the time to discover your goals and honor what you need to do your best learning. We’ll share our approach to facilitation and outline the processes we’ll be using to support you in and between sessions.

You will learn how to:

  • Build the foundations for successful work groups.
  • Develop and apply group agreements to create safe, inclusive meetings.
  • Apply a model of the stages of group development when facilitating a group.
  • Design agendas that foster effective task accomplishment and that honor multiple 
    learning styles.

Session 2: Utilizing Different Learning Patterns
May 10-11, 2016

The Perceptual Thinking Patterns (PTP™) model is a concrete tool that teaches how people learn, process, and communicate. We use visual, kinesthetic, and auditory methods to accomplish the tasks of organizing, integrating, and creating information. In order to support effective group processes, facilitators need to understand how people with the 6 different learning patterns approach these tasks.

You will learn how to:

  • Understand the components of the PTP™ model.
  • Identify your own and others’ patterns.
  • Discover your pattern’s biases in facilitation.
  • Use PTP™ principles to create inclusive and effective group experiences.

Session 3: Centering, Deep Listening, and Skillful Questioning
July 12-13, 2016

Centering—the ability to remain grounded, reflective, and attentive to what is happening in the moment—is a foundation skill that can strengthen one’s ability as a facilitator. When we facilitate from center, we are better equipped to perceive group process and take actions that will support the members’ needs.

The ability to listen intently with one’s whole self is another essential skill. Effective facilitators recognize when people are operating from assumptions, and use non-judgmental questions to help clarify perspectives and foster shared understanding of the issues.

You will learn how to:

  • Use the skill of centering to enhance your abilities to guide group process.
  • Support group members in checking out assumptions that may be influencing their thinking.
  • Use encouraging responses and inquiry-based questions to elicit and understand multiple perspectives.

Session 4: Transforming Conflict
September 13-14, 2016

Many of us may want to avoid conflict, yet it is a natural aspect of group dynamics. When handled with integrity, the energy of conflict can be used to improve trust and communication among group members. When all group members’ perspectives are honored and common ground is achieved, then work relationships can be enhanced and more innovative, lasting solutions can be found.

Capital Area Regional Planning Commission Deputy Director and Director of Environmental Resources Planning, Kamran Mesbah, on how his "Facilitating by Heart" training was a "truly transformative experience."

In this session, you will have an opportunity to reflect on your attitudes and behaviors in conflict and increase your comfort in working effectively through interpersonal and group conflicts.

You will learn how to:

  • Distinguish between positions and needs.
  • Find common ground and achieve win-win solutions.
  • Apply PTP™, centering, and deep listening in a conflict situation.
  • Apply conflict transformation skills and tools with work groups.

Session 5: Decision-Making, Facilitation Feedback
October 11-12, 2016

One of the biggest challenges work groups face is in making effective decisions. In day 1, you’ll learn how to address the tension between closure and further exploration, create shared understanding of the problem, and facilitate lasting solutions.Day 2 will be an opportunity to synthesize and practice everything you’ve learned. You’ll receive concrete, practical feedback on your facilitation skills. You’ll explore how to address resistance in the workplace and how to build support for ongoing application of your new skills/tools.

You will learn how to:

  • Examine the implications of different decision-making approaches in low and high stakes decisions.
  • Intervene when a group struggles with decision-making.
  • Use a model for participatory decision-making.
  • Improve your facilitation skills.
  • Address challenges to applying these skills/tools.

Series details and general information

Location: All sessions will take place at the Pyle Center, 702 Langdon St., Madison. The workshops are from 8:30am-4:30pm with registration at 8:00am. Parking information will be sent with your registration confirmation. The Pyle Center is accessible to people with disabilities.

Fees: Cost for the 5-part series is $1,350. This fee includes extensive handouts and the book, The Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making. Some scholarships may be available. (Please contact Chris Dunleavy, (608) 265-4267 or chris.dunleavy@wisc.edu for scholarship information.) A down payment of $675 is required when you register. You will be billed for the remainder of the fee by the first session. Please note: attendance is required at all sessions. The series is sequential, with each session building on the skills and tools taught in the previous session. It is not an option to choose which sessions to attend—you must attend them all.

Registration deadlines
: Attendance is limited to 25 participants. Please register early to secure your place in the series.

Cancellation policy:
If you must cancel and do so up to 10 business days prior to the program, you will receive a full refund minus $250. If you cancel less than 10 business days prior to the program, or do not attend, you are responsible for the entire fee. Please visit here for our full cancellation policy.

Accommodations: Please make your own travel and lodging arrangements. Maps and information on lodging and parking are sent with your registration confirmation. Information about overnight accommodations can also be found on our Visitor & Information page.

Parking: You receive parking information with your enrollment confirmation. Day-long parking permits are available for enrollees on a first-come, first-served basis. Parking ramps and surface lots are located within a few blocks of the Pyle Center.

Additional parking and transportation information (including parking maps) can be found on the Visitor Information page from UW-Madison Visitor Information. Visit: vip.wisc.edu/plan-your-visit/parking

Approved continuing education credits

Credits will be awarded upon full day participation in these workshops. This program falls within the subject matter identified by the certain organizations for continuing education credits. Click here for details»

If you have a disability and desire accommodations, please advise us ahead of time. Requests are confidential. University of Wisconsin provides equal opportunities in employment and programming including Title IX requirements.

For more information: Contact Barry Orton by phone (608) 262-2394 or e-mail: bmorton@wisc.edu