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Co-facilitating in pairs

In France, Frères des Hommes organises many training courses for volunteer teams. The co-facilitation of training by two co-facilitators is favoured. The two co-facilitators will, together, take the group of participants towards new knowledge, guaranteeing a clear and benevolent framework. They are the guarantor of the framework together. Nevertheless, to favour a good collective dynamic, it is important to prepare this co-facilitation well.

The co-facilitators refer to the principles of the two pillars of the trainer’s posture :
  start from the participants representations and experiences to bring them towards new knowledge,
  and guarantee a clear and benevolent framework allowing the circulation of the word of all participants, in the respect of the objectives of the training.

To encourage a good collective dynamic, it is interesting, before the training, to divide up the sequences by identifying each time who will be the main facilitator of the sequence, the other person coming in support. This division can be balanced, or not, depending on the wishes and experiences of the co-facilitators. However, it is preferable that each has at least one sequence as the main facilitator, otherwise the support function may slip into an observation function.

The main co-facilitator role

The person in the main facilitator position leads the sequence.

The functions of the main facilitator

 Introduce the sequence
 Announce the pedagogical objectives
 Give the instructions for the activities
 Transmit the necessary information
 Facilitate the debriefing that follows
 Ensure a balanced flow of words in the group
 Ensure a conclusion and a transition before the next sequence

The role of the co-facilitator "in support"

The person "in support" is not, however, inactive !

The functions of the supporting facilitator

 Monitor the time and signal the main facilitator if necessary
 Observe group dynamics and intervene if necessary (e.g. if participants∙e∙s seem to have misunderstood the instruction of an activity)
 Intervene in support to make the flow of speech in the group more fluid (by soliciting people who speak little / channelling those who speak often)
 Complement the elements brought by the main facilitator during the debriefing

This distribution of roles is often done by sequence, but also, in some cases, between different moments of the same sequence (e.g. two parts of a formal presentation, or one introducing the activity instruction and the other facilitating the debriefing...). Be careful not to overcomplicate things, however. The important thing is that the co-facilitators know their role well at every moment of the training.

Finally, for the co-facilitation to be fluid and balanced, it is important that the co-facilitators observe and communicate with each other, including in front of the group : do not hesitate to question the other co-facilitator to know if there is something to add, to point out that the timing is starting to be tight...

The sheet to be downloaded contains these elements. It is used to introduce these principles to new people who are integrated into the facilitation of the trainings.

Co-facilitating in pairs