As group facilitators, we’re trained to examine our impact on the group. Skilled facilitators have developed radar that clues them in to how the group is reacting, and they can fix their delivery mid-stream. We look for these clues in-the-moment, and also verbally check in with the group periodically. We also ask for feedback at the end of a meeting, realizing that that’s the best way to improve our skills. This is also important to us in our role as change agents or consultants; working with colleagues provides us a wonderful opportunity to get feedback during a client engagement – it’s a way for us to correct course, and to improve our effectiveness.
What about getting feedback as participants, about our impact on the group? I’m thinking of workshops or professional development groups, particularly for facilitators and OD consultants. Can we include the opportunity to get feedback for participants in a group? I think this is more readily done in a multi-day workshop, or in an intact group. If we’re going to include this, we need to establish an atmosphere of trust and set the context for asking and giving feedback. We have to set parameters and have people contract with one another. One rule might be: ask for permission before you give feedback. Contracting questions include: Are you/ Am I, open to receiving feedback? From anyone? Or from a specified person or support group? Should we set aside a certain time for that? If we are careful about the contracting, I think this can be done successfully.