How to find your facilitation dream partner.

It (co-facilitation) is like dancing in pairs. Requires practice, intuition and excellent communication.

Somya Dwivedi-Burk

I enjoy working with facilitation partners (as I discussed in my last blog post). Each ‘dance’ is unique because each facilitator brings her/his distinctive flair to the table. The magic happens in the joint performance. 

So, how do you start a happy and enriching facilitation partnership? 

I have found my facilitation partners in workshops, conference rooms, or at community meetings I’ve attended. I had the chance to observe most of them in action: Facilitators who leave the floor to the participants, manage to create a relaxed atmosphere from the start and engage everyone.

Once you spotted a new partner, now what?

A cup of coffee is always a good starting point.

But what do you talk about?

Are we a good match?

Ask your questions. And allow the other to ask his/hers.

You certainly have many when you team up with a new facilitation partner.

Speed dating questions

  • Who are you when you are not facilitating?
  • How would you describe facilitation in a few words?
  • What do I need to know about you so we can work together smoothly?
  • How would you describe your unique facilitation style?
  • Are there do’s and don’ts that push the right or wrong button for you?
  • How do you deal with confusion and getting off track?
  • Who are you in a group of people?
  • What is the worst that can happen to us when we facilitate together?

These speed-dating questions are the glorious harvest of a NeverDoneBefore workshop.

How do we dance together?

Co-facilitation is a delicate dance where both facilitators need to anticipate each other’s next moves whilst focussing on the story, the content, and the process of the group that they are holding.

Ajit Menon

Find agreement on how to make your collaboration a success.

Both, write down all the do’s and don’ts for defining your ideal facilitation partnership. And then boil the long list down to 4-5 essential points that really matter to both of you.

My shortlist of minimum agreements – my MinSpecs – are:

  • We have a workshop plan and develop it together. 
  • We establish how we will communicate with each other during the workshop.
  • We tune in before the start, and we touch base regularly.
  • We lead and follow and follow and lead supporting each other.
  • We are ready to improvise and go off script if necessary.

If you want to make your own shortlist, you can find the guidelines for MinSpecs (minimum specification) in the Liberating Structures toolbox.

When you facilitate in teams, what are your minimum requirements?

I would love to hear them. Leave a comment. 

Enjoy your learning moment,


If you want to see the facilitation dance of Ewen Le Borgne and me, join the Liberating Structures immersion workshop in June. You can find the link here:

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