Co-facilitation is a value creation opportunity

Sometimes you just have to give up something to get something.   Case in point: collaboration.   We give up a bit of personal autonomy for an outcome that’s greater than what we might have achieved on our own.   Bottom line is that we and the customer/client both get more value.

I’ve been formally working as a mediator for 10 years.   Over the last couple of years, I’ve also mentored a dozen or more different mediators, as part of the BC Court Mediation Program.  The mentoring is done as a co-mediation.  The mentor and the mentee co-facilitate, the mediation session.

When I first started mentoring, I tended to fall back to the teacher/student image, in my mind.   I was the teacher.   They were the student.  I knew the score.  They didn’t.   Wrong.

Similar to being in a different cultural setting, I soon realized that I had to let go of that lens, and say hello to whatever was present.   When I did, good things happened:

  • I relaxed more
  • I listened more
  • the mediation and conversation space expanded
  • the gifts of each mediator were allowed to shine forth
  • trust grew in the mediator/mentor relationship
  • the blending of hearts and brains enriched the dialogue
  • the capacity to solve the issues at hand expanded
  • value increased; for the parties in dispute and the co-mediators

In a good collaboration, 1 + 1 > 2.

Mediation is facilitated negotiation.  Mediation is just one context where we can co-facilitate.   The opportunity list is huge.

If you don’t already co-facilitate in some way, what if you intentionally sought to co-facilitate?   What’s stopping you?   Lost income; e.g., from splitting the work?

Through co-facilitation, we can expand the value pie.   And, that goes for revenue, too.   Co-facilitation is a growth opportunity; personally, professionally and maybe most important, it can deliver greater value to your constituents, clients and customers.

So, how has co-facilitation added value for you and yours?



  1. Barb MacLean says:

    Great post Ben. I like your case in point – collaboration. In the non-profit sector we are making our way toward understanding the dynamics of successful collaboration (a term often used but not used well). I know first hand what it’s like to THINK you’re collaborating, only to end up frustrated. Alternately, when I focus on shared concerns and a clear vision of what we’re trying to achieve, I find myself open to so many more ideas. They don’t have to be mine, and they don’t have to be “right”. There is incredible energy that builds as a result of people creating solutions together. I’m a beliver that we can go quickly alone, but go farther together.

  2. Thanks Barb. I really like your point alluding to ownership (or not) of ideas. I agree… it doesn’t matter where they come from. What matters is the momentum and energy they give us, to work together and do good things.

Speak Your Mind


Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.