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.

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