Facilitation Definition:

 The act of making something easier. In group work, the facilitator works with a group of people to help them have a conversation, come to agreement, or plan for the future. In general the facilitator acts as a trusted and neutral outside voice, making decisions about the process the group goes through but allowing the group to focus on and control the content of the discussion. The facilitator is a gentle guide, making it easier for the group to have that discussion.

The Magic of the Facilitator sets out the core competencies that ICA believes a facilitator should have

ICA:UK and the Technology of Participation (ToP) approach to group facilitation

ICA:UK and other ICA organisations worldwide have facilitation expertise based on more than 50 years of working with groups. ICA’s Technology of Participation (ToP) methods are designed to:

  • actively involve all members of a group in decision making
  • maximise individuals' commitment and engagement
  • build a team spirit that lasts
  • achieve consensus
  • articulate a shared vision
  • make plans that really happen

ICA helped invent and professionalise the field of facilitation over the last 50 years and remains a premier provider of facilitation services today. If you are interested in finding out more about how an ICA:UK facilitator could help your group, please contact us.

ICA:UK facilitation training courses

ICA:UK has now helped over 3,000 people gain the facilitation skills and facilitation methods they need to carry out effective meetings, run great workshops and help groups make decisions together. To find out more about our training courses, please click here.

More Definitions of Facilitation and Facilitator

Facilitator – one who contributes structure and process to interactions so groups are able the function effectively and make high quality decisions.  A helper and enabler whose goal is to support others as they achieve exceptional performance.

Ingrid Bens, Facilitating with Ease


A Facilitator is an individual who enables groups and organisations to work more effectively; to collaborate and achieve synergy. She or he is a ‘content neutral’ party who by not taking sides or expressing or advocating a point of view during the meeting, can advocate for fair, open and inclusive procedures to accomplish the group’s work. A facilitator can also be a learning or dialogue guide to assist a group in thinking deeply about its assumptions, beliefs and values and about its systemic processes and context.

Sam Kaner et al, Facilitator’s guide to Participatory Decision Making


Group Facilitation is a process in which  a person who is exceptable to all members of a group, substantively neutral,  and has no decision-making authority, intervienes to help a group improve the way it identifies and solves problems and makes decisions in order to increase the group’s effectiveness.

Roger Schwarz, The Skilled Facilitator

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