All posts by anthea@confidant.co.za

Module 12 – Acknowledging others (Thank you Ros & Facilitation Class of 2017!)

In order to complete and submit all of my blogs, I provide a thank you in advance to Group 11 for their facilitation piece.

I sincerely need to acknowledge the beautifully crafted Facilitation Skills programme as designed by Roslyn Solomon and Team. I am grateful to Ros and the co-facilitators for showing up and being present with us during all of the activities and especially with all the new-learning which we jointly experienced.

This Facilitation Skills programme is a breath of fresh air due to the unique and controversial approach which is introduced on Day 1. I am grateful that I was not influenced by peers about what to anticipate from this course, as this programme has fulfilled and exceeded any expectations which I thought I had.

I would also like to thank the co-facilitators who had shared of their personal experiences on the first Saturday of the course. At the time, I didn’t quite get what the fuss was all about, in terms of how this course could so dramatically impact your life. I humbly confess that I now am a believer, and now, I definitely get it!

Ros, your life journey has presented you to us as a sage, unconventional, amazing, Facilitator. I admire how comfortable you are in your own skin, and how you do not feel a need to defend your truth. It was beautiful to learn from you, your family, your life experiences – it was all so authentic. May you be blessed with phenomenal opportunities to inspire young and older minds with relevant and rewarding experiential life lessons.

Strength and Amazing Grace, to You, your Family, and your Team members.

To my fellow class members – this has been an amazing journey. Thank you for adding the spice and flavouring to each Saturday morning session. For those of you who are finishing your last year of studies this year – what an inspiration you are. To those who continue with me for 2018/2019, let’s show Witsplus how it’s done.

Thank you!

 

 

Group 10 – Module 11 Facilitating Team Decisions (Go Team Yellow!)

Upon arriving at class, I started to inwardly cringe when I noticed colour coded goodies on a table and then received a directive from the Group 10 hosts, to sit at the table which matched the colour of my cup cake.

Go Team YELLOW!

As Group 10 provided the guidelines of the team activity, I started opening myself up to be present and to positively contribute to this team requirement.

Team Yellow was not allowed to verbally communicate. This situation (like a silent movie) presented an opportunity for us to be even more creative in how to draw the attention of others, when a fellow member had a light bulb moment on what and how to design the masterpiece for our model. Hands were flying, gestures were made, we mumbled, hummed, sang tunes in our head (oh that was me), and wrote little notes and designs on paper. An overall theme from Team Yellow was to have fun in executing the requirements of this task.

We had a fantastic model, Gavin, who was such a great sport. Gavin allowed us to lift, move, and manoeuvre him in all angles, so that we could create boobs for him, as well as to place his feet, and arms in the custom designed creation which was especially designed for him. Gavin even prompted or gestured to us to add further bling and accessories on his person, in order to complement his phenomenal customised designer outfit by the fabulous TEAM YELLOW!

Our raucous team finally made their voices heard, when our stunning model, had the opportunity to strut his stuff on the catwalk. No more mute button for TEAM YELLOW – we screamed, bellowed, cajoled and just made a lot of noise in support of our model – what fun!

I am not sure if there was more for our team to explore in addition to working creatively in silence, and then making as much noise as possible. If the objective was for fun to be had –then we can certainly tick that box.

Thanks Group 10, sorry for time running out on all of us. I was curious to learn more about your plan.

Group 9 – Module 10 Building Relationships

 What an interesting morning.

Group 9 started us off with a fun and intriguing ice breaker – which included some mental gymnastics and some physical activity. We were required to jump about in a specific sequence based on the verbal instruction that was given, or to jump in contradiction to what the verbal instruction indicated. 

I was touched by one of the personal stories shared by a Facilitator, where the Team member displayed the impact of how building a relationship had benefited and empowered her to sew a beautifully designed traditional garment. What I took away from this personal story was that the intention of the Facilitator was to support and assist a student who was struggling with academic challenges, as well as with the ridicule and harsh words from fellow learners. What encouraged me was that through an act of compassion and being willing to listen to another person’s story, as well as to empathise with someone else, could turn out to be even more therapeutic for you.

The team had another revelation to share with us, which took bravery to expose a sensitive dynamic which had unfolded over the past weeks, including the day of their facilitation. Through the revelation made by the “Prodigal Son – Justice” we were introduced to the real life conflict situation which had developed and unfolded within this team. Through the maturity of the team to come to grips with the conflict situation and to share their honest feelings with each other, these contributions provided the environment for the restoration of relationships.

Behind the scenes, we were advised that Ros had facilitated a critical mediator role. The power of experiential learning was demonstrated to us when Ros continued to lead this group into a dialogue in order for all members to address the conflict and to eliminate any lingering negative feelings toward each other.

This session was very powerful in the authentic and respectful manner by which the conflict was resolved.

The professional experience and beautiful pearls of wisdom as shared by Roslyn Solomon, certainly compliments all of our facilitation sessions.  I have come to appreciate that these modules are so relevant, thought provoking and life changing.

Thank you Group 9 for being comfortable to expose the warts ‘n all to the rest of the class. Through the roller coaster of emotions which was experienced by this team, Justice continues to refer to his classmates, not as a team, but as his family.

 

Module 8 – Freeing your mind, in deed and indeed!

Dear Group 7

I think that your module was very challenging. I compliment your Group with your creativity in trying to bring to life the theme: Freeing your mind.

My experience of the facilitation was that due to everything having happened so quickly, that I was still trying to process my experience, by the time we were invited to make contributions for the Delta/Delta Plus activity. Unfortunately I was not ready to provide feedback, at that stage.

I felt that certain elements were not clear defined for me, it felt somewhat disjointed in certain places, and I needed for Group 7 to help me to connect these dots.

I initially felt somewhat uncomfortable with the requirement to meditate, as I have a different approach to this – however, when I allowed myself to go with the flow, it dispelled my perception of what was going to happen. Thank you, I felt the freeing of my mind with this activity.

Thank you for the encouragement for me to get back to my exercise routine (walking). There are certainly many positive benefits linked to physical activity, which enables a wonderful platform for me to engage in prayer and self-talk.

Thank you Group 7, for these reminders.

Module 7 – Seeing with new eyes (I can see clearly now)

Accolades to Group 6 for a brilliant facilitation experience.

I appreciated the very polished presentation from this Group. From beginning to end, they had a wonderful flow, along with great energy which was exuded by all members. The icebreaker was great fun.

The power of (mis) perception was highlighted when we had to break up into smaller groups. We (the observers) had to provide feedback about the individuals who were dressed up in a particular manner and who were assigned to our group. It was very interesting to hear the feedback from fellow classmates, who were analysing the same individual, who was later visually portrayed in a different setting (by photos)…it is amazing how our eyes, along with our personal filters can directly/indirectly influence our perception (+ or -) about other people. Some of our comments were not kind or considerate, and it served as a barometer of the societal prejudices which we are confronted with.

I appreciated even more the sincere feedback which was provided by Baring and his colleague (whose name escapes me now), when they both debriefed on how they had experienced the judgments that were made about them, where they could hear our comments and observe our gesturing, yet they remained silent & composed throughout this experiment.

The personal revelation from one of the team members from Group 6 was extremely brave. The fact that the revelation of his reality was unrehearsed and authentic, added even more depth to the experiences of this day.

Thank you Group 6 for a wonderful lesson in seeing through new eyes. The book mark which I received is also a wonderful reinforcement of the theme of your facilitation module.

Brilliantly done!

 

A dedication to Group 8 – who evolved to become Group GREAT!

(Resolving Conflict)

On the 29th July, a diverse group of students were introduced to the course outline for:

Self-Mastery Through Mindful Facilitation Skills.

As previously expressed, I was initially uncomfortable with the flow of Day 1 which seemed to me to be uncoordinated chaos (my Mental Model).

During this session, we were invited to choose a number for a group that we would join for our practical facilitation activity. When I moved along to the Group 8 assembly point, there was a bit of awkwardness as the team members readily practiced a recently acquired technique on each other, the Check-In. In retrospect, these elements related to our team dynamics which were unfolding into the Forming stage, (of the Team Cohesion process). By the end of this class, and at the end of our group 8 discussion I was even more confused than when I had started.

As the day progressed, our team started brain storming ideas for our facilitation topic. We also experienced transformation as we had to give up a member (Paul who moved to Group 1) and later, to our benefit we gained another member, Thando. One of our team members, Zodidi, would also be away on maternity leave for a few weeks, and she later reconnected with the team in preparation for our big day.

As we observed the range of exciting and interesting facilitation offerings from Groups 1 – 7 (except when I was locked out for Group 5’ presentation)…the pressure started mounting, for us to be original, and to ensure that our facilitation module, presented both form and substance. We all worked very hard to deliver accordingly.

During the coordination of the logistics for setting up the room, I shared with my team members how excluded I had felt one Saturday, when I was locked out of the room. I was very annoyed with Group 5, as I had entered the FNB building around 8:34. My delay was not due to tardiness, but due to a need for collecting documents at my workplace in Bryanston before coming to class. I suggested to our group, that we keep the door open throughout our facilitation piece and remove any barriers from the window. Claudia suggested that we set up the room in such a manner that the audience would face the windows with their backs to the door, so that while we are facilitating, there would be even less distraction when latecomers filtered in to class.

Thank you Group 8 for the manner in which we leveraged the talents of each individual member. There were so many laughs, takes and re-takes as we practiced the Mime and later as we refined our production.

The remainder of the Theory session which Ros had facilitated added an extra dimension to a very special experience.

Whilst Conflict may be perceived as a serious topic, I believe that we were empowered to recognise and manage conflict in a sensitive manner through Meaningful Conversation.

Thank you Team Great for a wonderful journey of learning, self -enrichment and team work: Kgabi, Neo, Claudia, Fulu, Thando, Zainab, Zodidi & Jolene!

First Draft Essay Review

The requirement to assess a fellow student’s essay – was not easy for me.

I had to purposefully follow the essay assessment guidelines/criteria in order to ascertain whether the “introduction demonstrates an understanding of the scope and interpretation of the task” and many other criteria points.

The process was painful for me, as I recognise that I tend to be subjective in my assessment, and for this activity I needed to consciously adjust my approach to be more objective.

I also recognise the benefit that this exercise presents, by helping me to structure my approach when I am developing my reflective essay. By referencing the assessment requirements, these details will guide me on how to respond to the essay question, and to document the required information.

I appreciate the consistent feedback received from the two assessors who had reviewed my draft essay. Their feedback confirmed what I had not done, I need to incorporate more academic learning’s into the essay – my submission was 100% focussed only on personal reflection.

Thank you assessors, look out for my next submission which is earmarked for a distinction.

For the Facilitation module: Learning from Life, I can’t comment as I was part of the team who was locked outside the class. The barricaded window did not allow for much observation.  This experience of exclusion from experiencing the facilitation module has prompted me to realise that most classmates are not late because they do not want to be part of the presentation piece, however, certain external factors need to be considered, i.e.  construction on some of the highways, delays at the entrance points at Wits, etc.

Note to myself, for Team 8’s facilitation, encourage my team to consider starting at 8:45  to allow fellow classmates who are on the Campus, yet still trying to make their way to class a form of grace to enjoy part of our program . # Let’s leave the door open.

I am developing into a Story Teller

I really enjoyed this module.

I enjoyed the opportunity to reflect on my initial perceptions and the resultant actual experience of the facilitation course, thus far. I was able to share my journey of Facilitation with a colleague as well as listen to my colleague’s experience (Vernice), which was refreshing. Together, Vernice, and I unpacked certain themes and areas of development which we had both uncovered since having joined the first class. The overall investigative and information sharing process was great.

We then moved on to the writing exercises. The automatic writing exercise allowed me to vent and express whatever predominant thoughts were occupying my mind at the time. The writing exercises required us to create and address an essay to either a friend, to yourself, or to a lecturer.

I found it much easier to write to myself or to my Mom. The words seemed to flow without reservation. The exercise took on a different tone though when I had to address the essay to a lecturer. The presentation of my thoughts on paper needed to reflect some form of cognitive engagement, it had to make sense, and I had to think more as opposed to just writing from the heart.

Through these writing skills exercises, I am developing techniques to overcome some of the forms of “writer’s block” which I had struggled with to construct the first word, the first sentence of an essay. If I apply the approach of writing to myself or to a family member it may become easier.

I am recognising that in the past, I may have underestimated the amount of time needed to draft an essay. I recognise that I had opted to jump straight in and complete an essay in one sitting. This may not be the best way to produce a masterpiece.

As mentioned earlier, I am developing into a Story Teller.

This stuff is getting real!

By this stage, I have experienced the facilitation topics from Group 2 and Group 3. I am in awe of the dynamic approaches and the interesting ways by which the teams are embracing their topics. It is all very refreshing… I realise, that the more teams that I am observing, the more it seems that the goal posts are changing on how to approach our team’s facilitation topic. Yet, this is par for the course, I am learning a lot through the workshop content as well as learning more about myself, each week.

 

The information around module 4 is helping me to understand the impact that I have when engaging with my peers, colleagues or with clients. By being more self-aware in the style of my engagements, I realise that my approach can either enable me to obtain relevant information from others or, limit me from receiving the details required to continue the engagement. (Public arena, private arena, unconscious arena). The Johari window, the SCARF model, and the Resistance Barometer are all interesting guidelines which I need to learn more about in order to apply them effectively.

This stuff is getting real.

Learning about me.

I forgot to mention that on the first Saturday of joining the Facilitation class, that I had a very brief, yet powerful encounter with a gentleman by the name of Ernest. During a break, Ernest made me aware that there was artwork in the foyer along the ground floor, FNB building. I found Ernest gazing upon it, and when I somehow started chatting to him, that was the time when I consciously became aware of the various art forms and the artwork.

The art was displayed all along the walls and above of me. It was always there… Yet, only when I was present in the moment, did I experience the beauty of the artwork. My eyes opened up to it. My mind opened up to interpret the artwork. How beautiful. Thank you, Ernest. I would otherwise have missed out on experiencing and engaging with the paintings and the sculptures.

This reality check for me was similar to the affirmation and the validation experienced, when I was completing the exercises around my thinking style, and my preferred learning style. There were elements about the results which I immediately resonated with, and certainly new discoveries made about me, which I found very interesting. I now aim to maximise the input about my learning style in order to leverage my learning capabilities throughout my journey of life-long learning.

As I reflect, I am recognising that I need to be more open to new experiences. I am learning to challenge myself to see things differently. The beauty or the artwork may be right in front of me, and I will only see it once I choose to see it.  I need to be patient with myself so as to recognise that there may still be scales on my eyes in certain situations. Once these scales are removed, we may come to realise that life, people, and our surroundings are indeed fulfilling and very interesting.

 

Day 2 – Lights, camera, action!

I had survived a week of numerous conversations within myself, where inner conflict was rising.

Should I go back to class… woe is me… I have so many subjects… should I postpone this module… pull yourself together woman and get back in the game, focus, focus, focus.

 

Day 2 of the Facilitation course.

Lights, camera, action!

Group 1 is facilitating their topic: Communicating via social media

How absolutely engaging…Well done team! I admire how Group 1 made magic happen within a relatively short period of time. You guys rock. Group 1 has also set the bar for those of us following suit.

Through all of the conversations with myself, I realise that reading up before class is beneficial. During class I realise that I am starting to learn stuff. I am now learning about the Check In process, how to build the container, the dance floor and the balcony technique, Delta Plus, and so many more facilitation techniques. Things are slowly starting to fall in to place. I am starting to feel more comfortable. I have been allocated to Group 8. I can’t drop the course now.

My perception about Facilitation is starting to change.

I had always assumed that lecturing, teaching, presenting, was facilitation. I’m starting to learn that you, the Facilitator, needs to create an environment for the audience to figure things out for themselves. As the Facilitator, be authentic.

I am learning that it is okay to not have the answers for everything. By listening, engaging, prompting, guiding, the Facilitator is likened to  a musical conductor who coordinates the audience responses and engagement, to unfold the audience’s aha moments. Bravo!

 

Things are looking up.

Day 1 – Oh my goodness!

My first day at the Facilitation Skills class – oh my goodness!

It turned out to be a day full of surprises.
On entering the FNB building, I wasn’t quite sure where to go. Ros and her colleague were busy in the foyer, and I just assumed that I needed to follow these ladies. I had not even taken note of the signage that they were placing on the floor, to direct you to the class! This goes to show how unobservant I was on the day – in my own world.
Arriving at the class, I thought it odd when the chairs & tables were arranged in a classroom format – I thought this was strange for a facilitation course. But anyway – I tried not to over think it.
As the introductions progressed and the day unfolded – I felt that I was in a fog. I didn’t quite get it….Bewilderment, uncertainty, what is this all about?
Would I be back for the next class? Eish, I wasn’t so sure, hey.
What did I enjoy about Day 1?
I was in my element with the meet ‘n greet opportunities. At that stage of the semester, I had not experienced the same level of social engagement from my other academic classes, as compared to the delegates of the Facilitation class. Maybe it’s a combination of a Saturday vibe, plus the course content, which makes this class experience different to Politics, IR, English, Psych, Sociology, etc.
As the day continued, I was experiencing flash backs around certain behavioural traits about myself which somehow, over time, had become suppressed, buried and silenced, within me. These were traits that had previously energised me and made me feel spirited and excited about things. I was in a room full of people. And I loved it.
The format of the class was challenging me to drop my guard/stop being so overly prepared, to listen more and overall to savour and recognise the awkwardness of feeling uncomfortable and somewhat exposed, and to be prepared & gracious enough to receive feedback from others.

I just might make it back for the next class.