Sage in the Stage vs Guide on the Side

Actually, I am not even sure you could call this ‘Facilitation’ but many people are put into a facilitator role without considering what the role requires.

I am talking about the facilitator being the ‘Sage on the Stage’.

Being a facilitator means you have quasi leadership in the group. Inexperienced facilitators take this opportunities to show the group how smart they are!

Many times, these ‘Sages’ ask leading questions designed to drive the participants to a desired end. And in participants reaching that end, they feel very smart and smug.

This is manipulation, NOT facilitation.

I know this very well because I have done it many times myself:

“They (the participants) JUST don’t get it!”

I want them to ‘discover’ the lesson on their own but am too impatient.

Or perhaps there are some high level executives and I can’t help myself – I just HAVE to display my depth knowledge and expertise.

These are all ways in which I become the ‘Sage on the Stage’ without realizing.

Instead, great facilitator will always remember to be a ‘Guide on the Side‘, encouraging discussion and discovery that the group finds interesting.

A person will learn far more if they are discussing what they are interested in instead of what I want them to learn.

You may have the perfect activity picked out for leadership. Incredible content! And during the discussion, the group ends up having an incredible discussion about communication and trust.

  1. What would a Sage on the Stage do?
  2. What would a Guide on the Side do?

And most importantly, what will you do? If you facilitate, remember the four rules because that day and decision is coming.

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