The Art of Facilitation for Cooperative Groups
5-Week Online Course | Starts July 15
Groups often get bogged down by their decision making and meeting process. Poorly held processes can diminish energy for the work of the group and undercuts the sense of joy and identification among members. This does not have to be the fate of your group! The secret of happy and productive groups is great facilitation. Gain the confidence and skills you’ll need to facilitate your group, team, or community towards greater effectiveness and cooperation through this online course.
Facilitate your group, team, or community towards greater effectiveness and cooperation.
This 5-week online course will unpack the essential elements needed to be an effective facilitator in cooperative culture. Distilled from more than three decades of working as a professional facilitator and trainer for cooperative groups, Laird Schaub will cover what you need to know to be the best facilitator you can be for the groups you care about.
You will gain an understanding of what cooperative culture is and how you can build more of it through your facilitation work. You’ll learn the subtle arts of facilitation, such as what it takes to skillfully manage both content (what people are saying) and energy (the way they are saying it), unpacking the ways in which people differ and how to work creatively and inclusively with those complexities, how to efficiently tackle issues that are worthy of whole group attention, and learning when and how to hand off work to teams. Get ready to undertake personal work (what you need to unlearn) so that you can step into your full potential as a facilitator.
Key Course Outcomes
- The mindset of the facilitator
- The essential differences between competitive and cooperative culture
- Operator’s License (the authority facilitators need to do their work)
- The necessity of attending to both Content and Energy, and how to do it
- How to sequence work on an issue for maximum efficiency
- Understanding the myriad ways in which people differ and how to respond creatively
- Unexamined assumptions that get groups into trouble
- How the expression of strong feelings can be harnessed rather than harmful
- The advantages of opening up to non-rational input
- How to delegate effectively (something most groups stumble over)
- Learning how to give and receive critical feedback
Meet Your Instructor
Laird’s specialty is up-tempo inclusive meetings that engage the full range of human input, teaching groups to work creatively with conflict and diversity—all the while being ruthless about capturing as much product as possible. Laird lived for four decades at Sandhill Farm, an income-sharing rural community that he helped found. He also helped found the Foundation for Intentional Community, where he served as the main administrator for 28 years. In 1987 he created a self-insurance fund for healthcare among income-sharing communities called PEACH (Preservation of Equity Accessible for Community Health) that he ran for 22 years. In addition to his expertise in community living, he’s parlayed his passion for good process into a consulting business focused on cooperative group dynamics, styled CANBRIDGE (Consensus And Network Building for Resolving Impasse and Developing Group Effectiveness), since 1987.
The Online Course Experience
Live Interactive Sessions
Each week will feature a 2-hour live class with the course instructor so you can learn in a dynamic setting and get your questions answered directly. Get ready for interactive presentations, group discussion, small cohort activities and personalized support. Plus, each week there will be bonus sessions with guest speakers and panelists.
Journey with a Cohort
Join participants from around the world who are embarking on creating community for better living and more connection. You’ll have opportunities to network with like-minds and develop a network of support to carry your community project forward. Welcome to your global community of communities.
Participants will have access to a private online space to connect with the instructor and other students through a discussion forum. Each week new learning materials will be uploaded to the space, including videos, worksheets and articles. You’ll be able to watch previously recorded sessions and stay on track with your weekly assignments.
Loved by Community Builders
Laird is a treasure. Our community, Heartwood Cohousing in southwest Colorado, has hired him to lead several of our weekend retreats. Some of those retreats have been to simply deepen community connections, while others have been to resolve contentious community issues. In all cases, Laird has done a great job for us. With his decades of experience, his keen intellect, and his deep compassion, Laird is a true master of community communications, conflict resolution, and decision making. We’ve had many facilitators work with our community and I’ve encountered many at cohousing conferences and community events. Laird is the best I’ve met.
– Mac Thomson
Laird is an amazing facilitator and an excellent teacher. The skills he shares with his students are incredibly valuable to any community and to society as a whole. I appreciate that Laird grounds his work in a broader social analysis—that we as a society need to get much better at hearing each other, cooperating, and making hard decisions without domination. He has developed a thorough and effective system for guiding groups through a variety of challenging situations. It is thrilling to learn how to practice it. And it pays dividends not only within the community but in other areas of one’s life. I have used skills I learned from Laird at work and in family situations as well. Learning from Laird has been a life changing experience.
– Tom Smyth
Laird’s knowledge, wisdom, and insight about group dynamics and cooperative culture taught me, above all, how to be a functional member in a cooperative setting. The clarity and humor of his personal delivery style made this learning an enjoyable experience for me.
I took his classes multiple times since 2008 and continue learning from him today. The way I participate in community meetings changed profoundly as I acquired potent tools for self-awareness, self-development, and refinement of my communications skills and thinking patterns. Having been exposed to his work enough, I am now able to see more deeply into the subtleties of the facilitation skills he teaches and the common quicksand holes that groups tend to fall in when trying to work together. With Laird’s guidance, I went from being clueless about how to make cooperation work to being competent to offer good quality facilitation services to groups I’m not familiar with.
– María Silvia
There are few people with the sheer breadth and depth of experience as Laird has. He is sharp, challenging, provocative, insightful. He deeply cares about promoting cooperative culture in communities and in the world. And it shows. I would recommend his classes to anyone and everyone.
– Mary Bennett
The Art of Facilitation for Cooperative Groups
Gain the confidence and skills you’ll need to facilitate your group, team, or community towards greater effectiveness and cooperation.
Duration: 5 Weeks (3+ hours/week)
Need financial support to attend a course?
Apply for a scholarship. Those with low-income and from marginalized groups are encouraged to apply. FIC is committed to ensuring everyone has access to intentional community learning opportunities.