The Art of Facilitation for Cooperative Groups

5-Week Online Course | Resumes 2023

Learn how to work with content and energy using formats and spectrums, how to work with emotions and inclusivity, and delegate effectively.

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Course description

Gain the confidence and skills you’ll need to facilitate your group, team or community towards greater effectiveness and cooperation. 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. The secret of happy and productive groups is great facilitation.

In the Art of Facilitation for Cooperative Groups, you’ll unpack the essential elements needed to be an effective facilitator in cooperative culture. You’ll gain an understanding of what cooperative culture is and how you can build more of it through your facilitation work.

Distilled from more than three decades of work 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. 

Live classes are hosted on Zoom. All classes are recorded and available on our learning platform within 24 hours after each class ends and through 3 weeks after the last class. 

Who this course is for

  • founders of community
  • people starting community
  • community leaders
  • community educators

What you’ll learn

Classes and topics in the Art of Facilitation for Cooperative Groups syllabus include:

1st Class: Working in cooperative culture & with content

  • an understanding of the essential differences between competitive and cooperative culture
  • skills to manage both content (what people are saying) and energy (the way they are saying it)
  • an Operator’s License (the authority facilitators need to do their work)
  • how to sequence facilitation work on an issue for maximum efficiency

2nd Class: Formats and spectrums (how people are different)

  • the ways in which people differ and how to work creatively and inclusively with those complexities
  • an understanding of the myriad ways in which people differ and how to respond creatively

3rd Class: Working emotionally

  • how the expression of strong feelings can be harnessed rather than harmful
  • the advantages of opening up to non-rational input
  • knowledge of unexamined assumptions that get groups into trouble

4th Class: Working inclusively (understanding consensus)

  • how to efficiently tackle issues that are worthy of whole group attention
  • how to give and receive critical feedback

5th Class: Delegation (right relationship with teams & whole)

  • when to hand work off to teams
  • a clear understanding of how to delegate effectively

Your instructor

The Art of Facilitation for Cooperative Groups and Working Constructively with Conflict in Community instructor image

Laird Schaub

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. He lived for four decades at Sandhill Farm, an income-sharing rural community that he helped found.
Laird 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.

Read his blog Laird’s Commentary on Community and Consensus

Course schedule

  • 1st Class – September 13, 2022
  • 2nd Class – September 20, 2022
  • 3rd Class – September 27, 2022
  • 4th Class – October 4, 2022
  • 5th Class – October 11, 2022

All Art of Facilitation for Cooperative Groups classes are on Thursdays from:

  • Pacific: 8-10am
  • Mountain: 9-11am
  • Central: 10am-12pm
  • Eastern: 11am-1pm


Leslie Thomsen

“This course was a great overview of not only effective facilitation, but also a group governance using consensus. I gained a deeper understanding of both of these topics, and had insights that I know will make me a better facilitator. I am also taking a way valuable information about how to shepherd the developments of ideas, projects and policies in my community in ways that are both inclusive and effective.”

Julia Dodge

“Be prepared! This course covers a lot of material in a short amount of time. Set aside enough time to read through all the materials before each session. This course is designed for people facilitating groups in intentional communities; however it covers all facets of good facilitation regardless of the setting.”

Martie Weatherly

“Excellent course for facilitators of intentional communities. Larid brings a wealth of knowledge with excellent handouts and teaching style. He addresses the challenges specific to intentional communities where we are committed to moving from an “I” context to a “we” community. He offers specific information on all aspects of facilitating. I am putting his ideas to use immediately with my facilitation team in our community.”

Susan Clark

“I thought the course was a tremendous intro to the role of facilitator; what it is (or should be) and what it isn’t (!) All of the material we touched on was very relevant to our community situation. I benefited greatly from the contributions made to the course by fellow participants, and I consider Laird to be a truly gifted teacher.”

Course fee

  • Early bird discount through August 28, 2022: $199
  • Regular price: $299

Become a member learner

You get several benefits, including 20% off all our online courses, and access to our Member Library with hundreds of videos, guides, policies and templates.

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Financial support

You can apply for a scholarship if you need financial support to attend one of our courses. We encourage those with low-income and from marginalized groups to apply. We’re committed to ensuring everyone has access to intentional community learning opportunities.

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The elements of an online course

Online learning platform

Once you register, you’ll get access to our learning area that includes:

  • your course schedule with zoom links
  • recommended books
  • a dedicated discussion forum to connect with your classmates
  • class slides and other course materials
  • class video recordings and Zoom chat feed (posted after class ends)

Live interactive sessions

Each week you join a 2-hour live class with the course instructor, where you learn in a group setting with:

  • interactive presentations
  • break out sessions
  • group discussions
  • the opportunity for questions and answers, and personalized support

Classes are recorded if you miss one.

Journey with a cohort

You’ll join participants from around the world how, like you, want to learn how to be better communitarians. Benefits include:

  • opportunities to connect with like-minded people
  • opportunities to share ideas and stories
  • a network of support to carry your community project forward

Join the wait list

2023 Course Waiting List

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