Preparing to Facilitate

This may be your first time facilitating a peer support training, or you may have done it many times! There is always a learning curve when you use a curriculum for the first time.

This is a straight forward training, as we have written it to flow from one topic to another, and it includes a robust amount of content that you can pull from. However, you can’t cover all of it. You will need time to sort out what you have the capacity to cover, and what you simply don’t have time or need for.

Every time you facilitate, you will learn more about what worked and what didn’t work. Take good notes so that you can incorporate your learnings into the next training you facilitate.

Let’s look briefly at some important things to keep in mind as you facilitate:

  • Facilitate in a way that is in line with the principles of peer support and the Core Values
  • Create a culture of compassion, curiosity and empathy with everything you do
  • Know the material & be prepared
  • Focus on experiential learning–offer opportunities for participants to work together to engage with the material
  • Read the whole Leadership and Facilitation module, and follow the guidelines outlined in the facilitation section
  • Utilize a “power with, “power to,” ‘power within” approach in your facilitation style (this is covered in the Power and Leadership section of the Leadership and Facilitation module)
  • Understand what it means to be trauma-informed, and facilitate every aspect of this training with a trauma-informed approach

Be Prepared and Flexible

In this guide we provide some tools that will support you as you facilitate this training. They include:

  • A sample of how to begin each session
  • Ideas for activities
  • A lesson plan template
  • Tools for facilitation

You will need to spend time preparing and learning the material before you facilitate. The more you do this training, the less time you will need for preparation.

However, as prepared as we may be, there will always be a need to pivot and be flexible. You never know what could come up in a training session. The need to be flexible and meet the needs of your group is always essential.

Facilitate for the Group you Have, not the Group you Expect

As we have talked about throughout the training itself, we all have expectations. We all come to the table with a narrative, because our brains are wired to fill in the blanks.

We may begin facilitating thinking that the group will need X, Y, and Z, only to discover that they actually already have a good handle on those topics, but they really need support with A, B, and C.

As facilitators we must always check in with the group. Ask them where they are at, and what they need. Then we might need to change course and adjust our plan to meet their needs. Ask the group what concepts and ideas they feel really comfortable with and what they need support with, and focus your time accordingly.

Find out what learning tools work best for them. Do they love group discussions? Do they love personal reflection? Do they love small group work?

Share This Book