Facilitation – Observation – Feedback skills

I am trained and experienced in facilitation, observation and feedback skills practised and sustained on a daily basis. My extended experience in providing support for groups of varying size from small (4-5 participants) to very large (up to 120 persons) alike has its roots in professional practice in academic teaching (as tutor and lecturer), in consultancy activities for small, listed and multinational companies as well as in start-ups coaching. My applied method and process ensures the “discovery experience” of the participants and include:

  • Strong stimulation of discussions, especially by series of questions,
  • Teamwork, learning-by-doing, exchange of ideas,
  • Introduction of elements of competition between groups,
  • Encouragement of high standards of integrity, social responsibility and ethics,
  • Focus on participants’ generic skills development,
  • Presentations of best practices,
  • Organisation of additional interactions with participants, e.g. via the on-line-learning-centre.

My contribution and experience as a facilitator in educational programmes have been successfully offered to, and widely appreciated by international HEIs, venture capital managers, some international associations and by co-coaches.

The above presented participatory process has been offered to:

  • international HEIs,
  • venture capital managers,
  • some international associations and
  • co-coaches.

I also coached & trained the cohorts of 40 future change-makers in eco-innovation and in building sustainable business models on 5-week summer school programs “the Journey” in 2016, 2015, 2014, and were appointed a reserve coach in 2018. Among the involved institutions were Denmark Technical University, Warwick Business School, Berlin Technical University, University of Hamburg, Imperial College London, Munich Technical University, European Institute of Technology in Wroclaw. The primary aim of “The Journey” is to provide Masters’ degree and Ph.D. students with practical support to extend and deepen their knowledge and interests in climate- change issues and to lead those interests towards innovative entrepreneurial ideas and professional business plans that can be funded and implemented. In particular, participants are mentored in a process of experiential action learning with the objective to produce innovative, team-based climate-related business start-up ideas.

My role as a coach was to organize coaching sessions, what meant making decisions under uncertainty when it comes to the progress of the participants and the outcome of the sessions. Coaching for an intensive programme „the Journey” gave me also a possibility for constant learning in a new environment and thanks to a cooperation with programme managers – to improve if needed, and to deal with mistakes and failure in a productive manner. My tasks on “the Journeys” included the components:

  • Support for teaching/learning process, what meant negotiation on ideas, plans, approaches before taking any action,
  • Business coaching and facilitation,
  • Connecting participants of the programme with potential partners and important stakeholders,
  • Inspiring and empowering them,
  • Emotional support of the participants e.g. effectively collaborating within the teams.
  • Providing guidance to a group of approximately 40 participants on a 5-week Journeys,
  • Attendance of the full programme, including site visits and assisting participants in making use of the learning contents for their own business idea and plan development,
  • Facilitated and lead the coached learning activities,
  • Business coaching of small student teams in the area of climate entrepreneurship, and specifically ensuring that all groups successfully write and present business concepts at the end of programme,
  • Facilitate the learning and application of business skills by international participants of various backgrounds and coach them to develop their own business plans, what meant:
    • Facilitating programme elements, such as supporting ideation process and team formation,
    • Motivating dynamic groups of participants to apply their learning in a sustainable business context,
    • Supporting participants to link up with and exploit the knowledge shared by the speakers,
    • Acting as a mentor to participants,
    • Providing feedback to the participants and to the organising team.

Latest examples of designing and facilitating of participatory processes:

  • 2018:
    • Training & business coaching of start-ups & young consultants for the Henley Business School (HBS) of the University of Reading (Since 2015);
    • Training of groups of 4-6 students working on development of business ideas and business models on a basis of business model canvas as a part of the courses: Management 2.0, Project Management;
    • Training for 56 international students enrolled in courses of economics in the International Study Programs (ISP) of Corvinus Business School,
  •  2017:
    • Training & Business coaching & consultancy in a team with Keith Heron & Sebastian Puculek – supporting clean-tech start-ups, e.g. Balonodrom – project devoted to educating and engaging city residents to improve air quality, Bleeding Edge – organizers of first Bleeding Edge Hackathon in Wrocław to create disruptive projects in two areas – Smart City and FinTech, VeloCity – delivery of goods and consignments in cities using electric bicycle to significantly reduce traffic and pollution, etc. 
    • Training on business ideas development during Climathon 2017 in Budapest,
    • Training & Business coaching & active engagement in a project design to connect start-ups– young consultants – business experts in order to support business models’ development of Henley Business School (HBS) of the University of Reading

Facilitation:

We usually follow the format of introducing a concept in a short presentation, then provide tools for a qualitative self-assessment, and then work in groups to explore how individuals can expand their repertoire. The exercises are designed to provide an experience that creates enough emotional investment for the participants to feel compelled to engage.

  • Starting from building a co-learning and trustworthy environment, creating a safe space for open and honest discussions -this approach is needed for the training participants in order to operate effectively toward success and growth; without it, breakdowns and discouragement are imminent. In a team, trust is gained when the environment is cultivated to make its members feel safe and confident in their colleagues and their work.
  • Introducing the concept of and developing cultural intelligence (CQ) capabilities. This element is central to our proposal as it will empower the participants to distinguish between personal and cultural elements in all their interactions. Moreover, it will provide a basis for negotiation strategies, which are central to co-facilitation and co-creation between multi-disciplinary and international colleagues and stakeholders.
  • Personal communication skills development:we will consider verbal and non-verbal communication (body language, position in space, tone of voice etc) and starting from self-awareness of preferred styles, we will then work on helping participants identify how they can expand their repertoire to suit their real-life challenges.
  • Leadership styles: the new, agile organisation will require team members to take leadership for individual tasks or within one team for varying periods of time. Accordingly, we will introduce concepts of leadership style that will help participants identify their preferred style as a starting point to expand their repertoire.
  • Developing shared understanding of team work. We will introduce concepts or roles in teams, and offer opportunity to identify preferred roles and identify needs for clarification -for instance, self-awareness of strengths and areas for which requesting support is the better solution than trying to acquire more skills. Also, to learn to distinguish, when to try to acquire skills.
  • Negotiation skills: We will introduce the concept of status transactions in interactions as a way to learn about preferred defensive styles and how to develop more strategies to react more flexibly when feeling challenged.
  • Since it is important to have a clear vision of what the participants want to achieve and gain from the training, we will define objectives of the individuals and of the teams. By the “objectives” we understand “a specific target of performance, commonly addressing such areas like personal development or key aspects of a business, e.g. profitability, growth, etc.”. Setting the objectives and communicating them is critical for the success of the final outcomes of the training. It is so because objectives help to clarify what we really want to achieve and to communicate our goals both: for ourselves and for people whom we cooperate with. As two renowned scholars -Jim Collins and Jerry Porras (2005) proved that one of the factors that set apart successful teams and businesses from unsuccessful ones was the formulation of very ambitious, clear, and inspiring long-term goals and objectives.
  • Based on defined objectives,measuring work progress; application of methods the most suitable for the complex and fast moving environments,
  • Respect and inclusion of every single participant is one of our basic values and principles. If participants have widely varying levels of expertise, it is sometimes helpful to give the most skilled participants opportunity to practice leadership skills (for instance practicing a leadership style that broadens their existing repertoire) as they participate in the training.
  • We will use positive verbal and non-verbal communication.This includes paying attention tothe way how we as trainers and other staff members interact with each other, to the arrangement of the training rooms, to the appropriate management of energy level (e.g. by varying the pace of activities, organising someenergizing breaks, etc.)
  • We will guide the participants to set the rules for themselves for the duration of the training to foster a sense of responsibility and buy-in.
  • Our ultimate goal is to provide asolid foundation of collaborationand its various perspectives, and facilitate a harmonious working environment for multidisciplinary team discussions and work. In so, the hope is to stimulate ideas from the participants in addition to their own previous experiences.
  • Training will include elements of “experiential learning” and the impact of learning in a cohort-based environment.
  • Learning-loop application: reflection -theorization -experiencing -action,
  • Training will be action-orientated since learning occurs through experience and discovery. It requires the creation of an uncertain and ambiguous context encouraging participants to step outside taken-for-granted assumptions.
  • The favoured methodology for capturing the perspectives of different stakeholders involved in the training is through the development of a Case Study. It can be in line with the developmentof an action plan / scenarios
  • Different approaches are also possible. It may be possible to approach the training by seeking to develop insights through a narrative of the stories of the contributing individuals and that would involve some resource to capture the key stories from a cohort;
  • Risk and uncertainty associated with collaboration & co-creation,
  • Selection technology & social media type(s) supporting collaboration & co-creation,
  • Developing value and principle-based narrative that enables self-directed working of individuals and smaller groups and preserves alignment with overall goals and structure,
  • Reflection on learning progress

Business coaching – chosen Start-ups & Teams

ICT:
Mater Dynamics (PT) – www.materdynamics.com ,
Noldus IT (NL) – innovative solutions for behavioral research   https://www.noldus.com
Balonodrom (PL) – innovation to limit transportation in a city,
BleedingEdge (PL),
CollBrain (PL),
Q Codders School (PL),
MyBudget (PL),
Proway Consulting (PL),
SeeMore (NL),
Excelify,
Plan-IT – innovation to make cities more sustainable (FR+IT+BE+GE+CH),
R3think,
Watflow,
WayCup,
Einvest,
SPARKS,

AgriFood/Agriculture:
Fine Bubble Technologies sp.z o.o. www.finebubble.pl/en/
Almassence – Sustainable organic antioxidants,
Y’ulu – Your Breadfruit – innovative production of breadfruit flour from Hawaii (MX+NL+DN+BE),
Majesticks,
Sea.D – innovative solution for material applications in 3D printing industry (CA+BE+NL),
Seselo Mello,
Greenery,
Flarmy
Souphearb,
Jemy Farmer,

Transportation:
Balonodrom (indicated also above),
Velo City,
Transport Quality Centre,
Wheco,
Sparo,
In The Loop,
SPARKS (indicated also above),

Health:
Health Sens (PL) http://healthsens.co/en/ ,
Emerald Air,
We Sell Health,
Y’ilu – Breadfruit (indicated also above),
Balonodrom (indicated also above),
Seselo Mello (indicated also above),
Greenery (indicated also above),
Sustainable Nuts,

Circular Economy:
Wise,
Jemy Farmer (indicated also above),
R3think (indicated also above),
Watflow (indicated also above),
WayCup (indicated also above),
Almassence (indicated also above),

Other:
Solla,
Exodus,
HAZE & SABLE,


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