My first book is named: “Facilitation as a Second Vocation“. Professing comes from “to speak forth”, “having declared publicly and freely”, “making a vow”, to use one’s voice. I used “second vocation” or “second profession” for different reasons.
Paradoxes of Expression
1. because of this paradox: facilitators work with the paradoxes of “speaking”, “expressing”. It takes courage to speak in a group, because of its pressure. We enable participants to speak; all our speaking is aimed at this. The second voice or violin.
Success breeds disaster
2. nobody was born a facilitator. We all started out in a field of expertise, were we became “professional”, proficient. This is were our competencies are best applied. Here we had success. This (early) success however – it is the voyage of the hero – is nice and fine, but the beginning of a decline. We’re asked to develop a second profession, based on our “weak” competencies.
3. there has been, for over 10 years, a very good Dutch book called “Consulting as a Second Vocation”.
4. We organized a facilitators conference with this title. It emerged from a brain storm.
Ambiguity and doubt
In my opinion, there is something “double” with the profession of facilitating: everybody facilitates. In the same way as everybody communicates. I’m having a conversation with the IAF, as they tend to “brand” the professional facilitator, CPF. I’m not against certification – I’ve introduced in The Netherlands myself -, I just don’t agree with the current view that a certificate says something different than “I’ve got a certificate”. When the certificate (also true with quality certification, like ISO 9000) becomes more important than the relationship, you’ve migrated from professionalism to professionality –> it has become “a nation”, a group. You’ve created two groups: “the professionals” and the “not so professionals”. This is not the nature of facilitation.
to CPF or not to CPF
When a client ask me if I’m certified (I am), I first ask him (mostly him) what he requires of me. If he is uncertain about the fact that I’m professional and he wants to be sure through a certificate, then this is the issue: “what makes you uncertain, that requires me to have a certificate?”. The professionalism is in this: being able to question your own doubts. I know that everybody will become a “professional facilitator”. But that’s another story.