In the explanation to the question Facilitators unite! A brand new brand is coming our way…. , we can read: “…how we are perceived by both our members and the public at large…” hints at the paradoxes of perception (and engaging) and at the fundamental paradox of facilitating itself. I added this comment:
Trusting the certificate
1. The paradoxes (Smith and Berg, Paradoxes of Group Life) are: disclosure, trust, intimacy and regression.
For instance, a CPF can be seen as a sign of trust. At the same time, trust is also very personal, belonging to an individual. Somebody can have all the certificates in the world, and still proven to be unreliable – in a certain situation. No amount of certification will compensate for a client having to trust a facilitator “blindly”. Trust is not in the content of the message, but the relationship. Trust me, I’m a facilitator, I know.
(and it can be as simple as this: I tried to call somebody, because I had to leave to another country for two days. There was no answer. When I was back the next day late and called again, the other one was furious: I didn’t answer my home phone and why did I went away, without telling? I clearly couldn’t be trusted. (cause: worry about health))
2. The very fact that we want to control, to direct or to brand how we are perceive by peers AND others, creates a fascinating facilitation problem. The problem is something like this: “In what ways can we create a group of facilitators, as an entity over and beyond the individual facilitator, while managing the perception of clients of facilitators (= non group members) about this group?”.
This is relatively easy for an product organization, with a product that can be standardized and branded, like Shell, of – classical example – Standard Oil (Esso). It is slightly harder for capacity organizations, banks or an employment agency. A service organization, like an accountant or a consultant agency, will continuously battle with its perceptions. The IAF as an association of facilitators, is at the very top of the pyramid. This is why, associations on Project Management, Open Space or AI or creativity or Systems Thinking or …
It is not that I’m against an association of facilitators; I do think that we must organize ourselves; but we cannot be or become an ordinary organization. I’m not against certification, I do think we should certify; but will never be a certificate you can trust. (It never is, but that is a closely guarded secret.
It reminds me of Alice and the Mad Tea Party:
`Two days wrong!’ sighed the Hatter. `I told you butter wouldn’t suit the works!’ he added looking angrily at the March Hare.
`It was the BEST butter,’ the March Hare meekly replied. )