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The Art of Hosting

What I hope to learn

The other half of the battle of helping people bring their dreams to life is being able to help teams and communities work together well.  I sum up the loose collection of facilitation practices, coaching tools, etc. that are used for that as the art of hosting.

I like the term hosting because it implies that facilitating is not purely a mechanistic process.  It helps me to keep in mind that I’m working with people- not robots- who can be tired, upset, happy, comfortable, and a million other things.  There is also a great community around the world that identifies with that terminology, who I hope to be learning from throughout this process.

How I hope to practice these skills
  • Attend an Art of Hosting training and get more involved in that community
  • Take on a project for, work with, or even teach at a team entrepreneurship school like Team Akademie, KaosPilots, Knowmads, etc.
  • Create or attend a course on Non-Violent Communication and/or Conflict Resolution (Eric Sauder has a friend at the Mennonite Church that might be able to help organize this for a group of us)
  • Have some fun with Improv (my friend Caroline Howe wants to help plan a workshop for a group of us).
  • Practice using the methods or tools- or even better, shadow, help facilitate, or become a trained facilitator- of as many of the following methods/orgs as possible:
  • Transformative Action Institute
  • Work on Purpose
  • Life Entrepreneurs
  • NOLS
  • Business Model Generation
  • Animas Institute
  • Theory U
  • Highlander
  • Anything else that comes up in the process of doing the above.
I’ve found a few other helpful resources including:
Time & Cost Estimate

I do plan to spend some time and money out of pocket on this section of my plan- for example to buy a few books or to attend trainings- but I also plan to make some income from taking work as a facilitator, host, or teacher in the process.

Recognition of Mastery

Because this section is about practice and continuous improvement, rather than hitting a hard milestone, I will measure my progress by maintaining an ongoing reflective and evaluative process that will include:

  1. Blogging about events and programs I design and/or facilitate/teach, including what I learned or could have done differently.
  2. Setting up a feedback form and asking for feedback from other facilitators and participants on my work.
  3. As much as possible, endeavor to have my work recorded and critiqued with mentors.

To vouch for my progress, I’ll be asking for LinkedIn recommendations or informal reflective letters from groups I have worked with, peers, and other professional facilitators.

Ultimately, my goal is to earn a Letter of Endorsement from a highly experienced and respected facilitator- like Scott Sherman, Otto Scharmer, Allen Gunn (“Gunner”), etc.- who has seen my work and would vouch for it to others.

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