Group Facilitator


People are inherently social creatures, but it takes time and effort to form cohesive, highly functional groups. A group facilitator can take charge at any stage of a group’s development to speed up progress, prevent and resolve problems, and encourage communication.

Groups that receive effective, informed facilitation become more cohesive and better able to communicate and address issues of shared concern. Group facilitation services offered by SunSet Community Counseling can be beneficial in many common personal and professional situations.


A 1965 paper published by Ohio State University researcher Bruce Tuckman detailed how groups naturally develop, regardless of the particular setting and details. Tuckman’s influential model includes four distinct stages, at each of which a skilled, trained group facilitator can make valuable contributions:


When groups are first assembled, for whatever reason, members tend to be somewhat reserved, formal, and even standoffish. A group facilitator can help at the formative stage by devising effective means to draw members in on inclusive, fair, personally appropriate terms. Becoming more familiar with one another in respectful, informed ways will help members work through their differences more easily later on


Once group members have started to become more comfortable, some amount of conflict almost always ensues. Some group members might be naturally inclined to assert themselves, while some push back against what they perceive to be the faults of others. These types of friction are natural and can even be productive over the long term, but they will also slow the pace of progress if allowed to fester. A group facilitator who is available to respectfully but effectively help members work through the “storming” phase of development can lead a team through even longstanding impasses.


Once members have recognized the need to resolve conflicts, the group will naturally start establishing norms that address the underlying causes and set expectations. Since these shared commitments act as the rules according to which a group will function, making sure that they are properly considered and justified will always be important. A group facilitator can help by contributing valuable perspective, suggesting improvements to evolving standards of behavior, and making sure of group-wide adherence to the new norms


Groups that reach the final stage of development have become capable of communicating and working effectively together toward important goals. Group facilitators who are able to prevent backsliding and strengthen the commitment of members to the common cause can help preserve this desirable state of interpersonal being. Group facilitation is sometimes believed to be of mostly preventative and remedial value, but it can just as well amplify positive, desirable effects.

The skills of a highly educated and experienced group facilitator will be valuable at any of these stages of development. Groups that enjoy effective facilitation become more collaborative, communicative, and cohesive. Get in touch with SunSet Community Counseling today to talk about how our facilitation services can benefit your group.