$275 – $325

Advanced facilitation - with John Buck (6 sessions Oct-Dec)

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WAITLISTED: send an email to ted@sociocracyforall.org to get on the waitlist. There is an alternative online class taught by Jerry Koch-Gonzalez for those who are more on an intermediary level.

This 6-session training is designed for those who have some experience with sociocracy but would like to deepen their skills in sociocracy and practice facilitation. These online classes will be held by John Buck in cooperation with Sociocracy For All.

John Buck has extensive leadership experience with government and corporations, including managing more than 200 people on information technology projects. John is the first person, not native to the Netherlands, to be certified in the circle-organization method of governance (dynamic governance), thus, becoming the first certified consultant in dynamic governance in the United States. As head of GovernanceAlive LLC, he has introduced dynamic governance to a wide range of businesses and organizations, assisting them in designing work and making group decisions effectively by “rewiring” their basic power structure. He earned a Master’s degree from George Washington University and is coauthor of We the People: Consenting to a Deeper Democracy – A Guide to Sociocratic Principles and Methods and Company-wide Agility with Beyond Budgeting, Open Space, and Sociocracy. John is currently on the boad (mission circle) of Sociocracy For All.

This intensive, experiential class grows deep skills for guiding many kinds of meetings. It draws on Sociocracy (Dynamic Community Governance) and also includes elements of Agile and Open Space as well as presentations by guest speakers on neuro linguistic programing (NLP), emotional intelligence, and new software designed with consent-based decision-making in mind. Participants will get practice in teaching others how to facilitate. The class meets six times over a nine-week period.

Session descriptions below!

A few words about the schedule/timing: The classes have been scheduled in a way so that people from very different time zones are able to participate. The sessions fall into a time when some countries change their clock (from summer to winter time and vice versa). Overall, it is most convenient to keep the time constant for European Central Time (Paris time) at 20.30 CET. This means, however, that everyone outside of that time zone has to carefully check each session individually for the actual time in their time zone. The session times in the list below have links that display each event time on a world clock, adjusted for daylight savings.

  • Thur, Oct 18 - 2:30pm New York, 20.30 Paris, 5:30am Melbourne next day

  • Thur, Oct 25 - 2:30pm New York, 20.30 Paris, 5:30am Melbourne next day

  • Thur, Nov 1 - 3:30pm New York, 20.30 Paris, 6:30am Melbourne next day

  • Thur, Nov 8 - 2:30pm New York, 20.30 Paris, 6:30am Melbourne next day

  • Thur, Nov 29 - 2:30pm New York, 20.30 Paris, 6:30am Melbourne next day

  • Thur, Dec 13 - 2:30pm New York, 20.30 Paris, 6:30am Melbourne next day

  • Each class session is 2 hours (120 minutes)

  • What if I can’t make every session?

    • Every session will be recorded

    • We will be using a fluid buddy system for exercises outside of class. You can ask your buddy to brief you (good for your buddy, too, as it will give your buddy a chance to review and reflect on the material).


Session 1 - Introduction to Facilitator Role.

  1. A facilitator steers the circle toward its aim sometime through continuous improvement, and sometimes through processes that lead to transformational learning and framework shifts. Meetings can be in-person, live over the internet, or asynchronous (through messages).

  2. A facilitator leads a very specific process called facilitation.

  3. Meetings can be for lots of reasons, including coordinating work activities, setting policy (rules and strategies) for the team, selecting people for roles, performance reviews, resolving conflicts, etc.

  4. We will look at facilitation as a process of many small steps. Using interactive exercises, we explore the unexpected challenges that can occur with steps that are usually routine, e.g., introducing an agenda item.

Session 2 - Prepare to Lead the Meeting. Agenda planning. Meeting evaluation.

  1. Typically a meeting facilitator will talk before the meeting with the circle admin, ops leader, & others to plan the overall meeting agenda. Planning should include review of evaluations from previous meetings. There are multiple paths that lead to good agenda planning -- even for a spontaneously called meeting where there is no pre-meeting planning.

  2. To help with the skill of estimating the amount of time each agenda will take, we’ll introduce the topic of calibrated estimation and do a short exercise to help you identify your style of estimating.

  3. Participants will be encouraged to bring to the session agendas for meetings they have facilitated or expect to facilitate so that we can practice together agenda planning skills on real scenarios.

Session 3 - Developing Your Emotional Intelligence

  1. According to recent research, emotional intelligence (EI) is a key factor in successful team work. Facilitators should be sure they learn continuously, particularly in the area of EI.

  2. Presentations by guest instructors - experts in

    1. Neuro linguistic programing (NLP),

    2. Tools that deepen emotional engagement and learning.

These tools are very useful in helping facilitators understand what’s really happening in the meeting and how to to deepen participants’ connections with each other.

Session 4 - Teaching and Coaching Others to Facilitate

  1. A circle is a learning organism. In addition to their own learning (Session 3), facilitators should develop facilitation skills of others in the group. These skills can be developed through practical practice and coaching. We will also show how to build a collective emotional intelligence through such tools as emotion cards and and drawings of organization personality.

  2. This session will also include presentations of research reports by student pairs, with role plays in teaching others how to facilitate,.

Session 5 - In the Moment Facilitation Challenges

  1. Imagine something is not going well in the meeting. It may be as simple as an objection that you’re not sure how to handle, or it may be more pervasive – the meeting feels “out of control,” or the group’s energy is flagging, or someone is visibly upset. What to do?

  2. This session will include small group roleplays of difficult situations document drawn from a long list of situations that actually happened!

Session 6 - Facilitation Options and Additional Applications

  1. There are many ways to apply the principle of consent. They all do a fundamental thing: create a “container for chaos” so that the people in that container can self-organize.

  2. One common example is the use of the election process for other than selecting a person for a role, e.g., electing a name for a project.

  3. Another example is the format of Performance reviews.

  4. This session will explore a large variety of tools for meeting facilitation, including facilitating large-groups, when to use open space methods. We’ll look at operations meetings, sprint stand-ups, retrospectives; and planning meetings. We’ll also include online and asynchronous facilitation.

All questions go to Sociocracy For All - contact Ted (ted@sociocracyforall.org).

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