Facilitation Books

Here’s a short list of books and other resources that I have read and enjoyed to help me along with facilitating groups

Core Professional Facilitation Books

The Skilled Facilitator Roger Schwarz – This and its companion The Skilled Facilitator Fieldbook are really the bible for me as far as how to arrange and carry out structured facilitation end to end.  

Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision Making  Sam Kaner. This is quite a classic – and you will definitely identify with the ‘Groan Zone’.  This is the second bible for me.

The Art of Focussed Conversation: 100 Ways to Access Group Wisdom in the Workplace – A nifty book on the O.R.I.D. model – Objective, Reflective, Interpretive, and Decisional. It was developed by the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) in Canada and involves a facilitator asking people four levels of questioning with each level building on previous levels. It’s based on the theory that people need to be cognisant of the actual data and deal with their emotional responses to the topic in order to undertake better analysis and decision-making.

Open Space Facilitation – Owen Harrison – Open Space gatherings are the ultimate in powerful, self-organizing meetings, yet there is preparation involved by the sponsoring parties and the invitation.  

From Contempt to Curiosity – Caitlin Walker – this narrative account of the clever and effective use of Clean Language facilitation for groups to elicit models for excellence (and any other state), as well as to gather ‘know-how’ is a must!  You’ll be motivated to take her trainings where are listed on the Clean Language Books page.

Six Thinking Hats Edward de Bono – this is a wonderful introduction to lateral thinking. What are the different ways of thinking that each person can contribute; six hats is a method for facilitating.

Books with focus on techniques, games, and practical matters

Visual Meetings – David Sibbet

Facilitating with Ease! Core Skills for Facilitators, Team Leaders, Members, Managers, Consultants and Trainers, Ingrid Bens

Gamestorming: Dave Gray, Sunnie Brown, James Macanufo

Innovation Games Luke Hohman

Thought provoking books on Learning in Organizations/Groups

More Time to Think Nancy Kline  This is a gem if you just want to uncover the power of listening and its effect on the ability for people to think, and develop solutions, independently and in groups.

Discussing the Undiscussable  William Noonan builds on the work of Chris Argyris, known for double-loop learning theories. 

Local Facilitator’s Group – DC area

Mid-Atlantic Facilitator’s Network – excellent very active group that hosts webinars and in person morning long seminars and workshops. I’ve been a member and board member for over 1 year.  You can join as a remote member and enjoy free interactive members all year long.

For your iPhone and/or browser

Group Works – For those who love to discover pattern languages, this app shares with you the pattern language for groups, which may help you discover what’s missing or what to add for your next facilitation.  Their associated website is here.

A3 Thinker – Lean Problem Solving Tool

Liberating Structures – Vast Repository of unique and engaging group facilitation patterns. Combine them creatively to achieve agreed upon outcomes – all with the center of attention on participant engagement. The associated website is here.

Gamestorming – creativity enhancing ideas for ‘innovators,  rulebreakers, and changemakers’! This is a website you will love.

One Comment on “Facilitation Books”

  1. Dear Andrea … I do agree with a number of the books you’ve listed here as many of them are on in my personal library. And without sounding too much the self promoter, I do hope that you’ll seek out and read my latest book found at http://www.ebookit.com/books/0000004227/Facilitating-Genius-Illuminating-Brilliance-in-Your-Organization.html … If you like it, please write a review -or- perhaps update your list after adding my title. If you don’t think it measures up, then let’s chat. Looking forward to seeing you at a future MAFN event … John Lesko


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