BOOK REVIEW: THE SKILLED FACILITATOR: A COMPREHENSIVE RESOURCE FOR CONSULTANTS, FACILITATORS, MANAGERS, TRAINERS, AND COACHES, NEW & REVISED
Roger Schwarz (2002) focuses The Skilled Facilitator on improving the performance effectiveness of groups. Within the context of groups, as the term is used in this book, Schwarz (2002) devotes the greatest amount of attention to groups that are comprised of people who (in theory at least) are members of the same "team" so to speak, which means that they should be pursuing the same objectives. Considered within this context, the role of a facilitator is essentially to help people who disagree about how to approach the attainment of an objective upon which (presumably) they all agree. As Schwarz (2002) states this focus, it "is a process in which a person whose selection is acceptable to all the members of the group, who is substantively neutral, and who has no substantive decision-making authority diagnoses and intervenes to help a group improve how it identifies and solves problems and makes decisions, to increase the group's effectiveness" (p. 5). This focus implies that the facilitator must be someone from outside of the group, for if a person is "substantively neutral"; he or she has no business being in the group in the first place.
Schwarz (2002) spends a great deal of time in the remainder of the book discussing how facilitators can intervene in ways that will lead to increased harmony within the group and increased effectiveness of the group in relation to the attainment of its objectives.
Schwarz (2002) also states that the group facilitation approach may be used successfully in situations wherein group cohesiveness in terms group membership and group objectives is less well structured. Within this context, Schwarz (2002) states that:
Although I have described the Skilled Facilitator approach as having a substantively neutral third-party facilitator, the approach also r...