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TRANSFORMING CONFLICT

Collaboration Essentials for Dialogue Facilitation

Laurie L. Mulvey, Sheffy Minnick and Michelle Frisby Illustrations by Simonida Nedeljković


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TRANSFORMING DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT CONFLICT Collaboration Essentials for Dialogue Facilitation

DRAFT DRAFT Laurie L. Mulvey, Sheffy Minnick and Michelle FrisbyDRAFT Illustrations by Simonida Nedeljković


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercialNoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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You are free to Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format. The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow OUR LICENSE TERMS. [LINK]

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book design: michaelblack | BLACK SUN®

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The following people have been integral to the creation and revision of this book: David Holloway, Lisa Dribin, Sam Richards, Danna Jayne Seballos, Brenton Joo Mitchell, Sarah Chelius, Eric Spielvogel, Serge DaDeppo, Tim Taylor, Takkeem Morgan, Carly Cubit, Rick Miller, Abeer Al-Yazji, Renata Rincon, Yuli Prieto, Amalia Shaltiel, Ray Mulvey, Sean Minnick, Greg Frisby, A.J. Wagner, michael black, Mahdi Jafari and the many students we have worked with at Penn State University.

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Table of Contents Introduction

xiii

Part One: The Facilitator DRAFT DRAFT Part Two: Facilitator Mindset

25 27 51 111 195

2.1: A Story 2.2: Conflict 2.3: Collaboration 2.4: Paradox

Part Three: Communication Practices of a Facilitator

Socratic Inquiry DRAFT3.1: DRAFT 3.2: Taking All Sides 3.3: Open-Ended Questions 3.4: Active Reflective Listening 3.5: Disrupting Communication Patterns

Part Four: Transformation and What’s Possible

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INTRODUCTION Dialogue facilitation is a lot more than moderating a conversation. It’s about facing fear with understanding, building trust in relationships where there is no trust, and inviting authenticity and complexity where simplicity and certainty are often preferred. It’s also about uniting real people with real issues, minds with hearts, and enemies with one another.

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A good facilitator, like a good traffic cop, takes the chaos of passion and perspective, and helps participants to create an underlying order together. All of this is an essential piece of the well-being of people and communities.

We wrote this book for anyone who wants to become a facilitatorDRAFT DRAFT DRAFT -and we’ve met people all around the globe who have asked how to do that. So we’ve spent several years writing and rewriting, testing out the material with students and colleagues, and developing illustrations, all so that the ideas can be translated and understood easily in different languages. And we are sharing it free of charge because our goal is for as many people to benefit from it as possible.

We also know that what’s more important than reading this book DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT is what you do with it.


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‘‘

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Out beyond ideas of Wrongdoing and Rightdoing There is a field. you there. DRAFT I’ll meet DRAFT DRAFT - Rumi

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Part One The Facilitator

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• Part One: The Facilitator


Have you ever met a doctor?

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Have you ever seen a doctor at work?

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Have you ever heard anyone say, “When I grow up I want to be a DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT doctor”? ...most likely.

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Transforming Conflict and Collaboration •

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Now imagine... that you didn’t know anything about doctors and you broke a bone in a bikeDRAFT DRAFT DRAFT accident.

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• Part One: The Facilitator

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Transforming Conflict and Collaboration •

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You would probably think your only option was to take care of the DRAFT DRAFT injury on yourDRAFT own.

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• Part One: The Facilitator

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Sounds silly, right?

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Transforming Conflict and Collaboration •

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Thankfully, we live in a world where we know doctors exist DRAFT DRAFT and we knowDRAFT how they can help.

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• Part One: The Facilitator

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Transforming Conflict and Collaboration •

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But...

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• Part One: The Facilitator


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facilitator?

Have you ever seen a dialogue facilitator at work?

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Have you ever heard anyone say, “When I grow up I want to be a dialogue facilitator”?

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Transforming Conflict and Collaboration •

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Probably not.

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• Part One: The Facilitator


Unfortunately, DRAFT DRAFT

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when human communication breaks down, when we are inDRAFT the middle of a DRAFT DRAFT conflict that we can’t resolve, and when our relationships become unhealthy,

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Transforming Conflict and Collaboration •

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most of us tend to think our only option is to “live with it”... DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT

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Transforming Conflict and Collaboration •

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• Part One: The Facilitator


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because we have no idea there are people who are trained to DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT help in these situations.

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Transforming Conflict and Collaboration •

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There are so many times when we need dialogue facilitators... DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT

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• Part One: The Facilitator

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just like we need medical doctors.

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Transforming Conflict and Collaboration •

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That’s why we’re glad you decided to read this book... DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT

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to learn what dialogue facilitators do.DRAFT DRAFT

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Transforming Conflict and Collaboration •

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Then perhaps we can add YOU to the growing list of dialogue DRAFT DRAFT facilitators onDRAFT the planet.

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So let’s get started!

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Transforming Conflict and Collaboration •

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Part Two The Facilitator

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• Part Two: Facilitator Mindset [A Story]


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A Story

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Transforming Conflict and Collaboration •

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• Part Two: Facilitator Mindset [A Story]


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Let us bring you into a story.

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Transforming Conflict and Collaboration •

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This is an ancient story.

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• Part Two: Facilitator Mindset [A Story]


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It is a story of clashing and misunderstanding. DRAFT DRAFT

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This story begins with two forces...

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• Part Two: Facilitator Mindset [A Story]


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two forces that have universal power and influence, DRAFT DRAFT

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Transforming Conflict and Collaboration •

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two forces that profoundly impact our world, DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT

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two forces that shape each of us.

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These forces are both invisible and well-known. DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT

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These forces are...

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Conflict and

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Collaboration

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Transforming Conflict and Collaboration •

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Conflict t Collaboration shape our past, present, and future.

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They shape nations, families and individuals.

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And guess what? This is where YOU could enter the DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT story...

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Transforming Conflict and Collaboration •

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because a facilitator works closely with these powerful forces.

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direct these forces.

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In fact, if there is one thing a facilitator knows better than DRAFT DRAFT anything else, it is...

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Conflict and Collaboration.

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(Okay, there are two things.) DRAFT DRAFT

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Facilitators are willing to get close to Conflict and Collaboration because they know how essential DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT these forces are...

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• Part Two: Facilitator Mindset [A Story]

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to innovation and change to health and well-being

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to Life itself.

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Transforming Conflict and Collaboration •

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It’s okay if you don’t see all that yet. You will. DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT

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• Part Two: Facilitator Mindset [A Story]

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For now, let’s continue with the story. DRAFT DRAFT

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Transforming Conflict and Collaboration •

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• Part Two: Facilitator Mindset [Conflict]


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Conflict DRAFT

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Transforming Conflict and Collaboration •

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First, let’s get to know Conflict.

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Transforming Conflict and Collaboration •

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What feelings arise when you encounter Conflict? DRAFT DRAFT

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Transforming Conflict and Collaboration •

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Maybe you feel:

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Anger DRAFT Pain Defensiveness Vulnerability Powerlessness Threat DRAFT Fear Intimidation Isolation Division DRAFT Competition

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These feelings are common responses; however, they keep us in an uncomfortable DRAFT DRAFTrelationshipDRAFT with Conflict.

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Transforming Conflict and Collaboration •

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But there is good news...

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Conflict itself is not what actually leads to those feelings.

DRAFT DRAFT “Then what does?” you must be DRAFT asking.

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Transforming Conflict and Collaboration •

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It is Combat,

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the more extreme and less constructive “cousin” DRAFT DRAFTof Conflict. DRAFT

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Transforming Conflict and Collaboration •

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Anger DRAFT Pain Defensiveness Vulnerability Powerlessness Threat DRAFT Fear Intimidation Isolation

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are actually responses to Combat...

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Conflict is simply... an encounter between alternative ways or contrasting DRAFT DRAFT perspectives. DRAFT Period.

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Transforming Conflict and Collaboration •

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Conflict itself contains no threat or demand.

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has gotten a negative reputation.

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Transforming Conflict and Collaboration •

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Thankfully, facilitators can help.

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Transforming Conflict and Collaboration •

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Facilitators know: Conflict is an encounter with something DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT different.

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Different views. Different suggestions. Different opinions. Different experiences. DRAFT DRAFT

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Simply different.

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Combat is the attempt to repress or eliminate those differences. DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT

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Can you see the difference?

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Conflict: an encounter with differences

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Combat: the struggle to eliminate those differences

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Now here’s the thing:

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Although Conflict and Combat are different, a facilitator needs to know something else about these DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT forces:

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Transforming Conflict and Collaboration •

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Combat is often a result—of denying, ignoring or repressing DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT Conflict.

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In other words, when we turn away from ConflictDRAFT (as so many of us do), DRAFT DRAFT

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we are actually creating the DRAFT conditions for DRAFT Combat.

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Of course, turning away from Conflict is usually based on our best intentions--

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to be non-judgemental, to keep peace, to accept other people.

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But these “good intentions” are not constructive because they are often based on Fear...

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which distorts what we see.

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And so we usually mistake

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CONFLICT (an encounter between different perspectives)

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We will say it again: Our underlying Fear often makes DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT (non-threatening) Conflict appear to be Combat (which feels threatening).

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And that innocent mistake is like the moment we fall and break a bone:

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We just don’t usually know that.

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Enter a facilitator who knows: DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT

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Conflict itself is a benign force. Conflict is a simple indicator of difference. DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT Conflict is nothing to Fear.

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Rather than seeing Conflict through the lens of Fear... DRAFT DRAFT

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a facilitator sees Conflict with curiosity,

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through the lens of Discovery.

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This lens allows facilitators to see Conflict for what it is...

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And because facilitators learn to trust Conflict, they approach it as DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT an ally.

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And they relate to Conflict with the desire to listen to its DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT important messages.

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Think of the last time you faced Conflict.

What could you have tried to hear, to learn, to notice? DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT What could you have Discovered if you didn’t turn away?

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• Part Two: Facilitator Mindset [Conflict]


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Conflict is an encounter DRAFT DRAFT between differences.

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invites us toward Conflict, and away from Combat.

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And, in the presence of Conflict, a facilitator operates with the DRAFT DRAFT fearless mindset of Discovery. DRAFT

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Now that you’ve had some time to get to know Conflict, let’s explore the other forceDRAFT in our story-DRAFT DRAFT Collaboration.

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First, let’s think about what’s essential to projects, relationships DRAFT DRAFT or moments DRAFT that are “collaborative.”

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Perhaps it’s:

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Teamwork Support Unity Creativity Sharing DRAFT Partnership Harmony Agreement Belonging Friendship DRAFT

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(These qualities are probably a lot more appealing than the ones you may have associated with Conflict.) DRAFT DRAFT

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BUT, here’s the thing: This list is incomplete. DRAFT DRAFT

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What about?

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Objection DRAFT Resistance Divergence Dissonance Disagreement Dissatisfaction DRAFT Dissent Critique Hesitation Doubt Disapproval DRAFT Questioning

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Without the presence of experiences like these, Collaboration is more of an illusion DRAFT DRAFT than a reality. [We’ll tell you why DRAFT later. But follow us for a moment.]

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And if you have lived or worked closely with other people without disagreement or dissatisfaction, DRAFT you have likelyDRAFT experienced this DRAFT illusion of Collaboration.

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In this illusion of Collaboration, “togetherness” is more important DRAFT DRAFT ideas. DRAFT than new or creative

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Think about these factors:

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Obligations Traditions Rules Laws Chains of command DRAFT Standards Demands Needs for Acceptance even...Coercion

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They can help us work together, but they also prevent us from acting on our gut instincts and DRAFT DRAFT inspirations—and from sharing DRAFT our different opinion or unique vision.

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They also contribute to an underlying sense that “you have to do it this way or you don’t DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT belong with us.”

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• Part Two: Facilitator Mindset [Collabortation]


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We’re not sure what you call this kind of forced togetherness, but we call it Conformity—

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the more restrictive and DRAFT DRAFT

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less accepting “cousin” of Collaboration.

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Conformity can be really subtle, where it looks (and even feels) like “working together,” DRAFT DRAFTbut it just DRAFT doesn’t include our differences.

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And even though we may approach Collaboration with the desire for unity and DRAFT teamwork, we DRAFT often fail when weDRAFT encounter our basic differences.

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So our groups usually end up in a place of Conformity, DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT not Collaboration.

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“Why?” you ask.

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Well, remember Fear?

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When we approach Collaboration with any Fear— which usuallyDRAFT means not DRAFT

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addressing basic differences— the outcome is Conformity.

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Why does this happen?

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When working together, we often Fear being different or not belonging. So we silence our DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT voice to fit in.

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On the other hand, we may Fear losing control of our leadership, vision or independence. DRAFT DRAFT So we DRAFT pressure others to follow us.

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Either way, we Fear disagreement. So we don’t address the disagreement.DRAFT [Sounds a lot like our DRAFT DRAFT Fear of Conflict, doesn’t it?]

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But as you now know, facilitators don’t Fear disagreement. DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT

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They Trust disagreement— because they know the value of DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT Conflict.

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And they believe in the power of true Collaboration just like they believe in theDRAFT power of true Conflict. DRAFT DRAFT

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Facilitators know what to do when Fear leads to the illusion of Collaboration. DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT

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Remember the mindset of Discovery? DRAFT DRAFT

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A facilitator helps people to their divergent perspectives so they can work together—without losing DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT their individuality.

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This becomes TRUE Collaboration– where we create something new based on our DRAFT different ways. DRAFT DRAFT

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An important sidenote:

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• Part Two: Facilitator Mindset [Collabortation]


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There are also members of groups who say, “I don’t care about this.”

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“I don’t have a position.”

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Where do they fit in all of this?

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• Part Two: Facilitator Mindset [Collabortation]


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Well, “not caring” or not having a stance is actually a stance. DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT

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“Not caring” is a position that adds extra weight to things being “as they are”, and to maintaining DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT the status quo, whatever that may be at the time.

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And while there is nothing DRAFT DRAFT

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essentially wrong with things being as they are, it is important for us to recognize that “not caring” maintains this. In other words, “not caring” is a stance that has influence and weight in relationships and in groups.

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So let’s summarize this part of our story. DRAFT DRAFT

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Collaboration is working with DRAFT others while DRAFT maintaining our divergent views.

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• Part Two: Facilitator Mindset [Collabortation]

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Fear pushes us away from DRAFT Collaboration, DRAFT and toward Conformity.

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invites us toward Collaboration, and away from DRAFT Conformity. DRAFT

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In the presence of Collaboration, a facilitator operates with the mindset of Discovery, skeptical of DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT unquestioned agreement.

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• Part Two: Facilitator Mindset [Collabortation]


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So let’s summarize the mindset of a facilitator. DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT

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What does this model show us?

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• Part Two: Facilitator Mindset [Collabortation]


Illustration TBD

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• Part Two: Facilitator Mindset [Collabortation]


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A facilitator’s work is to move individuals away from Combat and Conformity and towards DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT Conflict and Collaboration.

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• Part Two: Facilitator Mindset [Collabortation]


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A facilitator works to keep the forces of Conflict and Collaboration DRAFT operating in a DRAFT dynamic balance. DRAFT

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• Part Two: Facilitator Mindset [Collabortation]


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How?

Transforming Conflict and Collaboration •

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A facilitator invites divergent views to be voicedDRAFT (when people are DRAFT in DRAFT the togetherness of Collaboration)

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and to be heard (when people are in differences DRAFT of Conflict). DRAFT DRAFT

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We humans don’t do this naturally.

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• Part Two: Facilitator Mindset [Collabortation]


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That’s why we need facilitators— in every space where these powerful forces appear (and are

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It’s not just our bodies that we need to keep healthy; DRAFT DRAFT too. DRAFT it’s our relationships

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• Part Two: Facilitator Mindset [Collabortation]

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• Part Two: Facilitator Mindset [Paradox]


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Are you ready for an interesting—and seemingly contradictory—idea? It is another key to this story—and to DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT the mindset of a facilitator:

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• Part Two: Facilitator Mindset [Paradox]

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Combat and Conformity are actually very SIMILAR DRAFT DRAFT forces.

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These forces appear to be opposites, appear to be at odds, because they are at opposite DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT ends of the fulcrum.

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But they actually share very similar qualities.

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• Part Two: Facilitator Mindset [Paradox]


Can you name some?

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Here are a few:

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• Part Two: Facilitator Mindset [Paradox]


Both create clear enemies and clear borders between “us and them.”

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It’s all about “us, us, us.”

Both seek converts to “our way.”

Both have clear positions on moral/ethical/

Their mottos could be,“You are with us, or

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you are against us.” •

Both have little latitude for alternate views.

DRAFT DRAFT • Following is important for both.

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• Part Two: Facilitator Mindset [Paradox]


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Paradoxical? Yes.

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But the ability to embrace paradox is actually the essence of the DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT facilitator mindset.

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• Part Two: Facilitator Mindset [Paradox]

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This will be more clear if we look at the model again: DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT

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Illustration TBD

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• Part Two: Facilitator Mindset [Paradox]


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• Part Two: Facilitator Mindset [Paradox]


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Using this model, we can see that seemingly opposing activities like fighting a war (Combat) or DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT following a movement (Conformity)

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are both driven by Fear,

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• Part Two: Facilitator Mindset [Paradox]


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do not make room for Discovery,

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and in both cases, silence differences. DRAFT DRAFT

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Well…“our” voices are silenced in Conformity, while “their” voices are DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT silenced in Combat.

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When a facilitator stands fearlessly in the presence of either Combat or Conformity, they invite individuals to voice their DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT own perspectives and to listen to the perspectives of others.

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These acts of voicing and listening are imperative to restoring balance to unhealthy DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT relationships.

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So let’s return to the relationship between Conflict and Collaboration.DRAFT This is core to theDRAFT DRAFT work of a facilitator.

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Collaboration is a force that creates a foundation for stability. Conflict is a force that creates a DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT foundation for change.

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And we need both.

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Each plays a crucial role in ensuring that relationships are both stable and changing. DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT

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So here’s another paradox for you: When people in Conflict listen to DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT each other, Collaboration grows.

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And--when people in Collaboration express divergent DRAFT DRAFT views, ConflictDRAFT grows.

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And remember, we want and need both. It means we’re building a foundation of trust AND allowing for differences. DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT This is the essence of paradox.

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And as long as this movement between these essential forces flows back and forth, over and over and over DRAFT again, we should DRAFT DRAFT see more healthy and more balanced relationships.

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Conflict and Collaboration actually “need” each other to create a DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT healthy, dynamic balance.

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And if all of this is beginning to feel exciting-- you are developing DRAFT DRAFT the MINDSETDRAFT of a facilitator.

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A mindset open to paradox. A mindset of Discovery.

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conversations that restore this necessary balance.

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And with that, we leave ourDRAFT story... DRAFT

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but not our book! Next we’re going to share with you some key DRAFT communication DRAFT DRAFT practices to help you put all of these concepts to use.

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Facilitators need more than a mindset to navigate Conflict and Collaboration.

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Facilitators need specific communication practices to help redirect and balance the way DRAFT these forces DRAFT operate between DRAFT people.

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This section is about how a facilitator uses communication practices to apply their mindset to relationships that are out of balance.

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These practices will allow you to listen, to poke at people’s opinions, ideologies and positions, to push them to explore more nuanced views and to help enlarge their ability to think in grey areas. (Think Discovery.)

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These practices will also help you to shift relationships away from the extremes of Combat and Conformity and towards the more DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT moderate forces of Conflict and Collaboration.

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Ready for the first one?

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Socractic Inquiry

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Socratic Inquiry is the first step in moderating the forces of Combat and Conformity.

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Remember, people stuck in these extreme positions behave like they have answers, and think about things according to the side they’ve chosen.

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These answers usually make us feel “smart” and “informed” and superiorDRAFT to the side we have DRAFT DRAFT not chosen.

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They also can make us feel like we belong with others who have similar answers.

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But most “answers” are more like knee-jerk reactions rather than thoughtful conclusions DRAFT DRAFT based on DRAFT careful and ongoing examination.

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And— answers tend to be absolute and inflexible, answers become positions, answers are difficult to question.

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But a facilitator must find ways to help individuals in Combat and in Conformity to question their “answers.” How do they do this?

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You may have heard of the Socratic Method.

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It’s a philosophical practice of asking questions (and answering with DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT questions) in a ongoing search for “truth.”

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This practice is in direct opposition to maintaining one’s sense of “right-ness” by debating and defending one’s answers.

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When someone is asked good, constructive questions and at some point recognizes that their “answer” cannot stand up to these questions, their view can be reshaped or revised.

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By contrast, if an answer does stand up to good, constructive questions, a DRAFT person can feel more DRAFT DRAFT confident in their view.

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“Socratic Inquiry” is our “emotionally intelligent” version of the Socratic Method—a practice we’ve developed that goes beyond the academic or philosophical discussions associated with the Socratic Method.

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Socratic Inquiry takes into account who is asking the questions and how the questions are being asked. And facilitators practice it to address issues that are charged and relationships that are out of balance or inequitable.

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So facilitators ask questions from every perspective and every position in order to challenge every perspective and every position.

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This makes it more likely that individuals will receive the questions as an opportunity to DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT explore rather than a moment to defend a position.

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The practice of Socratic Inquiry helps people to question the answers that tend to dominate in groups who are standing in Combat and Conformity.

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With thoughtful questioning from ALL angles, facilitators help individuals to explore, discover or revise their views­—which is good for them.

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And this process does a lot to modify the intensity of Combat and Conformity—which is good for everybody.

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Remember: A facilitator is needed to apply this method in contentious (Combat) and uncompromising (Conformity) DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT situations because people will not naturally question themselves—

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especially when their answers are connected to their identity, DRAFT DRAFT belonging orDRAFT beliefs.

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We are all more likely to defend ourselves and our views (and solidify those same views), rather than to challenge ourselves. (And this keeps us stuck in Combat or Conformity.)

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So HOW does a facilitator actually practice Socratic Inquiry? Overall, by responding to people’s “answers” with constructive questions (ones that activate a mindset of Discovery).

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Let’s practice… Think of a belief that you hold that you know can be contentious. For example: The Western world is more progressive than other parts of the world.

Ask a question about that belief. For example: What are the progressive elements about the Western world?

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The Western world is more progressive than other parts of the world.

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Keep generating more and more questions.

What else could be included in this belief?

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uncertain about DRAFT this belief? DRAFT

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For example: What is the Western World? What does the rest of the world see that perhaps the progressive world does not? What is the other side of being progressive? What are the dangers of a progressive world.

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The Western world is more progressive than DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT other parts of the world.

Examine it from all angles. What would someone from another group DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT see? What would they think is true? What do they think you’re missing? How would you respond to them? Where does the other group have a good point? Etc., etc.

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For example: How is that actually different compared to the rest of the world? Whose rights are forgotten in the progressive world? Who is not being considered in either of these worlds?

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As you practice Socratic Inquiry— • Question every answer. • Explore the assumptions that are behind every answer.

• Elicit stories that illustrate how an individual arrived at their views.

• Seek more and more views on every topic than you can imagine.

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Here’s a very simple “formula” for Socratic Inquiry:

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Questions + DRAFT + Questions Questions = More Questions

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And “more questions” translates into: less absolute clarity, less belief in a singular position (or answer), and more willingness to consider other views.

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More questions really means— more potential for Discovery.

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We know this uncertainty often feels uncomfortable. DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT

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But, don’t worry! We’ve all done this before­— when we were children.

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Think of how children are not satisfied with “answers” because they are already on to the next DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT question.

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And think about how much children Discover! Some call this “Beginner’s Mind.” (another key element of the mindset of a facilitator).

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DRAFT DRAFT So now you know the first

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communication practice for facilitators— SOCRATIC INQUIRY. connected to a Beginner’s Mind, which is another way to say “a mindset of Discovery.”

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But there are a few other basic practices a facilitator uses to be most effective in employing Socratic Inquiry. So, let’s keep going.

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Taking All Sides

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As you now know, when people are in close proximity to Combat or Conformity, it is very tempting to take one side. Most of us do.

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BUT, the job of a facilitator is do something unusual. The job of a facilitator is to take all sides— temporarily

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“Taking All Sides” is a temporary stance where a facilitator is not aligned with or in support of any one side or position in a controversy.

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A facilitator is actually aligned with ALL sides and positions.

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This is like being a doctor in a war zone—you treat all people who are wounded. It’s also like being a DRAFT DRAFT referee—youDRAFT make the same calls for both teams.

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When a facilitator stands on all sides, it allows them to be curious from those different positions. And this turns into more thoughtful questions—which leads to more Discovery.

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Remember, your job as a facilitator is to help people from every side toDRAFT move closer toward DRAFT DRAFT the fulcrum’s balance point.

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We are not saying that facilitators should be “neutral” people— just like we wouldn’t say doctors should be immune from disease.

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You are NOT a neutral person, we know that.

DRAFT DRAFTanswers, and DRAFT You have opinions, positions as well.

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BUT, when you are facilitating, your job is to seek and explore the truth in ALL sides. That act becomesDRAFT a catalyst to DRAFT DRAFT the rebalancing of unhealthy relationships.

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And this makes the work of a facilitator extremely difficult and valuable and necessary to the world.

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Of course,facilitators are still people who can get “provoked” or “bothered” when they encounter certain views. This will happen to you. It happens to all of us.

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“Getting provoked” will make you want to defend one side. It could even feel like a moral conflict.

But in order to serve others, weDRAFT DRAFT DRAFT vput that tendency aside temporarily.

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So let’s take a moment to think about YOU: What are some opinions, answers or positions you have?

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What are some ideas you just cannot accept or that you refuse to believe?

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Or stated another way, what’s on YOUR sign(s)?

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Revisiting YOUR sign(s), and recognizing ideas that provoke or bother you is essential to your work as a facilitator. Why?

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DRAFT DRAFT Because youDRAFT need to know when you can’t facilitate—because that happens.

You have limits. We all do. And it DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT is good to know when you reach them. (We could write another book on that.)

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Helpful hint: When it’s hard Taking All Sides, rely on the practice of Socratic Inquiry to keep you curious and to help you stay in Discovery mindset. The practices of Socratic Inquiry and Taking All Sides work together.

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Ready for another practice?

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Open-Ended Questions

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Questions are not just questions. For a facilitator, questions become a practice.

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So they pay attention to how to design questions and how to ask them.

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DRAFT Humans tendDRAFT to ask questions DRAFT that are familiar to them, ones that lead to comfortable or predictable answers.

DRAFT The effect ofDRAFT these questions—DRAFT intentional or not—is actually to close a conversation rather than to open one.

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But in order for new ideas and new perspectives to emerge, we cannot keep asking the same questions in the same old ways.

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We have to ask new questions, open questions—so we can elicit creative and “new” responses (responses we have not hveard before).

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We especially need to do this when addressing seemingly intractable problems, when we find ourselves in places of Combat or Conformity.

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“New answers” are ones that an individual has not previously considered or inherited from DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT others.

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New answers often take individuals beyond truths they have accepted and that have become obligatory.

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This can be scary territory.

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But when individuals do uncover new answers, they are by definition in the territory of Discovery.

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And as you now know, Discovery is the antidote for Combat and DRAFT DRAFT Conformity. DRAFT

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As a facilitator, you need to be able to ask these new questions. Sounds daunting, right? Well, one place to start is to simply ask Open-Ended Questions.

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Open-Ended Questions are designed very specifically­— to elicit more than a one-word answer, more than a “yes” or “no.”

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So facilitators don’t ask: Do you want that? Do you like that?

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Is that your view? Is this what bothers you?

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Can you see how those questions are closed-ended? They effectively “close” a conversation because the person only can answer with “yes” or “no.”

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DRAFT Open-EndedDRAFT Questions alwaysDRAFT begin with the words “what” or “how.” What inspired you to go in that direction? How did you tell your sister that?

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How do you feel when he forgets? (We’ll talk about “Why” questions later…)

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Open-Ended Questions are one of a facilitator’s practices because people respond to them with stories rather than “answers”.

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Stories are richer, more complex and more nuanced than a person’s DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT singular stance or opinion.

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And stories humanize. Stories also express a wealth of information about a person’s assumptions, perspectives, feelings and experiences.

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Stories also begin to undermine: the divisiveness, the certainty, and the polarities that define how people think and talk when standing in Combat or Conformity.

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Are you beginning to see how Open-Ended Questions have the power to alter the way people talk—and think—about something?

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In short, personal stories are harder to “tame,” harder to put into a box, and harder to DRAFT DRAFTthey are by DRAFT dismiss—because nature complex.

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And complexity is another route to Discovery!

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But complexity can also lead to confusion and silence. That is okay. DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT

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Your questions may not be embraced immediately. But with practice, you will acquire the patience and confidenc to trust your questions and give people time to respond to them fully.

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Remember, the new questions you ask require new responses— ones people have never thought about before. This is hard work—and takes time.

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Let’s talk about “Why” questions now.

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You might have noticed that “Why” also creates an Open-Ended Question—and it definitely invites more than a one-word response. It even may lead to a story.

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However, it subtly asks for an explanation or a justification, (which is perilously close to an “answer”).

And this often invites a more “scripted” response, a conclusion or an interpretation someone may have already determined.

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And “why” often just feels a bit pushy and demanding.

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For example: Why do you feel this way? Why did you do that? Why are you not listening? Why do you prefer that? Why do you not understand them?

Compared to: What makes you feel this way? What inspired you to do that? What makes it hard to listen? What made you prefer that? What is difficult to understand about them

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As you begin your work as a facilitator, it’s best to break the habit of using “Why” questions and to challenge yourself to ask DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT “What” or “How” questions. Trust us, this makes a difference.

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REMEMBER: People standing in Combat and Conformity already have “answers.” And they are really good at explaining and justifying those answers. They need a facilitator to invite them to share stories and to explore their complex experiences.

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And creating new, Open-Ended Questions will help with this.

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By the way, we are not saying that “answers” are always bad.

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But we are saying that in the extremes of Combat and Conformity, answers do a great job of maintaining the extremes

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rather than encouraging the moderating influence of nuance.

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So let’s practice asking new, Open-Ended Questions. Look at this image.

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Spend a few minutes thinking of as many “How” or “What” questions you could ask to discover more of this story.

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Ultimately, in practicing Open-Ended Questions here are some of your goals:

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Seek out the knowledge and lived experiences of individuals What motivated you to do…? What inspired you? What took you there?

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Encourage personal reflection DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT What feelings does this topic elicit? What does hearing this make you remember? How has this shown up in your life? What have you learned from this?

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Ask for stories that demonstrate how an individual arrived at a belief or understanding How did you learn about this? How did your understanding of this originate? How did you discover this belief? What personal stories support this idea? Invite diverse opinions and viewpoints What is a viewpoint that is missing from the current conversation? What is a different way to respond to that? What part of this dialogue is in disagreement with your beliefs? How might someone else think about this? Explore underlying assumptions What do you need to accept for this idea to be true? How is that idea incomplete? What assumptions come to mind as you listen to this idea?

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Maybe some of your questions looked like this:

DRAFT DRAFTand lived Seek out the knowledge

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experiences of individuals What is the motivation for not allowing ice cream? What might happen if either of you eat ice cream? What are other things that are not allowed? What are you really upset about in this moment?

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Encourage personal reflection You look sad that he is saying “no” to ice cream; what does this make you want to do? What angers you about seeing him with ice cream? What does not allowing cream mean to you? What made you DRAFT ice DRAFT DRAFT bring ice cream if you knew it was not allowed?

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Ask for stories that demonstrate how an individual arrived at a belief or understanding What has happened in your experience that makes ice cream a bad idea? How did you come to be so strict about this rule? How did you decide to offer him ice cream? Invite diverse opinions and viewpoints How do you think he is feeling holding that ice cream? What would he say “yes” to? What can you do with the ice cream? What does ice cream taste like? What is a thought that is hard to accept in this moment? What is another way to think about each of your actions? Explore underlying assumptions How might each of you be right? How might each of you be wrong? How do you know he doesn’t like ice cream? How do you know he likes ice cream? Transforming Conflict and Collaboration •

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The best practice will come in authentic situations. So experiment with asking new, Open-Ended Questions the next time you are in a conversation— with anyone.

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The fourth facilitation practice will help you respond to what emerges when you ask these new, Open-Ended Questions because facilitation is about more than asking good questions. You’ll see what we mean.

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Active Reflective Listening

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As you have probably already observed, humans are not the best listeners—even under ideal circumstances.

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We often “selectively listen”— which means paying attention to what we want to hear, or what we DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT expect to hear.

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We also “listen to win”—that is, we listen to prove we are right and others are wrong.

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We may listen for what is good or bad, right or wrong, yours or mine, DRAFT DRAFT or how we agree or disagree. DRAFT

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We may listen to maintain our answers. We may listen to keep our worldview in place. We may even pretend to listen.

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Overall, our listening is usually motivated by a subtle but potent DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT desire NOT to hear something new.

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Facilitators listen with a different purpose.

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A facilitator’s job is to do the opposite of the rest of us. A facilitator’s job is to listen actively—with openness, with a mindset of Discovery, without attachment to specific answers.

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A facilitator listens DRAFT DRAFTto discover DRAFT more than what is currently accepted as true.

That means they pay attention to what is not being said, DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT what is hard to share, what is beneath the surface, what is shared between enemies and what is unshared between allies.v

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A facilitator also listens to understand. So they pay attention to key details, examples, and experiences that help to explain a person’s views.

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A facilitator listens for unexpressedDRAFT feelings. DRAFT

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And a facilitator listens for the “pearls of truth” that exist in every perspective. (This can only happen if they are Taking All Sides, by the way.)

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Overall, active listening is a commitment to listening fearlessly (as opposed to narrowly).

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Facilitators don’t “just” listen actively. They actually “do something” with their listening.

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They do something called reflective listening.

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Because people in Combat and Conformity necessarily listen selectively, they cannot hear new DRAFT DRAFT things that would invite them toDRAFT break out of the extremes.

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So a facilitator helps them to hear the things that they can’t otherwise hear­—by summarizing or re-phrasing or underlining things that have been shared.

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Or even more simply, a facilitator can just repeat the exact words that were said. (You will be surprised by how often this simple tool matters.) This is called “reflecting.”

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Reflecting has two effects: It helps people to listen better to one another. It slows down the pace. It helps an individual to listen to themselves.

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Facilitators can also move a dialogue forward by expressing in their own words thoughts, feelings or ideas that they haveDRAFT DRAFT DRAFT interpreted from what someone has said.

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In other words, facilitators can reflect the essence of what they heard.

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For this purpose, facilitators use phrases like DRAFT this: DRAFT DRAFT

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It sounds like you value… So what I’m hearing is… I believe what you’re saying is that… I’m noticing… It’s almost like you said… I’m getting the impression… I’m getting the sense that… When you say this… From your perspective… You seem to be feeling…

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In practicing Active Reflective Listening, here are some of your goals: DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT

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Affirm the value of an individual sharing his or her perspective. Thank you so much for sharing that story. Ensure every perspective is received and understood. I am wondering if someone else has another side to this story to share. Clarify an individual’s meaning and intent to better understand their viewpoint. What I am understanding is that…. Summarize information for the group. This is what I heard you say:

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With that in mind, here’s a chance to practice Active Reflective Listening. Read the story on the next page.

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The first time I met my parents, I was trembling, holding the hand of an air hostess. I had just flown from India all the way to New York City. (My parents lived in New York DRAFT DRAFT City. They movedDRAFT there when I was one year old. They left me in India in the hands of my grandparents to raise me until they were ready to bring me overseas). It felt like seconds ago that I just left the arms of my grandmother who raised me with devotion. It also felt like eons ago when I said goodbye DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT to my grandfather, promising him that I would continue to be a great math student. He was a math professor in a remote village in India you see. We lived at the border of Pakistan and India. I was born into a Sikh household, into a family that practices a DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT religion that honors teachings from both Hinduism and Islam. Apart from our religion, mathematics was the only other thing that

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mattered to my grandfather. I promised him I would continue to be good at math. That’s how I got through my flight alone, as an eight year old. I counted all the seats on the plane, multiplied them by 1’s, 5’s, 10’s, and did all sorts of math problems that my grandfather would do with me. We could be in line for getting milk and he would find a way to practice a math problem. As I waited in line now, I glanced down at the picture of my parents I was carrying. All I had was one little photo of them, smiling at each other holding me when I was one. As I looked up, I saw my parents ahead. And then I saw a third person, a little boy in the middle. The math didn’t add up. He wasn’t in my photo. No one had told me about the brother I was just about to meet. I was being adopted by my own family

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And think of an Active Reflective Listening statement DRAFT DRAFT for each goal. DRAFT

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Affirm the value of an individual sharing his or her perspective. Thank you so much for sharing that story. Ensure every perspective is received and understood. I am wondering how person x is understanding what you are saying Clarify an individual’s meaning and intent to better understand their viewpoint. So what I am understanding from your story is that… From what I heard you say... Summarize information for the group. So I am gathering that…. To put this together, I hear you trying to express

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Here’s a few examples: Affirm the value of an individual sharing his or her perspective. for taking the risk toDRAFT DRAFTThank you so much DRAFT share your experiences and memories of feeling like an outsider amidst your own family. It sounds so complicated.

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Ensure every perspective is received and understood. I am wondering what your brother feels about that story you shared about meeting your parents for the first time. Clarify an individual’s meaning and intent to better understand their viewpoint. So what I am understanding from your story is that it was difficult to leave your grandparents because they felt like your parents. From what I heard in your story, it sounds like you felt betrayed by your parents. Summarize information for the group. From your perspective, you grew up trusting your grandparents and feeling abandoned and misinformed by your parents.

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So... Active listening is a commitment DRAFT to absorbingDRAFT fearlessly what a DRAFT person is communicating.

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Active Reflective Listening is putting into words what you absorbed in order to share it with an individual.

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We hope you can see that listening actively and reflecting what you hear helps people to receive more fully what has been said—and thus, to create another route to Discovery.

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We’ve been talking a lot about how facilitators work with individuals.

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But when youDRAFT facilitate a dialogue, DRAFT DRAFT you will be working with a group— which can sometimes behave like a living, breathing organism.

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The next practice will tune your attention to basic principles of group communication. And this will help you to work with “the group.”

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This section will also help you to see how to integrate all of the practices we’ve discussed already.

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Disrupting Communication Patterns

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As you’ve learned, relationships can be seen as unhealthy or out of balance when the individuals involved cannot disagree meaningfully, and cannot maintain mutual trust and respect when they do.

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