Facilitation Pattern: Guide (aka Sherpa)

Posted by Doc
Jan 31 2009

Motto: I’m here to hold the lamp and show the way.
Belief: My role is to help you find your way and shine the light where it’s needed.
Behavior: Listens, asks, reframes and rephrases.
Characteristics: Calm, attentive, patient, and offering.


There are many pitfalls (think of the word literally, as well as figuratively) in meeting with and talking with others. In the role of Guide/Sherpa, the facilitator’s responsibilities include steering the group around the pitfalls, helping them to avoid the known dangers and recognize the signs of upcoming trouble.

In many ways, the Guide is also a teacher, as through his behavior, the Guide teaches the group what signs to look for.

Can a participant be a Guide? Of course.

One of the key factors in participatory/collaborative events of all kinds is attitude.

Do you ask “What am I going to get out of this?” or “What am I going to put into this?”

Simple wisdoms:

  • To give is to receive.
  • To teach is to learn.
  • Sometimes asking is telling/teaching.

One Response

  1. […] facilitator’s role is to use her skills in data gathering, abduction, and deduction to guide the participants. As noted repeatedly, it is not the facilitator’s role to offer the […]

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