Mastery in Deep Facilitation

All public workshops have been cancelled

in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic

A 2-day technical & experiential workshop for executives, HR/OD/L&D specialists, educators, coaches, facilitators, consultants and leaders who want to improve their effectiveness with groups


  1. To build knowledge and skills in the psychology of group behaviour and case-in-point facilitation.
  2. To enable deeper and more effective facilitation and coaching of groups as they work on disruptive adaptive challenges ("wicked problems") that threaten entrenched habits and power structures.
  3. To help groups build their resilience in the face of turbulence, adaptation and change that stretch their capacity and attention.
  4. To be more effective working in the moment with unexpected group behaviour and dynamics.


When groups are asked to work on truly adaptive challenges (sometimes called wicked problems) – where there is no ready blueprint for action, where the way forward is messy and complex and changeable, and where they are asked to behave in unpractised and unfamiliar ways – they tend to get anxious. The anxiety is often informed by a sense of loss (what they know and are familiar with is not having the same impact it once had), together with a concern about what will happen to them when they give up their usual ways of doing things and try on quite new ways of turning up: will they look foolish? will they be judged poorly? will they be ostracised? how will they succeed? And yet, it is the very capacity to try on new ways of turning up that is essential to breakthrough outcomes and to innovation. Deep facilitation is a framework and a method for building safety and permission to work in this deeply challenging professional space. The work starts in the social dynamics of the group, and only later moves to the more familiar territory of action planning and more traditional facilitation.

What you will learn

  • Major frameworks for understanding the psychology of group behaviour and group dynamics drawn from psychoanalytic social psychology.
  • How to build safety and permission in groups so that they can work on hard adaptive challenges.
  • How to facilitate with purpose and resolve by using case-in-point practice when the group is anxious or when it gets stuck.
  • How your own default positions and patterns of behaviour help and hinder your role as facilitator, coach, leader or influencer - and how to flex them in the service of the group.


  • Presentations of key frameworks.
  • Experiential exercises that illuminate understanding and build skills.
  • Masterclass practise sessions (not role plays) that build insight and skills.
  • Rich dialogue that focuses our attention on the particular dynamics in the room and on the needs of the group present.
  • The group assembled becomes the laboratory for action, reflection, observation and discovery as part of case-in-point learning.


  • You will become more confident in taking up a deep facilitation role and using deep facilitation methods.
  • You will be able to diagnose whether your challenge requires traditional facilitation, some elements only of deep facilitation, or a fully-framed deep facilitation intervention.
  • You will gain insights about group behaviour that will enable you to target and time your interventions with greater focus and impact.
  • You will expand your capacity, and the group's capacity, to work with difficult, disruptive organisational challenges in a constructive manner.
  • You will understand how to contract to do this kind of work with your clients or inside your organisation.

ICF Accreditation

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) formally accredits Mastery in Deep Facilitation for 12.75 Core Competency hours and 1.25 Resource Development hours for ICF members. Current ICF members receive a 20% tuition discount on full price tickets.

A note on participation

  • Mastery in Deep Facilitation is not an entry-level program or an introductory program on facilitation.
  • We request that attendees have several years' experience working with and leading groups, and have also read in the field of group behaviour.
  • MDF is not a training program. There are no step-by-step checklists.
  • MDF is a challenging and demanding experiential workshop (that also includes instruction) that places a premium on frank dialogue, feedback and disclosure in real time amongst participants and, in the Tavistock tradition, uses the social data that arise in the room as a source of inquiry and learning.
  • The experiential learning process can sometimes be confronting – because we encourage reflection on deeper motivations and habits as they affect how we each work with groups, and upon how we turn up in the room.
  • Arranging not to be interrupted on the two days from work (or elsewhere) will accelerate our learning together.
  • Arriving late and leaving early disrupts the learning for everyone in the room. Tea and coffee is available from 8.00am and we commence at 8.30am sharp and finish at 5.00pm.
  • Lastly, bring along an open heart, an open mind, and lots of curiosity. If you come along to defend your own preferred ways of doing things then you're likely to find this workshop heavy going.



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