Integrative Facilitation Training

There are challenges to working effectively as a cooperative groupwhether its an organization or community. Often groups experience a sense of being drained by their decision making and meeting process. Getting bogged down can be expensive: it diminishes energy for the work of the group and undercuts the sense of joy and identification among members. This does not have to be your experience. Learning the art of effective meeting facilitation can help your group enhance both energy and product from your meetingsthis training can help you transform your group into the more dynamic and successful entity youve always intended.

The trainers, Laird and Ma’ikwe have developed a facilitation approach they call Integrative Facilitation. This program blends community values with a holistic and participatory methodology to produce collaborative agreements based on solid communication and attention to relationship. Their approach to group work is enriched by a solid understanding of human development, a sensitivity to undercurrents, and a healthy dose of playfulness and appreciation.

The Intention is to train a cadre of skilled facilitators in the Midwest region who can be available to help each others communities and organizations run effective group meetings and handle difficult group situations.

Course Outline and Format

The class is generally structured over eight, three-day weekends spanning two years with approximately three months between each session. For this series at Dancing Rabbit, we might experiment with different schedules. For instance we might have two weekend sessions in a row, or have them midweek rather than on weekends. This would depend on the needs and availability of the class participants. The traditional weekend schedule is: Thursday — late afternoon or early evening — arrival, check in. Friday — day of training and preliminary work with host community. Saturday — work with host community and debrief experiences. Sunday — work with host community in morning, debrief, wrap up and depart after dinner or late in the afternoon. Thursdays or Monday there will be time for one-on-one work with the trainers.

Syllabus (expect adjustments to meet evolving group needs)

On each weekend we’ll focus on one or more aspects of the facilitator’s skill set, making clear what the skills are, as well as when and how to apply them. When we’re working with the host’s live issues, we’ll be doing real work, trying to put these skills to use.

Weekend I: Working Content — Providing the essential tool kit for effectively examining issues and developing solutions.

Weekend II: Formats — Looking at various techniques for discussing issues and the pros and cons of each.

Weekend III: Conflict — Understanding what’s happening when emotional distress is in play and how to work with it respectfully and constructively.

Weekend IV: Delegation — Identifying what considerations are plenary worthy and learning how to delegate effectively – both to save the group time and to develop vibrant communities.

Weekend V: Consensus — Learning the framework and values that undergird the successful application of this Quaker model to secular groups.

Weekend VI: Power Dynamics and Leadership — Distinguishing between “power over” and “power with” in cooperative groups, and learning how to develop and support healthy forms of leadership.

Weekend VII: Challenging Personalities — Examining the range of common personality types, their interrelationship with each other, and learning strategies for coping with them.

Weekend VIII: Organizational Structure — Getting an overview of a healthy model for how to draft plenary agendas, manage tasks, safeguard process, and get the work done.

Dates and Locations

Adjustments to the dates may be negotiable up until the training begins. After this point, no changes will be made unless the entire class agrees. The locations will primarily be in the tri-communities area of Rutledge, Missouri (Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, Sandhill Farms and Red Earth Farms).

Dates for 2011 are as follows:

  • Feb 18-20
  • May 13-15
  • Aug 12-14
  • Nov 11-13

Dates for 2012 are still to be determined.

Student Participants

Participants live within a days drive of one another in the Midwest Region (MO, IA, IL, IN, KS, WI, NE, AR, TN, MI, MN, OK, KY). They may have little or a lot of experience as facilitators; there are no prerequisites, just a desire to grow the skills of graceful engagement. As essential common element is that groups use consensus process for decision making.

Program will consist of in-depth didactic sessions on the components of Integrative Meeting Facilitation accompanied by hands-on demonstrations. Full students will be given the chance to practice skills in live meetings under supervision. All students will be able to observe these live meetings. Each student will collect a notebook of handouts on Integrative Facilitation. Full students will receive a written evaluation of their skills and have the opportunity for in-person evaluations with the trainers each weekend throughout the two-year training.

Full students commit to attending as many weekends as possible, practicing with their community or organization between sessions, and to teach others in their community or organization what they are learning. Each student will get the opportunity for live practice with host groups. Full students are encouraged to get a sample of their facilitation videotaped prior to the start of the program and another done toward the end for purposes of evaluation and for use as a teaching tool.

Auditors commit to one weekend at a time. They will receive all materials and have the chance to participate fully in the teaching and debriefing for the weekends they attend. They will not be facilitators of the live meetings nor will they receive the benefits of the personal evaluations offered by the trainers. Depending on space in the host community, auditors may need to find alternative housing during the weekends.

The class is open to 25 participants consisting of both full and auditing students.

Host Communities

Communities with a full-time student are welcome to host at least one weekend during the two-year program. Organizations are welcome to host weekends as well, provided they can satisfy the logistical needs of the class. Hosting includes providing room & board plus meeting space for the class. We expect that most of the hosting will occur in the tri-communities area of Rutledge, MO. Please let us know, however, if you are interested.

Live meetings, facilitated by the full students, will be scheduled during class sessions. Topics will be of the community’s or organization’s choosing and should be genuine work that needs to be addressed. In general, it is preferred that more difficult topics be chosen, as they tend to offer better training opportunities and the results will likely be more valuable to the host. While the intention is to use the students as facilitators as much as possible, the trainers will always be available to step in as a safety net if the students need help.

In addition to the training itself, the host community gets outside facilitation for several hours of community meetings at no charge (valued at $1,200 to $2,000), plus a written report from Laird within two weeks summarizing the meeting results with observations about the group’s process and issues. Lastly, the host community has the option of having up to two of its members participate as auditors at no cost.

For more information about hosting, call Alyssa Martin at 660-883-5393 or email alyssamidwife -[at]-


Laird and Ma’ikwe are professional facilitators and have been involved in forming intentional communities and
managing nonprofits. These experiences inform their unique, whole-person approach to meeting dynamics. Ma’ikwe has worked for 19 years as an organizer, director, teacher, and as a consultant. She has been working with consensus for 6 years. Laird has a national reputation in Integrative Facilitation, conflict management, and consensus. He has been a process consultant for 20 years and has worked extensively with cohousing groups across the country. For more information about his work visit


Check It Out Fee: Allows students to see if the training is something that really fits them.

$325 paid two weeks prior to first class. (Note: $275 will be credited to a full or half pay commitment following the first session.)

Full Student: Complete 2-year training.
$2,400 — paid in full prior to the first class
$2,600 — paid in two equal payments of $1,300
$350 — each class due two weeks in advance

Auditor: Attend any or all classes. Seating may be limited based on registration response.
$250 – per class (first four)
$275 – per class (after first four)

Please call with financial concerns.

We strongly encourage students to get financial support from their home communities or organizations.

Masters Degree Program with Gaia University

We are currently exploring the possibility of offering a Masters degree in Integrative Facilitation through Gaia University. This program will combine the eight weekend workshops with action learning. Masters students will implement projects that apply the theory they learn in class. They will be supported by trained advisors and will document their learning in output packets. For more information about Gaia University see

How to Register

Contact Alyssa Martin at alyssamidwife -[at]- for registration information (Please put “Integrative Facilitation” in the subject line.) or write her at

Alyssa Martin
12 Dancing Rabbit Lane
Rutledge, MO 63563