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The ROI of Professional Facilitation (aka the power of facilitation) -By Kimberly Bain

  • 04/8/2016

The ROI of Professional Facilitation (aka the power of facilitation)


Kimberly Bain, CPF; Vice Chair, IAF and Author of The Reflective Practitioner: the Reflective Ethical Facilitator’s Guide often gets asked to explain the Return on Investment (ROI) of paying an external Professional Facilitator. We asked her to explain her response. Kimberly will be leading a one day workshop in Chennai on Sunday 14th August 2016 on “Transforming Conflicts” and a two day Strategic Planning Workshop “Strategy Alive” in Mumbai from 25-26 August 2016. 


As Facilitators we are often called upon by our clients to “justify” their investment in our services.  We are asked to explain to them the Return on Investment (ROI) of paying an external Professional Facilitator.  One response to that often asked question is to help clients start seeing meetings/events as an investment rather than an expenditure!


Text Box: Results of 2012 iFacile survey, UK.

In today’s economy and political environment, organizations have to look at how best to use their resources to improve results and productivity. A meeting between several managers or executives may cost more than 69,000INR/1000€ per hour in salaries alone.  One Fortune 50 company estimated it lost in excess of $75 million USD per year due to poor meetings, taking into account lost productivity, production errors and project management failures.  A worldwide Microsoft Office survey showed that managers believe that they are unproductive for as much as a third of their workweek, directly because of ineffective meetings, unclear objectives and lack of team communication.  For-profit, Government and Not-For-Profit agencies are under pressure to find efficiencies, meeting higher expectations and creating more return on investment. 


At the IAF Learning Events and Conferences, participants will have many opportunities to explore, learn and share their best practices in facilitation.  Continuous growth and improvement is a hallmark of Professional Facilitators but how do we communicate that in terms of a value proposition to our clients? 


I have personally attended 10 IAF conferences in the past 5 years and at each conference I learn new techniques, hear new stories and find new ways that colleagues are promoting the power of facilitation.  I feel like a sponge at the conferences, soaking up all of the ideas and information I can and then when I return home I take a few hours to reflect on that learning and how I can use it to demonstrate value to clients and increase the return on investment of professional facilitation.


In my mind, ROI, demonstrating value and explaining the power of facilitation are all one and the same.  If we can clearly explain to our clients the power of facilitation then we are demonstrating value and can more easily help clients calculate the return on investment.  I encourage all participants at an IAF event to be sponges, soak up the knowledge and share your own knowledge.  As a community of practice we are stronger together, especially when we share our stories and our experiences.  I look forward to meeting everyone in either Chennai or Mumbai in the next couple of weeks, learning from you and sharing my experiences of the power of facilitation.