Working with co-facilitators

Related areas
TL;DR recommendations
—Align on session objectives and prepare together —Clarify expectations, roles, and responsibilities —Agree on a communication strategy during the session —Do a dry run —Don’t overstep boundaries and always shine a positive light on your co-pilot —Always debrief the session

While not mandatory, there are several clear benefits to working with co-facilitators, especially for big sessions, or longer projects.

—A more creative and diverse approach to design and delivery, as well as shared workload;

—More support for participants for larger sessions: your co-facilitator can manage the chat, and offer support during breakouts;

—More flexibility and adaptability to unexpected challenges, tech issues or shifts in the participants dynamics;

—Opportunity to grow as a facilitator by observing their design and delivery style, and also by sharing regular feedback with one another.

While the benefits are clear, working with one or more co-facilitators, is also adding a layer of complexity, and there are a couple of tips you can make use us, and pitfalls to avoid for a great collaboration!

👉 Tip #1: Align on session objectives and prepare together

Before anything, ensure there is a common understanding of the deliverable, goals and intentions of the session, before you get to work. This will avoid setbacks and misunderstanding later on, as you start designing the session. Collaborate on the session design: this will make the join delivery easier, since you’ll be aligned on the key messages, content and approach.

👉 Tip #2: Clarify expectations, roles and responsibilities early one

This is critical, especially if you are used to host alone. Early on, define who is responsible for what parts of the session. This includes who leads which segments, who manages technical aspects, and who handles participant engagement. This will avoid overlap and confusion during the session.

👉 Tip #3: Agree on a communication channel during the session

The best part of having someone co-deliver a session with you are the extra eyes you have to pivot on the go. Decide how will you communicate with one another during the session. In Butter, facilitators have a separate chat channel. Or you can use WhatApp, and the breaks to share impressions and decide on any potential pivot.

👉 Tip #4: Do a dry run

Unless you are used to co-facilitate with someone, always do a dry run before the session. Use them to practice transitions, test interactive elements, and refine your joint delivery. This preparation helps identify any discrepancies in teaching styles or content interpretation.

👉 Tip #5: Don’t overstep boundaries and always shine a positive light on your co-pilot

There’s nothing worse than co-facilitators interrupting each other or disagreeing with one another mid-session. Respect the roles you have assigned, trust them, listen and engage with them as they are leading.

👉 Tip #6: Always debrief the session

Post-session debriefs are a great opportunity to reflect on the work, feedback each other, and identify improvement suggestions. They will not only improve any future collaboration, but also undoubtedly make you a better facilitator.