Holding space






Pen, paper, computer


Head of Program




Host Definition: Holds spaces around an intention/purpose with the focus on the people rather than the process. Transforms and learns, too! Is not neutral, has an opinion, is part of the group. Lets the group go where the group wants to go around the intention/purpose.

The easiest way of thinking about the role of a host is to think of yourself hosting a party. As a Host, your task will be to hold and facilitate a learning space, while practicing hosting/facilitation as a leadership skill.

Facilitator Definition: creates processes for a group of people with methods of deconstruction, simplification, brainstorming etc. Is neutral, outside the group, keeps track of everything. from facile which means easy: make (an action or process) easy or easier. Leading a group through a process by facilitating attention and activity over time to reach a specific learning, goal or objective.

As facilitators, everyone has different strengths and styles of working. In this task, we will support on your previous experiences, to find and identify the knowledge and skills you already have about good facilitation, and also to identify what you want to become better at. This will help you to be conscious about the facilitation skills you wish to use, and to direct your own learning journey in facilitation – including practice during the next Host gathering.



Discussion on facilitation (15min)

Before we start discussing, read through this simple comparison about what makes a facilitator different from being a visionary or a manager above.

In group, discuss the role of the Host as facilitator. Guiding questions: What makes facilitation different? What makes facilitation an important leadership skill? Based on your experience in Future Leaders – when have you experienced facilitation that made a difference? What could be done better?


Process of learning (35min)

Difficulties are a normal part of processes of learning and co-creation. The tasks we do in FL can invite the participants to create changes in their mindset and identity. Sometimes, the experiences people have in the learning space we create, only become meaningful much later. It is important to have respect for the difficulties that a transformative learning experience can bring, in order to be prepared as a Host to support that process. Solo reflection: (15min) 1. Think back to when you were a participant in the program. Can you think of times you or other people were going through a difficult or frustrating process? What helped to support that? What did not help? You can also draw on experiences from outside the program.

2. Can you think of a time when there was a difficult/frustrating process that people were going through as a group? What helped to support that? What did not help? Discuss in group: (20min) How can you create a healthy learning space for the participants? Guiding questions: What can you do as a Host to create a curious and open learning space?

What can you do so that the team appreciates and celebrates the diversity of thought?

If people experience uneasy states or difficulties, what can you do as a Host to help them in their struggles? What ’little things’ can make a difference in holding a learning space?


Powerful questions – a game. (40min)

Individually: (10min) Read the list below about some tips for asking powerful questions. A powerful question:

- attracts energy and focuses attention on what matters. - surfaces good ideas and possibilities. - is open-ended (not simple yes/no answer) • invites inquiry and curiosity, evokes more questions - doesn’t need to promote action or problem solving immediately - challenges assumptions - simple and clear to understand - concise, without unnecessary information - thought provoking, creates new territory of thinking - purposeful (you can keep in mind the intention and purpose - why are you asking these questions? What is the work you want the question to do?) - free of biases and assumptions - guiding but not leading to specific answers - doesn’t look for the ’right’ answer In groups of three: (20min) You have three roles: 1. Storyteller 2. Good facilitator

3. Bad facilitator The storyteller gives a short introduction (1minute) about a challenge they are currently facing - it can be anything. Then, the two facilitators take turns asking the Storyteller questions. Try out different kinds of questions, making them as good/bad as possible. Switch up roles. In group: (10min) Share your experience, and discuss the art of asking questions.


You as facilitator (30min) Solo reflection (10min): 1. Which of your strengths will you be using as a Host? 2. What do you want to become better at? What should you remember to keep putting attention on? 3. Imagine yourself at the end of the program. Your group members are describing you as a Host, in one sentence. What would you like them to say? Share in group. (20min)


Freeman, Scott, Sarah L. Eddy, Miles McDonough, Michelle K. Smith, Nnadozie Okoroafor, Hannah Jordt, and Mary Pat Wenderoth. 2014. “Active Learning Increases Student Performance in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111 (23): 8410–15. doi:10.1073/pnas.1319030111. Kosslyn, Stephen M. 2015. Image and Brain. Vol. 25. http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0960982214016194. McGaugh, James L. 2003. Memory and Emotion: The Making of Lasting Memories. Columbia University Press.

Kerrey, Bob. 2017. Building the Intentional University: Minerva and the Future of Higher Education. Edited by Stephen M. Kosslyn and Ben Nelson. 1 edition. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

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