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10 Simple Strategies for Sparking Breakthroughs in Your Live Sessions
It's easier than you think.
As facilitators, teachers, and trainers we can’t create a breakthrough for our learners.
But we can create the conditions for a breakthrough to happen.
A breakthrough can be described in a number of ways:
👉A new insight.
👉A profound realization.
👉An aha! moment.
👉A moment of clarity.
👉A ground-breaking discovery.
👉A deeper understanding of a situation.
👉Finding a new solution to an ongoing challenge.
Life is full of breakthroughs.
Big and small. And we have them more often than we realize.
Breakthroughs can be life-changing because they often come with a new solution or new course of action.
But when we don’t open space in groups to the possibility of a breakthrough, we miss opportunities for creative ideas, innovation, and deeper learning.
Here are 10 facilitation strategies that can spark breakthroughs for your group members.
1/ Help open people’s minds. Breakthroughs happen when we are receptive to new thoughts and ideas.
Tip: Give a prompt question in chat “Something that has surprised you recently.”
2/ Create a positive atmosphere. Insights happen when we feel happy rather than anxious.
Tip: Start with a fun warm-up activity that builds connection and joy.
3/ Challenge participants to focus on the here and now. New insights come to us when we are not constantly distracted.
Tip: Create a group agreement to “be present”.
4/ Make it OK to fail. Breakthroughs happen when we experiment with new ideas in a judgment-free zone because it exposes us to more solutions.
Tip: Start with low-risk activities and gradually increase the risk.
5/ Give participants quiet time for internal reflection. This gives the mind time to wander, which primes us for aha! moments.
Tip: Do a guided visualization followed by a timed freewriting exercise.
6/ Engage the body. When you warm up the body you increase receptivity and capacity for breakthrough moments.
Tip: Include stretching and/or movement in the warm-up activities.
7/ Create a supportive space for making sense of experiences. You can help gently nudge learners to rethink old assumptions, create new mindsets, and open new pathways for action.
Tip: Build in time for reflection and sharing of experiences after activities.
8/ Ask powerful questions. Asking open-ended questions like ones that start with“what” and “how” questions helps your learners challenge assumptions and mindsets.
Tip: Ask questions like “what would happen if…?” and “what stops you from…?”.
9/ Deep dive individual challenges with the group. Witnessing other people having breakthroughs can spark our own breakthroughs to happen.
Tip: Use techniques like a “hot seat” to explore one learner’s challenges in depth.
10/ Accompany your learners. Facilitating breakthroughs requires you to be emotionally present and responsive to your group members.
Tip: Check in regularly, be curious, and hold space for your group.
Hi, I’m Gwyn.👋 I am a Facilitator and Experience Designer based in Barcelona, Spain. I’m on a mission to help you design & lead engaging live online sessions that get better results for your groups. I run a 5-week live online cohort-based course called Breakthrough Facilitation. I write a weekly newsletter called The Quest with actionable insights and tips for leading live online sessions. And I offer 1:1 coaching and custom training programs. Visit www.gwynwansbrough.com to learn more.
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