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Retraining as a facilitator - any views?

(7 Posts)
MoJangled Sun 09-Feb-14 18:02:39

Seeking the wisdom of MNers on retraining as a facilitator. I'm currently a senior manager for a charity, but fitting what was, pre-DS, a 6 day a week job into 4 days (plus unpaid evenings/WEs), combined with decreased patience re office politics and a growing sense of being at the end of this phase, is making me review options. I'd really like help/views/tips on anything to do with facilitating, and specifically:
1) do I need specialist training over and above the management courses, and is the Association of facilitators cert/diploma the one to do?
2) what sort of returns are likely if I aim for a continued 4day week?
3) is this a really stupid idea? DH is self-employed graphic designer and perhaps one of us should have a stable wage...

Thanks in advance!

MrsMargoLeadbetter Mon 10-Feb-14 11:41:51

I don't know much about faciliation helpful but re being self- employed:

You should think in terms of 1/3 of your time delivering, 1/3 business development and 1/3 admin/marketing/other. So your day rate needs to meet your income target using 1/3 of your time.

What I would say is that it is easier to sell yourself to markets where you have experience/a network. So perhaps facilitation for charities?

If you need to replace a salary I would think about doing a smaller pt role whilst you build your business? That is what I did (marketing) when I left my 4 day a week job and wanted to get back to my salary. I just couldn't face days of no work booked in. I was back to my salary level in my 2nd year.

Hopefully somebody with facilitation experience will be along...

MoJangled Mon 10-Feb-14 16:02:11

Thanks MrsM , especially for the 1/3 1/3 1/3 tip. I think I would start by targeting charities, partlbecause of the network and partly because familiarity = confidence; although this could make things harder in terms of income targets as they won't be paying high day rates.

What part-time job did you do if you dont mind my asking? Some of the available jobs seem to be so poorly paid I'd question whether they're worth the time away from business development, but that could be pre-commitment nerves and ignorance talking...

redmapleleaves Mon 10-Feb-14 17:54:09

Hi, also only have tangential experience. I've been on the board of charities which used facilitators for our more difficult discussions/processes, and my ex-partner used to commission facilitators for this kind of work. My impression was that in hiring we considered the skills/understanding of the niche/organisation/wider trends into which we needed to fit, rather than certification per se. Partner also used to consider prior relationships of the facilitator with stakeholders, to ensure lasting outcomes of discussions. I think we've wanted a safe pair of hands to hold difficult discussions, and so its about the credibility that you are that safe pair of hands.

I think it would be worth thinking about the size of the particular NGO sectors that you have direct experience in, the range of the existing contacts/organisations that you deal with (because it is so much easier to sell to people who've seen you in action). Could you have a medium term plan to increase this exposure through membership of sectoral lobbying groups or whatever, while developing your one day a week plan? Where are the bits of the sector which are growing (we always used to need/pay for facilitiators when considering new bids for new work) but also for harder decisions (which bits to cut).

I have a friend who used to do facilitation cold for new organisations in tricky (information-intense) new sectors, but she liked the high wire performance act. Personally I'd need to be on solid ground - think it depends what you can handle, but I know she needed to spend a few days 'revising' first - but got more days work because she was willing to branch out.

Think it might be worth considering what you could sell in addition to the facilitation. e.g. facilitation/learning from experience/report writing the outcomes/ coaching/?bid writing/ - so it could become about handing over processes and their outcomes, rather than the one day facilitation at the beginning.

good luck.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Mon 10-Feb-14 19:35:55

Have PM'd with lots of detail.

It does mean you have less time to develop work, but it does mean you have some guaranteed money each month and for me that was/is just so important. The idea of having to generate £0000s each month from nothing was just so frightening!

I guess it depends how much money you need to live on. And whether or not a pt role can give you enough to then allow you to develop & deliver client work on the other days. It can be a transitionary phase, once you are successful enough you won't need the pt role....

I'd start with a spreadsheet and look at the money. I generally put 25% away (not higher rate tax payer - yet!!) to cover tax, NI, a bit of business spend & a bit of a pension payment.

MoJangled Mon 10-Feb-14 20:54:18

Really helpful RedMaple thanks. I am well known in my sector but think you're right that I could use the time before making the move expanding my network into allied sectors. Slightly hard to do this while doing the day job but there must be opportunities.

Fantastic insights into hiring facilitators and the things that you/your ex look for before accreditation. I have used facilitators too for similar jobs and have always used a recommendation from our HR and training dept - this prompts me to find out from them whether they have regard to accreditation or go on other factors.

Useful too to work out my full offer - I am aware of needing to be respectful of the experience and skills of qualified people and not offer stuff that I basically can't do (bid writing probably) but I can definitely work in some more. Really good food for thought.

MoJangled Mon 10-Feb-14 21:14:21

MrsM thanks so much! have PMd back. Mmm spreadhseets, my favourite (not) but maybe the next step is to find a template and work out a draft business plan. Eek, I'm sounding serious about this!

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