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Here is a quick and somewhat humorous listing of fourteen different facilitator typologies or “personalities” you might seek to avoid. Our favorite is “The Pretender.”

14 Typologies to Avoid

14 Typologies to Avoid

The “I Can’t Hear You” Guy

The facilitator who refuses to listen, probably because they are too busy analyzing, judging, and processing information.

The Blabber

The facilitator who loves the sound of his or her own voice, and actually believes they are adding value when speaking about content rather than context.

The Centerpiece

The facilitator who makes he or she the real content of the workshop, because of course, it’s all about them.

The Drill Sergeant

The facilitator who is rigidly stuck on the agenda and puts the clock above quality content.

The Guardian

The facilitator who makes certain that all conversation goes through him or her and not from participant to participant, so as not to lose control.

The Ice Cube

The distant and aloof facilitator who is unwilling to personalize the experience, sometimes becoming accusatory.

The Know-it-all

The facilitator who always has the answer. The know-it-all whom can’t say “I don’t know.”

The Marathon Man

The facilitator who piles activities on top of one another, doesn’t allow for breaks, and ignores the need for groups to pause, reflect, and absorb topics and ideas.

The Molasses Man

The facilitator who is painfully slow and doesn’t have an innate feel for pacing, variety, or style.

The Parrot

The facilitator who relentlessly recaps information, restates ideas, and summarizes the obvious (although sometime justifiable for groups that are challenged to focus and “be here now.”)

The Passenger

The facilitator who lets people talk too long and gives up the reins of facilitation to whomever is speaking at the time.

The Pretender

The facilitator who doesn’t ask real questions but only “pretense questions” that are really designed to give the facilitator an excuse to pontificate.

The Storyteller

The facilitator who tells far too many cutesy stories or “war stories” and never gets deep into the content.

The Tunnel Driver

The facilitator who keeps doing the same thing or uses the same method hour after hour.


Don’t ruin your career or reputation with bad meetings. Register for a class or forward this to someone who should. Taught by world-class instructors, MG RUSH  professional facilitation curriculum focuses on practice. Each student thoroughly practices and rehearses tools, methods, and approaches throughout the week. While some call this immersion, we call it the road to building impactful facilitation skills.

Our courses also provide an excellent way to earn up to 40 SEUs from the Scrum Alliance, 40 PDUs from PMI, and 40 CDUs from IIBA, as well as 3.2 CEUs for other professions. (See individual class descriptions for details.)

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Facilitation Expert

Terrence Metz, CSM, PSPO, CSPF, is the Managing Director of MG RUSH Facilitation Training and Coaching, the acknowledged leader in structured facilitation training. His FAST Facilitation Best Practices blog features over 300 articles on facilitation skills and tools aimed at helping others lead faster, more productive meetings and workshops that yield higher quality decisions. His clients include Agilists, Scrum teams, program and project managers, senior officers, and the business analyst community among numerous private and public companies and global corporations. As an undergraduate of Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and MBA graduate from NWU’s Kellogg School of Management, his professional experience has focused on process improvement and product development. He continually aspires to make it easier for others to succeed.

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