How To Choose the Right Facilitation Training Course: Your 2023 Guide

Thinking about facilitation training? Read this first. We explain the different types of facilitation courses and share 4 factors to consider before signing up.

Are you considering signing up for a facilitation training course? 

Then good for you! Facilitation is fast becoming one of the most sought-after job skills, and those who master it are blazing the trail for a more productive, enjoyable, and collaborative way of working.  

Facilitation training can be transformative for your career—and for those who get to work with you once you’re an expert facilitator. But, before you dive in and sign up for a course, it’s important to do your research.

We’ve put together this guide to answer some FAQs around facilitation training, and to share some advice on how to choose the right facilitation course for you.  

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Now, let’s get you ready to start your facilitation training journey…

What is facilitation training?

Facilitation is the practice of designing and leading meetings and workshops in a way that helps a group of people to achieve a specific goal. It requires a special set of skills, techniques, and tools—all of which you can learn through facilitation training. 

The goal of facilitation training is to equip and empower you to facilitate with confidence. You might complete facilitation training in order to become a better leader and collaborator in your current role, or to carve out a successful career as an expert facilitator. You can learn more about what a meeting facilitator is (and how to become one) in this guide

Facilitation training takes many different forms, which we’ll look at in a later section. Now, let’s consider why facilitation training is worth your time and money.

A woman sitting at her desk, reading and taking notes on her iPad

Why take facilitation training?

Facilitation training teaches you the extremely valuable—and increasingly sought-after—skill of being able to design and run meaningful workshops. It equips you with proven tools to foster productive collaboration, drive teams forward, and achieve results; something that many teams and workplaces struggle with. 

You might consider facilitation training if you want to transform and improve the work you’re doing in your current job. Perhaps you’re a leader or manager looking to help your team work more collaboratively and productively, and to bring in new ways of working that can help your team to innovate, problem-solve, and move projects forward. 

Another popular reason for taking facilitation training is to build a career as a full-time workshop facilitator. A growing number of professionals are adding facilitation to their skillset in order to start their own facilitation businesses, working with clients as an external consultant to help them solve specific challenges and move towards decisions and solutions. 

However you choose to utilize your facilitation skills, facilitation training will transform—and future-proof—your career. 

According to the World Economic Forum, skills like analytical thinking, innovation, complex problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, initiative, and ideation will make up some of the most sought-after job skills by 2025. 

And guess what? Facilitation training develops all of these skills—not to mention additional skills like leadership, communication, collaboration, and decision making. 

And, as the labor market changes, these soft skills are becoming more critical than ever before. With an estimated 85 million jobs at risk of being displaced by 2025 due to a shift in the division of labor between humans and machines, it’s ultimately those skills that will hold their value in the long term. 

Facilitation is the skill of the future, and facilitation training has the potential to transform your current work and open up a whole new career path. 

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What will you learn during a facilitation course?

Not all facilitation courses offer the same curriculum, so it’s important to do your research before signing up. However, as a guideline, here are the main topics a good facilitation course should teach:

  • How to design and run different workshops to address different challenges and topics. This should include things like how to write an agenda, as well as different workshop formats and exercises you can use for various goals and scenarios (for example: problem-solving exercises, ideation exercises, decision-making exercises, ice-breaker exercises, and so on).
  • The soft skills and techniques that will make you a successful, confident facilitator. This includes things like strategies for breaking circular discussions, techniques for dealing with workshop skeptics and conflict, and tips for facilitating dialog.
  • Techniques for fostering collaboration, ideation, and decision-making.

Some facilitation courses will also teach you how to sell your workshops (and your value as a facilitator) to your team and/or clients. 

And, because it’s 2023 and remote work is the new normal across many sectors, the best facilitation courses will teach you how to run workshops for in-person, remote, and hybrid settings. 

A group of people sitting in a room during an in-person facilitation training course

What are the different types of facilitation training courses available?

Facilitation training can be:

  • Online or in-person
  • Self-paced or attendance-based
  • Focused on a specific format or technique (for example, Design Sprint), or on facilitation skills as a whole
  • Geared towards starting a career in facilitation, or focused on teaching facilitation skills to supercharge your current career
  • Free or paid

With so many options and variations available, how do you go about choosing the best course for you? We’ll help you out in the next section.

How to choose the right facilitation training for you (4 key factors to consider)

Before you sign up for facilitation training, you’ll want to do your research and select the course that best suits your needs. As you weigh up your options, ask yourself these 4 questions:

1. How much time can you dedicate to facilitation training, and what’s your schedule like?

Your availability and capacity will determine whether you opt for a flexible, self-paced course with on-demand access to the curriculum, or an attendance-based training program that requires you to be present at certain times, either online or in-person.

Think about what’s realistic in terms of when you can work on the course and how much time you can spend on it. 

2. What’s your budget?

Another key factor to consider is cost. How much money are you willing and able to invest in facilitation training? Are you paying for the course or will your employer sponsor it? 

Once you have a set budget and payment plan in mind, it’ll be easier to set your sights on the right facilitation course. 

3. What’s your preferred learning style?

Do you want to learn independently online, or do you prefer to attend virtual or in-person classes? Additionally, what’s the most effective way for you to learn—through practical exercises and guided instruction, or by reading, watching, and listening? 

You want to find a facilitation course that taps into your preferred learning style. This will be crucial for ensuring that the experience is both enjoyable and effective. 

4. What are your goals?

Last but not least, what do you hope to achieve by completing facilitation training? If you’re keen to launch a career as a facilitator, make sure you choose a course that teaches you how to sell your services as a consultant and adapt your approach for different teams and challenges. 

At the same time, consider the benefits of taking a course that offers access to a community of like-minded facilitators (and facilitators-in-training). Not all courses do so, but there are some out there (like the Workshopper Master) that will connect you with others who are currently on a similar journey, or who have trodden the path before you. This is especially valuable if your end goal is to start a career as a full-time facilitator, as it presents a unique opportunity to make connections in the industry.

Ultimately, vet the curriculum thoroughly to see what’s included and make sure that it resonates with your overall goals. 

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Do you need any prior experience before taking a facilitation training course?

Generally speaking, there aren’t any prerequisites for facilitation training. Technically, anyone and everyone can sign up for a facilitation course.

However, here at AJ&Smart, we do have some requirements when it comes to your mindset. We want people who really believe in the power of facilitation and running workshops, and who are certain that this is something they want to do. 

And, of course, you’ve got to be prepared to put in the work. A facilitation course will guide you, but your success depends on you and the amount of effort you put in. 

So: You don’t need any specific experience or qualifications, but you DO need to be ready to seize the opportunity and give your all to facilitation.

A mature student joining an online call on her computer while sitting in her garden

What will my day-to-day look like when I take a facilitation course?

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to how your facilitation training will be structured and what your day-to-day will look like. 

With the AJ&Smart Workshopper Master course, learners have on-demand access to the curriculum (a mixture of videos and written content), allowing them to work through the course flexibly and at their own pace. 

In addition to self-paced learning, our Workshoppers have an option to take part in weekly coaching calls and community calls.

In the case of the Workshopper Master, your day-to-day is primarily flexible, with the exception of the weekly calls (which you can also watch on-demand at your own convenience). However, some courses will require attendance at set times, so be sure to check the schedule and think about how you’ll fit it around your job/any other commitments before you sign up.

What kind of salary can I expect upon completion?

It all depends! If you’re going for an in-house position that requires facilitation skills, we recommend using the Indeed salary portal to check the most recent salary data for specific job titles in your location. 

For example, according to salary data on Indeed, the average salary for an agile coach in the United States comes in at just over $90,000 per year. You’ll find a guide to different facilitator job titles and descriptions here, so you can use that as a basis for further salary research. 

If you plan on flying solo as a consultant or starting your own facilitation business, your earning potential is pretty much unlimited. You could end up like Angela Parker, an expert facilitator who launched her own mastermind program and sold 12 spots for a grand total of $96,000 shortly after completing the Workshopper Master course. You can learn more about how she did it in this interview

It’s not possible to put a hard-and-fast number on how much you could earn once you’ve mastered the art of facilitation. Just know that the earning potential is high!

A group of mature students listening to a facilitation trainer during a seminar

What are the best facilitation courses? (Free and paid)

So far, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions that come up around facilitation training and choosing the right course. Now let’s assume you’re ready to begin your research into facilitation courses!

To help you, we’ve rounded up what we consider to be the best resources and training courses for learning about facilitation in a separate, dedicated guide: The Ultimate Guide to Facilitation Training Courses

That’s got everything you need—from resources for your first workshop to full-blown facilitation courses and training programs. Check it out, and refer back to this guide to help you choose the right option. 

Good luck! And who knows—maybe we’ll be welcoming you to the AJ&Smart Workshopper community very soon. 

Emily Stevens