Surely, a certificate is not a paradox

Faciliteren van dialoog

Faciliteren van dialoog

I’m a bit old-skool. I do think certification is important, for every profession. I took a certification for myself and my Community of Practitioners, the IAF. It is a kind of peer review. There are no objective standards, although I know we try as best as we can.

More and more certification is being used as a marketing tool. A certificate is something which makes us stand out in the crowd. It tends to become a kind of insurance policy for clients, (human resource) managers and (lazy) buyers. A certificate is being asked for each and every action. It makes sense in the aviation and safety industry, but not in our profession. But, in the foreseeable future, there’ll be barrage of certificates (also on facilitation), creating a kind of inflation of certificates. And then there’ll be a super certification process. In essence, it will mean that you’ve paid your dues.

I would recommend a very big disclaimer:
Although we take great care in establishing a sound and reliable certification program, it does not warrant that our certification process certifies a candidate’s facilitative competence or abilities in any specific circumstances. The certificate is not intended as a means of selection between parties offering facilitation services and should not be used as an alternative for an interview.

Paradox of Authority
And, off course, it is a paradox, the paradox of Authority. Authority is a derivative of an authorizing process. The problem in our case – facilitators – being, that authority is closely linked to empowerment. Facilitation is about self-empowerment, being able to act autonomously. For instance, can we still claim to be independent as a facilitator while we’ve been certified as a CPF, binding us to a code of ethics? I have said earlier, that facilitation is a kind of Milgram experiment.

The question becomes: “who certifies the certification and its assessors?”. It will come as no surprise, that they’re self-assessed, creating a strange loop, or infinite regress, the hall-mark of a paradox.

Resistance in hiring a CPF facilitator
This – in my view – is also the biggest resistance against hiring a facilitators, as it does seem to imply that a group (and perhaps mostly it management) feels inadequately empowered to solve its own problems. It is always painful to have to ask for guidance, support or help. When your facilitator comes with a lot of certificates, it may be depressing for you. our kind client.

Again, I’m not against CPF or any certification, there is only a caveat emptor (buyer be aware).

About Lelie Jan

Met diversiteit kom je verder, wanneer je elkaar beter begrijpt.  Jan Lelie kan helpen. Ik faciliteer besluitvorming met behulp van mijn mind@work methode. Sommigen noemen het agile, anderen lean of serious play. Het zit er allemaal in. Daarnaast geef ik workshops en master classes aan professionals die zelf beter willen faciliteren.
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