Last week UK doctors went on strike for the first time in 40 years – for all but patient emergencies.

As a professional facilitator I wondered what would happen if we were to stike – for all but client emergencies. Not a front page story I fear!

We turn to professionals when we are sick, or have legal issues, or are designing a building – to doctors, lawyers, architects, respectively.

But when an organisation has a complex problem to solve, a plan to create, or an important decision to take, is the response to consult a professional facilitator?

Not that often, Maybe clients can solve the problem internally. Or don’t appreciate the value a professional facilitator could bring. Or have had a poor experience.

Doctors need to train for seven years. Interestingly so do we. Even after Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘10,000 hours’ a facilitator will still have much to learn. Indeed, I’ve only clocked  7,000 hours of live facilitation so far.

The International Association of facilitators. offer certification to ensure standards, and regular conferences, workshops and knowledge transfer for skills development. ( A team of us are working to deliver consistent standards, and market the benefits we can deliver for their organisations. We welcome input from clients and colleagues alike.

It is said that all the problems in the world are caused by conversations that did not happen. A skilled facilitator can create those conversations.

But we still have a way to go until we’re on call around the clock. What will it take? I wonder whether the British Medical Association would be a suitable case for treatment?


Image by Official US Navy Imagery