Realistically the board president can’t do everything. No matter how strong someone is at the role, having a hired facilitator may give board chairs the opportunity to lead with their strengths and address different governance needs. More boards are finding that hiring a trained facilitator has also helped make their meetings run smoother. A win-win for everyone.
At Abundance Cooperative Market in Rochester, New York, Daryl Odhner, the board’s chair, finds that having a facilitator at their meetings has also made their meetings more egalitarian. Odhner also appreciates that not being facilitator allows him to be part of the meeting as just another board member instead of an authority figure.
When conflicts do arise, the facilitator can help them have difficult conversations. “Our meetings have been more productive,” Odhner said. They’ve been working with their facilitator for a year now, and in addition to being at the meetings, he is part of the agenda setting appointment so that he can be prepared for the conversation ahead. “It’s been a great experience,” Odhner said.
Four Good Reasons to Hire a Professional Facilitator
- Free the board chair from managing two roles during the meeting.
- Enhance efficiency by having expert facilitation at every meeting.
- Avoid the risk of having a board chair who is not a good facilitator.
- In the best case, a board can work with the same facilitator for years and that person provides continuity in the meeting process even though directors and board leaders come and go.