What’s your Facilitrainer Inheritance?

The things that have been handed down to you — source obscure — and just become part of your understanding, your practice in your work?

Every profession has them, things that just form the background of your work, which feel like yours, or just ‘in the air’ — but which have their own history.

For facilitators and trainers, this is usually something built into the way you plan workshops, engage, interact.

Or it could be an updated version of a scratchy .ppt graphic you got in your first job.

That PowerPoint slide was probably copied without attribution from an OHP transparency film.

Before the film, it might have been projected on an actual slide from a slide projector… and before that, perhaps chalked on a blackboard.
it’s a clue when you see — or own — several different versions of what’s often quite a bad diagram.

I was reminded of this the other day when Keith🍏 Amoss PhD PCC said, about one of my slides, “I believe that’s good old Betari’s Box ( although no one really knows who he was) isn’t it?”
It was (see slide three) — I knew it must have *some* source, but I’d never looked — I had inherited it.

The Double Diamond is a lot like this for most people (there’s a complex history to it — see https://chosen-path.org/2021/05/05/the-double-diamond-as-an-example-of-some-challenges-of-attribution-in-the-history-of-ideas/).

The facilitraining rainbow, itself, is a lot like this — though we know that comes from The Facilitator’s Pocketbook by John Townsend and Paul Donovan, and was originally drawn by Phi Halstone.

Other ones for me are:
– Various learning cycles and PDCA / CAP-Do (see Deming’s original OHP, citing Shewhart)

  • The idea of ‘holding space’ and of differentiation and integration as a group
  • The ‘problem solving team build’, which I was handed on a prompt card as part of my PWC Lean Six Sigma Black Belt course.
  •  ‘Let’s split into trios’
  • The image of lean as a stream — disrupted or smooth…
  • The left hand column exercise
  • ‘Getting the whole system in the room…’

>> What are yours? <<


SO many of these things go back to just a few people, in the 20s or post-war. Elliot Jaques. Warren Bennis. Lillian Gilbreth.

Very often the sources suggested by Google are, somehow, in a pdf about school leadership.

Many turn out to feature in The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook…

For me, the tracking down and properly citing, the paying respects to where these ideas come from, is a valuable (if time-consuming) activity.

You might also find — like Mehrabian’s 7–38–55 communication model, like Maslow’s ‘hierarchy of needs’, and so many other things we learned on the knee of jaded, facetious trainers as youngsters — that they are bunk: old canards which need to be let go.

If we know a bit more about where our ideas come from, we will know more about how to use them effectively…


You mean it’s not really my idea then?
🌏 never was 🔫

2 thoughts on “What’s your Facilitrainer Inheritance?

  1. You are singing one of my themes Ben!

    I like to go back to first occurences, which is both easier and harder than it was 20 years ago thanks to the interwebbles. Wikipedia helps.

    And more importantly, we need to know if the diagram is based on a PhD paper from 1957 tested on a cohort of 2nd year white male AB nonLGBTQ+ Mech Eng students who needed the beer money. Hello Stanley Milgram.

    And then we can root out any ‘primitives’ hidden like actual gems in the slag [smelting reference, not derogatory, unless you are a mineral ore].



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s