Session 3 – Holding space

Date:  Wednesday 7 October 2020                     Time:       1pm                        Length:    3 hours

Dr Gene Johnson and Ms Nicky Baker, Senior Program Managers, Leadership

This session is designed for:
Emerging facilitators                      Still developing                   Wisdom Keeper                  Everyone

Will this session be recorded?                                       Yes

Session Outline

The workshop on exploring ‘Holding Space’ directly aligns with the conference theme of ‘I am because you are – inspiring connection, collaboration and equity in our diversity’ as the first capability of Holding Space of ‘Opening Space’ explores the relationship between the facilitators’ understanding of self and the impact this has on the participants. Moreover, the other three capabilities relate to building a psychologically safe enough environment that diversity within the room can not only be heard, but drawn on to hold enough tension that a breakthrough is catalysed not in spite of this diversity but because of it.

Key Learning Objectives

  1. To understand and engage with Nick Udall’s model of Holding Space in the context of facilitation
  2. To explore and experience what it means to Open Space, Build the Container, Hold Tension and Catalyse Breakthrough
  3. To self-reflect on participants’ own facilitation practice in view of the model and discuss how it could be leveraged in different contexts

How this session contributes to the AFN Community of Practice

Facilitation is often described as an art, based on intuition and emotional intelligence of both self and other. The Holding Space framework provides a helpful model for naming the capabilities involved in sophisticated facilitation. Exploring this model with facilitators throughout the AFN will contribute to the community of practice, as this model can be utilised by facilitators at all levels, equipping more developing facilitators with a means of understanding and articulating the art and providing an architecture on which complex facilitation can hang.

Toolkit takeaways

Hand-out on the Four Capacities of Holding Space; Nick Udall’s article on ‘The Art of Holding Space’

Speaker Biographies

Gene Johnson
Gene Johnson is a Senior Program Manager at HETI, NSW Health. He is an organisational psychologist who has worked in academia, government, consultancy, and corporate settings, including the health, IT, automotive, and international NGO sectors. Gene leads the Facilitation Capability Accreditation Program (FCAP), overseeing the development of NSW Health’s Facilitation Standards, facilitator accreditation, facilitation curriculum development and delivery, and the emergence of a facilitator community of practice. He co-facilitates facilitation skills courses and a range of leadership programs. Gene’s newest project is creating virtual facilitation tools for NSW Health.

Nicky Baker
Nicky Baker is a Senior Program Manager in Leadership at HETI, NSW Health. Nicky has responsibility for the design and delivery of the NSW Health Leadership Program. She has over 15 years’ experience tin the fields of Talent Development, Learning and Development and Internal Communication within the Public, Private and not-for-profit sectors. Nicky is also an experienced facilitator, facilitating the HETI Leadership Programs and always enjoys the challenge of connecting people with each other and ideas/ concepts that are either planned or emerge. Nicky has recently completed the Advanced Facilitation Program with the University of Wollongong.