ToP™ Courses

ToP Courses

ToP™ Methods and Facilitative Leadership Programme

  •  The Power of Facilitation
  • The Learning
  • The Leaders
  • Facilitative Leadership Program Course Modules
  • The Outcomes
  • Our Difference

 

One Programme – several pathways

The Facilitative Leadership Program 
For people seeking to develop a comprehensive set of skills, confidence and competence as a facilitator, and a facilitative leader

Certified Technology of Participation Facilitator (CToPF) 
For people seeking an internationally recognised certification of their competence as a facilitator

The Power of Facilitation

All organisations and groups – large and small – face challenges in having the time, focus and structure to plan, make decisions, manage projects and move forward together. 

Facilitative leadership is becoming an increasingly valued skill for exploring issues facing an organisation or group, tapping the depth of thinking and breadth of ideas, and building greater understanding, shared purpose and commitment. 

The Technology of Participation™ (ToP) offers a widely tested and proven set of tools and principles for maximising the value of time spent in group processes. The results are shared by all participants, with the enduring value of strengthened relationships and mutual learning. 

The Learning

All organisations and groups – large and small – face challenges in having the time, focus and structure to plan, make decisions, manage projects and move forward together. 

Facilitative leadership is becoming an increasingly valued skill for exploring issues facing an organisation or group, tapping the depth of thinking and breadth of ideas, and building greater understanding, shared purpose and commitment. 

The Technology of Participation™ (ToP) offers a widely tested and proven set of tools and principles for maximising the value of time spent in group processes. The results are shared by all participants, with the enduring value of strengthened relationships and mutual learning. 

The standard training programme is delivered in a series of seven two-day modules to address:

  • ToP group facilitation skills — methods and session design structures
  • Integration and adaptation of ToP with other facilitation processes
  • Inter-personal and group dynamics with keys to building personal and group capacity
  • Strategic thinking and planning processes
  • Facilitative leadership tools to initiate and lead change
  • The role of the facilitator as leader in building participatory work cultures, structures and practices

Our public courses also explore cultural dimensions of facilitation. To provide for this, our public courses cover one and a half standard modules over three days.

  • The programme design includes: Immersion in kaupapa Maori setting and discussion of Maori perspectives on facilitation
  • Demonstrations of the ToP™ methods
  • Individual practice and feedback
  • Facilitation principles and theory
  • Mentoring of individuals’ development in facilitation (action learning approach)
  • Grounding the techniques in actual work projects of participants

The time between modules is an opportunity to practise the tools and techniques and to deepen understanding of the underlying principles.

The Leaders

The program is delivered by facilitators who have long standing experience with the Technology of Participation facilitation methods, alongside training partners who deliver the cultural content of our public courses.
The programme was developed from a methodology pioneered by the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA). The ICA is an international organisation concerned with the human factor in personal, community and organisational development. Since the 1960s the ICA’s inclusive approach to participatory development has gained worldwide recognition and respect.
In the 1980s the ICA developed models for training in methods and perspectives of participatory change. These have been implemented successfully worldwide as Technology of Participation™ Programmes and are now being offered for a specifically New Zealand context. 

Course Modules

There are seven two-day modules that make up the ToP™ programme.  In addition to the standard content outlined below, the modules explore considerations for facilitators working cross-culturally and in Maori contexts.

Module 1 — Group Facilitation Methods

Module 1 provides firm grounding in the Discussion Method and the Workshop Method. These are fundamental building blocks of the Technology of Participation which are adaptable to a broad range of contexts and participants. Each method is demonstrated and the underlying structure examined to deepen understanding. Click here ​for testimonials.

Module 2 — Facilitation Integration and Expansion

Module 2 consolidates the Workshop and Discussion Methods and goes further to introduce complementary facilitation tools which lend themselves to a wide variety of situations. These tools maximise the effectiveness of facilitation methods by addressing the dynamics of framing and focusing groups, and gathering and processing ideas and information. They are then coupled with Design and Staging Methods to create effective facilitation events. Click here ​for testimonials.

Module 3 — Strategic Planning and Thinking

Module 3 applies the Workshop Method to strategic thinking and planning – to take the journey from vision to action, from initial uncertainty to a point of clear purpose and commitment with an action- and results-oriented methodology.
It highlights the importance of engaging the group as a whole through each stage of the process, from ‘where we are now’ to ‘where we want to be’ and ‘how we will get there’. It generates practical steps, momentum and ownership. ​​Click here ​for testimonials.

Module 4 – Working with Diverse Value Systems ​​

Module 4 builds facilitation and leadership skills for working effectively with difference – appreciating and embracing very different ways of thinking, learning and communicating. ​​Click here ​for testimonials.

Module 5 — Principled Influencing and Negotiating

Module 5 emphasises dialogue skills for one-on-one and group work, within a context of developing as a facilitative leader. It equips trainees with knowledge and skills to:develop self-awareness to interact with others with integrity
enhance listening and communication to build rapport and connection
acknowledge and work with different needs and interests when negotiating
transform conflict and address difficult situations
understand the process of developing agreement and commitment.  Click here ​for testimonials.

Module 6 — Understanding and Leading Change

This module explores the perspectives of catalysing, initiating or responding to change. It examines styles of change leadership and methods, and builds skills for designing change interventions. Click here ​for testimonials.

Module 7 — Being a Facilitative Leader

Module 7 examines what it takes to facilitate transformation of cultures, structures and practices and find purpose and meaning as a leader of transformation and change.

The Outcomes

Participants will gain robust techniques, useful for a range of facilitation situations. They will refine the art of questioning as a tool to help groups reflect on experience and find ways forward. Each trainee has a chance to practise facilitation. Trainees will also deepen their understanding of managing the different group settings in which they work and the different cultural contexts in which they may find themselves, in particular working in Maori settings. 

At the end of each Module participants will have a statement of completion, a comprehensive set of course notes, worked examples, and proposals for application and practise of their learnings in their everyday work environment. 

The Technology of Participation (ToP) Facilitative Leadership program is the property of the Institute of Cultural Affairs Australia.

Our Difference

We offer a unique, high quality and highly practical course that equips people with the skills and confidence to facilitate in a wide variety of situations.
Participants not only get a grounding in the principles and underlying dynamics of facilitation, they also get to explore cultural and social diversity. Participants can put their learning straight into practice in a safe environment and receive feedback from their peers and tutors. 

Robust participatory techniques are demonstrated, explained and then practised. Participants are aided by useful planning templates to guide them in structuring the session and build their confidence. We run courses for small groups (e.g. 16 participants) to maximise interaction and practice opportunities. 

The facilitation methods we teach have a strong track record, and are used in more than 30 countries around the world. Our course emphasises the adaptation of these techniques to a New Zealand context and explores the bicultural dimension of facilitating in this country. 

The methods we teach can be used in a range of settings including business, community, government departments, councils, education, work teams and diverse other groups. 

They can be used to engage people in strategic planning, joint decision making, public consultation and in distilling the lessons from events and experiences in order to move forward together. They are interactive and engaging and provide for authentic participation.

Participatory Techniques Limited ​

Facilitation, Research, Consultancy  and Training

The participatory approaches that underpin all services we offer are designed to enable the creative and effective input of all those involved, enabling development of robust and realistic strategies and solutions that have full ownership and commitment.