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Facilitators guide

Feel free to use the below example to develop your own process and facilitators guide - or use this one!  

Listening circle – Love in a time of Corona – FACILITATOR NOTES


Facilitator role

You have a special role as a human helping others to also be human, within a set time and purpose. You will:

  • Choose the question for discussion

  • Prepare and deliver a reading or offering that will set the tone of that discussion

  • Open the circle, welcoming all in and briefly reminding people of the process and purpose

  • Lead the mindful reflection 

  • Hold the process, purpose and timings throughout – negotiating as you do.

  • Participate in the sharing and listening, and discussion at the end.


Note to self: there is no hierarchy in a circle. As facilitator you are part of the group and will participate fully and no differently than others when it is your turn to speak or listen. You are also human, not a shiny robot so don’t worry if you make ‘mistakes’ or are not ‘perfect’. You are a peer amongst peers. 


Purpose [adapt to your purpose]: 

  • Nurture love as an antidote to fear 

  • Develop our deep listening skills, and feel heard and understood

  • Provide a space in which to help recalibrate ourselves / our work / our understanding of the world

  • Find and plant the seeds of individual and collective purpose in our new reality

Detailed facilitator process


  1. Welcome and establish circle


Duration: 15mins


  • As people join explain we’re just waiting for people to join. Talk amongst ourselves or sit, as we would if we were in a room together. Invite all to have video on.

  • Purpose – we’ll probably all have our reasons for joining. I’ll say mine for setting it up, then go around. 

    • “Provide a space in which to help recalibrate ourselves / our work / our understanding of the world”

    • [add yours here]

  • Explain overall process – move from personal to collective. 

    • Most of the session simple sharing and listening – personal feelings, thoughts. Couple of loops, more depending on time.

    • Finish by free-flowing conversation about common themes – might be systemic or collectively held. 

  • Timings – a bit unknown but absolute outside boundary of 4.30pm – that okay for people? I’ll hold the timing.

  • Groundrules – it’s really important that we all feel safe to share and get what made us come here. Only two that I would offer (others can add)

  •  1) Kindness and care

    • Non-judgemental, open-hearted listening

    • Make space for each other's needs – to talk, emotions, silence – whatever we need.

    • Showing up – on time and in presence

    • Keeping what is said confidential, which means ‘no names and no gossip’

  • 2) Being honest humans

    • In the moment honesty (don’t need to prepare what going to say)

    • Including saying if don’t feel like saying something


How does that sound for everyone?

2. Sharing circle


Duration 1 hour


  • Suggest a question to guide people’s sharing. 

    • First session – ‘How does your life feel different and how does it feel the same?’

    • OR if you’d rather simply ‘how are you here now and what have you noticed about yourself’

  • Suggest process for listening circle: 

    • Invite brief, and heart-felt sharing – there is no need to fill space. 

    • We will go around as many times as time allows but at least twice (second round can be quicker, people speak only if they feel like adding).

    • Invite someone to raise hand if they would like to begin sharing. They nominate the direction it goes after – that person becomes the listener. 

    • Sharer speaks for 1-3 minutes uninterrupted. No timer.

    • Listener offer back what they have heard – perhaps focussing on strengths, values, motivations and struggles. Then they become the next sharer. 

    • Keep going for an hour

    • Any questions? 

  • Mindful reflection

    • Invite people into stillness. Feel feet, body. Notice breathing. Sit in quiet and allow the dust to settle. Pause.

    • Remind people of the question and invite them to reflect on feelings, thoughts that emerge. 

    • Option to offer a reading

  • Go around until hour is up (4.10ishpm).


3. Collective themes and learning 


Duration 10 minutes

  • Stepping into the collective (without focusing on individuals)

  • Any themes we have noticed that might speak to something collective.

  • What can we learn about this?


4. Next steps and close

Duration 2 minutes 

  • Shall we do this again? When? Who facilitate next session?  



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