Course Modules

Module 1+

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 Thinking and Planning

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 focuses on dialogue skills for one-on-one and group work, within a context of respecting the uniqueness of each person and developing as a facilitative leader. This is an opportunity for you to strengthen your effectiveness both in facilitating effective group conversations, and in one-on-one situations.

Participants are encouraged to approach ‘dealing with difficult people’ by understanding the holistic nature of the human being (Te Tuakiri o te Tangata). Participants will develop a suite of useful micro-skills to enhance inter-personal engagement. Participants will have an opportunity to practise these skills and receive feedback from trainers and fellow course participants.

Course participants will:

• understand the dimensions of a human being through the lens of Te Tuakiri o te Tangata
• develop self-awareness to interact with others with integrity, upholding their own rangatiratanga and that of others
• 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.


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

ToP Module 7 Being a Facilitative Leader addresses our internal stances – or how we have to be as facilitators. It explores a style of leadership which is anchored in our authenticity – who we really are and how we really relate to the world. Participants build an understanding of the power and potential of facilitative leadership, and the characteristics of a facilitative leader, and Maori perspectives in relation to these.

The course equips trainees with an understanding of:

  • their authentic role as leaders and facilitators
  • the passion and principles involved in transforming people and organisations
  • the responsibility required for leading and facilitating change
  • the tools and techniques necessary to apply them in their everyday work environments

It equips trainees with the skills to:

  • Identify the interior states (stances) that support facilitative leadership
  • Apply skills for reflection on the practice of facilitative leadership
  • Understand and apply the practice of facilitative leadership
  • Develop a plan to apply facilitative leadership stances in ongoing practice

Click here ​for testimonials.

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.