Holacracy Community of Practice Archive, 2015-2019 Community Holacracy Web Site

Facilitator as Proposer

Folks -

Whether it is a proposal coming from the role of Facilitator (such as from a repair of invalid governance or recovery from process breakdown) or from another role held by the same soul, is there any rule or best practice about stepping out of Facilitator during the part of governance meeting pertaining to that proposal?

I've done that once when I was an objector, and asked another to test my objection. I found that useful as distinction.

BUT, during both of the HolacracyOne trainings I heard quite clearly that it is very common for Facilitator or Secretary to be actively involved in the resolution of tensions in tactical meetings related to other roles and processing of proposals in governance meetings.

I even recall Karilen coaching about change of physical space when engaging as Facilitator or as Proposer.

But are there other best practices, or rules.  

I had a 'process timeout' request that I get another to Facilitate. The only 2 individuals I considered appropriate at the moment were unavailable, so I chose to not honor the request.  But maybe it was a mistake.

Opinions and data please!

3 Replies

HI Keith,


It is not easy for new facilitators to be the process guardian and proposer/objecter at the same time but once you get used to the process, it becomes quite easy and natural.

One way to help you is, as Karilen suggested, to make a physical change of space and you can even have markers on the ground. You could also do that with different hats : Facilitator hat, Proposer hat.

I often see new facilitators missing themselves during reaction rounds or saying “no reaction” because it is difficult to handle the different stances: their defined roles and the facilitator role. I think it mainly comes with practice and if you are not comfortable because you are emotionally attached to the tension/topic for instance, you can handle it to someone else.

There are no specific rules around that - at least in the constitution - and if you feel a tension about it and need to define a rule, that's fine too.

Karilen Mays


Using your judgment with the constitution as your guide is what I would say. If as the elected facilitator you think you are the best fit to facilitate, then that is your call (in absence of any policies to the contrary). Handing off facilitation of a proposal or part of a proposal is done at the discretion of the acting facilitator, so it is just up to you in the end. 

I would also in the closing round ask people to share their feedback on the process and facilitation, so there is space. If it was a lot to juggle, then hopefully you will get feedback about how it went.  I am curious if anyone gave any meaningful feedback about this in the meeting, or if it was a non issue in the end. 

The other thing to bring to light would be (maybe), likely in a time out discussion especially for a group with a skilled and experienced Secretary, that Secretary can rule on matters of due process so if anyone has a question about if the process is being followed, then you could ask Secretary to interpret. I mention this because if it is a concern about you being biased, then Secretary can support you or help you stay on track by giving the group a sort of reality check. I have seen this done a few times, and a secretary would either ask the facilitator or look up in the constitution, and say yes, looks right to me! 

Other than that, experienced facilitators facilitate their own proposals all the time. It can be confusing for a novice group, so be very diligent with making the process visible (aside from using body or whatever you can) by framing each step, what, why, or who speaks, etc. 



Bernard Marie Chiquet


The only rule I know is in Section 2.5.4 - As you know, you may use your reasonable judgment to interpret the Constitution.

2.5.4 Surrogates for Elected Roles

A surrogate may temporarily fill an Elected Role when one is unfilled, or when the person who normally fills the Role is unavailable for a Circle meeting or feels unable or unwilling to enact the Role’s duties.

In any given instance where a surrogate is needed, the surrogate is, in this order of precedence:

  • (a) someone explicitly specified by the person to be replaced; or
  • (b) the acting Facilitator of the Circle; or
  • (c) the acting Secretary of the Circle; or
  • (d) the Lead Link of the Circle; or
  • (e) the first Core Circle Member of the Circle to declare he or she is acting as the surrogate.


Let me share with you my interpretation of the Constitution and my practice here. It has already happened quite several times that I would be both Facilitator, Proposer and Objector (to my own Proposal). It can work with some practice. The key issue for me is - do I feel emotionally attached to the Proposal or to the Objection? (In other words, is my inner space neutral) If the answer is No (I'm not attached) for both, then I know by experience that I can facilitate processing such Proposal as I have enough available energy and neutrality to do the job. If the answer is Yes to both questions, I know that I want to hand over the Facilitator Role for such Proposal from the beginning of such processing. If the answer is No for the first question but Yes for the second, I will facilitate until I raise my Objection and hand over the Facilitation for the resolution of the Objection.

Last tip, when I play with the three roles simultaneously, I would emphasize framing loudly in which role I do play right now (and may adding a new role in order to make some coaching points) - this helps me a lot and help the others too. If I have a cap, I will certainly use it for make it more fun :=)