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

Why facilitators from circle members?

Hello everyone, 

I'm entirely new to the world of Holacracy, just having read the book and spent time digesting it. I have a few questions that came from just the theoretical knowledge and hope I can ask a few of them from time to time. My first one is: 
Why is it best that faciliatators are members of the circles they are operating in? If their primary responsibility is the process — and not politics or personal closeness — would it not make sense to have the faciliatator for a meeting be an outsider of the circle, so all circle members can be true to their responsibilities?

I could imagine that with later organizations, a staff of full-time facilitators makes perfect sense, but I also imagine that you’ve thought about this and come to a good reason why this is not desirable. 

3 Replies
Tom Mulder

Hi Konrad,

Welcome to the Holacracy ecosystem. The role of the Facilitator is to safeguard the process. The more he can focus the better. So you are right that having full time facilitators makes perfect sense.

The Facilitator role is an elected role from the people in the circle (Core Circle Members). This is how the constitution deals with it. But in practice it is also stated that learning to play the rules from an experienced Facilitator is the best way forward.

So, if you have the opportunity to have full time and experienced facilitators that would be of a great help the teams to learn the rules of the game faster. 

In my opinion there are no other specifics than the election part in the Constitution that define that the Facilitator must be from the Circle.

Robert Powell

And you can now add a person as a Core Member without assigning that soul to a role so long as that person is already an Account Member. The person can then be elected as Facilitator.

Floris Huetink

In addition to the other answers, the Constitution also notes that Lead Links can specially appoint additional persons. Specifically:

2.3.4 Special Appointments of Core Members

The Lead Link of a Circle may specially appoint additional persons to serve as Core Circle Members of a Circle, beyond those required by this Constitution, and may further remove these special appointments at any time.

We've been using this to appoint a non-Circle Member as Facilitator, especially right after creating a new Circle. This to ensure meetings are lead by an experienced Facilitator even if none of the "real" Circle Members have (yet) gained these skills.

Back to your question "Why is it best that facilitators are members of the circles they are operating in?" - I was not aware of Holacracy explicitly mentioning this as being "best" (as in preferred over a non-member). When a Circle has been under way for a while, it does feel like a natural thing to elect a core member as Facilitator, but that is not necessarily entirely the same thing.