The typical stages and process of group development, discussed in more detail in Chapter 46, can provide a useful guide to facilitation skills appropriate to various times in a group’s period together:
- In the initial forming stage of getting together and getting to know each other, a facilitator can help by ensuring introductions are done and that reluctant members are drawn into the group.
- When the norming stage happens, the facilitator can ensure that the guidelines are in keeping with other established patterns in the club or walking group.
- In the storming stage which involves working out issues such as who has power and who will do what tasks the facilitator needs to keep an eye on any inappropriate conflict and help clarify any role issues.
- Once the group is in the performing stage everyone can relax a little more and enjoy the trip and so can the leader.
- At the end of the trip in the adjourning or mourning phase a leader’s role will be to smooth this process and ensure that appropriate traditional rituals are honoured (e.g. follow ups, get togethers and sharing of photos).
An appreciation of this broad outline of the group development process can help the trip leader/facilitator work through this process rather than against it, and ensure that each stage is honoured. A well-managed and enjoyably finished trip will leave a good feeling in the minds and hearts of the participants.