Facilitation MBA: Leadership Skills Training for Managers

The need for innovative leaders equipped with unique skills has never been higher. The MBA in Creative Enterprise program leads this revolution, merging traditional business acumen with creative problem-solving and advanced facilitation skills. As a facilitation MBA, this program is not just about learning about business; it is a transformative journey that shapes students into effective facilitators, strategic thinkers, and visionary leaders.

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A Creative Enterprise MBA bridges your passion with business acumen

Facilitation in business education

Facilitation skills are a cornerstone of any Creative Enterprise MBA. Such programs emphasize the importance of these skills in guiding team members toward common goals. As students progress, they learn to understand group dynamics and master leading without dominating. This approach turns each project manager into a skilled facilitator capable of steering strategic planning and organizational change with finesse.

Group dynamics and leadership development

Creative MBA programs explore the nuances of group processes, particularly in large group settings. Students navigate and manage complex team interactions. This may include sessions focusing on being an effective project manager, understanding team members' needs, and encouraging an amiable work environment for open communication and idea sharing.

Advanced facilitation techniques

Students typically engage in various activities that enhance their facilitation techniques. These activities range from handling online meetings regularly to leading in-person training sessions. Progressive MBA curriculums ensure each participant has many opportunities to facilitate, leading them to become adept at setting ground rules, maintaining the “big picture,” and employing various group engagement techniques.

Practical skills application

Creative Enterprise MBA programs go beyond theoretical knowledge. They provide hands-on experience through real-world case studies and project-based learning. Second-year MBA students often engage in year-long experiences, working on projects that demand effective project management and innovative solutions. This practical approach ensures graduates are well-versed in theory and skilled in applying it professionally.

Case study: Google’s Project Aristotle

Google’s Project Aristotle is a well-known, real-life case study that perfectly aligns with the themes of effective facilitation and team dynamics in business. Launched in 2012, this initiative aimed to understand what makes a Google team effective. Google conducted extensive data analysis on hundreds of its teams over several years.

Google’s findings

The key finding was that the most critical factor in team effectiveness was not who was on the team but how the team worked together. Psychological safety happens when members feel safe to take risks and be vulnerable with each other. This emerged as the most critical element.

Key takeaways

Google’s key takeaways included the following:

  • Psychological safety: Teams need to establish a culture where all team members can openly communicate their ideas and concerns without fear of reprisal.
  • Dependability: Team members must be reliable and complete quality work on time.
  • Structure and clarity: Teams should have clear roles, plans, and goals.
  • Meaning and impact: Work should have personal significance to team members, and they should believe their work matters.

Facilitation in diverse contexts

Programs recognize the importance of versatility in facilitation skills. Students learn about different contexts, from executive MBA settings to large-scale international associations of facilitators’ gatherings. Curriculums generally cover various scenarios, ensuring graduates are prepared for any facilitation challenge.

Strategic planning and organizational change

A critical component of the MBA in Creative Enterprise program is its focus on strategic planning and its role in facilitating organizational change. Students learn the intricacies of change management, a vital skill for any successful project manager. The program teaches how to apply facilitation skills to drive continuous improvement in a working environment, ensuring each management team member can contribute effectively to the project's success.

Detailed exploration of change management techniques

Facilitators need to understand the change process. Whether it is initial resistance and addressing concerns and fears or gradual acceptance and facilitating understanding and support, full integration by the facilitator will ensure sustainable change.

Table 2: Key strategies for effective change management

PreparationStakeholder analysisIdentifying and understanding key players
ImplementationCommunication planRegular updates and open dialogues
Post-implementationFeedback mechanismsGathering insights for continuous improvement

The role of the team leader in facilitation

A businessperson in a suit smiles as they discuss a project with their team

Facilitation is a natural part of progressive MBA programs

As a team leader, an MBA graduate is expected to master group facilitation, which demands understanding and managing team flow and drift while implementing step-by-step procedures for achieving a common goal. Creative Enterprise MBA programs train students to lead at a high level in both small groups and large teams, emphasizing the importance of open and sustained communication and a process-based facilitation model.

Facilitating beyond business

The Creative Enterprise MBA extends its teaching beyond traditional business realms. Courses cover various aspects of facilitation, from event planning to addressing societal issues like climate change. This broad scope ensures graduates can handle facilitation tasks in different fields, such as public policy, community development, and social change initiatives.

Leveraging technology in facilitation

Our era is dominated by data science and artificial intelligence. Creative Enterprise MBA programs integrate these technologies into their curriculums. Students learn about the role of a business analyst and how to use facilitative methods in a technology-driven environment. This training includes understanding how to conduct effective in-person and online meetings, ensuring the cohesiveness and focus of project teams.

Building foundational facilitation skills

Initially, students should be grounded in the most basic skills of facilitation. This includes understanding project needs, problem-solving techniques, and constructing an approach tailored to group levels. Through this foundational training, students develop a strong partnership with their peers, forming a collaborative learning environment.

Developing core competencies

The MBA in Creative Enterprise program emphasizes the development of core competencies essential for a skilled facilitator. It involves deep exploration into various facilitation techniques, understanding group behaviors, and interpersonal skills training. Students engage in practical exercises to simulate real scenarios, preparing them for the complexities of facilitating group discussions and decision-making processes.

The impact of interpersonal skills on team dynamics

The importance of interpersonal skills in team dynamics cannot be understated. These skills enhance communication and understanding, further a positive and productive work environment, and aid in resolving conflicts effectively.

Table 3: Key interpersonal skills for facilitators

Active listeningEnsures all team members feel heard
EmpathyBuilds trust and understanding
AssertivenessHelps in clearly stating needs and ideas

Exploring leadership styles in facilitation

Students should understand leadership styles and their impact on facilitation and decision-making. Whether it be autocratic (quick decisions with less team input), democratic (encourages team participation), or a laissez-faire approach (autonomy, but may lack direction), the goal should be for students to understand their natural leadership style and how to become more adaptable.

One method of determining leadership styles is a self-assessment questionnaire followed by a group discussion in a safe environment. The outcome of this exercise should be the students’ insights into their leadership style and growth areas.

Specialized training for specific roles

The program could offer specialized training for roles such as scrum master, where students learn about agile methodologies and their application in business administration. Similarly, for those interested in public policy or community development, the curriculum may provide insights into how facilitation can drive social change.

Understanding the big picture

A significant aspect of the Creative Enterprise MBA is teaching students to always keep the “big picture” in mind—the strategic view. Understanding the overarching goals and objectives is crucial, whether planning, performance management cycles, or organizational change. This holistic view helps students become facilitators capable of guiding their teams through complex projects and initiatives.

Theoretical and practical learning application

Most Creative Enterprise MBA programs blend theoretical knowledge with significant practical skills application. This includes preliminary work like setting up ground rules, planning the facilitation process, and engaging in individual work to understand different approaches to facilitation. Curriculum design typically focuses on a comprehensive understanding of business facilitation theory and practice.

Case studies and real-world involvement

The program often incorporates numerous case studies and real-world applications to solidify learning. These are carefully chosen to represent various industries and scenarios, giving students a better understanding of how facilitation techniques can be applied in numerous contexts. From the intricacies of change management to team meeting dynamics, these case studies provide invaluable insights.

Bridging theory with experiential learning

Experiential learning immerses students in practical application. Experiential learning opportunities may include the following:

  • Role-playing exercises to simulate real-life facilitation scenarios.
  • Group projects that require strategy and execution.
  • Interactive case studies focusing on problem-solving and decision-making.

This type of learning has numerous benefits. It deepens student understanding of the theory. It also enhances participants’ practical problem-solving skills. But most importantly, it prepares students for real-world business challenges.

Case study: Zappos’ Holocracy initiative

Zappos, an online retailer, is renowned for its unique approach to company culture and management. In 2013, Zappos adopted Holocracy, a corporate governance system where authority and decision-making are distributed throughout self-organized teams rather than being centralized at the top.

As an experiment, Zappos replaced its traditional management hierarchy with overlapping, self-managed circles. Employees have autonomy and the freedom to choose their roles and tasks based on their skills and interests. All decisions and discussions were open for any employee to view or participate in.

The lessons learned include the following:

  • Adaptability: Holocracy requires employees to be adaptable and comfortable with constant change.
  • Communication: The success of self-managing teams hinged on effective communication and collaboration.
  • Employee engagement: The system led to varying levels of employee engagement, with some thriving in the new environment while others struggled with the lack of traditional structure.

The following table identifies specific Holocracy elements with MBA curriculum application through a facilitation lens.

Table 4: Holocracy insights for MBA students

Holocracy elementMBA application
Self-managementCase studies for self-organizing teams and communication
Role flexibilityWorkshops on adaptable leadership
Open communicationTraining in transparent decision-making

Embracing diversity and innovation

A group of international students pose for a class photo

An MBA in Creative Enterprise diversifies perspectives and approaches

A key focus of any facilitation MBA is embracing diversity and encouraging innovation. Students learn to work with different groups, understanding the unique dynamics and perspectives each brings. This exposure to different viewpoints is critical in developing skill facilitators who can adapt to any situation.

Cultivating a global mindset in business facilitation

Students must gain an understanding of global business trends. Theory and practices range from cross-cultural communication and diversity to navigating international business regulations and practices. The understanding gained helps graduates leverage global market opportunities.

Many Creative Enterprise MBA programs culminate with international travel. However, if that is not available, the following activities are an excellent substitute for this experience:

  • Workshops on cross-cultural communication.
  • Case studies of international businesses.
  • Guest lectures from global business leaders.

The evolution of business education

In recent years, business education has undergone a significant transformation. Traditional models focusing on quantitative analysis and straightforward management principles are giving way to more holistic and flexible approaches. This shift recognizes the complexity of modern business environments, where leaders must adapt to constant change, technical advancements, and diverse global perspectives.

The Creative Enterprise MBA encapsulates this evolution, blending classic business teachings with modern insights into creativity, innovation, and dynamic leadership.

Facilitation for modern challenges

Progressive MBA programs address modern challenges like climate change and digital transformation. It equips students with the skills to lead discussions on these topics, employing appropriate facilitation techniques to drive meaningful conversations and actions. This aspect of the MBA program highlights its commitment to preparing leaders who can handle business and societal challenges.

The role of technology in facilitation

Technology is crucial in modern business facilitation. The Creative Enterprise MBA integrates digital tools and platforms, preparing students for a tech-centric business world. From virtual team management using collaborative software or SaaS to data analytics for strategic decision-making, programs ensure graduates are proficient in leveraging technology.

This training is crucial, as technology enhances efficiency and opens new avenues for innovation and problem-solving in business settings.

Integrating digital tools in facilitation

When facilitating digital, best practices include the following:

  • Clear agenda: Set and maintain the expectations for virtual meetings.
  • Interactive tools: Use polls, breakout rooms, and chat functionality.
  • Follow-up: Ensure action items and summaries are distributed.

While the following list is not exhaustive, a list of recommended digital tools for facilitators includes:

  • Zoom for virtual meetings.
  • Miro for interactive brainstorming.
  • Slack for continuous team communication.
  • Trello for project management and tracking.

The facilitator’s toolbox

Students should be introduced to a wide array of facilitation tools and techniques. For example, an “Advanced Facilitation Skills Workshop” might run for three days of intensive training. The focus would be on advanced facilitation techniques and tools, with the desired outcome being an enhanced ability to manage complex group dynamics. Key modules for the workshop may include the following:

  • Navigating difficult conversations.
  • Techniques for large group facilitation.
  • Leveraging technology for effective facilitation.

The benefits for MBA students are numerous. They can apply their skill sets in real-world scenarios. They also get to network and connect with experienced facilitators and peers. If the program offers a professional certification, this can be added to each successful participant's resume.

Leadership Fellow programs

A Fellowship program may be available for top-ranking students. Students can apply their learning professionally with a mentor and close supervision. Whether facilitating small internal teams or participating in important corporate meetings, this “on-the-job training” is invaluable in cementing their skills as effective facilitators and leaders.

Emphasizing ethics in business facilitation

Ethics are pivotal in business facilitation in shaping responsible and effective leaders. Creative Enterprise MBA programs strongly emphasize ethical decision-making and leadership integrity. This focuses on adhering to legal standards and furthering a culture of honesty, transparency, and accountability in business practices.

Students are also encouraged to consider the wider impact of their decisions on the environment, society, and global economies. The program instills a deep sense of ethical responsibility through case studies, discussions, and ethical dilemma simulations, preparing graduates to lead with competence and conscience.

Critical aspects of ethics in business facilitation include the following:

  • Responsible leadership: Making decisions that are not only profitable but also socially responsible.
  • Transparency: Encouraging open communication and honesty in all business dealings.
  • Global impact: Understanding the global implication of localized business decisions.


Pursuing an MBA with a focus on facilitation equips students with essential skills in guiding teams, strategic thinking, and leadership. This type of program blends traditional business education with advanced facilitation techniques. It prepares graduates to lead teams effectively and navigate complex organizational dynamics.

Students gain practical experience through real-world case studies, hands-on projects, and interactive learning, ensuring they can apply their knowledge in various professional settings.

The program emphasizes psychological safety, dependability, structure, and meaningful work. These elements underscore the importance of a positive team environment. By fostering a culture of open communication and collaboration, graduates are well-prepared to drive organizational change and achieve strategic goals.

Whether through online or hybrid learning formats, a facilitation MBA provides the flexibility and comprehensive training needed to succeed in the current rapidly evolving business landscape.

Meridian University’s MBA in Creative Enterprise builds on these principles, catering to progressive professionals. The program blends contemporary business strategies with creative problem-solving techniques. It aims to prepare students for leadership roles in today’s dynamic business environment.

Whether your goal is to become a project manager, strategic planner, or influential business leader, the MBA in Creative Enterprise provides the tools and insights to help you succeed.

To learn more about Meridian’s program, schedule a call with an Admissions Advisors today.

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between coaching and facilitation?

While often used interchangeably, coaching and facilitation serve distinct purposes. Coaching is a one-on-one process focused on improving an individual’s performance or personal development. It involves a coach working closely with an individual to unlock their potential. Facilitation, on the other hand, is about guiding a group or team. A facilitator’s role is to help the group achieve a common goal or navigate a discussion, often without contributing personal opinions or content.

What is facilitation in business?

Facilitation in business refers to helping a team or group work more effectively and efficiently together. It involves managing group dynamics, encouraging open communication, and guiding the group towards achieving specific objectives. A facilitator in a business context often acts as a neutral party, focusing on the process of group interaction rather than the content or outcome of the discussion.

Is facilitation a hard or soft skill?

Facilitation is primarily considered a soft skill. It encompasses a range of interpersonal abilities, including communication, empathy, leadership, and conflict resolution. While some specific techniques and methods can be learned (akin to hard skills), the effectiveness of facilitation largely depends on the facilitator’s personal qualities and ability to manage group interpersonal relationships.

How do I become a business facilitator?

To become a business facilitator, develop strong communication and interpersonal skills. Gain experience leading teams or groups and learn about different facilitation techniques and tools. Formal training can be beneficial; consider workshops or certification programs like those offered by the International Association of Facilitators. Practical experience is crucial, so look for opportunities to facilitate meetings or group sessions in your workplace or community. Continuous learning and professional development activities are vital to staying effective as a facilitator.


Voltage Control (2023, June 19). What are Facilitation Skills and Why are They Important? Retrieved January 13, 2024, from

Stanford Graduate School of Business (n.d.). Interpersonal Dynamics Facilitation Training Program. Retrieved January 13, 2024, from

Indeed Editorial Team (2022, July 21). Facilitation Skills: Definition and Examples. Indeed. Retrieved January 13, 2024, from

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