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Technology of Participation – Facilitative Leadership Program

...a comprehensive program for facilitation training and leadership development...

Facilitative Leadership

All organisations and groups - large and small - face significant and often rapid changes in their operating environments. For responsiveness, agility and resilience in the face of such changes we require more effective models for relationship, dialogue, thinking, planning and collective action.

Tap into depth of thinking and breadth of ideas and knowledge

Harness individual and collective creativity and energy

Build shared understanding, purpose and commitment

Develop leadership qualities and capabilities at all levels

Facilitative leadership is the key approach to enable these kinds of transformations to take place and to have lasting impact in a wide range of settings across industry, government and community sectors.

It is an approach of first choice for effective leaders, managers and coordinators, and for educators, coaches and mentors.

ToP Facilitative Leadership Program

The Technology of Participation (ToP) is a people-centred, results-driven leadership approach with widely tested and proven process tools and methods, supported by a body of knowledge and values.

The ToP Facilitative Leadership Program enhances the understanding, capability and performance of participants, in a highly participatory, experiential and learning-centred atmosphere.

Going beyond tools and techniques, it enables practical application of essential theoretical foundations and ethical principles to underpin the effectiveness of a facilitative leader.

Download a brochure (pdf).
The Technology of Participation (ToP) is the property of the Institute of Cultural Affairs. The ICA is an international organisation concerned with the human factor in personal, community and organisational development.
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Program Delivery

The program content is delivered through seven two-day workshop (face-to-face) modules:
Group Facilitation Methods
Applying fundamental methods to a range of contexts and participants, examining underlying dynamics for deeper understanding and confidence.
Facilitation Expansion & Integration
Integrating complementary tools for adapting to a wide variety of situations, with design tools to create high impact facilitation events.
Strategic Thinking & Planning
Facilitating movement from initial uncertainty to clear purpose and commitment, generating practical steps, momentum and ownership.
Working with Diverse Value Systems
Appreciating and embracing very different ways of thinking, learning and communicating.
Principled Influencing & Negotiation
Bridging differences, escaping drama, transforming conflict,  building cooperative relationships, and developing agreement and commitment,
Understanding & Leading Change
Catalysing, initiating or responding to change, examining styles of change leadership and methods and designing a change intervention.
Being a Facilitative Leader
Facilitating transformation of cultures, structures and practices, finding purpose and meaning as a leader of transformation and change.
Interactive delivery is by highly experienced facilitators who are active in corporate, government and not-for-profit settings, and who have demonstrated skills in adult education and learning support.

At the end of each module participants have a statement of completion, a comprehensive set of course notes and concrete proposals to apply and practice what they have learned in real-life roles and work environments.  They will also have access to coaching and mentoring from experienced facilitators.

This format builds competence and confidence in continuing use and development, and deepens understanding of the vital role of facilitative approaches in leading change.

So why this Program?

Breadth Depth & Focus
  • It encompasses a range of levels of learning, competence and application, from facilitation skills to integrated facilitative leadership development.
  • It offers ways of doing, ways of knowing and ways of being.
  • It is suitable for ‘novice’ level up to ‘veteran’ level.
  • It builds confidence in participants to be leaders through learning which is practical, participatory and experiential.
  • Participants practice in a safe supportive environment and give/receive feedback.
  • It provides templates and resources with on-going value.
  • It meets industry and professional training needs to a nationally accredited standard.
  • Our leaders are skilled and experienced adult educators, and are active in facilitation across their field.
Flexibility and adaptability to participant needs
Choice of level and pathway
  • It offers pathways from single Module attendance to postgraduate qualifications.
  • Participants can find their own level.
  • There is no requirement to choose or commit to a pathway up-front.
Choice of timing and place
  • It offers flexibility in start and finish times and rates of progression.
  • There is no fixed schedule or prescription.
  • Participants can adjust their engagement as development needs or life situations change.
Choice of location and setting
  • It is offered around Australia, New Zealand, and beyond, via public subscription events and tailored ‘in-house’ development programs.
  • Transportability across locations enables access to diverse facilitation styles to deepen learning.
Real life application at every level
Practical application
  • Each level of engagement in the program emphasises and supports real-life application of learning.
  • This develops and strengthens performance and confidence in a wide range of roles and settings.
Proven track record
  • Tried and tested content, theoretical foundations and ethical principles.
  • Backed by decades of international field experience and proven achievement across different cultures and sectors.
Global learning community
  • It continues to engage and benefit thousands of practitioners who work in many locations around the Australasia-Pacific region and beyond, in a wide range of roles and applications. 
  • Local and regional networks of practitioners remain connected with global networks to share learning and enable continuous improvement in practice.

Program Structure

The program encompasses three strands of delivery:




and four levels of learning:

Levels of learning

Skills and abilities for facilitating collaborative planning and solution finding

Grounded in
Conceptual frameworks for understanding & leading change in behaviours, structures and cultures

Intensified by MINDSETS:
Stances and convictions for anchoring methods & models in personal action and authentic facilitation

Sustained by MASTERY:
Integrating facilitative leadership into everyday roles in groups or organisations

Exploring dimensions of:









Developing competence in

Leadership as facilitating PARTICIPATION:
Utilising tools for planning and decision-making

Leadership as facilitating
Developing new thinking and understanding

Leadership as facilitating TRANSFORMATION:
Reframing worldviews,

Leadership as facilitating INTEGRATION:

Applied to:

Working at the
managing process and delivering products matched to objectives

Working at the
developing knowledge and conceptual understanding through interpretation

Working at the
feelings, associations, values, ethics, beliefs, spirit & motivation

Working at the
integrating methods, models & mindsets in
real life

One program – a host of benefits and applications

The program develops a range of skills, knowledge and understandings which will be useful in group discussions and workshops, team work, community engagement, stakeholder partnerships, one-on-one interaction, and negotiation.

  • We need to keep a group focused and on-task.
  • We are challenged to reconcile differing points of view.
  • Interactions are dominated by one or two vocal people.
  • Our meetings fail to reach a decision or move towards action.
  • A group lacks commitment to carry out the required actions.
  • We think we are leading but no-one seems to be following

Harness energies of all participants in a sense of common purpose

Create shared understanding
among diverse participants

Achieve more robust
and enduring outcomes

Develop a practice of internal reflection and action learning

Elicit creativity from
diverse styles and intelligences

Enable richer dialogue and
respectful relationships

Build agreement with ownership
and commitment

Strengthen confidence to lead
in a facilitative way

One program – a choice of pathways

People may choose to follow different pathways and levels of engagement through learning and assessment - non-vocational, CToPF, one of the awards, by assessment or by RPL.

For consistency, ToP FLP modules may not be presented in different ways to reflect these different pathways.

Distinctions arise from each award requiring different levels of learning, and demonstration of competence in different units of competency. In turn this requires different levels of project work to be undertaken and associated evidence to be compiled, and this may require different levels of mentoring.

This strategic overview lists titles only – prospective CToPF candidates need to refer to criteria and standards for CToPF assessment, and award candidates need to refer to performance criteria for assessment / RPL against units of competency.
Pathway One
Attendance at individual face-to-face modules.
  • For people who just want to pick up some skills and approaches to help them do parts of their work better.
  • A Certificate of Attendance is given for each module.
Pathway Two
Certified ToP Facilitator (CToPF)
  • For people who want to facilitate sessions really well, with depth and rigour.
  • It involves completing all seven face-to-face modules above, and compiling evidence for assessment.
  • Specific assessment processes, criteria and standards apply to the CToPF.
Pathway Three
10443NAT Diploma of Facilitative Management
  • For people who use group facilitation processes as one part of their everyday roles to manage collaboration, consultation or engagement.
  • Examples include: executive officers, community development officers, relationship managers, extension officers, and coordinators.
  • It involves completing Modules 1-5 above, and mentoring to develop assessment evidence.
  • Specific assessment processes, criteria and standards apply to the four units of competency of the Diploma.
    DFMGFM501A Manage ToP facilitation processes
    DFMSTP502A Manage ToP strategic thinking and planning processes
    DFMDVS503A Facilitate within diverse value systems
    DFMPIN504A Facilitate principled influencing and negotiating
Pathway Four
10444NAT Graduate Diploma of Facilitative Leadership
  • For people for whom facilitative leadership is a major part of their roles.
  • Examples include: high-level change agents, senior managers and consultants, who may have a high level of responsibility and accountability for leading change interventions.
  • It involves completing Modules 1-7 above, and mentoring to develop assessment evidence.
  • Specific assessment processes, criteria and standards apply to the six units of competency of the Graduate Diploma.
    GFLGFI801A Lead ToP facilitation interventions
    GFLSTP802A Lead ToP strategic thinking and planning
    GFLDVS803A Lead within diverse value systems
    GFLPIN804A Lead through principled influencing and negotiating
    GFLSOC805A Lead social and organisational change
    GFLFVE806A Model the values and ethos of facilitative leadership