Convergent Facilitation FAQ Header

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Convergent Facilitation?

Convergent Facilitation is a 3-phase process that makes it possible for groups to make decisions about matters of significance to all people with a stake in the outcome. Its aim is a decision that everyone can wholeheartedly embrace even if it’s not their preference.


The 3 phases are:
– Gathering a criteria list based on what’s truly important to all involved 
– Coming up with one or more proposals for how to attend to the criteria
– Working with the proposals and the criteria to find a solution that is acceptable to all without overstretching into compromise


The process lays the cornerstones of a productive meeting:


  • Building enough trust in the room for people to voice their real concerns

  • Transforming disagreement about positions into agreement about principles, so the group can focus on problem-solving together

  • Attending to everyone’s needs and concerns, which gives people room to stretch, shift, adapt, and even advocate for others

  • Encouraging honesty while crafting agreements, so no one says they’re willing to compromise and then sabotages the decision later

Convergent Facilitation generates decisions that stick because they have everyone’s wholehearted support. It works for quick emergency response, long-term team projects, ad-hoc task forces, and even highly polarized groups, like the longtime political enemies who recently used this process to pass landmark legislation in Minnesota. Read the case study.

How does this compare to other facilitation methodologies?

Other facilitation courses teach participants how to set an agenda, brainstorm, prioritize, squelch dissent, and end a meeting on time. They don’t address the underlying reasons decisions don’t stick and change doesn’t happen—there isn’t enough trust for people to voice their real concerns, the conflicts people have aren’t addressed to anyone’s satisfaction, and people say they’re willing to compromise in the moment and then sabotage the decision later on.

Convergent Facilitators are taught how to embrace dissent and integrate it in the final decision in a way that works for everybody.

Workshops on negotiation and influencing teach participants the importance of compromise and how to strategically withhold information so they give up as little as possible to achieve their desired outcome in a zero sum world.

Convergent Facilitation gives participants strategies for sharing everything that matters to everyone involved and transcending a scarcity mindset to find breakthrough solutions that optimize resources in innovative and creative ways.

What are the conditions for successful collaboration?

  • Clear shared purpose that is practical and not ideological: how we are going to solve a problem we have rather than what our opinion about something is

  • Active stake in the outcome: we are all going to be impacted by what happens

  • Authority: we either have the actual authority to implement our decision, or we are so constituted as to have moral authority by virtue of how representative we are

  • Willingness: this is the trickiest one.  There needs to be at least some basic willingness to aim for an outcome that works for all, even if there is skepticism about that being possible

  • Facilitation: there needs to be active, solid facilitation with a process designed for coming together, whether it is Convergent Facilitation or not, by a person who has lots of skill and lots of faith in the possibility, since that faith is unlikely within the group. 

Can we bring you into facilitate a decision rather than teach a training?

Sure. Our consultants use Convergent Facilitation to guide meetings for existing teams or for specific configurations of stakeholders. Whatever the topic or purpose of the meeting, we support everyone in clearly articulating what’s important to them, making clear requests about what would move the group forward, hearing fully any concerns that arise, and reaching decisions that attend to the needs of all participants and the organization as a whole. Our facilitation process creates accountability and follow-through without increasing stress.

Are you interested in bringing in a Convergent Facilitator? Contact Us.

Convergent Facilitation