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The Right Stuff of Great Teachers & Facilitators – A Round Up from You

I recently posed the question, “What makes for a great facilitator?” I offered my reflection on 3 qualities of great teachers, namely versatility, confidence, and authenticity – and especially a “no guru” status.

And then you sent me yours. Here’s a round up of keen insights from some of you – each of you amazing teachers, mentors, and facilitators.


Purpose-Driven, knowing towards a future that doesn’t exist in the present situation.

Passionate, not passive, actively focused on her mission.

Wise, discerning in making crucial decisions at various points.

Compassionate, constantly looking back over the shoulder to CARE FOR the people that were following – open heart, self-less-ness; yet careful with self-needs.

Charismatic, empowered with mental, physical, and spiritual strengths AND weaknesses.

 Good Communicator, excellent in articulating at orating and well-versed in public speaking.

Persistent, that reaching a destination is constantly filled with (apparent) failures; yet, realizing that reaching the ‘goal’ was greater than that of the painful impediments experienced.

Integral, keeping words with follow up actions with no two-faced political games.

Courageous, the virtue that all other assets are built upon in the pursuit of ‘dreams.’.

Disciplined, not easily distracted or discouraged, keeping a steady helm despite stormy seas and or any circumstances.

-Bill Rick, Poets’ Corner, Addison, TX


One that I would add is “Giving.” If the student is willing to give their attention and hard work, then the teacher should be giving in their guidance. In this two-way giving, the student learns a great deal and, maybe, the teacher, too. I have had great teachers who exhibited this quality, and I will always be grateful for it.
Thanks, Jeffrey.

Jon Mertz, author of the Thin Difference Blog and VP of Marketing, Corepoint Health


I’m glad you emphasized “versatility.” As a teacher I’ve really worked on that a lot. For me it means understanding that different people approach knowledge in different ways. It’s easy for me to teach someone who thinks like me; the challenge is to find the different ways a topic can be taught to different people.

Patrick Ross, writer, instructor at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD, and author of The Artist’s Road blog


A wonderful woman friend, sister poet gives me that very space in which I feel known, and safe, and upheld, but not offered prescriptions or Band-Aids.

Photo by Charles Brody

We celebrate each other’s creativity.

Polly Alcott (aka Polly Brody, poet & author of Stirring Shadows and other books) of CT




The quality that came to me as I was reading was humility.

With humility, facilitators provide that space where everyone has a voice, where they feel safe to share that voice, and know that their contributions are recognized and valued.

Kim Manley Ort, photographer, writer, and author of 365 Days of Inspiration blog


[Note: The following comes from a letter that Kate Miller wrote her mentor extraordinaire, her dissertation adviser, Vera John Steiner, author of Creative Collaboration.]

“The process of growth requires resolution of the contradictory tensions between the social embeddedness of learning and the creative individual’s drive toward a personal voice.  When a young artist or scientist begins upon a unique path by declaring his or her identity … he or she needs the assistance of others to overcome the limitations of a single view and to face public criticism or rejection.  The demands of solitary work are coupled with those of participation with others in their creative fields through the lifespan of gifted individuals.”
– Vera John-Steiner  Notebook of the Minds. p 208)

Your insights facilitated my finding direction and focus, stretching my sense of who I was and who I could be in a land that felt unfamiliar.  I felt your partnership, collaboration, and a practiced nimbleness as you guided me along my way. You gave me room to be myself and added generously to my thinking, nudging me to broaden my own, helping me tease apart my own concepts.

Kate Miller, Senior Partner at Design Training Collaborative and Faculty at Academy for Coaching and NLP 


Hi, Jeffrey,

The mentor who held everything in equanimity was my writing group facilitator, Kate.  She simultaneously mirrored to me what was working (in my creative work)
and held back judging me for the “rough” parts. She was able to hold a steadiness and acceptance for what “is” and also took care of herself and her own practice.

Being mirrored with kindness makes me feel it’s worth working on those pieces. In a way it has nothing to do with writing, and everything to do with permission to be just as I am, at this moment, and to actually engage with my work, my practice, my life, with my whole self.

Anybody might be an amazing life mentor if they have learned to love and respect their own heart and cultivate its light and intelligence in this world.

Namaste to you, Jeffrey!
Wendy Dawn Bienvenu, yogini & writer


What say you? What other examples or insights of great teachers and facilitators can you share?

See you in the woods,
Join The Tribe: Yoga As Muse TRIBE Facilitator Training – Early-Bird Discount Deadline, Mar 15

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