Tips for faciliating group discussions

So - we’ve asked you to be a Squad Mod, but you’ve never facilitated a group session like this before? It’s normal to be a little nervous, but know that all you have to do is be friendly, listen actively, and ask follow-up questions - just like any networking, or any conversation with friends.

First of all, it’s important to be warm and friendly. When you introduce yourself, you set the tone for the Squad - so prepare a few personal details to share. Do you have kids? Pets? Hobbies? Don’t hide them! Be your authentic, genuine self. 

From the start, you have the opportunity to set the tone in the group, building trust and rapport. The vulnerability of Squad members in sharing their experiences and challenges is important to building this trust; you should set an example by honestly, openly, and bravely sharing some of your experiences. 

Over time, you can also play an important role in holding the group accountable: reminding the Squad of your meeting agendas, helping members set and remember their goals, and dissolving any problems or disagreements in the group. If something comes up that you feel you can’t handle, you can always email squads@ellevatenetwork.com and we’ll help you figure out how to handle any situation.  

Asking Questions


One of the best things you can do as a Squad Mod is to ask questions and wait for answers, letting other members of the group think and respond. Questions keep the conversation flowing; really good questions help Squad members self-reflect. 

Tip: Facilitating your Squad’s meetings are a great opportunity to practice asking succinct questions and letting others respond, instead of rambling and filling the silence. It’s a key negotiation skill!

At the same time, be careful not to interrupt - everyone should get a chance to speak, not just you. If you notice someone hasn’t spoken up in a while, address them directly with a question and wait for them to respond. 

Getting-to-Know-You Questions 


Keep these in your back pocket when you want to dig deeper into someone’s role - especially if they’re in a different industry from you. (These are borrowed from First Round Review; of course, any of your favorite networking questions will work perfectly.)

  • What drew you to work in this particular industry?

  • What advantage do you offer over your competitors that get customers to choose you?

  • Tell me about the business model — who pays whom and who is delivering value to whom?

  • It sounds like you’ve been successful? What makes someone unsuccessful in the role?

  • What’s your favorite part of your job and why?

Hot Seat Questions


Hot Seats are designed to help each member of the Squad have an opportunity to dive deep into her goals and challenges. As the Squad Mod, you can make Hot Seats more effective by asking great follow-up questions that help the Hot Seat member self-reflect.

  • What one thing would you change about this situation? 

  • What’s one first step you could take towards this goal? 

  • What have you done about this so far, and what happened? 

  • What has prevented you from taking action?

  • What is it about this situation that you find upsetting?

  • What assumptions are you making in this situation? How could you verify them?

  • What are your criteria and measurements for succeeding at this goal?

  • What could we, members of the Squad, do to support you?

Read More: How is the program structured? 

FAQ: What if someone doesn’t show up for their Hot Seat?

For the Curious: Coaching Frameworks & Tips


Having a background as a coach is absolutely not required to be a Squad Mod; as a peer to the members of your Squad, you have the knowledge and empathy within you to facilitate group conversations. 

However, if you’re feeling nervous about your Squad meetings or you want to beef up your Squad Mod skills, research some popular coaching frameworks and coaching questions. Many Squad Mods who are professional coaches have told us that their skills and training helped them tremendously. One framework you can start with is the GROW model, which is right at home in the Squad’s Hot Seat structure. 

We also recommend watching Jen Farrer's top-rated Jam Session, How to Have Coaching Conversations.

Read Next: Tips from Top Squad Mods