Diversity and Power Training Info

This Diversity and Power Training is a balance between Groupwork Institute input and a focus on people’s particular learning needs and challenges.

We work with you to ensure that our experiential training process meets the learning needs of your team.

Training Outline


Workplace training start times can be between 9.00am and 9.30am and finish times can be between 4.30 and 5.00pm, or as negotiated.

  • Welcome and introductions
  • Agenda and agreements
  • Participants’ learning needs
  • What is diversity?
  • Diversity principles

Morning Tea

  • Groupwork Institute’s self-awareness model
  • Diversity micro-skills – input and practice using participant’s learning needs
  • Practice


  • Dealing with challenges using skills learned
  • Practice

Afternoon Tea

  • Work on other learning needs using skills learned
  • Reflection on the day’s learning
  • Evaluation

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Training content – Diversity and Power

This one day training is a balance between Groupwork Institute input, and a focus on people’s particular diversity learning needs and challenges. The finer details of the content can be negotiated prior to and at the beginning of the workshop.

Specific input would draw from the following areas:

Understanding ourselves in groups and the role of the unconscious

The more we understand our own inner ‘selves’ and their interplay, the better facilitators we will be. Come prepared to know (and accept) yourself better!

The components of this are:

  • self-awareness and knowing what ‘presses our buttons’
  • getting to know and working on the fears and other self-limiting messages that hold us back as group facilitators
  • developing the emotional resilience to manage our own reactions when faced with challenging group dynamics

Essential principles of diversity

When working with diversity we need to have a strong, clear value base.  We will look at:

  • the central values and principles of diversity
  • the role of the facilitator
  • how diversity can enable great outcomes when well facilitated – great minds think differently!
  • the importance of compassion in facilitation, especially when there is potential conflict
  • how when diversity in groups is named and discussed, it can contribute to better relationships.

Understanding diversity

This is a complex arena. Depending on people’s interests, we could focus on the relevant points below:

  • understanding different perspectives
  • understanding how diversity is played out within various setting
  • understanding that we are guests in other people’s cultures
  • appreciating there is much we do not know about other cultures
  • dominant/non dominant groups and their effect on groups
  • encouraging and working with diversity
  • harnessing the strengths of diverse perspectives
  • understanding how our own rank effects our endeavours
  • dealing with myths and misunderstandings
  • embracing helpful attitudes to diversity
  • cultural awareness
  • working with diversity
  • communicating across differences

Diversity micro-skills

There are a range of skills essential to working with diversity. Some of these skills will be familiar to you, some will be new. In this training, we will introduce a number of Groupwork Institute’s micro-skills. For example:

  • naming and normalising
  • validating
  • summarising
  • helping people hear each other
  • poking around
  • hearing and validating people’s contribution
  • say more
  • welcoming difference – facilitating strongly held differing views
  • dealing with un-named dynamics

Other input

This can be determined by the topics participants want to focus on and could be expanded into a second training day.

Other topics could include:

  • practical components of getting along together at work
  • giving and receiving workplace feedback
  • handling challenging conversations wisely
  • conflict resolution skills

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Capacity to undertake this training

The Groupwork Institute has been providing independent facilitation services since 1984, and has been training facilitators since 1998. In 2001 we first offered the year long Advanced Diploma of Group Facilitation.

This training draws from:

  • Our own model of collaborative practice which has evolved from our experience of working with a wide range of groups and organisations since 1984.
  • The Rank, Power and Diversity Unit which we have developed as part of the Advanced Diploma of Group Facilitation. This Advanced Diploma is approved by the Australian Skills Quality Authority – Course Code 10386NAT – as the world’s first nationally accredited facilitation qualification.
  • Our experience working with various organisations on the topic of diversity. This includes work with:

Diversity areas we have focused on

Since 1984, our work has journeyed into many areas of cultural and organisational diversity, and the need to build tolerance and respect across considerable and complex differences. Some examples of this include:

  • working with a wide range of Aboriginal organisations in both rural and urban settings.
  • working with the Vietnamese communities in the 1980s when they first arrived in Australia, developing a variety of programs to help them ‘land on their feet’.
  • working with aid agencies (Oxfam, Red Cross, World Vision) involving working regularly with people from diverse nations.
  • working with Kosovo refugees when they were based at Puckapunyal Army base.
  • working with many multicultural organisations
  • working with people with low levels of formal education, (all our training is developed in ways that are easily understood and readily applied).
  • Many instances where the need for tolerance and respect is more subtle, but just as powerfully present – eg, across mental illness, intellectual and physical disability, income differences, age, gender, rank differences, educational level differences.
  • Irrespective of people’s educational levels – we believe that adults all bring a wide variety of life experience into any training. Our work is based on honouring what people already know – and building on that experience.
  • Facilitating town meetings where communities are seeking to find a way forward with controversial issues.
  • Facilitating forums where we need to bring together multiple stakeholders with very different perspectives.
  • We work extensively with community organisations and are very familiar with their workplace realities.

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