Professional Facilitator Certification Process

Written by Jerlyn Tang, IAF Certified™ Professional Facilitator | Master & Assessor


If you are keen on becoming a professional facilitator, I recommend that you consider certification with the International Association of Facilitators (IAF).

Why Certify with IAF?

Established since 1994, the International Association of Facilitators (IAF) is a professional organisation and association with members in more than 65 countries with chapter presence in many of these countries including Singapore.  As a professional association, IAF set internationally accepted industry standards, provide accreditation, support a community of practice, advocate and educate on the power of facilitation and embrace the diversity of facilitators.  See here for IAF Vision, Mission and Values.

Unlike some organisations and companies who train and certify trainees or participants, IAF has a strict assessment policy around conflict of interest.  It is also not tied to any commercial enterprise.  To earn the accreditation, one must have sufficient experience and skills as a process facilitator to demonstrate all 6 core facilitator competencies.  The 2-stage evidence-based assessment process used to be carried out face-to-face and the IAF has been exploring the possibility of offering the full CPF assessment online for years. COVID-19 pandemic has created a situation where the IAF could focus on developing a robust and reliable online assessment process that still ensures the highest quality standards set by the IAF can be met.

The quality rigour IAF put into each assessment is to deploy four assessors (with no conflict of interest) globally to assess our candidates, together with a process manager (PM) & a technical PM over two days. All candidates will go through a client engagement with their client-assessors, two interviews and a simulated demonstration on the assessment days, and then receive a full report around the evidence demonstrated for each core competencies within 2 weeks after the assessment days. When you pass and qualify as a Certified Professional Facilitator with the IAF, you know you have earned a truly accredited and  professional certification that is recognised internationally.

IAF Core Competencies

The accreditation as a Certified Professional Facilitator with the IAF is based on six core competencies which was developed over several years with the support of its facilitators and members all over the world.  The six core competencies form the basic set of skills, knowledge, and behaviours that facilitators must have in order to be successful facilitating in a wide variety of environments.  Initially developed 20 years and revised in 2003,  a team of CPF assessors including myself reviewed the six competencies and revised it to the latest version in 2021.  Click here for latest revised version of  IAF Core Competencies.

How Do I Become an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator?

It is a common mistake to think that facilitating learning in training or coaching context is process facilitation, and unprepared candidates going through certification often ended up learning the hard way of not getting through even at stage one of the assessment.  Hence, I do recommend that you attend formal facilitation courses designed and conducted by qualified process facilitators to get a good grasp of what process facilitation is and is not.  You are likely to get a deeper understanding and appreciation of IAF Facilitator Core Competencies by attending facilitation courses conducted by IAF Certified Process Facilitators than other trainers.

Your next step is to look for opportunities to practice and hone your facilitator skills.  Once you think you are ready, you can start going to IAF website to apply for your certification.

There are currently 4 levels of certification on the IAF Professional Development Path, as follows:

  • IAF Endorsed™ Facilitator (EF)
  • IAF Certified™ Professional Facilitator (CPF)
  • IAF Certified™ Professional Facilitator | Master (CPF | M)
  • IAF Certified™ Professional Facilitator | Emeritus (CPF | E)

Professional Development for Process Facilitators

If you are keen on developing as an effective meeting manager or process facilitator in alignment with the IAF Competencies, you can start by joining as a member of IAF (membership fee: US $200 for year, US$380 for 2 years, US$540 for 3 years) and get free or membership rate for attending global/regional conferences or workshops, local chapter activities, and free access to IAF online facilitation method library.

If you are based in Singapore and think you need some good grounding on facilitation skills, you may wish to consider attending the 16-hour Change@Werk Facilitation Skills Workshop that covers both theory and practical for in-person and online facilitation which will enable you to become better facilitators and effective meeting managers.  Upon completion of the 2-day workshop, you will be awarded a serialised Change@Werk Certificate of Completion for Facilitation Skills Workshop which can serve as part of your application for your facilitation certification with the IAF.

Being one of the 40 plus Certified Assessors globally with the IAF Certification Programme for facilitators, I personally believe that Change@Werk Facilitation Skills Workshop would be able to lay a good foundation for participants to become effective facilitators on the ground.  In terms of opportunities for practice and facilitation work, I am also likely to seek out past participants who have expressed their interest to work or collaborate with me.  If you are a IAF member, I am more than happy to connect you to other facilitation opportunities by the local chapter or IAF community.

Hope you find reading this article useful and feel free to drop a note or connect with me via LinkedIn.

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