Serious Work Masterclass Review

Experienced professionals practicing facilitation

By SeriousPlayPro founder and SeriousWork co-author Marko Rillo

In July I attended Serious Work LEGO Serious Play masterclass with Sean. When I entered his training venue I met enthusiastic Sean who graciously introduced us to the venue, to the bricks and to each other.

We were a small group of 6 participants. It turned out that we were all experienced professionals with up and running practices. Not just a random group of people. We were all actively using different coaching, facilitation, and training tools. Some of us were familiar with LEGO Serious Play methodology. Some witnessed it for the first time.

For me this was the third structured opportunity to attend a LEGO Serious Play training. First occasion a dozen years ago was just a brief introduction to create curiosity to learn and practice myself. In 2009, I attended a full 4-day LEGO Serious Play training workshop under the auspices of LEGO Corporation. Both earlier occasions allowed me observe LEGO Serious Play workshop unfolding, but did not provide much chance for practice.

This time was different. Sean organized a true masterclass. He explained just briefly the philosophy of LEGO Serious Play and thereafter turned it over to us. We took turns whereby we all practiced a round of facilitation using gradually more complex LEGO Serious Play facilitation tasks. Each iteration was finalized with a quick summary – what was good, what could the lead facilitator consider improving next time. As a result, we all had many opportunities for taking a driver seat and each time witnessed another very experienced practitioner showing his best skills as a facilitator.

Sean orchestrated with a detailed facilitation and training roadmap with 5-minute intervals, it did not feel as a “managed training event” where you are rushed through tasks so that a trainer can merely tick all the “training outputs delivered” boxes.

This careful orchestration of structure and freedom turned out as a nice learning experience where we probably obtained 80 per cent of our skills just observing others. Sandrine showed how to apply LEGO Serious Play work to self. Mireia opened our eyes for observing detail. Silvio suggested how we can increase enthusiasm of the participants. Will demonstrated skill of neutral and supportive probing to gain deeper meaning of the LEGO artefacts and of ourselves. Euan helped us widen our perspective of practices for closure of workshops.

We all had safe environment to freely experiment with different new techniques. So, in this sense the masterclass was a true play experience. Playing to see what works and what does not.

Sean’s Serious Work masterclass made me contemplate about the general trends in facilitation practice. Consultants, coaches, and councillors are expected to continuously attend training events to up their professional certification. So far there is no similar requirement exists for professional facilitators. Until that time – thumbs up for more masterclasses that help us learn.

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