ToP Public Courses

ToP Public Courses

ToP Facilitation Methods (TFM)

The foundational ToP  methods training that introduces two core ToP methods: the Focused Conversation and the Consensus Workshop. You also learn how to lead a broad and flexible design for Action Planning. You will see the methods in action, practice using them and leave ready to use them. The training comes with a comprehensive manual to support your application of the methods. Two-day training.

ToP Strategic Planning (TSP)


ToP Strategic Planning is a structured methodology that releases individual and group creativity and deep thought around strategic issues and directions.This course provides practice in using the powerful ToP methods in a highly effective, proven application supporting groups in dynamic, consensual strategic thinking.The methods you learn are structured, yet highly flexible.

This approach to strategic planning covers:
Preparing for planning,Key methods to use in all strategic planning steps, steps and tools for bridging the strategic framework to a practical, doable implementation plan.ToP Strategic Planning will contribute to your ability to understand strategy and think strategically in all areas of your life.This model of strategic planning can be used by groups, teams, organizations, collaboratives—it is even helpful for couples, families and individuals. It includes creating a practical vision, addressing underlying blocks to moving forward, creating core strategic directions to drive change and bridging the strategic level to focused implementation for first year plans.The course is intensive with time to experience the model and see how all the steps are conducted. A comprehensive manual accompanies the course.If you have taken Top Facilitation Methods, this is the ideal course to advance your mastery journey in these methods.


Power of Image Shift

Facilitators seek to create environments, contexts, and processes that help move toward a desired future. Often what is holding the present in place — attitudes, practices, approaches — limits the ability to move forward. Image Shift methods help facilitators and their clients look more deeply at the current state and then, help “shift” the group toward the desired future.

This is a course for trainers, designers, facilitators, and others who lead people and group processes.


*Please note that ToP Facilitation Methods, or TFM, is a pre-requisite course.

Accelerated Action Planning

ToP Accelerated Action Planning
Need to quickly get everyone on the same page, create genuine buy-in, and think you don’t have enough time to plan? This Accelerated Action Planning (AAP) course will help you energize and align your team towards a common outcome in the time it takes to have a regular staff meeting. All the practical details that make for a successful project are covered.  AAP tools are especially useful for small teams of 4-10 members who are planning an event or project in the next 12 months or sooner.

 After taking this course you will be able to: 

  • Use a fast and engaging method to plan a project or event.
  • Implement an accelerated 8-step action planning process
  • Develop bold yet attainable project goals
  • Lead small group planning sessions
  • Motivate your team to embrace the plan
Who Should Take This Course?
  • Team leaders and team members
  • Managers
  • Project planers
  • Consultants
  • Facilitators
  • Volunteer organizers
  • Organizational change agents
  • Social change agents
  • Community workers
  • Produce a comprehensive high level action plan in 2 hours
  • Use of the ToP Accelerated Action Planning poster template tools to support continued project planning
  • Enjoy planning!


Facilitation for Innovation: Inspiring Group Creativity

Creativity is sparked through collaboration. While the “lone genius” remains a beloved cultural image, the science of creativity shows that connections among innovators are what enable breakthroughs, large and small. Groups and teams are a critical place to cultivate creative thinking for innovative solutions.

This highly interactive course introduces tools and practices that groups and teams can use to heighten their creativity quotient. We will cover creativity tools and methods that focus on:

  • Shaking Up the Mind –limbering up our habits of thought
  • Framing and Re-Framing Problems And Dilemmas – seeing a problem anew
  • Developing Creative Solutions-inspiring pathways for action

Come to this one-day course and expand your toolkit of creativity-inducing methods and tools. You will also receive a workbook with an expanded set of tools and resources.


Mastering the Technology of Participation (MToP)

Make 2017 the Year That You Commit to Taking Your Facilitation to a Mastery Level! CSF is pleased to sponsor Mastering the Technology of Participation (MToP), an intensive, stimulating and skill enhancing learning experience that enables all who participate to dramatically enhance their facilitation and facilitative leadership capabilities. This year long program provides 12 days of training in quarterly, three day increments along with opportunities for reflection, mentoring, further study, and practice. You will train and co-learn with an intimate group of other facilitators led by senior ToP practitioners. For those interested in becoming certified as a ToP facilitator, MToP will help you prepare for it. If you love the ToP Facilitation Methods and other ToP methodologies, MToP promises to deepen and increase your capacity to use these methods bringing you new tools, processes and capabilities with groups.

ToP Secrets of Implementation

Do your have difficulties sustaining a plan once it has been initiated? Do you sometimes have difficulties helping your clients stay on track, bring new people into a team and bring closure? This course is about keeping plans and projects alive, relevant, doable and achievable. There is a large and powerful component for peer mentoring in this course.

This course prepares participants to –
Understand and anticipate the ups and downs of the implementation journey
Initiate dynamic plans
Sustain momentum in plans that the team has created
Review and reposition projects that are in process
Bring closure to plans and celebrate the team’s work
Heidi Kolbe, a mentor trainer from Sacramento and one of the team that has designed the course, is the lead faculty for this course.

Locally Designed/ToP Based Courses


Making Data Dance: Collaborative Tools for Participatory Information Gathering and Analysis

Ever been bored to death by the tedious review of data? Ever been awash in data and yet have no useful information on which to make decisions or act? Learn how to design lively and useful data review sessions with full participant engagement in this one day session.The dictionary definition of  data is — “data – facts, figures, etc., known or available; information“. Information could be a budget, an annual report, a customer satisfaction survey, student performance data, a 1/2 sheet on a sticky wall. The question is how do we make this data dance, become real and meaningful to the people who need to use it for decision making.
Unlike “experts” collecting and analyzing data and then feeding it to participants, this course looks at participatory processes for data gathering and analysis.This course explores three real case studies of participatory data review that use 2 of the 3 ToP methods taught in the ToP Facilitation Methods course….. a data plunge day where multiple sets of evaluation data were reviewed, analyzed and used as a basis for the next year program planning…. customer satisfaction data collection (focused conversation and workshop method)…. multi-organizational reports at an annual planning meeting (focused conversation and   workshop method)Like other ICA  courses, you’ll actively participate and get a “hands-on” experience of the methods illustrated in the case studies.We’ll also look at how to collect information/data so that it is easier to review it in a group setting; how to design review processes so that all members of the group can participate and are interested; and how to use the review and analysis process as the first step to taking action.For those of you who are involved in getting stakeholder input on your work, you’ll  learn how to create a customer requirements matrix that gives you a quick and easy way to see how well customers perceive your products and/or services.And, as time permits we’ll look at situations which you bring to the course and explore how  to design a participatory process to improve your data review and analysis session.
Pre-requisite Course
Please note that ToP Facilitation Methods is a pre-requisite.
For More Information Contact: jane@strategicfacilitation.com

The Social Process Triangles Course

The Social Process triangles provide a well-tested approach to analyzing social situations.  For those working in local communities, issue campaigners, social networkers, faith-based groups, volunteers in service and public servants alike, the triangles can provide a simple and transparent tool for assessing and working with social dynamics.

  • Learn how to use social process triangles to help a group discover dynamics at work in their organization and the relationships between those dynamics.
  • Help them identify imbalances that affect the performance and discover strategies to support the changes desired.
  • Quickly assess complex factors impacting performance
  • Engage broad input based on objective data
  • Surface new understanding quickly

This day-long session includes a summary book covering the model in detail.  The Social Process Triangles, by Jon and Maureen Jenkins

Check out our latest MToP Video!

Contact us for more information.

Community of Practice

Several times a year CSF hosts a community of practice gathering at different locations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. The gatherings are a time for participants in our courses and a CSF partner or associate to surface questions about ToP methods, practice one of the skills and/or learn from a practicioner how they are applying the methods in a real life situation, making a difference in the world. The gatherings are held on different days and at different locations. Contact the person indicated in the CSF Enews or listed on our calendar to get more information. We welcome your participation.


Download 2018 Course List


Why ToP Training? Participation matters!
The ToP methods have a 35 year track record of getting results for communities, non-profits, business and government. By adding ToP skills to your toolkit, you deepen your capacity to honor diversity, integrate the contributions of everyone and move groups to decision and action.

Photo: Community Development Group: Tenderloin, SF

Photo: Community Development Group: Tenderloin, SF


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