An Extraordinary Facilitation Training & Learning Community

Make this the Year That You Commit To Taking Your Facilitation to A Mastery Level

The ToP Network and ICA are pleased to sponsor Mastering the Technology of Participation (MToP), an intensive, stimulating and skill enhancing learning experience that will enable all who participate to significantly improve their facilitation and facilitative leadership capabilities.

This year-long program provides 12 days of training in three day increments quarterly along with opportunities for mentoring, further study and practice. It will be offered on the East Coast and in Minneapolis, MN.

If you love ToP Facilitation Methods and other ToP methodologies, MToP promises to deepen and increase your ease and enjoyment of using these methods with groups while it brings you new tools, processes and capabilities. MToP also offers a certification track to help you prepare for facilitator professional certification!

You will train and co-learn with an ongoing cohort of other facilitators led by senior ToP trainers.

Deepen Your Facilitation Journey

MToP was created for those wishing to become highly skilled ToP facilitators. The course covers the rich and engaging theory underpinning the ToP methods, introduces new applications and new facilitation tools, and ensures regular opportunities for practice and feedback. It includes:

Learning Intensives: The intensives provide for depth practice and interchange with colleagues functioning as a learning community.

  • Intensive One: Facilitating Depth Reflection
  • Intensive Two: Facilitating Consensus Building
  • Intensive Three: Orchestrating Group Action
  • Intensive Four: Designing for Transformative Change

Field experience: Practice and ongoing project learning is assigned between the Intensives, including:

  • Practical applications of ToP facilitation methods between training sessions are encouraged and training faculty will support participants who need to identify practice opportunities.
  • Participants design an individually-tailored research project that is conducted throughout the year.
  • Course materials including an MToP Handbook and the Institute of Cultural Affairs book, Art of Focused Conversation and the Workshop Book.
  • For those interested in joining the Certification track, participation in a certification cohort group is offered


  • Group mentoring meetings with colleagues and a mentor facilitator to help you increase your ability to design diverse facilitated meeting processes.
  • Co-facilitation or observation of facilitation opportunities – experience methods in action.
  • Advice and feedback to foster growth and insight from mentor facilitators.

What you will gain

  • Increased capacity to help teams focus their creativity toward effective action and productivity.
  • New, practical tools for initiating and sustaining organization or community change.
  • Skills for designing facilitations and complex change processes.
  • Learning through practice and through support from a community of colleagues committed, like you, to advancing their facilitation skills.
  • Understanding the relationship of ToP methods to other facilitation and organizational development methods.

Participant Prerequisites

  • Completion of the ToP Facilitation Methods Course; completion of ToP Strategic Planning is desirable or can be completed during the training year.
  • Commitment to individual and team-oriented learning.
  • High level of seriousness and playfulness. Commitment to participate in the quarterly learning intensives and to conduct some learning on your own time.
  • Willingness to explore and present on a research question as part of the field experience.
  • Support from an organization or client base within which to apply/practice facilitation skills and willingness to commit time to develop your skills.


The year-long Mastering ToP (MToP) program is designed for leaders who want to master their engagement and facilitation skills and expand their competencies. You will learn more about ToP method theory, acquire and apply new tools, practice with real clients, and share feedback with peers and certified professionals.

Learning Intensives:

Each quarter, MToP cohorts meet in-person for three days of intensive work.

 Intensive 1: Facilitating Depth Reflection
Learn to enhance participatory environments, and dive into focused conversation, wave methodology, and image shift methods.

Intensive 2: Facilitating Consensus Building
Focus on the consensus workshop method and its many variations, while exploring how to create multi-sensory environment.

Intensive 3: Orchestrating Group Action
Co-facilitate Action Planning sessions with real clients and deepen understanding of Strategic Planning methods.

Intensive 4: Designing for Transformative Change

  • Learn how to design exceptional events and produce effective results.
  • Discover how to integrate other methods.
  • Deliver a presentation on your Personal Inquiry Project.

Field Experience:

  • Practice and ongoing project learning between intensives
  • Apply methods between training sessions.
  • Develop a Personal Inquiry Project.
  • Receive course materials, including an MToP Handbook, digital resources, and books: The Art of Focused Conversation and The Workshop Book.
  • Those interested in certification can receive targeted support.


  • Group mentoring meetings with colleagues and a mentor facilitator
  • Enhance your ability to design a diverse array of meetings.
  • Experience methods in action through joint facilitation and observation.
  • Receive and share feedback to foster growth and insight from mentor facilitators.


You can register for this course or see all the courses available this calendar year by visiting

NOTE: An income tax deduction is allowed for educational expenses (including tuition, travel, meals and lodging) undertaken to maintain and improve professional skills (see Treasury Regulation 1.162-5 or Coughlin vs. Commissioner 203-f. 2nd 307).

Large Organizations $5,500
Government Organizations $5,000
Self-Employed and Midsize Orgs (budget 1-5M) $4,500
Students and Small NonProfits (budget less than 1M) $3,500
Early bird rate: (10% off price above if registered eight weeks in advance

“When I signed up for MToP, I anticipated learning new techniques for getting diverse groups to work together more productively. I got that and more. I tapped into the collective wisdom of a unique group of social pioneers who know how to make participations work. MToP transformed my consulting business in ways I never imagined.”

John D. Baker, Strategies for the Future, Austin

“There are many reasons why this will be one of the most valuable experiences in life for you.
~ You will be much better prepared to communicate effectively with colleagues on issues that require consensus especially if you have the role of facilitator.
~ The skills you acquire will be very helpful even in your personal interactions with other people in your life.
~ You will get to meet and build relationship with caring, committed and focused individuals whose life work will probably resonate with yours.”

Suganya Sockalingam, TeamWorks, Las Vegas

“I feel I have significantly improved my skills in facilitation and have substantially increased my self-confidence in my work as a facilitator. I am confident I will be able to use my skills in future work.”

Maureen White Eagle, White Eagle Law, Minneapolis

This course took my tired, worn-out, unscientific facilitation methods and transformed them into a really effective, research-based set of skills.”

Linda Huffman, Independent Consultant, Chico

“This course ignites the possibility for individual creativity. The GFM tools become living processes that will catalyze current and existing work applications. I can’t imagine changing the world without these tools, insights and mentor supports.”

Rebecca Gilgen, Hennepin Co, Strategic Initiatives and Citizen Engagement

Through MToP I now have a wide variety of competencies and skills for participatory methods that I can draw upon for many different situations. In short I am now a much more competent facilitator.”

Bob Lanter, Contra Costa County Workforce Development Board

The MToP course is one of the most enjoyable, interesting and practically useful professional development courses I have taken. ICA has assembled a tremendous set of tools, methods, theories and real-world experience for the MToP participants. This course has altered my thinking and will be with me the rest of my life. I encourage you to attend this course.”

Joe Schafer, Heifer International, AR

“The MToP training takes the learning from the GFM and PSP and ingrains it into my natural thinking process. I feel more confident and am better able to understand the needs of people and the organizations I work with. Through this experience, I have increased my commitment to continue my learning process.”

Rudy Gonzales, Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, Riverside

“This is an excellent training not only for facilitation but also for a life journey. This training helped me to secure not only a major grant but also a great job!”

Dionisio Salazar, United Methodist Church, Global Missions, Austin

“This workshop was one of the most powerful learning experiences of my career. It prepared me to facilitate multiple situations and groups. It is the most participatory process I have ever encountered and consistently produces positive intentional outcomes. A major part of this institute is personal growth which is as essential as learning new skills. This MToP Institute is A#1 and beyond.”

Dr. Connie Brooks, School of Nursing, Univ. of Missouri