Interpersonal and Group Dynamics: Facilitator Community

Since 2006, Yale School of Management has offered a course called Interpersonal and Group Dynamics (IPD). The curriculum is designed to help students build the mindsets and skills that allow them to develop more effective and satisfying interpersonal relationships in both professional and personal contexts. Consistently, this course has been one of the most sought-after options at the school.

The learning goals of the Interpersonal and Group Dynamics course are to:

  • Employ the right mindsets and skills to influence and lead the building of more open, effective, and rewarding relationships, even with people whom you may initially experience as difficult.
  • Identify and pursue personal learning goals aimed at improving interpersonal effectiveness.
  • “Learn how to learn” interpersonally via the continuous practice of risk taking, disclosure, and feedback skills in service of evolving learning goals.

Most of the learning in this course is experiential and takes place in small groups.  A key distinguishing feature of the IPD experience is the Lab Group-- a weekly, three-hour practicum on learning through human interaction. Each Lab Group consists of 12 students and two facilitators who are carefully selected for their demonstrated effective commitment to the learning principles and practices of this course.  All facilitators are trained in IPD pedagogical methods and provide skilled facilitation for this component of the course. 

In order to prepare facilitators to take on this role with confidence and effectiveness, Yale SOM sponsors the development of a professional learning community, the members of which serve as facilitators for the IPD course and its applications.

Prof. Heidi Brooks
Prof. Heidi Brooks
Senior Lecturer in Organizational Behavior

Training in IPD Facilitation: What’s Involved

Training in IPD facilitation represents a substantial commitment of time and effort by Yale SOM faculty, experienced facilitators, and selected trainees. Our expectation is that participants will commit to co-facilitating a Lab Group at Yale SOM in the immediate term of their training year, and ideally in future years as well.

All facilitators, new and returning, will have the option to attend learning events offered exclusively to this community on an ongoing basis. The process of developing interpersonal skills is one of lifelong learning; even when the skill set is well developed and comfort level is high, continued growth within facilitators can occur with a sustained investment in this kind of work over time. While only the first year contains a structured on-boarding process, we think of the training as a three-year sequence.

Program Benefits

All facilitators receive a modest honorarium, commensurate with time in the program. Facilitators may also value access to the following:
  • All IPD didactic materials
  • The option to attend IPD classes and participate as an auditor
  • A structure within which facilitators identify a learning goal and work on it rigorously throughout the semester, with the support of colleagues and faculty
  • Access to a professional community through weekly meetings (dinner served) and special multi-day learning events
  • Regular interaction with IPD faculty
Facilitators also continue their intellectual and experiential learning about the dynamics of interpersonal processes, including:
  • How interpersonal learning occurs
  • How to engage in more direct, authentic interaction with others
  • Understanding your communication preferences and biases
  • Diagnosing group dynamics and intervening to promote groups that work
  • Receiving real-time feedback on your communication style
  • Practicing working through disagreements and misunderstandings
  • Developing the tools to repair relationships and damage caused by miscommunication
  • Identifying behaviors that build or erode trust and safety
  • Developing practice around taking risks and disclosing personal thoughts and feelings
  • Balancing group membership with group leadership

Members of the Yale SOM IPD Facilitator Community 

  • “IPD helps me be a more empathic, effective leader. It is further important to me because it helps me connect with people to find opportunities to work together to create bigger impact than we can on our own.”Michelle Cote
    Managing Director, Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, University of Connecticut
  • “As I grow in leadership roles, I need to understand my impact. Facilitating in IPD is a nice way to do that because I am also helping others do the same along the way.”Melissa Davis ’17, MD
    Yale New Haven Hospital Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging
    Co-founder, Sepsis Dx
  • “I find IPD a necessary and valuable pathway to learn about oneself, through exposure to the perspectives of others, in a safe learning environment. And I enjoy helping others do the same along the way.”John Kim ’14
    Chief Medical Dosimetrist, Yale New Haven Hospital
  • “I believe that there exists a better version of our society, and I continue to participate as an IPD Facilitator year after year so that I can help create that better version, in collaboration with others who are different from me.”Yvette Hoyos Bello
    Senior Community Investments Officer, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving
  • “I find the Lab Group effective in helping individuals in a group to unfold our true personas, a process which crosses both our professional and personal lives.”Victor Padilla-Taylor ‘15, MBA, MAM
    Global Leadership Fellow, World Economic Forum
    Senior Community Manager, Mobility Industries
  • “I love facilitating because it helps prepare young leaders to navigate relationships in an increasingly complex world. I feel lucky to be part of this dynamic, challenging, empathic process, and to help develop leaders who are not only business savvy, but the stewards of society.”Preetha Nooyi ’13, MBA
    Trend and Innovation Manager, The Hain Celestial Group