Facilitation is a style of teaching or leadership that puts the learner, employee, or group at the center of the process. To take teaching as an example, traditional teaching is directive and prescriptive, telling the learner what to learn and how. A facilitating teacher will allow the learner or learners to direct the course, acting in a consultative capacity to help them achieve the goals they set.
While there are different ways of facilitating, this nondirective element is a common theme. In language learning, for instance, a traditional course in any medium is prescriptive, telling you what you need to learn and in what order. A language teacher who is facilitating is more likely to begin by asking the student or the group why they are learning the language and what they hope to be able to do. Are they settling in another country, going on holiday there, reading the literature, or broadening their intellectual horizons? The students choose what they want to learn, and the facilitator helps them by providing resources, ideas, and expertise. Facilitation also tends to focus on positive achievements rather than mistakes. It is often viewed as most appropriate for adult learners who are working at their own pace.
Facilitation in a workplace setting is likely to be somewhat more prescriptive, in that the problem to be solved is likely to be fixed already. However, the facilitator will again provide resources and expertise to allow employees or groups of employees to address the problem in their own way.