Building Bridges with Basketball: Learnings about Facilitation with Tony McGarahan

Workshops.Work · February 21, 2024

About Track

From the basketball courts of Northern Ireland to the C-suites of tech giants, Tony McGarahan just can’t stop coaching!

After a decade at Google, Tony set up his own training and people development company, People Playbook. Calling on experience from Sweden to Singapore, Tony’s honed his skills worldwide and with a huge range of groups.

In that time, he’s found some common truths and universal experiences. He shares them in this episode — dribbling between basketball and facilitation, coaching and learning design, and more.

Find out about:

  • What Tony learned from a decade in Google’s People operations
  • Why he set out to create People Playbook at the onset of the pandemic and how he grew the business
  • How his qualification as a basketball coach has helped him grow as a facilitator and coach
  • What facilitators can learn about sustainable performance and why financial incentives are never enough
  • Why authenticity and humility are so important — for modelling to the group and as a principle of practice
  • How to facilitate in the margins to help a successful, effective group continue developing

Don’t miss the next episode: subscribe to the show with your favourite podcast player.

And download the free 1-page summary, so you can always have the key points of this episode to hand.

Put the episode's best takeaways into practice with Skillding. Visit to begin your journey from learning to doing. Track your progress as you hone your new skills. Start now!


Watch the video recording of this episode on YouTube.

People Playbook.

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About Creator


The world is waking up to the power of facilitation. Whether it's hosting a workshop, holding better meetings, or leading happy and productive teams - we want to make collaboration easy and effective. Dr. Myriam Hadnes is the founder of NeverDoneBefore, a global online facilitation community and festival, and this is her podcast. 'workshops work' is 50% sandbox and 50% classroom, a safe space for anyone interested in facilitation to learn more about the craft. Each week, a professional facilitator, trainer, or coach joins Myriam to discuss their interests and experiences in the world of facilitation. The conversations are open, and honest, and make facilitation understandable and accessible to all.Get practical tips and advice from a raft of experts and uncover the magic ingredients that make workshops work. You can download a free 1-page summary of each episode on

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Track Includes

  • 6 Key Takeaways