Word Choice – Coordinate Versus Facilitate

Dee’s question: “Please provide some examples on the proper usage of the words ‘facilitates’ and ‘coordinates.’ ”

BizWritingTip response: “To facilitate” means to make something easier or less difficult. It also involves assisting or leading people to arrive at an understanding.

He was hired to facilitate a panel discussion on the economy. (He will not present his own opinions – just ensure the members of the panel explore the topic.)
Her presence will facilitate a speedy resolution to the problem. (A formal way of saying her presence will help us resolve the problem faster.)

“To co-ordinate” is to bring the various elements of an activity or organization into an agreeable or efficient relationship.

Please co-ordinate with the communications department to ensure the announcement goes out next week. (Please work with the communications department.)
He is responsible for co-ordinating the company move. (He is responsible for all the organizational elements.)

Facilitate and coordinate are not interchangeable. When in doubt, think of “assisting.” If you are assisting, you are facilitating. If you are organizing, you are coordinating.

Note: With regard to the hyphen in co-ordinate, The Canadian Press Caps and Spelling book prefers “co-ordinate.” Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and The Chicago Manual of Style use “coordinate.” The Oxford Dictionary accepts both.