Getting Help: Setting Goals & Using Coaching
Getting help can be hard. It runs counter to many cultural values – independence, individuality, personal control, self-help, competition – to name a few. Organizers and activists tend to focus on skills to help others, but spend less emphasis on our own development. Getting help is necessary. If we are to grow, learn, not burn-out, and win, then we need help. In this tool we create some space and time for people to think through how can they continue to learn and get help.
How to Lead
Break into groups of four. Every group will have a set of post-its and a blank sheet of newsprint. Together brainstorm the kinds of skills you will need in your context, write each skill on a post it and put it on the newsprint. It’s okay to list skills that are already your strengths and skill that you are still working to improve.
Be as specific as you can, for example, if the skills is “writing”, try to make it more specific to what kind of writing you will be doing most of – sending out emails to supporters, writing newsletters, writing press releases, grants because each of these things requires its own kind of expertise. If the skill is something like “outreach,” try to think about what kinds of settings you will be doing outreach, is it door-knocking, making phone calls, attending coalition meetings, etc, and what skills would help you be better at each of those things.
Once you have a good list generated, pick three or four that seem most urgent to you right now or that you’d like to be focusing more energy on improving.
Now, pair up with someone in your small group. Each of you will be given time to get support from the other to talk through these three things:
- Who do you know that can support you to learn/develop these skills? (This can include the trainers in this workshop who will be working with you as mentors, other participants you’ve met here or people outside this room who are a part of your network?
- What is a specific request you can make to those people that would support you to learn those skills?
- What can you do between now and the next training to take a step towards working on those goals.
In large group, debrief. What is the value of asking for help? How can that be seen as a skill itself? What are ways we show resistance to asking for help? What holds us back from seeking help from others?
By Nico Amador