So here we are, heading into a new year (and decade!) with a mixture of optimism and trepidation (yes, I put optimism first 😊). So many questions: What does 2021 hold for us? How will this past year affect – positively or negatively – our associations, our chapters, our volunteers, our staff, even our own careers, going into the future? Will we ever truly get back to “normal”?
The answers, and hopefully solutions, will come to us in time. What we do know is despite the fear to the contrary, chapters can still be relevant to the success of associations. We also know the role of the CRP is changing and the need to shift to a coaching mindset where we support and guide our volunteers is more important than ever.
So before I go on, let me say that no, this isn’t a post on how to have difficult conversations (you can find that here) or coachlike conversations (you can find that here). Instead, this is about taking stock of our own strengths and weaknesses that can influence how we communicate with our volunteers. After all, if we’re looking to lead our volunteers to self-reflection in order to solve their problems, shouldn’t we do a little self-reflection of our own?
We can start with two questions Laurie Reuben, Cheshire Consulting Group, asked us in her webinar Helping Colleagues Solve Their Own Problems.
1) What is your superpower? Are you good at listening and articulating what’s being said or unsaid? Or perhaps it’s being able to encourage people to go beyond their self-imposed limitations. Are you great at holding people accountable? Are you aware of and able to overcome your own biases, triggers, and judgments that could derail your conversations? In a nutshell, where do you feel you are the most effective?
2) What is your nemesis? Could it be you’re not good at asking the right questions at the right time? Or do you find it tough to focus on the conversation without offering your own opinions and feelings? Does silence – you know those gaps in the conversation – make you crazy? Bottom line, where do you feel the most uncomfortable or the most lacking?
Finding the answers – and accepting we may not know all the answers – can be tough. But taking the time to explore these questions can help us face our vulnerabilities and uncover skills we didn’t know we even had. Let these realizations lead us to be better coaches to our volunteers.