What to say when you don’t know what to say
We have all been there, that moment when someone in your circle starts going down a track that you weren’t prepared to steer along. They just threw you a curveball question or shared openly and courageously a struggle that warrants more than a 30 second response. You wan’t to help, obviously you do, that’s why you signed up to be a circle coach, you care deeply about people and want to see them become all that Jesus made them to be. But you also know opening this can of worms could take up the whole session and won’t be the best use of time for everyone else. So, what do you say when you don’t know what to say?
First of all, let me lighten your load with this. YOU DON’T HAVE TO HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS! How freeing is that. Say it with me, “I DON’T HAVE TO HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS!” Of course as Everyday Champions we are people that know how to Be an Answer and Find a Question, but no one expects you to be omniscient. You’re allowed to say “I don’t know” or better yet, ask them the question. What do they think? Then ask more questions, like, “How did you arrive at that conclusion”? A lot of coaching is about asking questions to get people to think about their thinking.
Second of all, here is something I’ve learned personally. I came out of a circle session frustrated that the time we had wasn’t enough to really dive into what people were sharing. The things people were saying were so good, the conversation was open and vulnerable, I didn’t want to skim over it, but I also didn’t want to take 12000 hours of everyone’s time. What do you say then?
I brought up my frustration in a staff meeting and got gold from Gareth. Here is my paraphrase of what he said. “Your circle isn’t meant to be the only moment you have with the people in it. Circles are a core coaching moment, but you also need 1on1 close coaching moments”.
The penny dropped. Our role as circle coaches isn’t to fix everyones problems in an hour a week, it is to journey with them as disciples of Jesus. It is to do life with them. You can (and should) take note when someone shares something big for them and then follow up after. How? You could try simple phone call or message that goes something like this…
Hey, thank you for sharing about ________ in our circle session. Just so you know, I’m available to you to talk through this more with you if you would like, just let me know when you’re free and we could carry on the conversation.
Or just say it there in the session. Let your circle know that you are available for them. Then you can move on to hear from other people. The session isn’t hijacked by one person nor does the one person feel cut short.
The people in your circle will appreciate that you have heard them and are invested in them. I’m sure of it!