Constituency Building – Common Questions
Click a question to reveal the answer.
Do we have the time or staff to do all these outreach meetings?
If you truly want a coherent, connected constituency behind your work, you will need to find a way to make this commitment of staff and time. There is no easy shortcut to building a constituency.
What if we tried this years ago and nothing really came of it?
Here are some questions you can use to reflect on your previous experience: Did you engage people personally and find out their self-interests? Did you follow up with people and offer them a specific action to take? Did you think about a way to sustain their involvement once they came to a first meeting? Did you think about how to cultivate their ownership in the organization? When you do these things well, people will stay involved.
Why can’t we just do this through mass emails and targeted mailings?
People get involved and stay involved when they feel a meaningful and personal connection. The issue may get them in the door, but the people will keep them coming back.
It sounds good, but it seems so hard. How will we sustain the motivation?
You may not be aware how depleting it is for people to see the same old faces at every meeting—with the same people doing the same work over and over again. You will be surprised how much energy the core traditional leaders will get once you see “new blood” walking in the door.
Will this really improve outcomes for my organization?
I work very hard to maintain a clear connection between the internal work we are doing and how it connects directly to what you are facing in your day-to-day work. I also use the reality of your daily work life to understand how the deeper patterns are playing out and to see what progress we are making.
How is coaching different from therapy?
While the work has an inner depth to it, we stay focused on the transformative outcomes defined at the beginning. The deeper work occurs in service of helping you achieve those outcomes. Most therapy assumes that the focus will be working through personal and historical challenges; I make no such assumptions. I am trained to go to those places with my approach as needed to address your outcomes—and if you agree to engage in a deeper level of work.
How much time will it take from my current responsibilities?
When we work together, I lay out the specifics about time expectations (e.g. session time, practice time, reflections time). Then I usually add: this is definitely a serious time commitment and you have to ask yourself whether there is a willingness to make time for your own transformation. Sometimes, we can really want to do something, but the timing is not right. I encourage you to assess that before we get started.
I work in an organization that may have a hard time justifying coaching as an investment. How do I get internal approval?
Each organization is different. The most effective way to get approval is to educate your organization about the benefits of coaching to you as an individual, and then connect that to how it will help you become a more effective part of the organization and its mission.
Some organizations are wary of individual strategies that appear to promote self-absorption. Coaching could be viewed in this light unless the connection is made about how coaching will help the individual be a more effective part of the collective endeavor. Often times, money is not available for coaching and budgets tend to be tight in general. Even when money is there, you may feel you have to be able to justify “coaching” to skeptics on your board or with other leaders.