Obviously there is no point in organising a workshop for people who are not interested in your workshop. Or similarly, are not able to attend because of the dates or money problems or their children or travel distances.
For established workshops this is apparently not a problem anymore. But is your workshop already an established one.... Probably you would like your workshop to be well attended. That is why I have formulated these questions here. Is there an interest or need for your workshop? If so, what constraints do the potentially interested people have in attending?
1. Which ‘needs' or interests is your workshop intended to meet?
Established workshops like CCI-Europe, CCI-UK, the Scottish Summer Week, New-years Workshop, all have proven to be meeting the interests of Co-Counsellors. So answering the question is easy, if you organise one of these.
However, situations are not always so clearly cut. And when you are thinking to organise a workshop it can be very helpful to reflect on which needs and interests you want to be met by your workshop.
1. Network needs
Yes the Co-Counselling Network has needs of its own!
1.1. Maintaining & improving the network fabric.
It is crucial for big Co-Counselling networks like the Scottish or the international one, to promote the contacts and bonds between the individual Co-Counsellors, local communities and Co-Counselling networks all over the world.
The International Co-Counselling workshops (CCI-Europe, CCI-USA, CCI-New Zealand). the Summer Week and New years workshops in Scotland serve these objectives, as in the Netherlands the BLW (Bijzonder Landelijk Weekend / Exceptional National Workshop) offered to all the people active in the Dutch Co-Counselling Network.
Less obvious workshops is a ‘Safety & Conflicts in the Network' workshop. Here Co-Counsellors can share their issues of safety and conflict with each other and restore in that way their damaged relationship with Co-Counselling. Also workshops about conflict resolution & community building help to improve the quality of the Co-Counselling network.
1.2. Network Organisational Needs
Annual (AGM), Special General (SGM) or other Business meetings meet obviously the organisational needs.
The Co-Counselling network also needs also Co-Counsellors who run Community Days and workshops. So important workshops are about ‘Facilitating Co-Counselling workshops'. Also ongoing peer support groups seem in the longer run to provide a lot of committed Co-Counsellors who are prepared to contribute to the Co-Counselling network. So workshops on conflict resolution, community building and how support groups can be given the best possible start, pay off in the longer term to the network organisation.
1.3. Other Network Needs
A good Teacher Training Workshops can provide the network with the necessary genitals to ‘create' new Co-Counsellors.
2. The needs of individual Co-Counsellors
Apart from needing opportunities to meet other Co-Counsellors and having sessions, people have are also topical needs, such as loss, death and bereavement, inner child, sexuality, relationships, parenting, support groups, Co-Counselling holidays, etc.
3. Co-Counsellor Supply side needs
A keen workshop co-ordinator spots Co-Counsellors who have the ability to facilitate workshops but not enough confidence or not enough energy to do both the organisation and the facilitation. One can think here also of aspiring teachers who need to develop their teaching and facilitation skills.
For you the challenge is to spot the specific needs and interests and to target your publicity, quality of workshop and organisation in such a way that the interested Co-Counsellors indeed attend your workshop.
How can you know whether there is an actual interest for your workshop?
2. Which success factors are crucial for your target groups?
Once you know which groups of Co-Counsellors you intend your workshop for, you need to find out which conditions need to be addressed to encourage and enable just these groups to attend the workshop.
- dates and times of the workshop
does the workshop need to be planned within or without school and bank holidays, working hours or in weekends?
Is child care crucial to enable Co-Counsellors to attend the workshop, or is the presence of children undesirable, for instance during a sexuality or inner child workshop?
- travel distance
if you want Co-Counsellors to come from far away, how can they be supported in terms of money and travel arrangements? Do you want Co-Counsellors from Hungary or New-Zealand to attend a CCI-Europe in the UK or Holland?
if you want Co-Counsellors with less financial means to attend, how can you entice them to do so, for instance by grants for attending or travelling.
- First comes, first .... or quota?
Access quota for the different nationalities, or different genders, or children and grown ups?
- Open to anybody..... or limited to specified groups?
Women or Men only, gays or hetero-sexuals only, teachers and aspirant teachers only? The Scottish Summer Week & New year Workshops are mainly open for members of the Scottish Network.
- Sensitivities: alcohol?
3. Making a Year Planning for Workshops
- listening to the needs of Co-Counsellors and the network
- offering workshops that meet those needs and interests.
- planning the whole series of workshops in such a way that the workshops don't compete with each other. Extreme example, all the workshops possible for a year are organised in one month
- looking around for people who are prepared to do the facilitation of the workshop
- looking around for people who are prepared to do the organisation (publicity, bookings etc. described in this manual)