What was most valuable about this Session for you?
Practicing facilitating and receiving feedback
Learning to be patience with the process
I appreciate learning the gentle distinction between interrupting and allowing listening to self reflect, or bring back the listener, by reflecting myself as a facilitator and the share with the listen what their saying (asking questions, self projecting, way off on the speaker sharing). I appreciate this practice, and caring gentle support from my empathy practice group (Lou, Graham, Ed, and Jonas)
More practice with facilitation
Finding agreement for a sense of the mythic and mysterious in the Empathy process itself
living empathyic human beings gathering to share
Getting a chance to try at being the facilitator
The sacred space for speaking and then hearing a reflection to allow me to share deeper to the need of compassionately listening and honesty speaking while developing the need for Trust.
Tuning into the feeling of the perspective of how we were all in together to support each other’s learning at the point where people were at rather than imposing a sort of level everyone felt pressured to meet at the same time. Like when you teach a dance class and everyone needs to have the routine identifiable like soldier robots. Compared to when you teach a dance class at meet each person at the skill level they are at.
The most valuable thing of this session was understanding that the EC process can have therapeutic effects, but it shouldn't be considered a therapeutic approach.
Watching people settle in to facilitating.
The letting go and allowing the process to unfold between the speaker and the listener. Plus holding my internal thoughts, self empathy, and participants when there is a challenge of the 'rule breaker' I appreciate this experience. I appreciated the two trainees for support in my tryad for support.
open hearted human beings
To be able to apply practical skills quite quickly.
This was my first experience feeling misunderstood and not fully heard in an empathy circle. It was valuable to learn that the facilitator is not necessarily able/going to remind the active listener to focus on acknowledging what's been said. It was valuable for me to experience that challenge -- the distraction and awkwardness of it -- and to struggle with how to respond/continue.
Practicing giving the opening explanation
The connection I felt towards my other fellows in the group: Graham, Kian and Camille was so profound and it touched me deeply, I cannot describe with words
The actual practice of facilitating and watching others facilitate and receive the constructive feedback. And my biggest take is modeling the listener first as the facilitator. And reinforce short sharing as a speaker to allow mutual satisfaction of caring for the listener as a speaker. An image of how mutually satisfying the speaker can allow the listener (together in sync with shorter responses and thus staying in connection with the listener. (as if we are stepping together in similar strides). And it's ok as a facilitator for my self care needs to make a request to take a 2 minute stretch bathroom break as needed.
Practicing active listening.
Learning ways to have self empathy
What would you change about the Session to make it better for you?
Make the assignments prominent. I missed the assignment and felt unprepared.
30 minutes shorter
Longer attempts at being the facilitator
A short 5 minute stretch break (to allow a bathroom break) somewhere in the middle. I like the stretching idea. I found myself wanting to stretching while I was not a (speaker / reflective listener). Sitting continuously for 2 and half hours seems well planned and organized and instructed, yet there is a need for a moment (5 minutes) of relaxing, stretching and breathing.
It would’ve helped to have definitions on the levels of difficulty to help participants understand what they were being asked to agree to. Is it like this? 0 - No challenge 1 - 1 type of Friendly Agreeable challenge, easy to resolve 2 - Friendly Agreeable, multiple challenges more complex. 3 - Part friendly, part disagreeable 4 - Not friendly. Very disagreeable
One of the things I would like to do differently (but this is just something related to my way of being in the circle) is to always remember to pick a listener when I'm the speaker. I tend to get excited about a topic and skip this step and I feel that, especially as a facilitator, this is a "mistake" I shouldn't be doing.
Giving pre guidance on writing a how to script so people feel more prepared and less on the spot.
A stretch break, I also see the value in allowing myself to take care of my bio break.
to introduce and facilitate eight away. Not separate the two things
This is personnal but maybe make it a bit shorter -on zoom at least- because my brain tends to go away during the last half hour.
In hindsight, if I could go back I would have acknowledged what was alive for me the moment the active listener extrapolated from my comments. I would have said directly that I didn't feel heard and tried to clarify. Also, I think a 5min debrief within the empathy circle group before rejoining the broader group would be helpful. That way we can thank each other and have a first go-round at summarizing our experience with the same people who shared that experience.
It’s a little sad that there wasn’t time for a real empathy circle, though I understand the priority is learning to facilitate.
Absolutely nothing, it was perfect the way it was
Incorporate a 2 minute (after a segment) and offer a 2 minute stretch / bathroom break.
Not a thing. Well, maybe one thing. I found it really hard to stay focused for so long, especially with competing work commitments in the middle of the day and in the middle of the week.
It should be a little shorter. Limiting participants to 10 people
What questions are in your mind right now about facilitating Empathy Circles?
Thinking through who and what topic or theme
No questions. Just acknowledging while I practice I'll also increase my reflection abilities as participant as well!
Will I be able to get enough people to sign up.
Can I explain the process and my interest in it, and invite people to try it cleanly and not blame myself, or make them wrong if they are not interested.
How can you apply for holding an empathy circle in a registered cohort?
The right number to a empathy circle. And I imagine that when there is a larger group, say 8 or more a breakout session of around 4 or so would give more practice time.
Once we’ve done the training are we able to use the title “Empathy Circle Facilitator” on our promotion etc? It would be good if there was more onus on the fact people have earned the title so could take pride in it, this would help to also promote it outside. This already may be a thing, I just haven’t noticed it.
I'm still circling around the time keeping part, though I know that it's ok to stop the others when their turn is over, there's sometimes a deep process going on there, so I'm wondering if it would be ok to let the speaker talk longer, maybe acknowledge it in the circle and decide together if it would be ok for everybody to continue with holding the space for the speaker and accompany them throughout their process until they feel complete.
Are empathy circles meant to be open to anyone or can we control who is allowed to join? I feel some people come with other intentions and it makes it very uncomfortable. I’m not comfortable with participants and myself being open and vulnerable in front of them.
My confidence is growing stronger. And right now I have no questions.
How to stay present listening and speaking while facilitating?
Any top tips from the trainers on how to create a good and safe space in a circle?
I'm realizing it's tricky to figure out how to intervene when there's a challenge because the empathy circle structure is generally set up to preempt the need for much intervention. I'm looking forward to getting more exposure to and practice with this in the coming weeks. Also, during the closing reflections, is the facilitator is supposed to play back the reflections or not?
How to handle challenges. I watched the video Edwin linked to with the protestors disrupting the circle and of course don’t see myself in that position anytime soon. But someday I want to do an empathy circle with members of my extended family with disparate political views and I am nervous about the structure of the circle breaking down.
No questions in my mind right now
I'm fairly confident having had this experience after today. The one question is how to calculate the (3 or 5) minutes based on what variables? (Number of participants including the facilitator; total time available and then to divide so get the how many minutes person / rotation.
Lots of questions. How does one start? What are the best places? Library? Church? Friends? How does the facilitator ensure setting the right ambiance/mood/safe environment?
How to get a group of people to do this.
What is a Empathy Circle Facilitation Challenge you have experienced, have seen or imagine having? Describe it and any questions, concerns, comments, ideas, etc. about it? (we will try to address those in the Session.)
remembering the overall timeline / facilitator script/ and starting the timer
I would like Week 4 to include teaming people up with 4 class participants to do the empathy training with.
People putting their attention into commentsabout content of what was being said into the chat on zoom. Slightly traumatized from when it happened. I think using the chat is a distraction and would ask people not to use it, unless they have to.
Depending on the number of people in the (Main) Empathy Circle I can see the value of having a smaller 4 or less allows to build confident / trust to share more deeply.
People perceiving it to be forced vulnerability and feeling hesitant to try it. People misappropriating others personal information they have had access to in the circle. (E.g using it to try to befriend others because they feel they know them but they may not want to befriend them.)
It's the same idea I mentioned above, how to facilitate when a participant is going through a deeper process (in a group of people that have known each other for a while) and would need more time to speak before feeling complete and if it's ok to bring it to the circle to decide with the others if they would like to continue supporting and listening to the speaker, even though this might mean compromising the structure of the circle.
Someone being overly personal and trying to help and give unsolicited advice where it wasn’t asked for. Sort of feels like they are going against the point of giving someone space to explore without interjection. Puts me off opening up when what I’ve expressed gets used against me later in an interaction outside the circle.
If a challenger continues to interprut and keep asking questions, or might offer no reflective responses as a listener.
How to stay present listening and speaking while facilitating?
not being prepared
(I wasn't facilitating) Having someone ask lots of questions/ Make a lot of comments in the chat/ Adding his own comments very often.
I'd like see a facilitator intervention modeled because, other than for the time limit, I haven't seen that yet. For example, if the active listener goes on a tangent, seeing how the facilitator can gently prompt/remind the active listener of their role to simply acknowledge what the speaker is saying. Also, what should happen if the facilitator is the active listener going on the tangent?
1. Active listener doing more than reflecting back what the speaker said. This was addressed philosophically at the beginning of session 2, which was helpful; I’d also like to see it in action. 2. Speaker being disrespectful or insulting to active listener. (If I try to do this with my extended family.)
On a very first round, we start with an introduction and make it very easy. (What's your name, where do you live or from? and what is one word important value to you? I would imagine that we focus on the simplicity of the process on the very first round.
This was my first time ever in an empathy circle. It was a great experience and I felt it was an excellent use of my time and energy.
Write a question you think we could add to this post-session survey?
What is your confidence level today in facilitating a Circle?
How confident and comfortable did you feel today?
None at the moment
Cant think of one right now
Have you thought of donating to the empathy circle administration team before?
When someone leaves early, but did not share why. This person put into the chat they are leaving early. I'm just curious, if our Empathy Circle has a follow - email to show this matters to our group. And maybe ask this feedback questionnaire, and curiously, ask what needs was met for person who left. . .?
You could ask people to mention any benefits/changes they’ve noticed so far from the circles or training?
are you ready yet :-) LOL
What is one thing you have taken out of this session?
I think it's good to keep the surveys short. :)
None that i can think of at the moment
How can we make this a very simple first round to experience the Empathy Circle?
How will you use this training this week in your personal life?