I advocate using guided discovery (asking questions) to help youth leadership find their way.
Often my questions are rhetorical, in other words I do not expect that the person I am questioning has an answer. This can be a very blunt instrument, and sometimes a bit aggressive, so I do have to measure the way that the question is posed.
‘What are your plans for this meeting?’
‘We’re going to work on requirements.’
‘What, specifically will you be working on?’
‘I don’t know.’
That’s a good answer. My questions have achieved their aim – they have brought this youth leader to the edge of his knowledge and preparations. He does not know what happens next. This is a great opportunity.
‘What do your Scouts need to work on?’
‘I’m not sure.’ (another form of ‘I don’t know’)
‘How can you find out?’
‘I could ask them?’
‘What will you ask them?’
‘What they need to work on.’
‘And what will you do next?’
‘Plan things that they need to work on.’
The questions may go on from there. The aim being to help this youth leader internalize the thought process required to go from good intentions to effective plans.
This is an exercise, like push-ups or running laps. It is meant to hone the skills of thinking and planning, not to have the Scout looking like a fool. Enough repetitions of the exercise and they will begin building some mental muscle.
‘I don’t know’ is a very valuable, perfectly legitimate answer, it’s an answer I go looking for because when I find it I have found the edge of this youth leader’s development and I can help him find the next step.