This is Coaching?

I went looking for coaching resource material, and lo and behold, there was a coaching guide. What fun!!!

  1. On a scale of 5 to 1 where 5 indicates that the members sincerely want their club to be successful and 1 indicates that the members don’t seem to care whether their club succeeds or fails, How would you rate this club?

Corrective Action: Convince members that they will gain meaningful benefits from membership in a successful Toastmasters club.


That’s not coaching. That’s telling. Make them care? Well, they’re showing up, aren’t they? You cannot make someone care. You cannot convince people to be happy. This is an emotional response to the club, not a logical one! They aren’t going to weigh the plusses and minuses of the club’s value and decide to care if it reaches a certain score.

This is how the site recommends you approach this situation.

  • “The definition of meaningful benefits and a successful club are individually determined. Meaningful benefits should be tied to the unique expectations of every member.
  • Encourage club officers to lead a meeting where the entire club can share their opinions.
  • Publish a list that defines what every member sees as benefits and what a success club means to them.
  • Your role is to encourage conversation with open-ended questions and observe behavior.
  • Use attitude, body language, or withdrawal to determine who is resisting change and where to expect challenges.
  • Ask the members to suggest how they can support each other to achieve their individual needs and expectations.”

The only correcting you would have to do is if the membership, as a whole, doesn’t want to save the club. Then you have an uphill battle correcting their misconceptions, and should probably look at having the club fold. If, however, the apathy is only in a few members, remember that you cannot correct this attitude in individual members without knowing the root cause. YOU don’t answer the survey, you have the MEMBERS answer it.

It is vital that you don’t just talk about the survey because then the conversation is undirected. If, however, you control the direction of the conversation with questions, you will learn much more. Take a look at the procedure above. Do you see any questions?

If you wish, you may have a phone interview or private lunch or something where you are one on one with the members. Remember, if there are 2 coaches, the most people you have to talk to is 6. Of course, if you’re the only coach, this might take a while. So you may want to go one on two. Then you go in-depth and ask these questions! Or, you can just ask the questions to the group and get everyone’s thoughts all at once. Make sure you have a great secretary or a recording device.

  • On a personal level, what would success for you look like in Toastmasters?
  • What would success look like for your club?
  • How would a successful club benefit your own journey?
  • What is it about the club you’d like to change or improve?
  • Would those changes make the club more important to you?
  • What unique contribution could you make to initiate those changes? Which one would you tackle first?
  • What was your initial goal in joining this club?
  • What attracted you to this particular group?

More fun would be to make these Table Topic questions.

But if you want more clarity after you ask those questions, follow up each question with the words, “What else” or “How” or “Could you give me an example.”

The conversation might sound like this:

Coach: What advantage would you enjoy if the club was more successful?

Member: Because it’s more fun to have more people.

C: Could you expand on that?

M: More interesting speeches, more people to take on roles in the meetings, better evaluations, more people available to be officers.

C: How would that make it better?

M: Less stress in between meetings, a better environment, a better chance to network.

C: So you see stress in between meetings as a challenge to this club?

M: Yes, it’s hard to fill roles and it’s boring always being the grammarian because no one else will take the job.

C: How does that affect the environment?

M: It seems like we’re always scrambling and falling short. It makes it difficult to impress visitors.

C: Do you think others would join the group if they knew how helpful the networking is?

M: Well, not really.

C: Would you join another club if you could network effectively there?

M: Actually, I’m in two other clubs for that very reason.

C: But you still come to this club. What keeps you coming back?

M: This is the one I started in, and I love the people here.

A 5-1 scale isn’t going to tell the whole story. And the conversation above just concerns itself with the 1st of those questions related to that measurement.

Published by Rebecca Fegan

To be a better anything, I have to be a better person. My results come from the quality of my thinking and it is something I always work on.

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