What defines a coach?
When we work with a club, we make certain assumptions and address these in several different ways:
- The mechanic
- The dictator
- The teacher
- The psychologist
- The coach
Because all the clubs we help are low-member clubs, we assume that something is “wrong” and we have to go in and “fix it.” That would make us mechanics. The problem will remain “fixed” when we leave. We also have nothing to lose if the club isn’t fixed. We just conclude that they don’t want to be successful and let things go.
But we’re NOT Mechanics.
We might think that they’re low-member because they don’t know how to do what needs to be done. We take over. We send out the flyers. We organize the open houses. We set up the Speech Crafts. We assign duties (and of course, if no one steps up we do all the jobs.) We twist arms. We bring in members because they will do anything for us. SUCCESS! Then the next year they need another coach.
But we are NOT Dictators.
We might think they don’t have enough information to be successful. So we have little vignettes every week explaining how we can improve our processes while they dutifully take notes. Then we assign them projects to get them on the right track. They seem apathetic. Many of the low-member clubs have members that have been in Toastmasters since Smedley. They’ve heard all this before.
But we are NOT Teachers.
“Oh, DEAR. Their morale is so low. No wonder they have so few members!” We spend a lot of time cheerleading and building up their self-esteem. We have parties and recognition. We write newsletters to the corporate site (contribute to the company bulletin board) or we put things on Facebook and in the newspaper. And when we leave, the numbers drop again.
But we are NOT Psychologists.
Since we are Coaches, we must assume that they aren’t broken. They do know how to lead. They do understand the concepts behind the Toastmasters organization and how its educational programs work. The morale of the group is based on the morale of each member, and that is something they decide for themselves.
What does a Coach do? The goal is to raise the awareness of the members. They need to be conscious of their place in the group, their contributions, their personal goals, and their willingness to work together to have a successful club. You cannot tell them these things. They already know. The coach’s job, therefore, is to ask questions until the group’s awareness kicks in so they can answer the questions and discover the real stumbling blocks they need to quit stumbling over!!!
What kind of questions should we, as coaches, ask?
- What does your club consider success?
- What do you consider personal success regarding Toastmasters?
- Do you suppose there might be others that share your views of success?
- Have you done a SWOT analysis either personally or as a club? (See the downloads for a sample form you can copy and let the members take notes and make suggestions on.)
- What is your idea of a great meeting?
- What would have to change to make the meetings better?