By Kyle Hall and Jaymes O’Pheron
You’ve seen the calls for more Club Coaches within District 32. You’ve seen the need for more Club Coaches — 52 clubs are currently eligible with 86.5% of them without an assigned coach. So…you are considering whether or not to volunteer to be a Club Coach. Naturally, you are wondering, if I’m a coach what is asked of me?
While each club is unique and their needs might be a little different, there are five main essential qualities that coaches provide.
As club members, we become used to our clubs. Over time we become inured to our club’s behavior, whether or not that behavior is effective. A coach provides an outside perspective. Their objectivity helps us see our clubs as a guest might.
Our blindspots are often our greatest downfall. We don’t know what we don’t know. A coach can shine much needed light on the things we just simply can’t see. As a Club Coach, you will need to keep your eyes open like a Toastmaster Sherlock Holmes and observe those missed details.
Just as it is often difficult to hold family members accountable, it can also be troublesome to hold our fellow club members accountable. After all, we have to deal with them now and in the future. No one wants to stir up potential drama!
Because a coach is outside the club and their engagement is temporary, a coach can provide a club with accountability. If a member says they will do something, and they know the coach will be asking if they accomplished their task, the odds that the member will actually complete the work is greatly increased.
Just as we become inured to our club’s behavior, many clubs have trouble asking themselves the tough questions…even if they know what the tough questions are. Because of the coach’s objectivity, a coach can ask the interesting and challenging questions. Asking these questions can be the key that opens the door to the club moving forward.
As a Club Coach, you will need to show the courage to probe and challenge entrenched behavior. “We’ve just always done it that way” is not adequate for you. Ask the “what if” and “why” questions that expose dysfunctional patterns or reveal undiscovered opportunities.
We do not expect our coaches to be experts in everything Toastmasters. We do hope, however, if a coach has an area in which they are knowledgeable and experienced, they will share the expertise with the club.
You may not feel you are one of “those” Toastmasters who seems to have been born with a gavel in hand and said their first word behind a lectern. But here’s some exciting news: just like Toastmasters serves to empower our communication and leadership skills in our entire life, our experience and expertise in the rest of our life has application to Toastmasters as well. Are you a parent? A manager? An artist? Everyone’s an expert in something, and that something can be brought to bear upon Toastmasters in a way that can help your assigned club.
Willingness to Ask for Help
Just as we do not expect coaches to have all of the answers, we don’t expect that they’ll be able to provide everything a club needs. You are not alone in your coaching task, however. A Club Coach should be willing to reach out and ask for help from the rest of the District. There are a lot of resources that can be brought to bear on a problem, once the coach makes our District aware of it.
As a Club Coach, humility is the most critical skill! Be willing to admit when you don’t know the answer, and you’ll go a long, long way.
These are just the essentials, though. There’s so much more that you as a coach can offer a club.
If you want to learn more and ensure you are equipped with the tools you need to rock your Club Coach assignment, join the Sound Advice Advanced Club on August 20th! You’ll receive top-class training that you won’t want to miss out on. Click here to reserve your seat for ‘Coach the Coach!’