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leadership Pathways pathways guides

Shape up for Pathways Excellence

A positive approach!

Pathways is our Educational system and it provides opportunities and challenges for the experienced and new Toastmasters. I believe that a majority of clubs in Australia have embraced Pathways well and are steaming ahead. We are ensuring that each District has a Pathways ‘leader’ to help promote and support Pathways experiences, and in my District we schedule monthly Pathways focussed online workshops.

How is your District travelling? Do you still have some clubs who are reluctant participants in the Pathways program? Do you need some help in motivating them?

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This blog post will focus on ‘How you can shape up your members and create more Pathways Stars?’

Step 1: Check your Pathways Adoption Rates!

You can do this by accessing the data calculated by Toastmasters International in this Pathways Adoption Rates tool. Select your District and then filter on Division and Area to find your specific data. This will give you a base line from which you can plan for further Pathways adoption in your club.  For example here are the results for my Area N29 in D73:
adopt rates header

adoption rates n29

As you begin the process Pathways Mentoring you can then drill down into the details of progress for each of your members:

Step 2: Challenge your members to plan ahead for speaking opportunities!

At the base level of any Toastmasters club is the club meeting in which we provide opportunities for our speakers to practice, grow and develop their speaking and evaluating skills. Speaking is still the core competence of the Pathways Education Program! However, in some Districts it seems that Toastmasters are unhappy with Pathways.

Here is a summary of what I learned from Trish Blackwelder’s stellar presentation for the Tuesday Talks n’ Tips sessions for Pathways.  Here is the full length presentation.

Trish B is the D3 Pathways Chair in Phoenix, Arizona and has completed her Distinguished Toastmaster award (DTM) five times in the Legacy program.

Trish B sets out to unpack the following questions that she hears often from those Toastmasters who are unhappy with Pathways.

Why did we need to change?
Her first response is to emphasise the need for change – an evolution in the effectiveness of the Toastmasters Educational program for the 21st century. Trish suggests that we also guide our members to those things that are still in our Toastmasters program and are familiar to us. For example the five core competencies: Public Speaking, Interpersonal Communication, Strategic Leadership, Management & Confidence.

Pathways Leader at D18, Karen Storey, DTM, displays these core competencies at her website for Pathways.

Trish B emphasises the need to share an overview of the alignment of each Path in relation to the emphasis on these core competencies. This useful Pathways_Assist_PathsByCoreEmphasis document gives the alignment at a glance.

Lead Pathways Guide at D62, Lori Haynes DTM, provides this useful one page flier displaying a list of all Paths.
D62-Pathways-Short-Path-Description-2.13.19-1

Trish B suggests that new and existing Toastmasters alike will benefit from an opening conversation about their aspirations and reasons for joining Toastmasters culminating in a strong recommendation for the specific Path that will suit them best.

George Marshall provided a very useful set of slides ‘How to Pick a Path’ to help all Toastmasters understand which Paths focus on Public Speaking and Interpersonal Communication and which ones focus on Leadership both Strategic and Managerial.) How-to-Pick-a-Path-3-SSTM-by-George-Marshall 

Why do I need to repeat the projects in Levels 1 and 2 for each Path?
Trish B reiterates the preference of some Toastmasters for the projects from the Competent Communicator manual- their sequential skill building focus being ideal for new speakers. Trish B reminds us that Nine of the Ten base level skills for Public Speaking are incorporated in each of the Paths in Pathways and are presented at different levels in the Paths.

Note: the tenth project from the CC manual, ‘Persuasive Speaking’ is only included in the Presentation Mastery Path.

Trish B offers a great tip for enthusing Toastmasters on the value of repeating the Icebreaker speech, as an example of how we can analyse the growth in our own speaking skills. She says: “the Icebreaker from my first CC manual was nothing like the Icebreaker I completed in my 17th CC manual”. Trish B suggests that a seasoned Toastmaster can be more innovative in their later Icebreakers to reveal more information about themselves.

To ‘spice things up a little’, Trish B also recommends that repeating a Path can bring out new opportunities to stretch the skills of Public Speaking or Leadership, by selecting different electives in the second or third time round a Path.

Lori Haynes, Lead Pathways Guide at District 62 provides this neat one page flier displaying a list of all electives at Levels 3, 4 and 5.
D62 Pathways – Elective Projects 2.13.19

Step 3: Encourage your members to plan ahead for Leadership Projects!

Rose Oosthuysen DTM from D112, and VP Membership for Ablaze Advanced Online Club, provides this summary of 10 essential leadership skills and matches them with a selection of Pathways projects.

  1. Communication skills are essential at all levels of leadership; Understand Your Communication Style project Level 2 in all Paths; Active Listening project Level 2 (Motivational Strategies) Develop a Communication Plan project (Visionary Communication) and 3 electives;
  2. Motivation skills are vital for team work; Persuasive Speaking Level 3 (Presentation Mastery); Motivate Others Level 4 (Team Collaboration) projects
  3. Delegating skills include accepting feedback from employees; Reaching Consensus project Level 3 (Effective Coaching); Making Connections through Networking Level 3 (Strategic Relationships)
  4. Positivity is needed for conflict management; Understanding Conflict Resolution project Level 3 (Persuasive Influence); Focus on the Positive elective (all Paths)
  5. Trustworthiness requires emotional intelligence, Understanding Emotional intelligence project Level 2 (Motivational Strategies); and Leading in Your Volunteer Organisation project Level 5 (Strategic Relationships)
  6. Creativity requires vision, Develop Your Vision project Level 5, (Visionary Communication);  and the ability to use effective visual aids in presentations; Creating Effective Visual Aids Level 3 Elective in all Paths.
  7. Feedback we learn to give and receive feedback in all paths;  Evaluation and Feedback projects, Level 2 in all paths;
  8. Responsibility requires us to reflect on our actions Level 5 in all paths Reflect on your Path;  provide positive coaching, Improvement Through Positive Coaching project Level 4 (Effective Coaching) and Manage Projects Successfully project Level 4 (Innovative Planning)
  9. Commitment requires us to be a team player Leading Your Team level 4 (Leadership Development); and a leader High Performance Leadership Level 5 (Effective Coaching)
  10. Flexibility requires negotiating skills,  Negotiate the Best Outcome Level 3 (Dynamic Leadership);  and Manage Change project Level 4 (Dynamic Leadership) and Lead in Any Situation Level 5 (Dynamic Leadership).

Do you need a full copy of all Pathways Path and Project Catalog, make use of this resource from George Marshall, DTM, Chief Pathways Guide at D57. George also provides this PowerPoint Presentation: How-to-Pick-a-Path-3-SSTM-by-George-Marshall

Step 4: Share rich resources with members

Toastmasters International Magazine is a rich source of resources. Some like to read their print version and others gain further insights by reading the online articles.
‘Welcome to Pathways 101’ – an online article for August 2019 written by Paul Sterman (Senior Editor)  is an ideal resource to share with your members. Just send the link in an email.

In this article there are fantastic resources to whet your appetite, convince you, persuade you and provide real world examples of the benefits of the Toastmasters Pathways Program. In this video interview Mark Snow, DTM, D69 Club Growth Director, focusses on the benefits of Pathways Leadership projects for his workplace projects.

Mark provides the Pathways-Companion-Guide-V2 to help all Toastmasters on their way in their chosen Path.

There are many other fantastic resources created by passionate Pathways leaders from across the world to make your task of motivating other Pathways Champions easy. Consider this collection of documents for recording achievements in each Path:

Pathways_Assist_PathProgressSheets-JulieDall from Julie Dall, D3, and the pathways_level_completion_checklist

If you can motivate just one member in Pathways, you can build your club adoption rates and ensure that your club is in good shape for Pathways excellence!

Come on over to the Pathways Discussion Forum where you can:

  • post your Pathways motivational strategies
  • ask questions about your Path (and specific projects)
  • catch up with the archives of all Tuesday Talks n’ Tips workshops (recordings and shared resources)

Note: My latest slides on Shape Up with Pathways Excellence are available here:
Shape Up Presentation 080919

Categories
leadership Pathways

Reflect on your Path

This week I have been reflecting on my progress in my third Path and unpacking what I have learned and achieved. My overall perception of my growth as a Public Speaker and a Leader has definitely changed in the 14 months I have been working in Pathways. Changed for the better!

Pathways has provided me with a welcome challenge to my personal and professional development. I now understand the Pathways framework!

My understanding of the ‘Why Toastmasters?’ question has improved and deepened – there is so much more to achievements than just completing a manual of speeches, a suite of projects in a Level or a number of roles in a meeting. Now I am much more focused on my long term goals and how to select a Path that will help me achieve them. Now I know how to plan ahead and select elective projects to fit my short term goals. Now I am a much more knowledgeable and skilled mentor after completing the Pathways Mentor Program.

I have completed Effective Coaching and Visionary Communication and almost finished with Strategic Relationships. My next Path, Team Collaboration, is already selected and I have begun to request my speeches for projects in Levels 1 and 2 with my clubs. Meanwhile I have scoped my approach to my Pathways Distinguished Toastmasters program and will be working on that during 2019.

This week I am looking back over my achievements and experiences in those Paths and preparing my final speech for Strategic Relationships.

Toastmasters like me, who reach Level 5 in their Paths, need to prepare for the final project Reflect on Your Path, as the final requirement for Path completion.
reflect on path purpose

  • What are your strategies for engaging your audience in this final 10-12 minute speech?
  • How will you summarize the skills you have learned and developed?
  • Why should you consider the process of reflecting on your growth during the completion of an entire Path?

reflecting on learning experience

I like this quote from John Dewey for its relevance to us as we reach this part of our journey in a Path.

Thinking back on the 14 projects that you have completed in the Path is essential in preparing for the Reflect on your Path project.

But what do you do after that? How do you share your reflections with an audience?

Reflective Practice

I recommend a simple Reflective Practice process to prepare for this project! This process is based on the Gibbs Reflective Cycle model.

reflective practice

  1. What happened?
    • Describe what happened during your Path:
      • who did you involve
      • where did you give speeches
      • what did you learn from the projects
  2. Thoughts
    • Self-awareness:
      • what did you feel
      • how did others around you feel
      • how do you feel about the outcomes of projects
  3. Evaluation
    • Consider your feedback:
      • what went well and not so well, in your speeches, from others’ perspectives
      • what was good and not so good about your own experiences
      • what feedback have you been able to incorporate into other projects
  4. Analysis
    • What is your learning viewpoint:
      • break down your Path into the levels and consider each one separately
      • ask new questions to dig deeper and make sense of your progress
  5. Conclusion
    • Synthesis:
      • explore what you could have done differently
      • define new strategies or directions
  6. Action Plan
    • Implement your learning:
      • consider what you will do for the next Path
      • consider how you will share your reflections with others in your club

At the end of this process you will have a speech outline for Reflect on Your Path. Plus you will have become a Reflective Practitioner.

reflective practitioner Someone who:

  • Takes the time to step back and make sense of what was done and why
  • Tries to understand the (often implicit) ‘theories of change’ that guide actions
  • Is not afraid to challenge assumptions – both their own and those of others.

Are you a Reflective Practitioner?

How will you share your reflections in Reflect on your Path?

In my next post, I will show you how to create your own Reflective Practice Eportfolio!

eportfolio for reflection on pathways

Categories
leadership Pathways

Leadership Style: lessons learned

Toastmasters, what do YOU do when you are building a new team? And what are YOUR strategies for team success?

Here are my three lessons for successful team building:
effective timing, strategic networking, and visionary planning.

  1. Building teams requires effective timing!

One year ago, I was about to launch myself into the realms of Pathways as a Guide. The purpose was to support 8-10 clubs in preparing for Pathways. This was the start of new experiences as a leader and I was determined to grow my own skills – the soft skills in communicating with Toastmasters I was yet to meet. I was comfortable with my own clubs and the company of my Club members and do have a reputation for coaching. However, I was also feeling dis-empowered as Pathways Guides back then, were not yet fully immersed in Base Camp. The experience of leading back then was like evangelism, attempting to enthuse the clubs about a new system that I had NO practical experience with. My leadership had to rely on the trust of the people I was leading.

Timing of my work as a Pathways Guide was ‘off kilter’ by about three months – the real work of supporting clubs in my districts became more effective at the beginning of 2018 when the impact of Pathways roll out was being felt. The early club visits prior to roll out were NOT effective in building teams, the later virtual support sessions were.

Growth of trust with this new group was the first important lesson learned for my new leadership style. AND Building trust among the Pathways champions within the clubs was an integral strategy towards their empowerment.

  1. Building teams requires strategic networking!

Six months ago, I was immersed in building a new team of Pathways Guides who were to support the 150 clubs in District U. Little did I know then just how important this team was to be AND how important the networking was to be. The first step was to build a steering committee and to include direct liaison with WHQ. George Marshall and I each recommended another member and then we were four. Each of the four recommended candidates for the larger team and then we were 32. The process of identifying, inviting, short listing and selecting online Pathways Guides was a collaborative effort using online collaborative tools like Google docs and sheets to share our project plans.

Building a network of communication strategies with this new team was an integral strategy toward their empowerment. Each of the four was to lead groups of eight and to collaborate with the teams to ensure that all 32 were informed, empowered, and valued.

Social media, regular Guide Support Sessions online and centralized email were employed for consistent communication and support of the teams.

There were some unexpected challenges in this project: lack of contact with clubs, some clubs folding and new ones forming, difficulty in scheduling effective meeting times in different time zones, and life issues for one or two guides. It was the networking that provided the solutions for each of these challenges and strengthened the comradery among the team. Guides stepped up to fill gaps and go the extra mile in the collaborative spirit of an international team with strong ethics.

  1. Building a team requires visionary planning!

Just one month ago I began to form a new team called D73 Team Pathways. My vision for D73 success in integrating Pathways was built on the experiences in the other two projects. This new team is required to support the new executives in the 350 clubs across Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania during the transition period.

Firstly, we will work with the District trio to support the ongoing efforts of Team Pathways – going beyond the Pathways Guides model – embedding pathways integration through support of the Base Camp Managers. This group (mostly new executives elected at changeover in June/July) now needed ongoing support in providing services to all members of all 350 clubs in the district.

Secondly, we will work on providing a framework for building a larger team – ensuring that at least one person in each club was empowered to support club members throughout the transition period. Team pathways will support this larger team with monthly webinars for the BCMs, scheduled as two separate events – giving choices, for weekend or weeknight.

Thirdly, we will work in collaboration with D70 to build a framework for support across Region 12. Keeping the vision clearly in view – our success in integrating Pathways – we can utilise strategies to empower, communicate and collaborate. For example: Region 12 Base Camp Managers discussion forum was initiated.

I have learned that “before you become a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you are a leader, success is all about growing others.”
Jack Welch

Growing others requires effective timing, strategic networking, and visionary planning.

What is YOUR vision for team success?