Changes to improve the Toastmasters Club Coach Program are now in place. The moves are designed to forge the best fit possible between clubs and well-qualified coaches so that more clubs can flourish.
The changes took effect July 1, the beginning of the 2022–2023 program year, and they are outlined on a new Club Coach Program webpage. The new program policies were crafted by the 2020–2021 Policy Review Committee, composed of past and current members of the Toastmasters International Board of Directors.
“The main purpose of implementing new rules for the Club Coach Program is to strengthen it and make it more robust,” says Deepak Menon, DTM, Toastmasters’ 2019–2020 International President, who co-chaired the Policy Review Committee. “These changes are also expected to increase the success rate of the program by ensuring that there will be fewer slippages.”
New requirements for club coaches will ensure such members are experienced, committed, and “have the knowledge that the clubs they coach can benefit from,” says Menon.
Members must now meet the following qualifications to become a club coach.
- You must have completed at least two levels in your path in the Pathways learning experience, or have achieved an Advanced Communicator Bronze or Advanced Leader Bronze in the traditional education program.
- You can’t be a member of the club you coach, or have been a member of that club in the previous six months.
- You must have served as a club officer for at least a one-year term (or two six-month terms).
- You can only coach one club at a time.
Understanding Each Other
Sometimes, the pairing of a club and a coach is not effective. Clubs have the right to stop working with their designated coach if they are dissatisfied. To cut down on unsuccessful coach-club relationships, the new rules call for more communication before a coach is appointed.
A coach must complete the Club Coach Training Module before beginning an appointment. The module is in Pathways Base Camp, and it provides an overview of the Club Coach Program for club members, club officers, District leaders, and prospective coaches. This way, everyone is aware of what the club/coach relationship involves and what is expected from the partnership.
In addition, the prospective coach is to meet with the Club President (or another club officer) and the District Director (or Program Quality Director or Club Growth Director), and everyone must sign a Club Coach Agreement, which outlines all the requirements for the assignment.
Clubs can now have a minimum of three members (and no more than 12) for a coach to be appointed. (One or two coaches can be assigned.) Coaches receive credit toward the Distinguished Toastmaster award (DTM) if the club achieves Distinguished or better status in the Distinguished Club Program. Coaches can now also fulfill an additional DTM requirement if the club reaches 20 or more members in addition to being Distinguished or better.
The additional credit is expected to entice more members to be club coaches.
To earn the credit, coaches must now:
- Serve as a coach for a minimum of six months by the end of the program year (June 30).
- Coach only one club at a time.
- Complete and submit a Club Coach Preliminary Report and Club Coach Progress Report every 60 days, and a Club Coach Final Report once the coaching assignment ends.
In the three reports, coaches answer questions relating to what initiatives they’ve undertaken to help the club, what challenges they face, how they are tackling them, and what growth opportunities there are for the club in the future.
“These reports will not only increase the accountability of the club coaches,” notes Menon, “but will also provide information that could enable the District to provide additional resources, as may be needed, to improve the coaching outcome.”
The reports will put an early spotlight on potential problems and allow time to brainstorm effective solutions, he adds.
The coach will also receive a 360-degree evaluation completed by members of the Club Executive Committee. The coach will get feedback on their skills in areas such as leadership, team building, and problem solving.
The new program policies also outline how club coaches can be reappointed. A coach has up to two program years to help the club achieve Distinguished status, and if they are not able to do so in that time, they can be reappointed to coach that club for up to two additional program years. Four program years is the maximum amount allowed for coaching the same club.
Menon, a longtime Toastmasters leader from New Delhi, India, is optimistic the program’s new parameters will help more clubs around the world achieve their goals.
“I have tremendous expectations from these changes, as I visualize that our struggling clubs will be better served, leading to more satisfied members continuing to achieve their goals and objectives through Toastmasters.”
Editor’s Note: If you have questions about the Club Coach Program, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paul Sterman is senior editor, executive and editorial content, for Toastmasters International. Reach him at email@example.com.