Pathways Conversations with Julie: Week 2

Pathways Conversations week 2

Dear Julie,

My best memory as a Pathways Guide is of the growth of networking opportunities within and across districts in Australia. We started small with social media groups just for the guides in D70 and D73 – this enabled us to gain valuable social learning with our peers. Then we branched out with a Region 12 Guides and Ambassadors group – in this one we could share further afield from the southern most state of Australia (Tasmania) to the northern most state of Queensland and talk with guides from the west coast in Perth through to South Australia and the east coast states of New South Wales and Victoria.

region 12 FB group

My best memory of a Path is a feeling of pride and elation when that first Path was completed. I had selected Effective Coaching as my first Path, and as you know, it requires a High Performance Leadership project to complete Level 5. Once I had completed all the requirements of the HPL – the project itself (six months of work), the guidance committee and steering committee 360 degree evaluations, and the paper work (well the online clicks in my Transcript), I was able to view my Proficiency Certificate. That was a very proud moment!

certificate of proficiency EC

My best memory of a project was the Write a Compelling Blog! I was eager to tackle this one early and I knew more or less what I had to do even in January when I was still on Level 1. So with a little bit of guidance and help from you I began my series of blog posts on the ‘Pathways Treader’ – a hero’s journey, describing what it felt like to be a Pathways Guide. If I had my time over again I would not have tried to do this in the last 8 days of the month – that was a stretch for me during the summer months in Australia. Once I got started the whole process inspired me to continue, not just 8 posts/chapters but 12 in all.
pathways treader chapter 12

Link to Chapter 12

Pathways Guide Memories

The best memories of the role did not really eventuate until I took on the role of leading a small team of Online Pathways Guides (OPGs) who volunteered their time and energy to supporting the clubs in District U. By then I was more confident with Base Camp and so were the teams – we were in much better shape to help clubs across the world! The network of online Toastmasters was the gene pool from which these OPGs were recruited. Many were immersed in online clubs and/or had been involved as Pathways Guides or Ambassadors in their own districts.

In hindsight, I saw my first efforts as a Pathways Guide for D70 and D73 as the real training ground for what we did next – connecting with Toastmasters in different geographic regions of the world and providing them with the stepping stones to success with Pathways.

As in any leadership learning experience we have been able to implement the lessons learned from previous support strategies and blend them into a new model for providing guidance and mentoring services for the 30+ OPGs. We learned from our early mistakes and polished our skills to a new brightness. One thing I recall as being extremely complex was the task of matching the OPGs with the clubs in District U according to compatible time zones. That task alone took several days of work and my mind was in a spin looking at club meeting times, locations of the OPGs, their languages and any need for French or Spanish speaking guides.

Note: it became crucial to know what club meeting times were in UTC terms so that we could calculate for our own time zones. My best friend was the World Clock Time and Date Conversion site and my computer date and time for current times across the world.

time zones

Dear Readers,

This was my call to action in Chapter 12 of my early posts and it is still the most asked question of me as a Pathways Coordinator. What would you suggest?

comment keyCall to Action

Here is where I need your help!

Please leave a comment below with some ideas on personalizing the support for individual clubs and members in ‘on boarding’ into Pathways.

Next week, Julie and I are looking for your suggestions on what questions we could ask of each other for our Friday blog posts. Look for those in the Toastmasters Pathways Discussion Forum.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road …

Reflections of a Path

250px-Cowardly_lion2Reflections on my journey in the Effective Coaching Path remind me of the experiences of Dorothy in the story of the ‘Wonderful Wizard of OZ’. Looking back and noting my lessons learned, has been an ongoing pursuit for me, as I worked my way through the preparation, the speeches, the feedback, the improvements and the completion of tasks in Base Camp. I am not sure that I have followed the ‘yellow brick road’ exactly as recommended; however I am positive that I have owned the process and learned how to reach my personal goal!

These are my lessons learned!

Lesson 1: Plan Your Path Smartly!

brain for the scarecrowJust like the scarecrow in Dorothy’s journey, I learned that I already had a brain and I just had to think differently. I learned to plan my speeches according to one of the main objectives of the Effective Coaching Path – contribute to the development of others by coaching using effective interpersonal communication.

My journey needed guidance, something or someone, to enable me to plan for my projects in advance and keep me on the Path I had chosen.

I selected a simple tool for forward planning and tracking my achievements – a spreadsheet – my Path Planner. I also selected one or two mentors who would help me when I needed advice or to see what lay ahead of me – Pathways Champions who had the experience and knowledge.

I considered the clubs for whom I could present these speeches and projects over the next two months and approached each club with a request for a speech; – more or less following the project requirements in sequence. I needed to be flexible and to be considerate of the audiences in each club and the time available on their agendas, to match the purpose of my speech. I needed to maintain continuity and consistency!

Lesson 2: Select Electives Courageously!

courageJust like the cowardly lion who was encouraged by Dorothy to join her in the journey to the Emerald City and ask the Wizard for help; I was seeking courage.

Some of the projects in the higher levels of my Path, appeared daunting and challenging at first.  I was unsure of my ability to complete!

They looked very shiny and enticing sitting on the shelf of my Electives library in Base Camp. But once I had opened each curriculum and understood what I had to do, my courage grew. My own small inner voice reminded me to reflect on what I had achieved in the lower level projects and build on that – ‘try again tomorrow’.

I considered the Electives at a deeper level, and chose those that would complement my stories, my networking and help achieve the vision of improvement through positive coaching.

Connect with Storytelling – practice using a story within a speech or giving a speech that is a story. This is how my ongoing story of the Voyage of the Pathways Guide was created.

Write a Compelling Blog – post a minimum of eight blog posts in one month to increase the readership of my blog and entice more followers. This is where my ongoing story of the Voyage of the Pathways developed, and continued for 12 chapters.

Using Descriptive Language – adding colourful language to emphasize interest and impact. My literary research into Fantasy Fiction gave me a new way of telling a story in a speech. This is how my Thursday Next series of speeches were created with more flair and panache.

Make Connections through Networking – develop and practice a personal strategy for building connections through networking. (Note: this one is on the plan for the second Path Strategic Relationships, but one that has importance for me to build in to my Effective Coaching.)

Moderate a Panel Discussion – plan and moderate a 20 – 40 minute panel discussion. This project was most enjoyable and provided lots of lessons along the way. This was where I could focus on contributing to the development of others by coaching using effective interpersonal communication. Yes, it did stretch my communication skills and polished my facilitation skills.
Watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNjaSX7hFp0

Lesson 3: Complete Your Path with Passion!

heart for the tin man

The most important lesson of all is the passion you bring to the learning journey – from the heart!

For me the journey into a Path in Base Camp was a long awaited adventure, one that I really wanted to do. The anticipation of the rollout of Pathways in my District was the ‘driving force‘ behind that passion. The support that I received along my Path from a vast network of Pathways Champions gave me the ‘fuel’ to last the distance.

My role as a Pathways Guide was to contribute to the development of others – I took that on with a passion! I tracked my own progress and showed others what I had discovered along the way. This enabled me to build a series of resources that will go on to help yet more ‘pathways treaders‘ to achieve success.

My heart was in every project from the first Icebreaker to the High Performance Leadership project.

This is not the end of the Effective Coaching Path for me, yet! The HPL is ongoing for a few more months. However I wanted to ensure that I reflected on my journey here and now.

Reflections are the foundation for embedding your learning in your brain and heart, and provide the courage and conviction to move forward in your personal learning journey!