Tools for your Path

PowerPoint

This Microsoft tool has become a clear winner for me in preparing my speeches and tutorials for Pathways.

With a deck of slides, containing imagery that suits my message, I can create an environment for my speech that will appeal to viewers in online clubs. I share these slides in full view with attendees in a Zoom room meeting – either right from the start of my speech or coming in at a later point to clarify or give examples. I like to add interesting graphics that have eye candy and structure to support my message.

Online Pathways Level 5 Project: Lessons Learned

With a deck of slides, containing step by step process with screen captures from Base Camp, I can provide a meaningful tutorial. I have a selection of these stored at Slideshare.com especially structured for my work as a Guide. I am now revisiting these and selecting the best for voiceovers to create short tutorial videos. I can do these quite quickly now with a simple script and showcasing the slides in my Zoom room as I record a private session.

(Note: to upload slides to Slideshare.net you need to create an account with them and upload your .ppt or .pptx files to your playlist. I have heard that Slideshare.net may be in a state of change and I await its fate with bated breath.)

D73 Team Pathways: ABC of Base Camp Management webinar

PowerPoint also enables me to construct diagrams and flow charts that provide visual representation of a process or strategy, relevant to Pathways.

Using PowerPoint SmartArt

If you are new to PowerPoint you can learn much more about its functionality and the new tools embedded within. One of my favourite online learning libraries for technology is GCF Global Free Tutorials Online.

If you wish to store your PowerPoint slide decks ready for sharing and downloading by others, you can use Slideshare.net (operated by LinkedIn). This repository has a powerful search engine for locating specific sets of slides. Like this one I found today by Barbara Lowe – the content of the Presentation Mastery Path in slide format. Many more like this to help you ‘present’ to your club members about specific Paths or to enable them to plan ahead.

Where to go to find help!

Recently I read about the Top Ten Tools for 2018 from Jane Hart at CLP. This triggered a reaction from me – one that I could fit into the puzzle for alleviating some of the difficulty for Toastmasters to begin their online learning journey.

We make an assumption that all Toastmasters are equally comfortable in online learning or in fact their use of computer technology. This is NOT as I know it. Each of the Toastmasters I know have a variety of skills in using their computers and mobile devices. Some of the questions that we are often asked, as Pathways Guides, indicate that some of their difficulties in Base Camp are related to management of their computer environment.

With that in mind I began to think about how to provide meaningful support for our Toastmasters who need technology coaching rather than Pathways Guidance. Over in the D73 Facebook group I setup a Poll to find out what members needed most help with. One of the options I chose was
Where to go to find help when you need it?

A short video on ‘where to go to find help on Pathways’ would be useful!

I think that YouTube and Google Drive would feature in that tutorial for accessing self-help with video tutorials and documents. In it we could include how to locate a selection of the video tutorials and documents stored in the Tutorials and Resources library at Base Camp.

Let’s look at the Ten Top Tools and determine which ones will assist us with self-managed  anytime online learning. Note: I plan to unpack my own selection of these in separate posts. Today I will focus on YouTube and Google Drive.

https://www.toptools4learning.com/analysis/

YouTube

This free personal publishing tool has the reputation of being the most popular tool because of its educational, entertaining and useful content. Yes there are useful videos there on Pathways. Enter YouTube and search for Toastmasters Pathways Tutorials and you will find a plethora of them. These can be accessed in any device and you do not need to have an account there.

Help is available as a search field (in a pop-up window) and you can Subscribe to a Channel from any of the Toastmasters sites in YouTube. I recommend the D7 Toastmasters Channel and its Playlist for Pathways tutorials.

If you have a YouTube account you can create your own Playlists by adding them from your favourite Channels. Use the YouTube Help tool and search for instructions on Adding Videos to Playlist.

Google Drive

This free cloud based document sharing space has the reputation of being the most popular tool for storing and sharing documents among small or large groups of people. This tool gives you the flexibility of creating a shared space for your Pathways documents for District or Club – an easy to access repository of useful resources.

You can navigate between your own folders and documents or those shared with you. Here is an example of a shared Google Drive folder of the Paths and Evaluations in Pathways, resources from Shilpa Reddy and another example of the Pathways Starter Kit from Mark Snow

Another example of a shared folder in Google Drive is this one from Roger Fung containing all the Evaluation Forms, in numerical order, for each project in Pathways.

Tutorials and Resources Library at Base Camp

And now for the specific help that is available in the Base Camp library! 
Did you know that you can browse for Specific Training and select from these three options: Online Class, Curriculum and Materials.

Online Class: includes all of the training needed for navigating in Base Camp – these require you to Launch
Curriculum: includes any of the special programs you have accessed such as Toastmasters Mentoring Program
Materials: includes all of the downloadable items such as Evaluation Resources

This could be the basis for a prepared online video tutorial by itself. There is so much more to learn about the intricacies of Base Camp.

Online Tutorials for Everything

For those who need more basic help in the use of their Computer there is a wealth of tutorials at GCF Global.

If you need a tutorial on YouTube try this one.

If you need a tutorial on Google Drive try this one.

My Story: where has Pathways led me?

It began for me, about a year ago. The PQD for District 73 sent out an invitation to Toastmasters who wanted to be Pathways Guides for clubs in areas close to them. Now, my location, spans two Districts – 70 on the NSW side of the border and 73 on the Victorian side of the Murray River. Clubs in Areas Monaro 34 and Northern 29 were all familiar to me – I had been an Area Director in both – and I felt sure that I could continue to support them all.

Eight to Ten clubs were to be supported for recognition as a Guide over a six month period – from September 2017 to February 2018, and rollout for us in Region 12 was scheduled for December 5.

barrier 1 tasksBrick Wall 1: 18 Tasks

As a Pathways Guide I was required to jump over a number of hurdles in gaining completion of my online learning modules. This was a strange an unfamiliar process and one that did not sit right with me from the start; I knew that reading a plethora of 18 online resources did not constitute effective training for me. Where was the opportunity to practice meaningfully before launching into my role as a Guide? Everything was lock step – that is – each component in the learning modules needed to be completed in sequence.

I persevered, knowing that this was my path to becoming a Guide and achieving another award towards my third DTM.

barrier1Brick Wall 2: No Entry

I felt like I was leading in the dark for those early months – without yet having access to Base Camp before rollout I relied on my colleagues who had experience already. There were a few of my international Toastmaster friends who had taken the plunge and joined clubs (in districts where rollout had commenced) as virtual members. They were my targetted support team – I could go to them and ask for help.

Julie Kertesz in District 91 in the UK was one of the first to ‘showcase’ her Path Projects in Base Camp. A snapshot that gave me the insight I needed to feel confident in my support for others. Thanks Julie.

break through 1 path

Break Through 1: One Path Complete

Once rollout commenced, I was poised and ready to select my Path. I had done my homework and determined what was the best Path to start with. I chose Effective Coaching, even though the Base Camp system had suggested Strategic Relationships. I put that one aside to do next.

I thought that Effective Coaching projects best suited my planned goals and projects for the first half of 2018. It felt really great as I completed each project and proceeded to the next in Base Camp. Each new project opened up more possibilities for me to grow.

Completion of my first level was cause for a celebration and I was happy to download my first Level Completion Certificate.As each level was completed I was learning new skills and expanding my leadership horizons  – the experience of those first six months was exhilarating. It felt like I was on the top of the mountain looking back on the pathway I had successfully traveled.

barrier 3 guiding othersBrick Wall 3: Guiding Others

mythicstructureNine months had passed since I first embarked on my Pathways journey! I had written about my experiences in my blog posts – each of the initial posts was designed to complete my first elective: Write a Compelling Blog. I used a story structure to tell of my adventures, just like the hero in the Hero’s Journey.

My story was told in 12 chapters and they seemed to write themselves as I contemplated what it felt like in enthusing others about Pathways. This was a tough part of the journey as it was TOO EARLY for many Toastmasters in Region 12 to give much thought to their Pathways. Summer holidays and the start of a new season of meetings took precedence over anything in Pathways.

My High Performance Level project was to build and steer a team of Online Pathways Guides in providing support for club executives from over 160 undistricted clubs across the world. Wow – that was the most stunning achievement for me – and a real bonus to work alongside many skilled Toastmasters from many Districts. On completion of my first path, Effective Coaching, I posted my thoughts on reflection in Follow the Yellow Brick Road post.   

break through 2 bcms

Break Through 2: Support for Base Camp Managers

The next part of the journey for me was closer to home as we determined the needs of clubs in our District 73 – especially after the election of new club executives – and in particular how to support the Base Camp Managers.

At the same time leaders in District 70 had begun to build a D70 Team Pathways and I had been invited to participate. This gave me the inspiration to begin D73 Team Pathways. By leading this team as Pathways Coordinator, I could fulfil another required project for my second Path, Strategic Relationships. Team Building was easy as the process was endorsed by the District leaders, and a team of six began to meet and discuss the different ways we could support new Pathways champions across the states of Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.

Simultaneously, the Pathways Discussion Forum was launched – managed by Michelle Alba-Lim from District 7 – supported by skilled Pathways champions from around the world. This forum opened up a whole new community of collaborative and cooperative learning opportunities. New learning and new activities (using the latest Facebook tools of Mentorship) has added value to what can be done in supporting large numbers of Toastmasters across the globe.

The journey does not end here! My third Path, Visionary Communication, is taking me to new heights in inspiring and facilitating my land-based clubs. For them I am seeking new ways of building membership (virtual attendance) and new ways of conducting executive committee meetings (online meetings).

The Region 12 Base Camp Managers community in Facebook has begun to provide much needed assistance for BCMs who are new to their roles and the tasks required of them in Base Camp. This community has potential for growth and influence, and will be a feature of the responsibilities of the D69,  D70 and D73 Team Pathways.

Continue reading My Story: where has Pathways led me?

Changing needs of Toastmasters in Pathways!

Prior to starting Pathways, Toastmasters are keen to know about the program and what’s in it for them. They will usually ask questions like:
  1. What are the Paths available in the program
  2. Where can I find information about the projects in each Path
  3. Who will help me get started
  4. How can see an overview of all Paths and Projects
  5. How do I choose a Path
  6. How do I get into Base Camp 
Those who are Pathways Base Camp Managers will often ask:
  1. Where do I find a Starter Pack
  2. Where do I find a Pathways Infographic or interactive website for sharing with others
  3. How can I integrate Pathways into our club meetings
Most of the Toastmasters I know, need to feel confident in Base Camp and require some help and resources along the way. When they begin their Path they need to know these things whilst working in Level 1:
  1. How do I access my projects
  2. How do I access the project evaluation forms
  3. How do I work with my projects in Base Camp
  4. How do I complete the projects in Base Camp
Note: Those Toastmasters who are not yet in Pathways can access all the Evaluation forms and still evaluate those delivering speeches from their Path Projects. By the time they reach Level 2 their understanding of Base Camp has improved and they are more confident in navigating their online lessons for each project, downloading the project resources and how to complete a level. At this stage their needs change and they will seek assistance with:
  1. How do I upload Evaluations to my Eportfolio
  2. How do I download and store my Level 1 Completion Certificate
  3. How do I view my progress in Toastmasters International profile page
  4. How do I access and complete my Toastmasters Mentoring program
  5. How do I notify my VPE of Level Two completion
At Level 3 the Toastmaster is comfortable with the resources available at Base Camp and is seeking knowledge about the Elective projects available. At this stage their needs change again and they will often seek help with:
  1. How do I access Electives in my Path
  2. How do I plan ahead for the completion of Electives
  3. How do I schedule speech requests for Elective projects (especially important when the Elective involves more than 1 speech eg. Deliver Social Speeches)
  4. Where can I find all project descriptions
  5. How can I remove the obstacles to Pathways
At Level 4 the Toastmaster has gained valuable experience in their speeches and in leadership projects where relevant to their Path. The projects are often more complex and require greater depth of understanding. Their needs are now at a higher level and they often seek confirmation of their goals and ability to achieve. Questions from those at level 4 will change to those that seek more collaborative learning opportunities:
  1. How do I gain more information, resources and collaborate with others
  2. How do I choose the next elective strategically to fit my chosen goal
At Level 5 the Toastmaster is able to demonstrate expertise in speaking and leadership projects and is ready to take on the Distinguished Toastmaster Project. They are more independent and need less mentoring and help in their journey. These are the people who often seek to mentor others in Pathways. Their questions are often about:
  1. How do I select a protege to mentor for six months
  2. How do I select a relevant six month project for my DTM project
Once the Toastmaster has reached DTM status in Pathways they have achieved the highest award that the program provides. What do they need? What are the next steps for them? Their questions are more likely to be:
  1. How can I give back to the Toastmaster community eg in a District role
  2. How can I leverage my achievements as a DTM for my life journey
So many Toastmasters have already successfully given back to the Toastmaster community through social media and shared documentation that it has become necessary to collate these in the one space. Try accessing this Google Document, shared by Heather Turner, for further links to shared resources. Some District websites provide neatly collated resources and tutorials for you. See D69 website as an example. Finally if you are seeking a personal mentor to help with your Path, please plan to join the Mentorship program at the Pathways Discussion Forum where over 7000 Toastmasters are collaborating right now. This is the most comprehensive collaborative Pathways specific forum you can choose for self-help. Remember to add specific answers to the questions for the administrators to approve your membership.

Blogging from Mars: a MOOC for Pathways!

‘Keep the end in mind’ – wise words from Chew Ban Seng in his recent blog and presentation about what Pathways meant for him. He talks about the obstacles and the weaknesses of the new Pathways program and how he overcame them to become the first Toastmaster to earn the Pathways Distinguished Toastmasters award. Others have since followed on, but he remains the first.

Today I reviewed the video of the three speakers who presented in the Toastmasters in the Digital Age segment of the Expert Speakers at the D51 Convention in April 2018.

toastmasters in the digital age

There was new learning for me from each of the three speakers:
youtube of tm in digital age

 

 

 

 

But what resonated most for me in the third speech “Pathways: 2 Biggest Obstacles and 1 Biggest Weakness” were the fundamental raw truths that were shared.

There is a flaw in the instructional design of the Pathways system – the underlying assumption that learning online needs to be sequential and controlled in a lock step manner.

Read that statement again! Do you agree? We need to be able to ‘see ahead’ and ‘plan ahead’ and we deserve an exemplary blended learning approach to our continuing Toastmasters Journey.

There is a flaw in the Pathways experience – a missing opportunity for collaborative and cooperative learning.

Read that statement again! Do you know what I mean? We need to feel part of a community all learning together and sharing our experiences. Online Learning Communities are required. When they are not offered by the learning institute, they occur naturally among the learners.

Phew! Now that I have that off my chest I can proceed with the rest of this blog from Mars!

Why the title, Blogging from Mars?

At the Ablaze Online Toastmasters meeting this morning the theme was ‘Blogs from the Internet’. One of the Table Topics questions was “You are a blogger living on Mars, what would you post about in your blog to earthlings?” I so wished I had been asked that question! Would I be writing about the things I can see from such a great distance and the folly of mankind? Would I choose to bring enlightenment about Mars to Earth? Or, would I choose to go for the raw truth?

Let’s go with the raw truth!

We need a MOOC for Pathways!

As an instructional designer in my former days in adult education in Australia, it was fundamental, in designing any online or blended course, to keep the needs of the learner firmly in mind. Students need immediate support and relevant resources to self-manage their online learning, right from the beginning of their navigation in a learning management system. They needed opportunities for collaborative and cooperative learning within their online spaces – a place to discuss the difficulties they were facing or to share their achievements. And they needed tutors and mentors to assist their development. A Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) was very attractive for a free learning experience and had its hay day back in 2012 – MOOCs emerged (in various styles and purposes) as a popular mode of learning.

Toastmasters need immediate support and relevant resources, to self-manage their navigation of Pathways. Toastmasters need to know ‘how’ they will benefit from the projects in the course or Path. Toastmasters need community around their online learning as well as in their clubs. Yes, there is a plethora of support within your Path, but not presented in a way that makes sense to all new learners online. We need a MOOC!

There is a missing piece – an ongoing Learning Guide (documentation, people and forums) – a MOOC is the answer to that!

Toastmasters need to feel inspired by the Education program provided for them as they pay their dues on entry to a club. Toastmasters are looking for value for money, especially in this competitive arena where many local and online clubs are vying for their membership. Toastmasters need clear instructions on what to do in their online learning space, and they need to feel empowered by the experience of learning this way. Toastmasters need to be able to put their learning in place in their speaking and leadership roles in club meetings. This is the reason they attend and join a club!

So what?

The Pathways disruptive innovation process has caused unrest among the Toastmasters. There is confusion and dissatisfaction with the new – this is being expressed in all clubs and across the wider international family of Toastmasters. Social media is running rampant with questions, answers, theories, suggestions and discussion.

Toastmasters need their own MOOC!

The  Toastmasters network is busily making sense of the new terrain and gathering their knowledge – to share with others. We have Pathways Guides still supporting people in their Areas; we have Online Pathways Guides helping their assigned clubs in District U; we have new club executives stepping up to new roles as Base Camp Managers and we have Districts putting teams of Pathways support in place.
(See previous post about ways to build a Team Pathways in your camp.)

But where can we engage with our international peers in discussion forums for our collaborative and cooperative learning experiences?

There are several social media spaces where discussions are happening about all things Toastmasters. I belong to several of them. Its in these spaces where much learning is gained from my peers. However, the forums dedicated to Pathways are the MOOCs we can access today!

Enter the Pathways Discussion Forum!

This is the MOOC you have been looking for?

Yes it provides discussion (in spades); yes it provides collaborative learning (in diamonds); and yes it provides cooperative learning in its simple Mentorship program (its new heart). This program offers you opportunities for stretching your mentoring skills outside your club and outside your country.

This forum is adding value to the learning journey for our International Toastmasters as Facebook group members. We are a community, striving to provide a massive open online connection (not really a course), although we have recently added some learning units to make the job of finding resources easier. Membership is over 6,600 and growing with over 300 waiting for approval.
(Note: please answer the entrance questions as you request to join the group.)

mentorship inviteToastmasters want Pathways support and hundreds have eagerly signed up as a Mentor or Protege in the forum. Together we have matched up over 200 pairs of Toastmasters who all need help with Pathways – the process is simple and effective.

If you want to sign up to be a Mentor for an international Protege, and if you want to experience more about cooperative learning, then this is the place for you.

mentorship steps 1-5

So as a Blogger from Mars (or at least from a different mindset) I urge you to seek out a Mentor or become one at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/pathwaysdiscussionforum/

As a Mentor for a Protege I recently learned the value of a consistent, five week model of communication in which both of us learned and grew a little more!

Carole


Meeting Carole [McCulloch] has been one of the greatest ‘happenings’ I’ve had in my relatively short Toastmasters journey. Within the 5-week direct mentoring program, she was able to get me to focus on, visualize, and put into action what will be the next phase of how I will be supporting the Toastmasters educational program (building Pathways support teams). In this time, I came to better realize my value in the program and the skills I have that are needed by others. Very quick, very articulate. I encourage others to reach out to Carole. You won’t be disappointed. -John McDonald, (soon-to-be) DTM

Keep it Basic in your Camp!

Base Camp Managers!

Are you a President, VP Education or Secretary for your Toastmaster club this year?
Did you know that with these roles comes the added responsibility of being a Base Camp Manager?
Do you know what your Base Camp Manager tasks are?

When I became a Pathways Guide, I realized that Base Camp Managers were going to require ongoing support for integrating Pathways into their clubs. This is a new task and one that they may not yet have received training for. Team Pathways in your Districts can help with that! Seek out your Pathways Coordinators and find out what the District has in place for your support this year.

What to do next?

Why not consider these strategies for keeping it basic in Pathways.

Many Toastmaster members of your clubs are embarking on new journeys into the Pathways education system and need your help in supporting their progress. You will be required to help them understand what they will encounter and what steps they need to take. You will need a Base Camp Management team.

Base Camp Management Team:
(VPE, Sec, Pres, VPM and Mentors)

Here’s some suggestions for what the BCM team can do?

  1. Provide clear explanations of the Pathways program and how their online activities supplement their in club experiences. My diagram above displays a typical workflow for what the Toastmaster will do in Base Camp and at Meetings. This is a simple way to introduce Pathways to your new club members: as a slide, as whiteboard notes or as a verbal explanation.
  2. Collate materials for your New Member Pack and keep it simple!
  3. Collaborate and share the tasks of supporting new club members as a team of Base Camp Managers and Executives. Determine tasks that can be part of each executive’s role, rather than expecting the VPE to do everything.
  4. Send links to members with useful information on the Paths and Electives from:
    https://www.toastmasters.org/pathways-overview
  5. Keep the club members up-to-date with member progress in their Paths and report level completions to the President.
  6. Provide short Pathways training sessions for individuals or all club members as educationals.
  7. Request to join a specific Base Camp Managers social media group where relevant.

Now consider how specific roles can be delegated to specific BCM team members! Include these in your Club Officer pack.

Secretary (BCM role)

Download a copy of The Navigator as a PDF document and provide some printed copies for those new members. These can be made available at meetings as part of the induction of new members by President.

Apply for Level Completion Awards at Club Central!
Help the member print their Certificates from Base Camp. See the Tutorials and Resources library for help with these.

VP Membership

Point out some of the basics of club membership and direct their attention to pages 5, 6 and 7 of The Navigator as a starting point.  These pages are of particular interest to new members as they describe the

  • structure of a Toastmasters meeting
  • an explanation of the meeting roles
  • description of the tasks of committee members.

Provide copies of the new Navigating Pathways flier and suggest they share one with a prospective member or at their workplace.  eg Transform Your Talent 

Work with the VPE on updating records of individuals achievements in Pathways. eg use of the Communication Charts in easy-Speak.

 

VP Education (BCM role)

Focus on introducing the Pathways education program outline using pages 9, 10 and 11 of The Navigator. These pages describe the learning experience and how it works.

The Ten Paths are described briefly and the five levels are examined giving the Toastmaster a broad overview of their ‘journey of possibilities’.

Schedule speeches as required for members to complete their Pathways projects.

Show how to navigate in Base Camp; launch and complete a project; and how to complete a level. Finally verify level completions as they are notified.

Establish a Club Mentoring Team and elect a leader.

Mentor Team Leader

The leader of a Club Mentoring Team can then:

  • ensure that new members have access to the support of mentors from within the club
  • encourage existing members of clubs to become Mentors;
  • help them select the Toastmasters Mentoring Project once they have finished Level 2 in a Path
  • provide Mentor Survival Packs (Navigator, Path Guides and Mentorship documents)
  • help the Mentors to use The Navigator to help the Proteges.Optional:

Lead individual mentors to the Pathways Discussion Forum Mentorship facility. Note: They will need to answer some entry questions to gain access. Then you will be able to opt in as a Mentor or Protege to this voluntary Pathways Mentorship program facilitated by Facebook. Mentors could use this service alongside their formal Toastmasters Mentoring Program.

Mentors

Help the new member to understand the steps required as they embark on the Pathways journey.

  • Complete your Levels 1 and 2 in your Path and elect to complete the Toastmasters Mentoring Program
  • Access the Pathways Mentor Program Guide
  • Make use of page 14 in The Navigator and the Mentorship documents in the program to step through the basics with proteges.
  • Provide handouts of the Pathways Levels Guides as required.
  • Help the new member consider the content of each Path before they go online to choose one.
  • Help them step through the self-assessment questions and consider the recommended Path.

With some further explanations of what is involved with each Path the Mentor can help steer the member towards the right Path for them.

 

President (BCM Duties)

Be a role model for the club members and Choose a Path! Establish a Mentor relationship for yourself with another experienced Toastmaster eg Immediate Past President. Set a goal to complete your first two levels during the first six months in officer as President.

Emphasize the Toastmasters Journey with this quote from page 3 of the Navigator as you perform a new member induction.

Every Toastmaster’s journey begins with a single speech. Now that you’re a member, you will prepare and deliver speeches at club meetings based on the projects in the Toastmasters Pathways learning experience.

  • Guide the executive teams, Base Camp Management team and invite Mentoring team leader to contribute to your executive meetings.
  • Check that the email address listed for your club is correct at TMI (Note: check that in the Club Contact and Meeting Information in Club Central.) If this is your email, ensure you Forward emails from TMI about level completions promptly to your VPE and Secretary.
  • Check in with the Secretary and VPE on completion levels and awards to be announced at meetings.
  • Establish rapport with your Club Mentoring Team leader and enable them to provide feedback  about protege progress at convenient club business segments in meetings.

What are your strategies for supporting the Base Camp Managers in your Toastmasters clubs?

Its all about the Team and its all about the Base!

 

 

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?

 

How to succeed in your Path!

Congratulations if you have chosen your Path at Base Camp. You may already be well on the way to completing your first level and happily planning your speeches. The five levels in a Path provide you with sequential development of skills, aptitudes and competencies. This month’s post will focus on:

Level 1: Mastering Fundamentals

What are the fundamentals?

purpose of toastmastersCreating a speech outline, delivering a speech, listening to feedback, researching a topic, giving feedback and practicing your leadership skills.

Each of these are learned in Level One on Base Camp and provide you with  instructions on how to request speaking opportunities in your club meetings.

Level 1 requires you to complete four speeches and one evaluation and to do this you will need to:

  • access your Path transcript and open the curriculum
  • view each online lesson and download the project checklist, project description and evaluation resource (note: store those in your own computer folders for your Path)
  • finish each project by completing the online self-assessments (note: be sure to complete both the Before and After surveys)
  • schedule the required speeches with the VPE(s) of your club(s)
  • deliver the speeches and have them evaluated (note: simply completing the online lessons does not constitute completion of the project – you are required to give speeches)
  • continue with each subsequent project and note the requirements (as above)
  • notify your VPE(s) when your level is completed (note: simply waiting for the system to notify the Base Camp manager (VPE) may be insufficient – send an email to your VPE and send copies of the Evaluations completed for all projects to verify completion)

Steps for Success

Your steps for success in Pathways may include some or all of the following activities: mentoring, self-help, further research, planning ahead and networking.

  • Mentoring 
    mentoringGet help from a mentor in your home club or seek a mentor from the Toastmasters Pathways Forum: Mentorship Program. Preferably a Toastmaster with experience and/or a person who has completed Levels 1 and 2 and/or the Toastmasters Mentoring program.
    Your mentor can provide support for your selection of speech topics, creating the speech outline, methods of delivery and ways to incorporate feedback.
    The mentor may also provide advice on how to plan ahead for other levels in your Path, technical assistance for navigational issues in Base Camp, and completion of your projects and levels.
  • Self-Help
    the navigatorRead the Navigator!
    This document provides you with a clear overview of expectations at club meetings and how to navigate in Base Camp. Available in Base Camp as both a downloadable PDF and an online version.

You can also access a copy of the Paths and Projects Catalog. Thanks to D57 for this dynamic Pathways Paths and Projects Catalog-1 .

Access and download any of the self-help resources you need from the Base Camp Tutorials library, as PDFs from the Tutorials, in a language of your choice from Base Camp at Toastmasters International. eg: Quick Reference Guides

Further Research
Depending on your personal learning style, the blog posts or YouTube videos from fellow Toastmasters may be useful for your further research.
Blogs

Access the Blog of Pathways Champion Julie Kertesz; many helpful hints for those beginning their Pathways Experience. Search for other blogs!

Read the Tech Tuesdays blog post from GALE or the DTM Journey from Pete Punwani or the succinct summary post of the Pathways Learning Experience from Rodney Denno.

Read other posts from this blog by accessing the menu for Toasted Training and subscribe to have my latest posts sent to you via email.

YouTube videos:

D7 Toastmasters Pathways Virtual Academy: Pathways 101 – an Introduction

How will Pathways transform your career 

Completing a Toastmasters Pathways project

Pathways Sample path

How to get the RED CHECKMARK on your Pathways project!

Where are the Evaluations?!! D7 Toastmasters Pathways Virtual Academy

Uploading evaluations you have been given to Base Camp in Toastmasters Pathways

And if you hold the club officer title of President, VP Education or Secretary, watch this selection of YouTube videos:

How to: Pathways Level Completion 2-step for VPEs!

Where are the Pathways Level Completion Emails GOING?

Toastmasters | Navigating Club Central

Further short videos on all the tasks involved at Base Camp are provided here:
TI Pathways

  • Planning Ahead

tracking sheetNow you can plan ahead for completing the projects in Level One Mastering Fundamentals and earn your first Level Completion Certificate!
You can access a copy of this Tracking Spreadsheet by clicking on the Path Planner Template V2. The sheet contains a sheet for each of the ten paths.

  • Networking 

base camp video screen grabAttend additional Pathways workshops at Club Leadership Training events and any online education sessions provided by your District as scheduled.
Talk Up Pathways in your own social media.
Join the Pathways Discussion Forum in Facebook.

 

 

Support for Pathways Integration: Team Pathways

I am about to embark on a new project ‘Lead in your Volunteer Organisation’ from the Strategic Relationships Path. This idea sprang to mind when I became a member of the D70 Team Pathways recently. As I had recently been assigned the role of D73 Pathways Coordinator, the idea of how Pathways Coordination could work in a District, during the transition period to June 2019,  was beginning to emerge!

Thinking this through, I believe that this was the perfect way to achieve the completion of the six month project in my second Path, Strategic Relationships and provide a structured support system.

D73 Team Pathways

What better way to lead in a volunteer organisation – initiate, lead and maintain D73 Team Pathways.

This is the final required project in Level 5 to complete my second Path.

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to apply the skills needed to successfully lead in a volunteer organization.

Overview: Serve in a leadership role in Toastmasters or another volunteer organization for at least six months.

Project Vision:

D73 Team Pathways supports Integration of Pathways.

My task will be to lead the D73 Team Pathways to assist in the successful Integration of Pathways. Together we will identify the support required for Pathways Integration in our clubs and provide assistance in various forms.

At the beginning of this project I provided an overview of the likely tasks to Support Pathways Integration as a presentation at the D73 District Officer Training and asked for volunteers. Already we have a small team emerging – five volunteers (representing various District teams) – a Steering Committee for the project.

This is brand new territory and nothing is yet ratified with District leaders. Exploration is a key motivator. We will meet soon and discuss our proposal for a support process that will lead our clubs forward in achieving success in Pathways Integration. A project that will help build Strategic Relationships for the club members, with their Base Camp Managers, their Area Director and their Division Directors as we strive for excellence in Pathways across the District.

Supporting the new Executives

The idea behind this project is the very real need to continue with a coordinated support process for our new club executive teams across Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. Now that we are in our first month of the new season for our clubs, and new Base Camp Managers emerge from the executive teams, they need our help.

Our Pathways Guides have completed their ‘official’ terms of office, and many may have taken on other duties and may not be available for further guidance. We need a new team to support the Base Camp Managers. We need to build on the expertise and experiences of those who have already become Pathways champions and achievers to offer advice and support where required.

Support for Base Camp Managers

The new Base Camp Managers, consisting of the club’s President, VP Education and Secretary, are required to fulfil the following responsibilities:

The Base Camp Managers can access this Online Tutorial in Base Camp when they login as a BCM. They need to click on the Base Camp Manager Tutorial icon, as shown below:

There is a plethora of online resources for the BCMs, but knowing where to find them and how to use them is not well known yet.
We can provide guidance on that!

 

Some club executives may have missed being part of the Pathways Experience presentations or virtual support sessions provided after rollout for our Region 12 in December 2017. 
We can fill the training gaps with targeted Online Education!

 

Brand new members, just starting in Toastmasters, will be seeking guidance from their executives and mentors.
We can help them to assist their club members!

 

D73 Team Pathways supports club executives in the Integration of Pathways.

VSS: Club Leadership Training Online

Virtual Support Sessions: VSS for Pathways

Pathways Guides across the world have been conducting online training for VPEs and others, to help them with their leadership roles. Thousands of hours of volunteer time and effort has been implemented steadily since early last year when the first rollout of Pathways began. The Guides were required to provide a virtual support service 15 times during their term of office. These may have been: one on one training, small group training or large group training opportunities. Guides have used a variety of web conferencing tools and have engaged attendees in easy training webinars and workshops online.

Virtual support sessions enabled club leaders to view presentations, ask questions and to network with others who were at the beginning of their Pathways journeys. The VSS concept was embraced enthusiastically by the Guides and seen as a most pro-active method of contributing to club leadership training.

VSS was a strategic, targetted program of club leadership training initiated by WHQ at Toastmasters International.

The Guides were supported through a series of online webinars in which they were able to view demonstrations of navigation in Base Camp and listen to a series of FAQ and answers about Pathways. These were scheduled and conducted by WHQ personnel who were skilled as Trainers of Pathways Guides.

Vital Support Sessions: VSS for Club Leadership Training Online

I am proposing a slight change to the term VSS – Vital Support Sessions. We need to move forward and ensure that clubs can integrate Pathways smoothly during the transition period to June 2020. Many districts are now setting up a framework for that ongoing support, including the appointment of special Pathways Champions and scheduling of Online Workshops.

I recommend the use of District focused VSS – Vital Support Sessions, as a method of providing ongoing leadership training opportunities, for new club executive officers. These can be used for the incoming executives for specific and strategic training in Pathways:

  • choosing a Path; accessing Base Camp; completing projects, completing levels and Paths
  • accessing online resources and learning tutorials
  • roles and responsibilities of Base Camp managers including verifying completions and submitting awards at Club Central
  • club  management tools and strategies to assist with the tracking, scheduling and recording of Pathways projects
  • Toastmasters Mentoring projects for supporting the members progress in Pathways

Training for VSS on Pathways

When the Guides in D73 were needing some training in how to prepare, structure and facilitate a virtual support session, I created a set of slides to step through the process and ran a couple of live interactive sessions. You can download the complete slide deck here.

A few of the slides are presented below to help others in preparing for VSS.

This is how a VSS may be prepared:

Preparation Model

This is how the content of a VSS may be structured:

Content Model

This how a VSS may be facilitated:

Facilitation Model

Here is an example of the scripting of your VSS:

Facilitation Script

Here is one way to add spice to the VSS with a Q & A segment:

Question and Answer segment

Finally here is a method for introducing stories from attendees:

club stories

Lessons Learned: Scheduling

  1. Set a regular day of the week and time for the VSS
  2. Invite participation from leaders AND members of clubs in your area
  3. Follow up with emails to ensure that all club executives are included
  4. Setup a Facebook Group in which the VSS are scheduled as Events
  5. Alternatively, post the scheduled VSS sessions in your website, blog or district page
  6. Follow up with a link to the recording for attendees

Lessons Learned: Facilitating

  1. Be flexible and accommodating eg be a logistics manager to help newcomers
  2. Encourage participation in a variety of ways eg voice, text chat, screen sharing
  3. Do your preparation homework and be ready
  4. Have specific websites and resources open on desktop ready to share
  5. Appoint a timer and keep to time
  6. Finish with a reminder of the next session

Extras!

For those using Zoom software, this second set of training slides will help!

If you are preparing for Club Leadership Training opportunities in your Online Clubs, this set of slides will be of interest.

If you are a member of an Online Club (or want to be ) and want to hear about the next Club Leadership Training being planned for Online Clubs on August 4/5, join us in the Online Alliance Meeting #15 scheduled for June 30 at this time converted to your zone at Zoom: ​https://zoom.us/j/5886309612