To be or not to be the Club Coach

“To be, or not to be, that is the question”

I was in the throes of moving from Yorkshire to Cornwall. Thrilled to discover there was a local Toastmasters club to which I could transfer. Imagine how disconsolate I felt when the President announced that the club could soon be folding. Oh no!

The Area Director, Mike Burrows talked to me about becoming a Club Coach.

I knew nothing about the Club Coach role, very little about District 91 (Hull Speakers being in District 71), and no-one in Armada Speakers...

Although I was nominated as Armada Speakers’ official Club Coach, we had an amazing team who took the club from 2 members to 18 and achieved not only President’s Distinguished but also all 10 DCP goals.

“Take Arms against a Sea of troubles”

Along the way I initiated regular meetings with the committee including agendas and action points for each committee meeting. Although this was more formal than Armada Speakers had been in the past, we reaped the benefits – the existing committee members participated, and the new committee members added valued perspectives too.

Thanks to Florian Bay‘s encouragement, material and advice, I managed an Open House Event in our usual venue but in a much larger room. Again, members joined in with enthusiasm to make the event a success. Florian even travelled to Plymouth for our event and ran an entertaining and engaging session.

A more unusual self-elected responsibility that I undertook was chauffeur. Armada is geographically disadvantaged for Club Officer Training event and Area Contests. Armada had previously not participated in either, so I felt that the added incentive of not having to drive may persuade some to attend. Our Club Officers Training record improved! We have been placed in Area Contests and encouraged our first Armada Speakers Area Champion.

All club members have contributed to Armada Speakers success. New member and new President Yvette Pan is deserving of a special mention. Her leadership style was a breath of fresh air – dynamic, committed and inspiring.

“Enterprises of great pitch and moment”

I cannot conclude this article without mentioning three worthy people from other clubs who put time, energy and enthusiasm into Armada’s transformation. Sharon Wayland and Grace Jones were amazing! They traveled down from Exeter to our meetings to participate, support and guide. Mike Burrows, our then Area Director, also gave behind the scenes support and traveled to Plymouth for some of our meetings. He was willing to “lend an ear” when guidance was needed.

I had no idea what I was letting myself in for when I agreed to be Club Coach. Make no mistake, it is a potentially big role, with many challenges along the way – though you can tailor it to your other commitments. You can only give what you can give!

The Club Coach role is a rewarding experience that I recommend.

——— Clare Crowther, Armada Speakers

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