By Akbota Sabetova/from Toastmasters Community Channel
People don’t like changes. But great changes in Toastmasters communities all over
the world have began. The name of these changes is PATHWAYS.
You might have seen presentation of this program in your club or online as me. But I wasn't satisfied and some questions were unclear for me. So I started learning more about PATHWAYS myself: I talked to the President of Astana Toastmasters Club (ATC) in order to get some instructions and explanations, I researched Toastmasters International (TI) official website and started my own Path. I want to share my experience.
Firstly, I figured out why did this happen. Why did fellow board of Directors of Toastmasters International decide to switch to new and mystery system? There are several reasons for that. TI conducted a survey among toastmasters all over the world and asked people if everything was okay. They found out that:
"Members liked current program, but something was missing".
Little bit of statistics: less than 10% of members earned Competent Communicatot(CC) award, less than 2% earned Competent Leadership award and less than 1% earned any type of advanced awards. Looking back to your own club you are probably familiar with this situation. I am a member during about two years and I didn't finish niether CC nor CL. I saw that officers were trying to solve this problem. But, in fact, this was not a local problem at all. These problems were global.
"Something was lacking".
We are all familiar with old-school Competent Communicator(CC) and Competent Leadership(CL) based program. We also know that these two manuals are independent from each other. But each and every toastmaster understands that leadership and communication skills are combined. Even though I learned a lot thanks to CC and CL it's still hard to adopt some of these skills in real life. A lot of toastmasters all over the world felt the same. TI figured out that members want more flexible program that will help to develop real world skills. So TI had to take into account two points:
"How do adults learn + save the core values and vision of Toastmasters"
The more I read and watched the more interested I was. TI put a great effort to make something huge and helpful for everyone. They've analysed all the roles that toastmasters can perform in the current program. TI researched what skills, attibutes, behaviors and competencies are required to succeed. They analyzed all the weaknesses and threats of ongoing programs and came to the solution - PATHWAYS. There are so many skills to develop to become a great leader and communicator.
TI highlighted five competencies that can show us the direction to work: Public Speaking, Interpersonal Communication, Strategic Leadership, Management and Confidence. You can learn only in first four competencies because:
"You can't learn confidence - you gain it through work in every path"
From 2012 to 2015 TI united five competencies that included a range of 59 projects and formed ten unique PATHS. But toastmasters would't be so great if they didn't test this program before launching. TI launched first in the history of toastmasters Content Pilot in 22 countries all over the world - members were a huge part of the creation process.For those who thought that we'd face some unconsidered difficulties it's great news:
"Each project was evaluated at least six times"
PATHWAYS is an extremely modern program - it's flexible and accessible. How many times did you forget your CC or CL? How many times you were lacking some help and instruction? Now this is not a problem anymore. PATHWAYS are accessible any time and anywhere. Let me introduce your future best friend - Base camp. It's a smart e-platform for mastering your skills and knowledge in toastmasters. There you can find all learning materials, videos, feedback and assessment, transcripts and many other useful things.
"Exploring new projects"
Internet based learning allows you to do almost everything. Moreover, TI gives you an opportunity to participate in new projects like writing a blog or making a podcast. You will be able to exchange feedback and get recognition bages that will show your porgress. Nevertheless, if you are old-school person printed manuals are also available.
"New mentoring program"
Previously mentoring program was more informal but it will change soon. There will be new mentoring program and hopefully it will be much better than previous one.
That's all you should know about PATHWAYS before starting your own PATH. I strongly believe that before you start trying something new you should know little bit more about it. I hope that this article helped you to become more aware of PATHWAYS.