Together we make a profound difference

BEST PRACTICE: Candidate coaching

HOW-TO: Enrich your coaching program

Masonic Leadership Project

Intacct training schedule

Resources

Question of the month

_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________

BEST PRACTICE: Candidate coaching

The master-apprentice dynamic was essential to helping the first, operative stonemasons grasp the art of their craft. Although Masonry’s lessons are no longer about stonework, candidate education is just as important today.

In fact, coaching is among the fraternity’s 2010-15 strategic priorities. So while Grand Lodge works on developing Web-based tools for use statewide, California lodges are fortifying their own programs.

San Francisco’s Phoenix Lodge No. 144 is one of them. Senior Warden Jim Dierke explains:

Background

Phoenix Lodge is an old lodge, founded in 1861. But lately, we’ve been going through a renaissance. We have a lot of new members. The men knocking on our doors don’t necessarily know anybody in the lodge, or anything about Masonry. A strong coaching program is important for their experience, and for the health of the lodge.

Beyond coaches

  • Recommenders: In the past, the brother who recommended the applicant was with him all the time. It might’ve been his father, uncle, or family friend. Many applicants today don’t have an existing connection to members of their lodge, so it’s important that the recommenders take an interest. For the past five or so years, it’s been unofficial lodge policy that if you recommend an applicant, you will take an active interest in his progress.
  • Lodge at large: You don’t need to be a candidate’s ritual coach to be in his corner. Introduce yourself, offer support, and encourage him. Be a mentor.

Culture of learning

  • Preferred proficiency: We’ve experienced a wave of Entered Apprentice and Fellow Craft degree candidates who opt for the long form, and we encourage it. They get a better grasp of what the fraternity is about, as well as the esoteric value of the degree.
  • Personal statement: The basic education program asks candidates to write an essay about the personal significance of each degree. We take that seriously. All of our candidates read their essays aloud at lodge.
  • Widespread education: Our lodge makes Masonic education a priority in general. At Masonic education events, coaches and candidates pick up new information to supplement their work together.

Group approach

In addition to one-on-one coaching, our six candidate coaches lead group sessions.

  • Weekly study hall: Every Thursday night, we hold a lodge dinner. After, candidates break into degree groups.
  • Greater availability: With one-on-one coaching, it can be difficult for a candidate and coach to align schedules. It helps to offer group sessions and have a number of coaches available.
  • Team dynamics: Candidates bounce questions off each other and their coach. It fills an important social need, and at the same time, it’s a learning activity – not just an exercise in memorization.
  • Candidate camaraderie: If a candidate says, “I can’t learn this,” he has a brother next to him saying, “Yes you can.” Many of our members become very good friends by going through the degrees together. It creates a bond.

The benefits

  • Candidates: Two candidates recently gave third degree proficiencies, and they were letter perfect. It was beautiful.
  • Coaches: Coaching is a way for coaches to stay involved in the lodge and in touch with the lessons of Masonry.
  • Lodge: With a group approach, the candidate becomes close with a number of brothers: his coaches, plus his fellow candidates. He experiences different outlooks on the fraternity’s teachings. These connections, and the perspective they lend, strengthen the lodge.

Our ritual sets Freemasonry apart from other fraternities. Masons don’t just pay membership dues; we must master important teachings. It began as an oral tradition, passed from coach to candidate, and we continue it today. This kind of education stays with you. Nothing replaces it.

For more information, contact Jim Dierke.

[Back to Top]

 

____________________________________________________________

HOW-TO: Enrich your coaching program

Coaching is more than a means to a degree; it sets the stage for a candidate’s entire Masonic journey.

Here are nine strategies to make it meaningful.

  • Assign coaches thoughtfully: To pair each candidate with the right coach, conduct interviews to determine each candidate’s interests, style of learning, and personality.
  • Start at the beginning: Make sure candidates are versed in the history of the fraternity, including the transition from operative to speculative Masonry. With a thorough knowledge base, the fraternity’s symbols, rituals, and structure will make more sense.
  • Customize: Different people connect with Masonry in different ways. Find out what most interests each candidate, whether it’s history, philosophy, or a specific symbol. Then tap into this area of interest.
  • Provide resources: Stock the lodge library with books and movies, and create a recommended reading list – including reputable websites like freemason.org/discoverMasonry – so candidates can do their own research.
  • Assign projects: Encourage candidates to actively participate in coaching by giving them assignments at different stages of degree study, like a five-minute presentation on a specific symbol.
  • Deepen lessons: Go beyond the ritual and even the philosophy of a degree, and teach how it can be applied practically to daily life. Discuss applied Masonry with your candidates, have them discuss it with each other, and designate long-time lodge brothers to discuss it with them, too.
  • Combine candidates: Organize group study sessions with other degree candidates and coaches.
  • Involve the lodge: Encourage long-time members to give presentations at lodge. It will create a culture of learning and set an example for candidates.
  • Coaching classes: Arrange a coaches’ workshop to refresh material and discuss teaching techniques. In advance, ask coaches to email a list of their go-to resources, and distribute the comprehensive list at the workshop. Compile a Coaching 101 PowerPoint with key coaching topics, and review and add to it as a group. Then distribute it as a resource.

Have something to add? Email suggestions to communications@freemason.org with How-To: Enrich your coaching program in the subject line.

[Back to Top]

 

____________________________________________________________

Masonic Leadership Project

Last year the fraternity set out to rejuvenate leadership with the Masonic Leadership Project (MLP). Special courses were developed as a platform for group and personal explorations of Masonic leadership, then tested at the 2013 leadership retreats. They received widespread acclaim.

These MLP courses are now available for all California lodges to offer to members.

Courses

  • Leapers (1.5 hours): Everyone responds to change uniquely. This course identifies participants’ change-response styles and how to manage different styles.
  • Solomon’s Wheel and Drawing Designs on the Trestleboard (3 hours): Participants explore the three tenets and four cardinal virtues of Masonry, and how they can be applied to leadership and life.
  • Leadership Development Plan (1.5 hours): Participants create a plan for personal leadership development, including techniques for exercising leadership in a group. Note that Solomon’s Wheel, above, is a prerequisite to this course.

How to host MLP courses

Your lodge may now offer any or all of the above courses.

  • Contact Grand Lodge Program Services for help selecting the appropriate courses for your lodge and to request a trained facilitator. (Your lodge may be responsible for facilitator travel expenses.)
  • Designate a member to oversee participant and space requirements.
  • Sign up attendees. Each course must have a minimum of 16 participants. There is no maximum, as long as the ratio of facilitators to participators is at least 2 to 30. Members of all degree levels may participate, and officers are encouraged. Note: Spouses and partners may participate in MLP courses, but it is suggested that their sessions be held separately.
  • Schedule the course(s). Depending on duration, arrange to provide food for participants. You may also decide to combine the event with another lodge activity.
  • Determine the overall cost of the event and, if desired, collect the appropriate fee per participant. You may only charge what it costs to put it on the event.

Questions? Contact Program Services.

[Back to Top]

 

____________________________________________________________

Intacct training schedule

Intacct is the new accounting and reporting solution for California lodges and hall associations. To prepare your lodge for the transition, plan to attend a webinar or on-site training this summer or fall. One-hour Q&A sessions are scheduled periodically as refreshers.

  • June 11: Webinar training session
  • June 26: One-hour Q&A webinar
  • August 20: Webinar training session
  • September 10: One-hour Q&A webinar
  • October 19 @ Covina: In-person training
  • October 21: Webinar training session
  • October 26 @ Union City: In-person training
  • November 16 @ Sacramento: In-person training
  • December 7 @ San Diego: In-person training
  • December 9: One-hour Q&A webinar
  • December 11: In-depth refresher webinar

To register for upcoming webinars, email intacct@freemason.org or call 415/292-9170.

To download the Intacct Training Manual and view video demonstrations, log into the Member Center, then go to Resources and Publications > Intacct Resources.

[Back to Top]

 

____________________________________________________________

Resources

By partnering with Masonic Assistance, you can make sure your fraternal family knows where to turn when they need support. This section is designed to help.

You’ve already received several resources covering the basics of Masonic Senior Outreach Services, including a guide with basic info for every lodge leader.

This month, we are introducing an advanced handbook, developed by MSOS staff for brothers who want to go beyond the basics. If you’re the go-to person for outreach questions at your lodge, this resource is for you.

This month: MSOS handbook

Print and save as a reference, and share with fellow officers.

[Back to Top]

 

____________________________________________________________

Question of the month

Last month we asked how your lodge engages fraternal family. Of the 153 who responded:

77% - Encourage families to attend stated meeting dinner
74% - Plan meals or social nights to include families
62% - Encourage families to participate in community service events

Less-common tactics include ladies’ service projects, kid-friendly activities, and baby-sitting services at lodge events.

Here’s your next question.

 

 

 

 

View past issues


Please email questions to communications@freemason.org.

Contact Us

Grand Lodge of California
1111 California Street
San Francisco, CA 94108

p: (415) 776-7000

e: memberservices@freemason.org