From the youngest age, to the end of their careers, people are coached – babies learning to walk, school children mastering a new skill or professional athletes looking to better their game. Coaching is a way of life. Yet, at some point in time, many people feel that they don’t need to improve – or think of coaching as a disciplinary measure.
Nothing can be further from the truth. Particularly when someone has been doing the same job for many years and gets stuck in a routine. It’s easy to simply go through the motions and not realize that bad habits have begun to creep in. But, how do you introduce coaching into your work environment, how do you maintain coaching as part of your culture and how do you measure the results of your efforts?
For many drivers, they began learning the skills they use today as early as 16 years old, when they got their first driver’s license. Those skills were embedded in their daily routine and simply became a way of life. New skills were added when they acquired their CDL, but for some drivers, that might have been 20, 30 or 40 years ago. It’s easy to develop habits that make driving easier, skip what may seem “routine” to get somewhere quicker or get through the day without even realizing that rules or procedures are not being followed.
When embarking on a coaching program, it’s important to understand where to start, which can vary depending on your role within your organization. Once you’ve decided where you will start, it’s important to understand what is effective coaching and how to measure the results of your efforts.
In this series of blog posts, we’ll examine different aspects of coaching and provide tips and tricks to improve your effectiveness. Let’s get started!
Before starting a coaching program, it’s important to understand why you’re coaching and how you’re going to do it. An important first step is ensuring everyone involved is aligned with your answers to the following questions:
What is Most Important to My Fleet?
- Am I willing to sacrifice safety for the sake of operations?
- Am I willing to sacrifice safety for the sake of short-term profitability?
There is no customer or amount of money worth someone’s life. If you are dedicated to operating safely, the business will come.
Why Are We Coaching?
- Are we trying to build a file for upcoming litigation?
- Are we interested in improving the overall safety of our fleet and avoiding litigation by not having a collision in the first place?
There is no better fix for collisions than not having one in the first place. If you do have a collision, you’ve got plenty of coaching data to help make your case.
How Are We Going to Coach?
- Are you able to meet on a timely basis or will coaching be delayed due to your workload or your driver being on the road for long periods of time?
- Are you able to communicate openly with your driver to effect change in your fleet?
Tell drivers you care, look them in the eye and ask about what’s going on that could be the cause of the behavior. Let them open the conversation and you direct the conversation toward correcting the behavior.
Many coaches were drivers and have been promoted to a supervisory position; unfortunately, many never received coaching training. Having a specific method to follow during the coaching process ensures fairness and an unbiased review of each driver’s performance. To ensure your coach is as effective as possible, be sure they have the tools necessary to be successful:
- Efficient Managed Service Program … allowing them time to coach drivers, not review events
- Accessible Response Center … providing the critical information they need to coach effectively
- Easy, yet powerful, Coaching Workflow … providing three simple steps to success
- Handy Driver Mobile App … for remote self-coaching
To gain more insights into coaching, download the eBook, “Coach Your Drivers to Safety and Success” today!
Next week we’ll delve into the value of expert analysis in the coaching process. Click here to read part 2.