In our last issue we looked at the criteria for coaching safety performance and behaviors. For something to be coachable it first has to be specific, measurable, observable, repeatable, and expectations-based.
Here are four additional guidelines for coaching safety behaviors and performance that will make our coaching sessions much more effective.
Guidelines for Coaching Safety Behaviors and Performance
Accentuate the Positive
Coaching safety behaviors should be at least as much about what’s going well as it is about what may need to be improved. If our coaching recipients perceive our coaching discussions to be something negative, or if they end up dreading them, then we’re doing them wrong. Start your coaching discussions with praise. Be clear and specific about what they are doing well. This will help to eliminate communication barriers and will lower their walls of defense.
Focus on Performance and Behaviors
Recall from our previous article in this series that we can’t coach what we can’t see. We can’t see a motive. We can’t see an attitude. What we can see are the behaviors that lead us to believe there might be a bad attitude or bad motive involved. Coach what you can see. So focus on coaching safety behaviors and safety performance.
Set Clear Performance Expectations
Performance expectations must be specific before our coaching can work as intended. If we aren’t clear with our people about our expectations, we’ll only set them up for failure and discouragement, which in turn will lead to lower levels of employee engagement. Draw clear lines of safety performance and safety leadership expectations, communicate those expectations often, and reinforce those expectations during your regular one-on-one coaching sessions.
Get a Commitment for Improvement
One of the mistakes we often make in our coaching discussions is that we aren’t clear about the outcomes of those discussions. We may talk about options for improvements, but then we leave the outcomes too open-ended:
“We’ve talked about some options for improving. Why don’t you try some of these to see how they work for you?”
A better way to do this is to lead them through the process of creating a plan of action, complete with specific steps they will take, time parameters around when they will take those steps, and specific dates for follow-up discussions to see how they are doing with it.
That’s it for this edition of Recordable INSIGHTS. Be sure to view the associated video below to learn more about these tips. Until next time.