Last article we looked at some general principles for coaching safety culture at the front-lines. In the near future we’ll go in depth on a coaching model that we can use to coach safety performance and behaviors. But before we look at that model, there’s one other thing that’s important to understand about coaching; namely, how “interference” can impact coaching improvements.
“Interference” in coaching may be defined as anything that hinders the ability of a person to make suggested performance improvements. There are a number of things that might contribute to this, and they may be divided into two separate categories: Interference that comes from the coach, and interference that comes from the performer.
Interference from the Coaching Side
One of the first things to be aware of when coaching is the importance of ownership. Remember the maxim from our last issue: “No one disagrees with his own ideas.” If I’m telling the person I’m coaching what I think his performance level is and what I think the improvements need to be, instead of asking him what he thinks about those things, then I’m missing an opportunity to transfer ownership of improvements to him.
So, the first source of interference on the coaching side is “telling instead of asking.” If I’m focused on “telling,” my coaching subject may very well agree with my ideas for improvements, and he may have no problem implementing those improvements, but he’ll never embrace them as his own because they were my ideas instead of his.
The goal of a coach is to take a step back and patiently coax those ideas out of the person who’s being coached. That means I have to engage that person in a conversation and ask him some questions.
“How well do you think you’ve been doing to meet our safety culture goals?”
“What are some areas that you think need to be improved?”
“What do you think has to happen to make those improvements?”
If I can draw the ideas for improvement from his own thinking process, they become his ideas instead of mine. That’s much more valuable for purposes of internalizing, owning and leading of a safety culture than any suggestions for improvement I might have to offer.
That’s it for this edition of Recordable INSIGHTS. Be sure to view the associated video below to learn more about this principle. Until next time.