Growing Safety-Performance Capacity through Coaching

Growing Your Safety Performance Capacity

The past few issues of Recordable Insights have been focused on the concept of “coaching interference” and how it impacts the ability of the person we’re coaching to make the improvements we want them to make. There we looked at the sources of that interference, and some ways to mitigate them. But it’s just as important that we understand if the person we’re coaching actually has the “capacity” to make the performance improvements we’re asking them to make. Are they even in a position to make those improvements at that time, or have they reached the point of saturation? What else is currently in their performance “container”?

Understanding Your Performance “Container”

Everyone has limited capacity in terms of the number of safety performance improvements they can make at one time. Think of this capacity in terms of a drinking glass. We can pour more water into a drinking glass as long as there’s room. Once we reach the saturation point, the water simply overflows and all additional efforts to get the glass to hold more water are wasted.

safety performance containerOur safety performance “container” is similar. But instead of being filled with water, it’s filled with a combination of current performance efforts and coaching interference. In order to make room for more improvements, we have to do one of two things:

Reduce the Interference

Remember, “interference” is anything that might impede the ability of the performer to make further performance improvements. It’s always a good idea to reduce as much interference as possible, regardless of the size of the performer’s “container.” But it’s even more important when that container is already at capacity.

Grow the Container

Another option for making room for improvements, once interference is reduced, is to grow the size of the container. That’s best done by recognizing what the performer still lacks in terms of ability to make improvements. Is it knowledge? Is it understanding? Is it skill level?

Do they need more training? Additional tools? Something else? Figure it out and provide what they need to grow their capacity to make improvements.

That’s it for this edition of Recordable INSIGHTS. Be sure to view the associated video below to learn more about performance containers. Until next time.


About the Author

Eric Svendsen
Eric Svendsen, Ph.D., is Principal and lead change agent for safetyBUILT-IN, a safety-leadership learning and development organization. He has over 20 years experience in creating and executing outcomes-based leadership development and culture change initiatives aligned to organizational goals, and he personally led the safety-culture initiatives of a number of client organizations that resulted in “best ever safety performance” years for those companies.