What’s the Goal of Your Safety Coaching?

Establishing the Goal in Your Safety Coaching One of the more effective ways to coach safety performance and behaviors is to use a coaching model that guides that conversation. An effective coaching model establishes a goal, checks that goal against the current-state reality, explores options for improvements, and creates a plan of action to move forward with those improvements. One such coaching model is called G.R.O.W. G.R.O.W. stands for … Goal(s), Reality, Options, Way forward. Here’s how the G.R.O.W. model works.

Establishing the Goal

Any coaching conversation must start with a goal. What is the standard against which the person we are coaching will be measured? That goal will change depending on what we’re coaching. For instance, the goal could be a broad organizational or team goal, such as “employee-led safety culture.” Or, it could be a much more specific goal tailored to the individual: “increased levels of participation and engagement in daily toolbox meetings.”

Whatever the goal is, it must be something we’ve previously communicated and something that is already well known. It cannot be something that we spring on them for the first time in that conversation. It’s also important that we’ve provided the necessary training and tools to meet that goal, and that we’ve given them sufficient time and opportunity to live up to that goal. Remember, coaching is expectations-based. We can’t coach something we haven’t communicated previously and communicated often. If we’ve done all that already, then we can coach it.

To start that coaching conversion, we’ll want to be sure to reference a couple activities that person has already done well in the past. It’s important to make coaching a positive experience for those we are coaching so that we’re not unnecessarily shutting them down and adding interference to their abilities to make improvements. If all we do is focus on the things that need to be improved and none of the things they are already doing well, they’ll end up dreading these coaching sessions.

Once we’ve issued the proper praise, we should then move directly to the goal. For instance:

“As you know, John, one of our team goals is to lead a safety culture in our area, and one of the best ways to do that is by each of us stepping up individually and taking the initiative to improve how we are personally driving a safety culture.”

Here we’ve taken an established and well known (and well communicated!) goal, and we’ve individualized it to the person we are coaching. This will become the standard for evaluating performance and behaviors as we work our way through the G.R.O.W. coaching model.

We’ll return to this point as we move to the second step in the G.R.O.W. process in our next issue. But that’s all for this edition of Recordable INSIGHTS. Be sure to view the associated video below to learn more about this process. 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.