“S.E.A.T.” Coaching: Step 2a – Engage the Employee

SEAT: engage employee -1In our previous issue we covered step #1 of the “Have a SEAT” safety coaching method for coaching unsafe behaviors. There we saw that the first step is to stop the action and get them to a safe place. The next step is to engage them in a conversation about that unsafe behavior.

Remember, the S.E.A.T. method stands for:

Stop the action”

Engage the employee”

“get Agreement”

Thank them”

Start the engagement step by noting your personal observation, and the goal of keeping each other safe. Keep it non-confrontational and respectful. Something along the lines of:

Observe: “[Name], I was walking by and I happened to notice you working over here. It looks like you’re pretty busy so I won’t take much of your time.”

Then connect that to the safety goals of the company:

Goal: “[Name] as you know, our safety goal here at xyz company is to help each other get home safely to our families every day, and to say something if we see something that looks like it might be unsafe.”

Once you’ve established the safety goal as the grounds for starting the conversation, then state the behavior you observed, as well as the associated hazards and possible consequences:

Behaviors and Consequences: “[Name], I noticed that you were up there working and that you weren’t tied off, and it looked like there was a good chance you could have fallen. Were you aware of how close you came to the ledge? What do you think could have happened if you had lost your footing or stepped out too far?” Now, it’s important here not to sound condescending or patronizing. Make it natural, and show genuine care and concern throughout.

We’re not quite finished with the engagement step of this coaching method, but we’ll save the rest for the next issue. That’s it for this edition of Recordable INSIGHTS. We’ll see you 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.