The Power of Driver Coaching

One-on-one coaching sessions are a powerful tool for addressing habitual driving risks. Coaches can discuss safety expectations and ways in which drivers may be able to improve.

With enhanced awareness and greater understanding of the risks, drivers can return to the road safer than they were before coaching.

Words of encouragement

One reason managers may find coaching difficult, is that their drivers are often peers or former peers.

If  “we need to talk” gives you anxiety, then perhaps the other person feels the same.

Below are words of encouragement and advice for those conversations:

1. Focus on clarity, neutrality, and attitude

2. Have a discussion with your Drivers and give them the tools to improve.

Ask them about the event and work with them to create new habits to displace unsafe ones.

3. Be consistent with what you expect your employees to practice.

Look for improvement and reward progress.

4. Don’t be punitive when coaching.

Drivers may be resentful, and therefore less motivated to improve.

5. Finally, don’t get too preoccupied with the numbers.

All fleets are different, fleet composition, geography, driver cohort, on-road tasks, etc. Look at metrics, not as a goal unto itself, but to understand where to help them drive safely.

The Three Essentials

The ideal coaching session is brief, collaborative and to the point, doesn’t place blame, gives clear direction on the behaviour that needs to change, and ends on a positive note. Here are three key metrics to cover:

1. Make it targeted – There may lots of behaviours to focus on – pick 3-5

2. Make it specific  – For example, X% reduction over 30, 60, 90 days

3. Make it timely  – The closer to the event and more reliable a coach is in the delivery of the coaching, the change in the behaviour increases

Waiting to deliver driver coaching can send the wrong signal to a driver, as drivers may see a delay as a signal that what’s being coached isn’t important. Additionally, delaying tough-to-deliver feedback will just make it even harder in the long-run.

A Quick Guide

1. Show drivers you care

2. Focus on specific behaviour(s) that can be improved

3. Have a conversation

4. Review the behaviour

5. Add positive feedback

6. Communicate expectation

7. Commit to improvement

By following the above, your success in getting positive engagement is increased, you gain the trust of the driver and get their buy-in and commitment to improving.

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