There are days and then there are days ....
Sometimes we have those days when nothing goes according to plan and that can have an affect on our own behaviour. Being in the zone 100% of the time when we are training is a challenge.
What happens when we are not in the zone ?
Do your clients know you have switched off ?
What happens to the rapport you have built ?
Your clients are the most important people and how they feel after each lesson is extremely important. Your reputation is always worth protecting. I hear driving instructors say,
'Today's teenagers are more difficult than those 20 years ago.'
I don't know if that statement is true. I am going to give you a BUT and the but is, your world is different to theirs and your failing to tap into their thoughts and feelings. We all know that thoughts and feelings drive behaviour. As driving instructors our job is to help our clients drive with road safety in mind. Creating a thinking driver who takes responsibility - rather than teaching someone to pass a test - is our job. The problem is how do we do that if we are not on their wavelength ?
There are hidden secrets to building rapport that increase communication between ourselves and others. When we can do this we are able to get answers to our questions and we can really start to listen to our clients. When we really listen we are engaging with their thoughts and feelings.
If you want to find out more about increasing your communication skills and toning up your 5 essential coaching skills, you need to contact us now on 0800 058 8009 or simply book our flagship course, the BTEC Level 4, and make yourself stand out from the competition.
As the coach we need to maintain the focus on what is important to the client and not shift towards our own agendas, by making sure the client is taking responsibility for their learning. When we set tasks for the client, the task must clearly help them work towards achieving their goal. At the beginning of each session it is helpful to ask the client what actions they have taken since the last session which have helped them towards achieving their goal. We should be able to acknowledge the client's achievement since the last session but also discuss what they have not done and what has stopped them achieving their task.
During each training session we can help the client reflect upon what they have been learning and prepare them for the next task during the lesson. We can also follow up between lessons on how they are doing towards their agreed action plans. This helps the client stay on track which encourages them and shows them that you are actively supporting their learning journey - and this also helps them become better prepared for each new training session. Clients gain self-discipline and also become accountable for their training and learning outcomes. As the coach, it helps when we hold the big picture in our own head so as we can move back and forth where necessary between where they are currently are and where they want to be.
Ultimately, we are developing the client's responsibility to make decisions for themselves by being able to overcome any setbacks and develop themselves through the use of feedback/reflection so that they are determining the their own priorities and pace of learning and can use these experiences to become safe and competent drivers. It is essential that we positively confront the client if they have not taken agreed actions to help them achieve their goals.
You are tracking their progress through the use of coaching conversations and in the process helping the client take responsibility for their learning.
When I look back at this series of emails I can see that without the ability to continually improve our own communication skills of Rapport, Feedback, Listening, Questioning and Intuition being a coach is challenging and we all need help in developing our own interpersonal skills from time to time.
If you feel that you would like help improving and developing your coaching skills then contact Tri-Coaching Partnership now and we will help you upgrade your skills.
There is no risk on any of our courses as they come with a money-back guarantee and easy weekly payments. If you want to know more than visit our website and click on any of the images, which take you to a page with further information about the course you have selected - or just simply pick up the phone and have a chat. 0800 058 8009.
When coaching your client it is important to know how to develop and maintain an effective coaching plan with them. To be able to do this you will need to collect information about your client's goals and motivations so that when appropriate you can address their concerns and help them develop the main areas of their learning. Key skills are questioning and listening. At Tri-Coaching Partnership we help our clients develop these essential coaching skills - without them it really can become difficult to help your client achieve their goals.
It is your job as the coach to facilitate their goal and help them plan towards their success by making sure that it is attainable in the time frame that has been agreed and is specific and also measurable so that success can be celebrated. You are also there to help your client negotiate their chosen path and guide them when there are adjustments to be made and their own situation changes. You also should be aware of the best learning resources to help your client by recommending reading and also, where necessary, other professionals in the industry, if you don't have the knowledge and skill to help them directly.
During the process of coaching your client to achieve their goal it helps to celebrate and identify the successes that are important to the client as this will help fuel their motivation. For some people their final destination of independence can seem too far away and not possible, it can be helpful when they are struggling to remind them that learning takes time - I particularly like this analogy, 'Q. How do you eat an Elephant? A. One bite at a time.
In my next email I will look at tracking progress and keeping the responsibility for the learning with the client.
It is essential that you can create opportunities for ongoing learning that will help your clients achieve their goals. A very simple and effective way is to brainstorm and help the client to define what they are going to do - mind maps are a useful tool that can help clients create options that will allow them to demonstrate and practise. Your role is to create safe learning opportunities where the risk is managed and they are able to focus on their learning.
When designing an action plan with them you are helping your client explore their concerns and opportunities. This engages the client and encourages them to explore alternative ideas and solutions. It is the start of them learning to self-evaluate and make decisions. Our job is to create a thinking driver, which at times is challenging, especially if the client expects you to do all the thinking for them e.g. 'just tell me what to do'. Self-evaluation through reflection will help them learn from their mistakes. We know that every new driver will make mistakes when they pass their test so creating the tools for them to reflect and consider their actions, will help create safer drivers.
We are trying to create learning situations that promote active experimentation and self-discovery. This is also a life skill and not just helpful in promoting safe driving for life because they learn to apply what has been discussed and learned during sessions to work in their own everyday lives.
We are wanting to create a 'do it now' frame of mind, as procrastination is a killer for motivation. For example, the theory test is a stumbling block for many new drivers as the procrastination takes over. By holding a conversation with them around their action plan you are helping them think, this provides support for them as they organise themselves to take steps forward to achieving their goals. This should encourage a comfortable pace of learning that will stretch them and challenge them.
We can also challenge our client's assumptions and their perspective to help provoke new ideas and find new possibilities to help them deal with new situations. Rapport is essential, if we are challenging our clients. Sometimes we get it wrong and we should be prepared to back track and listen carefully to what the client is saying. Clients can change their opinions and beliefs but you can't make them change, they can only discover change for themselves.
Celebrate your client's successes and their capability to develop further, sometimes this is all too often overlooked in a fault-based society. Creating action plans and developing your client's thinking helps them make safe and sensible decisions. Our role is to help facilitate that learning and understanding and create a thinking driver who is responsible for their own actions.
In the next short article I will look at planning and goal setting.
I hope you find these articles useful and that they help you think about your training and self development - as the saying goes, every day is a learning day.
Direct communication enables us, as driving instructors, to communicate effectively and to use language that has a positive impact on our clients. Here are six tips on how not to end up like our friends in the picture.
If you want to know more then please consider the BTEC Level 4 Professional Award in Coaching for Driver Development.