I wanted to share with you the Blog written by Di Everett-Skinner, our Training Manager, because it expresses really well why training and preparation for the Standards Check is so important; and how relatively easy it is to get the ball rolling on your own.
'When your phone rings or you get a message from a student which says "Hi I have booked my test for next week and I would like a couple of lessons and be taken to test, I have been driving for ages and just need to brush up" What is your response?
I am guessing that it is similar to mine when I get a call from an ADI/PDI to say "I have my last attempt at my Standards Check/Part 3 next week and I need to pass! Can I have an hours training with you?" Hey I'm good, but not that good!
I am aware how much pressure we are all under as trainers to get people through their tests, whether that's a driving test, advanced test or the ADI qualifying tests, we work in a performance based industry and we feel that others judge our ability by our successes. However, students of any subject will learn eventually provided they put enough time and energy into the learning, so are our learners passing despite us or because of us?
If our training is test focused are we doing our students a disservice, especially if we really care about road safety? The Standards Check came about after many years, decades in fact, of research lead by CIECA (The International Commission for Driver Testing) of which the DVSA were involved. From this research came, after many reports including the 'Gadget', 'Merit' and 'Hermes', 'The National Standards for Driver and Rider Training' which is where the competencies of the 'Standards' Check came from, we as ADIs are assessed against these standards.
So when we receive the letter informing us that our Standards Check is due, do we fear it or welcome it? Well I think the answer to that depends on our understanding of the required competencies and our ability to recognise our own strengths and weaknesses. Do we, ourselves train to pass a test or are we interested enough to deliver a great lesson on every lesson? The Standards Check is looking at three main areas, Is this ADI giving value for money, has learning taken place and has the car been kept safe? If you can satisfy the 17 competencies of the Standards Check then the answer is yes, yes and yes. Surely we should be doing this on every lesson, not just when our Standards Check is due?
My advice, if you don't understand any of the competencies or are not sure if you satisfy them on every lesson, then learn how to in which ever way suits you. Your paying students deserve it. We as trainers need to get away from being test focused, tests should just be a consequence of the training given. We need to train beyond the test, real world coping strategies. If we do this our students will breeze the test anyway. If we are training to the advice of those experts who have put in years and years of research on our behalf, then we know we are doing a great job.
As some of you know, I have been an ADI for many, many years and I have always striven to deliver the best training that I possibly can, using the most effective methods. When I have had a need to up-skill I have done it before it became a desperate need. I have been a grade 5 and 6 and most recently an A grade 50/51 (I forgot to tell my student to turn left). I have welcomed the Standards Check invitation, although I wouldn't be human if I wasn't a little apprehensive, I see it as confirmation that I am still delivering a great lesson and welcome the feedback if I am not.
On average we are asked to attend a Standards Check once every 4 years. My calculation is that over the 4 year period, say we deliver 30 hours of lessons every week for 50 weeks of the year, that adds up to 6,000 hours of practice to deliver a great lesson, giving value for money, where learning takes place and the car is kept safe. How much more training do you need?
So, please don't call me a week before your final chance and ask for help, I'm good but miracles take a little longer!! If you are worried that you are not delivering the best lesson that you possibly can and fear that letter arriving, get training now! You should be doing a great job every hour of every day that you work, not once every 4 years! it's hard to undo 6,000 hours of learned b_ehaviour. Use those 6,000 hours to practice delivering a great lesson and by consequence passing your Standards Check/Part 3 with flying colours!!
I recently started a poll on our Facebook Group using five key qualities that will form an essential part of a successful attitude. There are of course some more but these will be a cornerstone of what makes you a success.
Just have a look at one of our most recent testimonials.
'I have been an ADI for some time. When I met Graham at a conference, due to good results and an abundance of clients, I had convinced myself that I was a great instructor. Which I was – An instructor.
That being said, through all the training I had done up to that point not one of my trainers had used the word coaching! A very disappointing standards check test shortly after that resulted in a huge crisis in confidence and a confusion about what I thought my job was and what the reality and modern expectations were. I booked some training with Tri-coaching and decided to re-educate myself. After much self-reflection - and numerous action plans facilitated by that training session -the next Standards Check result was a perfect 51. All this did though was make me realise that I was very far from the instructor I needed and wanted to be.
Thereafter, I decided to try and improve myself and so, did the train the trainer course with Susan and Graham. It was a great course in terms of my professional development – but the added bonus was that I started realising the potential for my business and the increased income I could generate by being able to assist others in the industry. Now very motivated I decided to undertake the BTEC 4 in Coaching for Driver Development. What an awesome course delivered by the most gifted trainers I’ve ever been taught by. I can honestly say that I have never learned more on a single course - and I have done and delivered numerous in my previous career in the food industry.
My understanding of coaching is now so entrenched that I don’t really know how to train drivers of any level without the coaching skills I have developed. I have recently completed my BTEC 4 course, but the beauty of it is that by the time you are done, the development that started at the beginning of the course has really started to show results, and once that happens it motivates one to do more. By the end of the course I was changed as a trainer forever.
Where am I now? My business is going really well, and I am starting to focus more and more on delivering CPD training for other ADIs and PDIs. Not only has my earning potential increased dramatically, but I am having the most rewarding time at any point in my adult working career.
My association with Tri-coaching is invaluable to me. They are the best placed company in the UK to help make you the best product you can possibly be, and their experience of the business side of the industry then helps you to sell that great product. You could have a job, or you could have a career with infinite personal and financial rewards. The only thing you need to achieve this is to use the services that are so readily available with this amazing company – Tri-Coaching Partnership.'
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