Workplace coaching is a big business.
Millions of pounds every year is spent on bringing in external coaches or training managers to coach employees. This usually involves guiding someone through a particular process to find the answers themselves. It aides personal and professional development and it is an effective way of improving the work and attitudes of staff.
What about health and safety coaching?
When it comes to health and safety training, coaching is often an aspect that gets overlooked so is it really necessary?
What Is Safety Coaching?
We blogged before about developing a positive health and safety culture in the workplace and coaching is one of the ways to achieve this.
A lot of health and safety is training based. You go to events, study for assessments and get an accreditation at the end of it. This is great, it equips you with the knowledge around the law, regulations and best practices and the likes of NEBOSH are highly popular and often required for certain jobs.
Safety coaching is something that should run alongside this training based approach. Coaching is more focused on being assigned to someone more experienced than you who can allow you to come to conclusions on your own. Instead of sitting in a classroom listening you are actually conversing one on one to find out the answers yourself in a real world, practical setting.
Is Safety Coaching Effective?
While there is limited research available for safety coaching specifically, there is no reason why it can’t be as effective as other forms of workplace coaching.
The real benefit of safety coaching is that it is an ongoing and organic process. It doesn’t just stop when you have a certificate saying that you passed a course – it continues until you feel confident enough that you don’t need it anymore or at least not on a regular basis.
It can also be adaptable. It can be used for an employee who is struggling with health and safety procedures or for someone who wants to develop their skills further and enhance their career. Safety coaching can be modified to whatever the situation dictates.
The Importance Of Safety Coaches
While the concept behind safety coaching is a solid one there does need to be a pool of experienced and effective coaches to actually carry out the work.
Not only do they need the technical knowledge to pass on but they also need to have first rate communication skills, patience and the skills to ask the right questions. Coaching doesn’t just give the answers – otherwise it would just be training – but they ask certain questions so that employees come to the right conclusions on their own initiative.
This is a far better way to learn the correct method of working safely and the old saying “if you give a hungry man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach him how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime” certainly rings true when it comes to retaining information and making the workplace a safer place to be.