I'd like to introduce you to the concept of coaching and discuss the benefits of using
coaching versus traditional driving instruction. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) scrapped the Check Test early
in 2014, and replaced it with the Standards Check. Shortly after, a couple of
real buzz words started flying around the driving instruction world, namely coaching
and client centred learning (CCL).
looking at the differences between coaching and instructor further, a brief
word about CCL from the DVSA. They believe that,
"In the context of learning to drive or
ride, the instructor brings to the learning process their hard- earned
knowledge, understanding and experience. If they rely simply on telling the
learner what they should do they will probably be able to teach them enough to
pass their test. However, all the evidence suggests that learners in this sort
of relationship do not really change the way they think and quickly forget what
they have been taught. There is a better chance of a long-lasting change in
understanding and behaviour if the instructor
- presents their knowledge, understanding and experience clearly and
- listens to the learner’s
reactions to that input
- helps the learner to identify any obstacles to understanding and
- supports the learner to identify strategies for overcoming those
obstacles for themselves
In this context the
phrase ‘client-centred’ is taken to mean, broadly, the same thing as ‘student- centred’ or ‘learner-centred’.
instructors can use coaching techniques as part of their "toolbox"
when delivering client centred learning. I started discovering the benefits of
coaching very early on in my career, and I would thoroughly recommend it
because the results are amazing!
provides a definition of instruction as,
is vital for education, as it is the transfer of learning from one person to
another. Any time you are given directions or told how to do something you are
"The noun instruction is related to the word structure; both share the Latin root
structus, "built." The use of the word as we know it today appeared in the
early 15th century from the Old French. Today it refers to the action of
teaching and the job of a teacher. It can also be used to denote the directions
themselves. Consider the word's connection with structure: effective
instruction is presented in an orderly, structured manner."
though the DVSA are now singing the praises of client centred learning and the
benefits of coaching, the qualifying process for becoming a driving instructor
is still based around instruction.
One of the definitions that Google gives as a
definition of coaching is, "Coaching
in its truest sense is giving the responsibility to the learner to help them
come up with their own answers." Vinci
Lombardi, US NFL Coach.
Coaching techniques and
learning to drive
first qualified as a driving instructor in 2005, teaching people to drive was
accomplished mainly by using instruction, along with occasional demonstration.
A lot has changed since then, and the DVSA now
recognise the importance and effectiveness of coaching techniques.
ADI1, the DVSA state that, "Coaching is a powerful extension of the range of
options. It is not an automatic replacement for any of the existing ones. There will be many times when it is useful
to use a coaching technique. The principle that underpins coaching is that an
engaged pupil is likely to achieve a higher level of understanding and that
self-directed solutions will seem far more relevant."
also comment on coaching in the National Standards for Driver And Rider
Training, saying that coaching is, "...about engaging in a conversation with the learner to
help them identify obstacles to learning and strategies for overcoming those
Duncan Brodie of Goals
and Achievements helps accountants and health professionals to become highly
effective leaders and managers. He believes that there are eight key skills that are
required for effective coaching. I believe they can easily applied and used in
driving instruction. They are,
He states that, "you need to learn to listen
with real focus, suspending all of your judgements and opinions.
You also need
to be listening not just to the words but also to the non verbal signals such
as body language."
Most of us
can ask questions.
When coaching, you need to be using powerful questions.
These are questions that:
- Are short,
typically 7 words or less
- Are open
rather than closed
- Deepen the
learning of the person being coached
Examples include: What do you want?, What’s important?, What’s the first step?
constructively is about not holding back but at the same time not destroying
the relationship. Many people associate coaching with helping, which clearly it
At the same time if the coaching never rocks the boat it just becomes
another nice chat. Playing back contradictions is a great way of constructively
challenging. For example:
"I hear that you want to get your MBA but
at the same time you seem to be resisting making the time for for assignments."
Holding to account
Accountability is one of the most powerful aspects of coaching. It has been suggested that
people have a 95% chance of achieving an objective when they have
accountability in place. When someone gives a commitment to doing something and
they know that they will be held to account, it drives them forward.
Seeing different perspectives
ever found yourself in a situation where it feels like you are pinned into a
corner and there is nowhere to go? If so, the chances are you were stuck in a perspective. When coaching, you need to be able to help your client to explore different perspectives, so that they can choose those that are most powerful.
Encouraging and supporting
Encouraging and supporting when coaching can be the difference between someone keeping
going or giving up. Acknowledging another person is an incredibly powerful way
of keeping them motivated.
and using intuition
have a hunch about something from time to time. The chances are that you have
probably started to analyse it and make it logical or not. When coaching, your
intuition is a powerful tool. Throw it out if it might be of benefit. The worst
that can happen is that it is off the mark.
the focus on your client
are in the role of coach your focus needs to be 100% on your client and their
agenda. What this means is putting all of the attention on the client and
keeping your agenda out of the way.
Where do I go from here?
many courses and books on the subject of coaching available that are tailored
towards driving instructors. If you're interested in developing your skills I
can certainly recommend the value of coaching after attending a one day course
a few years ago. Self development is crucial in my opinion, as you can pass on
what you learn to your clients. Reading a book about coaching or attending a
coaching course will also count as continuous professional development (CPD).
coaching an incredibly powerful tool that has definitely expedited learning in
my pupils. It gets them to think for themselves, take charge of their learning,
and take responsibly much earlier than when I used traditional instruction.
not tried it or are a bit sceptical about the benefits of coaching, then I
would thoroughly recommend that you research it so that you
and your students can benefit. One more thing before I go. Have you ever thought about the benefits of using self reflection...for you and your student?
Accessed 13 April 2013. Available online from, https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/instruction
of coaching. Vinci Lombardi, US NFL Coach. Accessed 13 April
2013. Available online from, http://internationalinstituteofcoaching.org/coachi...
learning strategies. Accessed 17
January 2015. Available online from, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidanc... page 86.
Accessed 17 January 2015.
Available online from,
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploa... Page 16.
learning. Accessed 17
January 2015. Available online from,
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploa... Page 9.