Everyone knows of Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky, and other great athletes. But can you name their coaches? Good coaching is what separates the average athlete from your legends.
Michael Jordan didn’t attend one basketball camp and go on to be the greatest basketball player of all time. Michael Jordan, in this case, was blessed with exceptional talent, but that talent was most certainly shaped with coaching. Someone with experience watching him execute – on the court – and then coaching him through opportunities for improvement.
The same is true for other skills — including safety. Your employees can be transformed into safety champions with the guidance of a strong coach, education, and practice.
Get in the Game
Working around safety hazards and risks can be compared to a sport or practice environment in which working safely relies less on memorized facts and more on combining job knowledge, a well-thought-out game plan, and individual and team execution of the plan.. Over time safe behaviors and a positive safety culture become habit and “the way we do things around here” – the jobsite safety equivalent of “muscle memory” athletes develop.
Every one of your team members has a role in the game. The same is true in your office or on the job site. Every player knows the rules of the game in the same way that every employee knows the rules for safely working to complete their tasks. And the entire team needs to cooperate and be ready to act to win the game (a Culture of Safe ProductionTM).
But a good coach wouldn’t send players into a game without the game plan, discussing plays and drilling practices for weeks and months beforehand. And the same should be true for employers and their employees when it comes to safety. Employers cannot expect employees to pick up enough about safety from a manual or a single training or workshop. Employees need regular and thorough guidance, training, and knowledge from someone with safety experience to develop real safety “muscle memory” and instincts.
Think of It Like This
An easier way to think of the benefits of coaching is in the following example:
Andy and Eddie wager $50 on who would be the better surfer. They have one week until they meet on the beach to settle the wager.
Andy signs up for a $10 group lesson. It’s a class of 20 others all learning to surf. He picks up a few basics and even gets a few pointers from the class instructor. Andy comes back to the beach a few days later to practice what he learned in the group class on his own. (Andy’s investment: $10)
· Eddie also happened to sign up for the very same group lesson as Andy. Eddie received similar basic instruction and even a couple of tips from the instructor. But after class, Eddie spoke with the instructor and arranged a $20 two-hour private lesson. Just Eddie and the instructor. (Eddie’s investment: $30)
(At this point, who do you think has a better chance at winning? Why?)
The big day comes and the crowds fill the beach to watch the Andy vs. Eddie Surf-Off. We’ll spare Andy the embarrassment of the play-by-play, but Eddie was clearly the better-prepared surfer that day. Poor Andy, head hung in shame, drove off into the sunset – $60 poorer. And while Eddie put up a little more upfront, he solidified his return on his investment. THAT’S the difference individual coaching makes.
The Right Coach to Call Plays
Sometimes the right coach for the job needs to be recruited from outside the organization. Outside safety professionals are well-versed in core safety concepts, job-specific safety hazards, and leadership development skills. This is why these professionals act as ideal safety coaches to guide employees inside and outside of the classroom. These safety experts apply their real-world
experience to educate employees on safety regulations and best practices and then dive deeper to show concrete examples of where these concepts actually apply on the job.
The safety instructors and professionals at Amerisafe connect with employees on a meaningful, direct level to make safety personal. Because they know this detailed level of coaching is what will make safety matter day-to-day for employees. This is also why Amerisafe Group works to fully understand their client’s business and brings safety coaching on-site.
Partnering with Amerisafe for on-site and in-person safety coaching creates confidence in employees to work safely, efficiently, and with fewer incidents and injuries. This is because employees are introduced to concepts in an accessible way and are then able to work with professionals on-site to fine-tune how to apply what they’ve learned to their work. This also allows process improvements and safety knowledge from our safety coaching to give employees a greater stake in their company’s safety goals and create an organization of safety all-stars.
Amerisafe Group provides information and services to help companies develop safety leaders and improve overall safety performance.