The five letters of the word COACH is one tool that we can use to help us remember the basic ingredients of the most effective coaching, whether coaching the members of a winning athletic team or the individuals working to Shape an Accident Free Environment. This instructional acronym is very important, because it not only contains the components of an effective coaching process, but it lists them in the sequence in which they should occur:
C for Care Caring is the basic underlying motivation for safety coaching. Safety coaches truly care about the health and safety of their co-workers, and they act on such caring. In other words, they ¿actively care.
O for Observe Observe systematically, with an eye for supporting safe behaviour and correcting unsafe behaviour. Behaviour that illustrates going beyond ¿the call of duty¿ for the safety of another person should be especially noted for supportive coaching. This is the sort of behaviour that contributes significantly to safety improvements and can be increased through rewarding feedback.
A for Analyse Safety coaches appreciate the ABC principle (Activator, Behaviour, Consequence) in interpreting their observations. They understand there are usually observable reasons for behaviors occurring, whether safe or at-risk.
C Effective coaching requires basic communication skills. People need to understand that anyone can put themselves at-risk without even realizing it, and performance can only improve with behaviour-specific feedback. Even corrective feedback for unsafe behaviour is appreciated when it is given appropriately, regardless of the work status of the feedback sender. Whether supportive or corrective, feedback should be specific (with regard to a particular behaviour) and timely (occurring immediately after the target behaviour); and it should be given in a private, one-on-one situation.
H for Help The word ¿help¿ summarizes the essential mission of a safety coach. In other words, the purpose of safety coaching is to help an individual prevent injury by supporting safe work practices and correcting unsafe work practices.