There’s a bit of a buzz about Coaching for safety at waste management giant Viridor. Word tends to get around when managers say things like “it was certainly the most enjoyable and valuable training I’ve had in several years”.
The objective ultimately for Viridor is to improve their safety culture. In that they’re not alone – an interdependent culture in which employees look out for each other and help each other conform is the Holy Grail for many organisations – but what’s extraordinary about Viridor is the importance they place on coaching skills. Where others would simply sign up to a behavioural safety initiative, Viridor are investing in communication skills and relationships – both vitally important pre-requisites of a successful behavioural safety implementation.
Coaching for safety was originally designed for safety practitioners but Viridor have put a number of their management team through the course believing that if they’re to get the safety culture they want: –
i. all managers and supervisors need to be de facto safety advisers; and
ii. employees will only feel valued and become engaged if their managers and supervisors are less directive and more supportive in their approach.
It helps when COO for Energy, Philip Piddington is a keen advocate of coaching and a skilled coach himself. Phil invested two days of his valuable time to join one of the courses in Taunton and is determined that delegates habitualise their new skills. He likens coaching to driving a car; what seems simple at first glance turns out to be subtly complex, but with practice it becomes second nature.
We’re thrilled to be supporting Viridor’s initiative and excited about the future there.