What is Safety Leadership Coaching?

My definition:  Safety Leadership Coaching is an emerging field of professional development for yourself and others.

TIP:  Scan the words in bold.  Then apply them to your world.  Then call me to discuss.

The phrase “emerging field” recognizes the fact that the safety business is new, since OSHA gained influence in 1970.  Prior to that time, workers were measured by hands, feet or hours of productivity.  The early “safety professionals” were compliance-driven people tasked with issuing fines, citations, tickets, and quotas.  At some companies, “Safety Infraction Report” mandate was required by 4:00 each afternoon; and if you received 3 SIRs then it was time to find another job.  Many safety employees were former police or military.   The “Safety Cop” compliance requirements remain a powerful legacy today.

In the 1990s the safety industry, like most industries, was affected by global trends including humanism and diversity.  Individual choice was recognized more than ever. Leadership and organizational development programs emerged as professional schools of research.  In the workforce, safety leaders supported individual choice, good judgement, and reinforced desired behaviors.  “Safety coaching” emerged as the dominant methodology to observe and recommend desired behaviors.  The Certified Safety Professional Program, endorsed by BCSP, gained impact as a minimal standard for hiring and program implementation. Safety leadership coaching emerged as a field of professional development.

The phrase “professional development for yourself” recognizes the fact that all change starts at an individual level.  As a species, humans change in response to external influences that promote our survival.  If we need to learn a new skill, or relocate to the next job site, we do so.  In the U.S. most people now have 5 careers on average.  However, too many safety leaders only have one career.  Too many people resist change.  Safety leaders can embrace coaching and training; or they can ignore it.  They can embrace career changes; or they can ignore them.  Too many safety leaders ignore career development opportunities.  Safety leadership coaching encourages people to explore choices and develop their strengths.

The phrase “professional development for others” reinforces the job description that safety  leaders typically “observe and recommend” desired behaviors.  They typically have broad access to all aspects of a job site or company.  Consequently they have vast potential impact on all aspects such as quality, operations, sales, business development, etc.  However, safety leaders do not embrace their potential impact.  Too often they “stick to their own business” and “keep their heads down.”  That limits their impact as leaders.  Safety leadership coaching leverages the vast access and potential impact of safety leaders.  Safety leadership coaching helps leaders obtain desired results.

There is an old story about the student who seeks a teacher. He travels to many lands and reads a lot, stares at a mirror, and generates lists.  He is lonely, alone.  One day he realizes that he learns best when he is in relationship with others.

So it is with safety coaching.  Humans learn best when we are in relationship with others.

Here are some simple coaching questions:

1.  Who is the wisest leader you know?

2.  How can you develop better relationships with others?

3.  What are you afraid of in your career?

4.  Who needs you to coach them?

Send me your answers, or comment below.

BIO:  Doug Gray, PCC, has coached 50+ safety leaders and learned from their expertise.  He knows nothing about fall protection standards. or 704.895.7479

What Site Managers Want From Safety Leaders, Published in Professional Safety, May 2013

At the request of the editors of Professional Safety magazine, I interviewed several site managers to gain their wisdom

Regardless of your industry, or job title, you can apply these 5 Tips to your business.

May2013p1 WhatSite ManagersWant   (page 1 of 2)

May2013p2 SiteManagersWant  (page 2 of 2)

I love this acronym, developed by a former coaching client:

T= take the time

R= regularly meet

U=  understand the situation and facts

S=   share solutions and agree on the next actions

T=  thank the other person

A coaching question is:  How are you demonstrating your competence and skills with your manager or clients?

Please reply at 704.895.6479 and let me know…

5 proven High-Impact Zero Injury Safety Techniques

In some business sectors there is mystery about what works.  Consider medical research.  Consider financial projections.

There is little mystery in the safety profession.  You may work in insurance, preparing audits or claims.  You may work in construction, manufacturing, or production.  These 5 proven techniques can help your work team.

Consider this slide from a recent CII study:

The Relative Importance of 5 Safety Techniques.

Now ask at least the following:

1.  How well is your work team doing each of these 5 proven techniques?

2.  What technique do you need to increase?

3.  How can you do so?

Unlike medical research or financial projections, these are 5 proven steps that you can implement TODAY.  So, what is preventing you from implementing them?

If you need help from Action Learning Associates, Inc please call us at 704.895.6479 TODAY.  There is no reason to wait.

How Co-worker Relationships determine Safety

There are many approaches to safety, depending upon your training or job title or perspective.  Some are listed below.

But before looking at this data, answer this question:  How powerful are your co-workers?

We know that peers influence us.  Look at Fantasy Football.  Look at gambling behavior.  Look at rumors.  Look at your children…

Which leads to the question:  are co-workers more powerful than, say, management commitment or situational awareness?  The short answer is yes.

Consider this slide from a recent CII study:



What are your conclusions?

I notice the following:

1.  The higher the correlation coefficient (the more red), the more important the safety climate factor.  Co-worker relationships has a red highlight (more than 0.7 correlation coefficient.  As any statistics student knows, o.5 is considered statistically significant.)  Co-worker relationships are a higher factor than ANY of the other factors.

2.  Few project sites provide coaching and training that modifies co-worker behaviors.  Over time.  Those senior leaders are “missing the boat.”

3.  Some smart companies are investing in changing leader behavior.  For instance, Shaw Power Group has hired Action Learning Associates  to work at a construction site with 33+ safety professionals.  That team is defining co-worker relationships at the frontline with supervisors and foreman.  And the result is profound on their key performance metrics.

Your company can modify leader behavior by focusing on co-worker relationships.  We can help you do so.  Call us at 704.895.6479.

What are you waiting for?