Self-Coaching: How to Effectively Leverage It

October 3, 2017

Innovation Spotlight

Safety managers often are called on to make trade-offs between efficiency and effectiveness. Should they blast out the same message to everyone in their fleet? Or should they craft individual messages, which would take more time?

Victor Malchesky, corporate safety director at Swift Transportation Inc., figured out a way to get both. With 20,000 drivers, many of them on the road for weeks at a time, Malchesky needed a good way to get the benefits of coaching without needing to sit down face-to-face with every single driver every time video is captured of a potentially unsafe event.

Luckily, the DriveCam® program comes with three fleet coaching options: face-to-face, remote, and self-coaching. In face-to-face sessions, the driver and coach are in the same room reviewing event footage together. With remote coaching, driver and coach can be in separate locations. Both access the event clip online, and the coaching session is conducted by phone. With self-coaching, managers can automatically set specific types of events to go directly to drivers’ inboxes so they can coach themselves on their own schedule.

While many Lytx clients prefer face-to-face coaching for its effective outcomes, Swift has found self-coaching to be an equally viable option.

“We look at the coaching effectiveness score for self-coaching versus face-to-face,” Malchesky said. “The effectiveness for self-coaching is almost always higher. That’s held steady ever since we started the program two years ago.”

For those who think this is a surprising — and counterintuitive — outcome, Malchesky offers an explanation: “These are professional drivers. They know what they need to do. If given the opportunity, they will reflect on what took place and correct it on their own.”

“We look at the coaching effectiveness score for self-coaching versus face-to-face. The effectiveness for self-coaching is almost always higher.”

-Victor Malchesky, corporate safety director, Swift Transportation Inc.

Here’s how self-coaching works at Swift. Each time a video triggered by an event is generated, both the driver and his or her coach get notifications that a new video is available for them to view. Swift allows drivers full access to all of their event videos via the company’s online driver portal. After logging into the portal, the driver reviews the event, notes the behavior, and commits to improving. Once the driver closes the event, Swift fleet coaches can see that the session has been completed.

Most drivers review their videos within a few days of getting their notices and don’t need prompting from their coaches.

“Our leadership is looking at the reports on a daily basis and working with our drivers, so [the number of unreviewed videos] doesn’t really ever build up,” Malchesky said.

The key, he said, is to acknowledge that drivers are professionals and to treat them with respect.

If there is repeated behavior, coaches will reach out and engage in a deeper discussion, using coaching guidelines that have helped keep the company’s coaching effectiveness score consistently above 80 percent.

There’s another benefit to self-coaching at Swift: The program works hand-in-hand with a company culture that’s built on fostering an internally driven sense of accountability.

“When we give our drivers full access to all of their event videos, it further extends transparency,” Malchesky said. “And that helps us gain trust with our drivers.”

Here’s more great content about improving driver performance.

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