The difference between teaching and coaching

05/06/20 10:44:pm

When we start learning to drive the learner, parents and driving instructors all have one focus which is to ‘pass the test’. One of the many questions I am asked as a diving instructor is “how long should it take me to pass the test?’ or “how many hours do you think I will need before I can take my test?”. They then ask their parents, friends, and relatives how long they took to learn and if it takes them longer they may start to panic or become stressed.

I, like many others, have been there and done that, it’s very easy to live life with tunnel vision and to focus on the finished article rather than the steps it will take to get there. Mainly, because I don’t like letting others down or the feeling that I have failed in some way. Unfortunately, it's very easy to focus on the negatives rather than the positives.

How can this affect our confidence and self-esteem? When certain things don’t go the way I want I can start to feel like I am unworthy, which makes me try too hard. Then I feel anxious, stressed, and start to overthink. It is very easy for us to allow our thoughts to spiral out of control and this can then knock our confidence and self-esteem. I am sure that at some point in life we have all felt the same.

So what can we do to boost our confidence and self-esteem? For me, I need to ask more questions and to focus more on others, amongst other things. I also need to remember that I know what I have done and what I have achieved. What I don’t know is what drives others and what makes them feel and react the way they do.

When I learned to be a driving instructor we had to take three tests:

• The theory test
• A practical test
• We also had to teach an examiner to learn to drive using what we

called pre-set tests.

When we had passed all three tests we were then put on a register and are allowed to charge people for lessons and teach them to drive. Whilst I was training to become an instructor I was told that if something went wrong during the lesson, I must get the learner to stop, then explain why I had stopped them, and offer solutions. Although this method did work and people passed their tests, the

problems that occurred were that when something went wrong and they no longer had anyone in the car to tell them, occasionally this could lead to an accident.

With this in mind, various government agencies including the DVSA and driving instructors looked for methods to change the way we taught people to drive with the hope that this could reduce the number of accidents and fatalities on the road. One of the things they looked into was to get us to coach our learners rather than to teach them.

Although coaching in driving instructions is a relatively new term, it allows us too work with our learners and get them to recognise when something isn’t working then guide them to find solutions for themselves. This is a much more effective way of teaching someone to drive because, in theory, they can then use these solutions when they have passed their tests, which should reduce the number of accidents on the roads. Coaching also allows us to set goals for each lesson so the learner can see for themselves how much progress they are making and then pass the test in their own time.

During ‘lockdown’ I have been looking at the different methods of coaching and seeing how I can use it in my lessons to change the way I teach, as driving instructors we are constantly looking into ways that we can improve so we can change our approach and ask relevant questions to keep our lessons informative as well as fun and to continuously improve our pass rate.

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