3 Ways that Driver Coaching Differs from Driver Training

DriverMetrics® advocates a driver coaching approach to address driver behaviour and thereby reduce collision risk. The best way to understand what driver coaching entails, is to compare it to traditional driver training approaches.  So, here are 3 ways in which driver coaching differs from driver training.

1) A Focus on Driver Behaviour not Skill Acquisition

Research consistently shows that driver behaviour contributes to over 90% of collisions, yet traditional driver training focuses on skill development rather than behaviour. Whilst skill development may be essential for learners, Dr Lisa Dorn, Research Director at DriverMetrics® explains that an ability to control a vehicle in traffic is not usually the issue among more experienced drivers: “With driver behaviour playing such a fundamental role in collision risk, interventions need to focus on attitudes, personality needs and emotional responses, which dominate driver decision making. We use the term ‘driver coaching’ to discriminate between training that addresses driver behaviour and training that predominately uses a skills based approach.”

2) A Highly Targeted Approach

The DriverMetrics® approach to driver coaching focuses on individual differences in driver behaviour. Using the Driver Risk Index™, a psychometrically-based driver risk assessment, a detailed identification of the specific behavioural risks for each driver is profiled. This in turn enables a driver coaching solution to be tailored to the needs of each individual driver. Dr Dorn stresses that once we are clear that  the goal is to influence driver behaviour, a ‘one size fits all’ approach typically seen in a skills-based driver training approach cannot work: “Effective driver coaching is based on an accurate risk assessment of driver behaviour, which enables the development of interventions that address specific behavioural risk factors. For example, we need to take a different approach with a driver who is prone to fatigue, compared with a driver who exhibits ‘thrill seeking’ tendencies.”

3) A Broad Range of Intervention Options 

Whilst skills-based driver training is traditionally delivered in-vehicle, driver coaching delivery is more flexible. Dr Dorn explains: “There are several different behaviour based safety interventions that can be implemented, and the choice of intervention  depends on the nature of the behavioural issues, resources available and the nature of the organisation. The key to changing driver behaviour is to focus is on choosing methods that facilitate self-reflection among drivers to motivate drivers to drive safely.” These methods include workshop style group discussions, one-to-one driver coaching and scenarios-based e-learning to address behavioural risk. However, in-vehicle training still has its place, albeit for the excellent opportunity that it offers for driving coaches to encourage drivers to self-reflect on the particular circumstances that can trigger high risk behaviour.