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‘The power of Coaching for Safety’ with Michael Emery

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The Safeti Podcast - Connecting Health and Safety
'The power of Coaching for Safety' with Michael Emery

‘Coaching for Safety’ with Michael Emery 

If you are involved in Health and Safety, Environment or anything in between, make sure to join us for some laid back learning!

In this Episode, we talk to Michael Emery, creator of the IOSH Approved ‘Coaching for Safety’ course.

Michael is a bit of a pioneer, he identified the gap that existed in the HSE profession and grasped the opportunity to offer something valuable to his peers.

Whilst many of us see ourselves as coaches to some extent, the reality is that very few of us have the actual knowledge and skills to allow us to truly become a coach.

Join us in this podcast to hear more about Michael’s story and get an insight into the power of coaching.

If you’d like more of this type of content and to hear more about what we are doing at Safeti, just fill in the form below [mc4wp_form id=”236″]

Coaching for Safety – Podcast Resources

Securus Health & Safety – Coaching for Safety – find out when and where for IOSH-approved coaching courses

Michael’s Blog Post on our Podcast Episode – Michael reflects on the podcast experience

Michael Emery on Linkedin – connect with Michael Emery on Linkedin to have a chat

Podcasting Services – engage your audience with Safeti’s podcast production service

Coaching to engage – IOSH – find out more about coaching for safety, this is a great summary document, as discussed on the podcast

Richard Collins on Linkedin – connect with me on Linkedin, I’d love to hear from you!

Safeti Podcasting Services UK and Ireland Coaching for Safety

Coaching for Safety Podcast Trasncript…..

Michael: ‘Michael you know all of those courses you’ve attended over a 30-year career you can have your time again. But you’re only allowed to attend one of them, which would it be? It would definitely be that course. I think it’s that important.’ [Music]

Welcome to the Safeti podcast with your host all the way from a small green island in the wild Atlantic Ocean, Richard Collins.

Richard: Hi folks welcome back to the safety podcast, this is episode 11. I’m your host Richard Collins. I’d like to just welcome you again back to the show and thank you for listening in.

The voice you heard there at the start of the podcast was that of Michael Emery who our guest on the show is today.

First to market

Michael is a bit of a pioneer. He set up the first UK-based IOSH approved coaching for safety course and has been running it for the last five years or so.

Whilst many of us would like to see ourselves as coaches certainly within the HSE profession, it would appear that very few of us actually have any formal training or understanding of what it really means to be a coach.

This is something that I am very much personally interested in from a broader management and development perspective.

So I was delighted with Michael said he would come on the show and have a chat with us about what it is he actually does in coaching for safety.

To tell us a little bit more about it and how he feels that the learning themes and the approach can really be utilized in a very powerful way within the HSE context.

Let’s waste no more time and go to the conversation with Michael and see what he had to say. Michael Emery from Securus health and safety, welcome to the Safeti podcast, how are you?

Michael: I’m very well sir how are you?

Richard: Excellent excellent. I’m looking forward to getting a good chat with you today and learning some tips on coaching for safety. You’ve obviously become a bit of an expert now that I would imagine over the last few years. If you can tell us a bit about how you’ve got into this and why you do it.

How did you get here?

Michael: Okay so well where to start. I mean 2018 actually is my 30th anniversary in health and safety. Which is… yeah I know pretty ridiculous really. but you know I remember a day in in 1988. When my boss called me into his office and said Michael Cliff’s retiring we want you to be the next Health and Safety advisor.

I swear the first thing that went through my mind was Cliff’s the health and safety advisor. Because I had absolutely no idea. Cliff, I knew Cliff very well. I saw him every day. His our office was opposite where I worked. I had no idea that he was involved in health and safety at all.

And then the second thing that that went through my mind was what’s health and safety and so to say that I was reluctant to get involved in health and safety at the beginning is an understatement.

Getting into Health and Safety

Because it’s just seemed like this you know backwater that nobody was interested in and nobody knew anything about and it just didn’t appeal to me at all.

But I didn’t feel as though I could turn it down and before very long you know after a few weeks and months it was becoming clear to me that actually was a pretty good place to be. And so that was where it was all started.

Then for a good long while I just would have characterized myself as a traditional sort of systems led health and safety practitioner. I think I’m right in saying that the very first HSE 65 was published in about 1988 when I was first getting started. 

Old school approach

So I sort of devoured that and it became my bible and so systems were what it was all about for me for a good long while.  Until I first got involved in in coaching which is fairly recently really in the scheme of things in about 2012.

Richard: Incredible story there just and I’m sure lots of people can relate to how you’ve ended up initially in the rule and doing health and safety.

I guess it happens to a lot of people within organizations when a need appears and you know they’re the person that’s there for the line manager or their boss and is the most suitable candidate. Athat point they’re not exactly sure whether it’s the right direction for them to go in. So it’s been a long journey for you to get where you are today.

Michael: Absolutely.

Richard: It’s definitely interesting know that after you saying that you’ve devoured the HSE 65 from its you know inception way back quite some time ago now. Despite that you’re probably a break from the norm.

Now that you’ve devoted so much of your career to the coaching approach in teaching others. Can you tell us a little bit more about that and why you thought it was worth pursuing in the first place?

Why coaching for safety?

Michael: Well yeah absolutely I mean it again, it’s a story that is pretty close to my heart. I mean I was in 2012 I’d probably been freelance then for three getting on for years and I was freelancing with the Weetabix food company. Which is a fantastic company and because of this huge business excellence initiative that Weetabix were involved in at the time.

I was invited along with the rest of the management team to attend a course which is two-day course.

It was called high performance coaching and I very nearly didn’t go. Because I thought I knew something about coaching. I kind of had this idea in my head that I had a coaching style.

To be honest my attitude was well what is there to learn about coaching anyway. So it didn’t really appeal to me and I very nearly didn’t go. 

But, I did go and almost inevitably midway through the first morning, the penny dropped in a pretty profound way and I’ve realized that what I thought was coaching isn’t coaching.

And actually real coaching it’s profoundly more important for me as a safety practitioner than I would ever have given it credit for.

Mind. Blown.

The thing just, it just blew my mind and so the end of that first day when everybody rushes off to the bar as you do when you’re on a course like that. I actually went back to my hotel room to get onto the internet to look for my next coaching course.

At this stage it was all about me. It was about me becoming a better safety practitioner.

So I wanted something more closely associated with safety and I’ve surprised that I just couldn’t find anything. So I mean what probably happened then is I went to the bar.

But I mean over the coming weeks I sought out an executive coaching course with the Academy of executive coaching in London. I booked on that. That was just easily the most enjoyable course I’ve ever attended.

It was two days a month for four consecutive months. Not a single PowerPoint slide shown. It was all engagement, it was all exercises, it was all coaching and it was just fantastic. Easily the most enjoyable. I actually think it was probably the most important course that I’ve attended.

So I mean if you were to say to me Michael you know all of those courses you’ve attended over a 30-year career, you can have your time again. But you’re only allowed to attend one of them which would it be? It would definitely be that course. I think it’s that important.

Planting the seed

So that’s where it started and at that stage it was all about me being a better safety practitioner.

But the more that I learnt about health and safety, the more I reflected on the profession. The clearer it seemed to me that actually it was the profession lacked these skills.

And so I set out on creating what is now IOSH approved coaching for safety. As we were saying before, it’s just over five years now that is had IOSH approval.

Filling the gap

Richard: That’s a really powerful story after you got here and obviously you know you identified the value and then the gap.

Michael: What happened was I mean thought because these skills are just so compelling and so obvious that I thought that everybody’s brain would be blown by them.

I thought that you know I placed an advert in what was then the SHP. I thought people are going to be knocking down the door to get on the course and I booked a hotel in Glasgow Manchester. One in Birmingham, one in London just expecting them to sell out instantly.

Not a single person booked on the course and I just couldn’t believe it.

But what I learned in that moment was a couple of things. One that people didn’t really understand what coaching is. And two, the profession and I think this has changed to some degree. But I think it’s also partly still true.

The profession doesn’t value soft skills.

So I mean I could have thrown in the towel there and then. I decided that what I’d do is I’d go to as many of the IOSH branches who would let me in the door.

Spreading the ‘Coaching for Safety’ word

I’d provide an hour’s long taster and I’d educate people about what coaching skills actually were. And how important at least I thought they were to the profession over five years.

I’m now in a much healthier position that the most of the course is now sell out. So I don’t have to worry that I had in those early days.

Richard: It surprises me to hear that. Something I’m really passionate about with the safety project is helping others in our profession demonstrate their value.

Both within their organizations or within their own businesses if they’re operating on their own.

From your point of view in this course are you trying to say to people that you need to become a coach or you just trying to make them use coaching approaches?

Michael: It’s to adopt a coaching style and to become more collaborative. I mean if you ask me to define coaching in a single word that word is collaboration. But I’ll make a make a point on the course of saying to people that you know it’s not a case that they walk into the course on the morning of day 1 and I say to them you know everything that you’ve learned up until now and that style that you’ve developed over the years that’s rubbish. You can leave that at the door, you’re going to be a coach from now on. Because it’s not like that at all. Because coaching for safety has a time and has a place and what we do on the course is we go through the role of the practitioner. we think about the different hats that a practitioner has and we look at you know in each of those different situations with each of those different hats on to what extent does coaching apply if at all in that part of the safety practitioners role. So it has a place and you know sometimes it isn’t appropriate to coach or worthwhile at all. But in other times it’s absolutely invaluable and I do honestly think that unless people have coaching skills and that practitioners have coaching skills, they really are lacking is safety practitioners and they really you know they can’t be the best that they can possibly be without them.

It seems to me that you know us safety practitioners we know about the law, we know about the standards of need to be achieved. If we’ve worked in different organizations we have some experience of what other organizations do to solve problems and that’s the sort of technical stuff that we are prized for and in many organizations it’s only the safety practitioner who knows that stuff. We’re the go-to people for that technical stuff. But I mean let’s say you’re trying to solve a problem at X Y Z limited, finding the best solution at X Y Z limited; a solution that the managers can buy into that they can own and they can manage going forward. Finding that best solution is a collaborative exercise.

So I mean we might have some information to share about standards that need to be achieved etc. etc. but actually it’s our coaching for safety skills that help us drive and facilitate that conversation, that collaborative conversation to help us identify the best solution all-round and sometimes even you know because you know occasionally we come across a situation that we haven’t seen before. So it’s possible that you know we don’t have any technical knowledge that’s relevant or maybe what it says in the A Cup just isn’t going to work in this particular situation.

So our technical knowledge and understanding, we don’t have any of that to share in this conversation and yet if we have coaching skills we can still drive the conversation and we can still provide that service to our managers and our clients to find the best solution still even when we have no technical knowledge to contribute.

Now I think you know some practitioners would find that quite surprising that if you can’t actually quote the regulation or what it says in the A Cup. Then some people would wonder whether they had a role at all. But you know as coaches you can facilitate and drive that conversation even with no technical knowledge.

Richard: It’s funny even when [14:35 inaudible] to talk about that. because there’s something I wanted to mention to you that I heard recently in a conversation about coaching for safety and they were mentioning about everyone having an advice monster and our intuitive reaction to being asked the question we want to give advice, of course it is inherent in a lot of our rules that we are an adviser or someone who should be giving advice as you were just saying. It’s that a big hurdle for us as a profession to overcome to actually then trying and hold off on giving advice?

Michael: Well I think for the profession I think a lot of professions have that tendency. You know because you’re as the subject matter expert. But I mean the same is probably true in quality and other things and obviously you know we’re generalizing greatly here and every individual is different. So I think I think it’s true to say that some people have developed habits which are sometimes unhelpful and you know some habits are pretty difficult to kick and so some people find it more difficult to break those old habits and develop new habits. But I’m not sure whether it’s any truer of the safety profession than of other professions really. I think it just varies from individual to individual.

Richard: What are the sort of key characteristics that you would look at in terms of a good coach?

Michael: Well I think that coaches, they tell less and they talk less and they listen more and they listen better. So we do a lot on active listening in the course. I think the coach is tell less and question better and we do a lot on questioning skills and that I mean the curiosity is an important thing.

Now this will sound strange to a lot of people. But actually where you focus your curiosity is a choice. Now a lot of people you probably haven’t really given any thought to this at all. But without even thinking would assume that you’re curious about whatever it is you’re curious about aren’t you as if you have a sort of default setting.

But actually it’s a conscious choice and being person-centered is a lot about where you focus your curiosity and that is a conscious choice. So being curious in a person-centered way is something that you know we like to think that people come away from the course appreciating and being able to do more. So it’s those sorts of things.  I

t’s about the active listening, it’s about the questioning, it is about being person-centered, and it’s about being able to empathize with people’s different situations. But I mean you’re talking about offering advice, I mean on the course there is absolutely no role play. So I’m in touch with the delegates before they attend and I talk to them or I correspond with them about what are the exercises that they’re going to face and they bring material for the exercises. So if you attend the course, then you’re at some point in the course going to sit down as a coach with somebody that potentially you’ve only just met and they’ve brought a problem to the course that they need some support on.

Now in that situation you know giving advice is pretty difficult. Because this could be a situation that you have absolutely no experience of at all and yet as a coach you can support that person, find a way forward with their problem or their issue or whatever it is. So I think that tells you something about that balance of the technical knowledge. But also having the skills to drive a conversation even when you have no technical knowledge. So that’s kind of the way I see things.

Richard: Sounds like you’ve set it up in a really neat way and you’re saying there about active listening and that terminology is thrown around a bit. Can you tell us just briefly exactly what active listening means to you?

Michael: Well yeah I mean the key is in the word active and we have an icebreaker at the beginning of the course which absolutely demonstrates what I’m going to talk about now. But the key is in the word active. I mean most listening is while hearing is about you know how you’re able to process sound. So for all of that stuff in your head and I’m you know I’m not going to tell Safety practitioners how the ear works. But I mean if those tiny bones, the hammer, the anvil, the stirrup, the ear drum, the cochlear, and those tiny hairs all the rest of it; if all of that works you can hear. But that’s got nothing to do with listening. You know in the moment that we’re born, we don’t know any better all sounds have equal value and so we don’t have any faculty to focus on one sound more than other, because all sounds have equal value.

Now I would guess I’m not an expert in this, but I would guess that the first sound that has a new value for us it’s probably the sound of our mother’s voice, I would guess. But very quickly as humans we developed this faculty of zoning some things in and zoning some things out. Because some things are of interest to us and we want to focus on those in a particular moment and other things not of interest to us in that moment, so we zoned them out. So and that’s happening, we’re not doing that consciously. It’s all a passive thing and we do it throughout the day every day passively. Active listening is about consciously focusing your attention not only on the words that are said by another person.

But also on things like gestures, expressions, metaphors. So those nonverbal body language things.  As a coach you focus on those things. So we spend a lot a time in the course talking about the important suggestions and there are different kinds of gestures that are important. Now when you’re listening with your eyes like that and delegates very quickly through the icebreaker session that I mentioned, appreciate what listening with your eyes means.

When you’re listening with your eyes like that that’s pretty full-on that is. You know and you can’t listen like that all of the time. So active listening, it is something that you switch on and you switch off. Because if are trying to listen like that all the time you just be exhausting, you probably go insane actually.  You know you just couldn’t do it. So most listening every day listening is passive. but active listening like that and we talked about three levels of listening on the course and level three listening is what coaches aspire to do and that’s all about body language, gestures, expressions, metaphors all of that. So that’s what active listening is. It’s a conscious decision to focus the whole of your attention on all of that stuff and its pretty full-on.

Richard: Yeah when you start reading about it even the brief amount that I have read up on this subject and I’m sure I will leave the listeners a link to the IOSH briefing on coaching for safety, which is available on their website. Which is really informative and touches on some of those things that you’ve mentioned. It actually already got me starting to think definitely whilst having conversations with people and taking some of those things in there kind of such as the act of listening, you can see how powerful it starts to become very quickly.

I’m really intrigued by it. flipping the listening part obviously that’s one important portion and one piece that interests me and that I am kind of struggling to see how you actually educate people on this is asking powerful questions. Which is always touched on and the whole coaching realm. Can you give us a little insight into what that means for you and within the context of safety how you frame that.

Michael: Well we look at questioning in a number of different situations. I think I want to talk about being solutions focus here. Because I think this is quite relevant actually. So I mean most practitioners like to think that their solutions focused. But in our experience they’re really not for reasons that we fully understand them is to do with questioning. Now we see evidence of and we believe that safety practitioners, they have an almost default setting to ask the why question.

You know it’s almost like for safety practitioners it’s almost like a muscle memory that they ask why almost whilst they’re getting their head in gear to decide what question they’re going to ask. They ask me almost to give them a breathing space and there are plenty of people who think that actually asking why is a really great thing to do.

Now it is in some situations. But what I would ask your listeners to reflect upon is what their experience is when they ask why. So if you imagine accident investigation and that’s where most people get their experience of asking why from. Because we’re all taught about five why’s analysis.

So what experience do they have of that?

So you start with the incident don’t you?

So you know somebody’s had an injury why did that happen, well that happened because this happened and why did that happen?

Well that happened because these two things happened and why did that one thing happened?

That happened because these three things happened and why did that other thing happened? Because these two things happened. So in that process your listeners I’m sure will be familiar with this. you build up that causal tree don’t you and you identify the root causes and obviously we need to identify root causes so we can address them and stop the accident happening again etc. etc. but I would just ask people to reflect upon what the experience is when you ask why like that and what it tells you about asking why.

Well what the experience is you go backwards. Because you start with a fairly, you know you start with the event somebody’s been injured and then you work backwards through all of the things and the circumstances that led up to that event. So that’s one thing it tells you.

What’s another thing it tells you about the experience of asking why? It tells you that you get into deeper levels of complexity. Because you start off with a very simple thing you know man falls off ladder. But then before very long through that five why’s process, you’ve very soon got this really expanded you know complicated set of causes and effects that all combined together to cause that, fairly simple thing of man falling off ladder. So that’s another thing that it tells you that you get into deeper levels of complexity and the third thing that it tells you is that some of those routes that you go down, you are problematic. Because they’re associated with accountability, they’re associated with decision-making and the Troublesome from that points of view.

Now don’t get me wrong. I mean I’m a safety practitioner and if I’m investigating an accident, I’ll ask why questions until the cows come home you know and I can out why anybody if I’m investigating an accident. but if I’m wanting to support somebody to move forward towards a solution and I want to go backwards, I don’t want to get into deeper levels of complexity that I might not understand anyway and I certainly don’t want to go down paths that are problematic.

Because they’re associated with the accountability and decision-making and all the rest of it. What I want to do is I want to support the person to move forwards towards the solution. so beings truly solutions focused is about asking really insightful questions and there’s a really great one which I’ve avoided for a long time, but I love now.

Which is the miracle question and so I mean let’s say you Richard, you wanted to improve the culture in your organization. Now you could or we could spend some time investigating how bad the culture in your organization is now and we could apply a five why’s analysis to it and we could you know do all of that.

But the miracle question is this. So I would say to you, okay then Richard I’ve got magical powers and I’ve just given you I just given your organization the culture that you aspire to have. So when you go to work tomorrow, when you visit site or whether you go to your factory; how would you know that you had it?

What would you see, what would be different, what would people be doing and you might say you know I’d see people collaborating together. All pulling in the same direction towards a single goal.

I’d see them being more positive and not negative and not you know moaning about the reasons why things are the way they should be and you’d come up with a number of different characteristics. Which for you describe the culture that you want. So then I might say okay then let’s say one of those Richard, you mentioned about people being collaborative. So where is that true now?

You know even if it’s only true for a fleeting few minutes or seconds you know for a very short time, where is it true now? When does it happen now? And you might say well there’s John’s team. You know it doesn’t happen all the time. But you know occasionally I see at John’s team just really works really really well. So then I might say to you so what do we know about John’s team that allows that collaborative culture to exist, even if it’s only from time to time? 

What is it about what’s going on over there that allows that to exist and you might say something like, now you might say it’s John’s style of management or it’s that they have really good procedures or they do really good training or whatever it is and then we’d say well okay so what do we need to do then Richard to extend those things that are allowing that to flourish to the next team.

You know how could we breathe life into that so that it expands beyond just John’s team to the next team and then to the next team. Because as coaches we believe that all of those things are resources and if you can breathe life into them, then you can extend them beyond where they currently exist.

So they’re gradually gradually they extend throughout the organization. Now if we do things in that way, we haven’t talked about the problem at all. You know I haven’t asked you about how rubbish your culture is currently and we haven’t analyzed it to death and gone backwards and gone into those deeper levels of complexity.

We’ve just envisaged the future what you want and we’ve moved forward building upon the things that we already have. The resources that are already available to us. So that’s what being truly solutions focused is about and you know I’m sure there’s people listening that you know just think that’s heresy to say they’re asking why is a bad thing. Well I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. What I’m saying is when you investigate accidents, it’s the perfect thing to do. But actually there are a better set of questions if you want to move people forward towards a solution.

Richard: It sounds like there’s a lot of positivity to begin from taking that approach and seeing what’s working and getting the information from the person. I know that the coaching approach is a lot to do with allowing the person to find the result as opposed to telling them what to do or trying to tell them how they can get the right result. 

I think I was reading something in IOSH document about over sixty years of research and the human motivation. It’s been clearly demonstrated that just telling people what to do and giving them straight advice does not work and probably never has.  I noticed in the syllabus that you use the grooc model which is a very common approach to coaching. Can you let us know a little bit more about what that is and how you think it applies well in this context?

Michael: It’s not that it’s especially popular for safety. I think it’s just a popular coaching model. Because it is just so simple in terms of something to introduce people to in the first instance and it is important because it’s the model that we major on in course. Now we do look at a solutions focused coaching model as well.

But the grow model is the one that we made you answer.  It’s the one that the coach is learning to the ones that the coaches practice. So it is an acronym. G stands for goal and this will sound strange I think to people out of context. But it’s the goal for the conversation. So it’s not the ultimate goal. So on the course we have 15-minute coaching conversations. So the goal is what the coach e wants to achieve from that 15 minutes. So you have to be realistic about what can be achieved in such a short space of time. But it’s important to point out that the G in grow is the goal for the conversation however long that conversation is.

Reality is about what we have now which is contributing towards that goal. Which takes us part way towards that goal. So what are the things, again it’s you know all coaching your solutions focused and you know the reality is what do we have now it’s like I was just saying with the example of the improving culture.

What do we currently have which is helping in the context of that goal. So that’s reality and that section is rich with really good questioning. “O” is about options. So during the course of that conversation when the coach is reflecting upon what their goal is and what their current reality is, what they have at the moment. You know things will occur to them and/or things will occur to the coach to question and so options do come out.

Now it’s only 15 minute conversation.

So you have to be realistic as to how many options are really going to come out in 15 minutes. But during the course of that conversation and that reflection and that questioning, ideas and thoughts and insights they do come out. So that’s the options phase.

Again it’s rich with questioning and then the “W” times you see it is wrap up or sometimes you see its way forward. But whichever it is it amounts to the same thing and what it amounts to is about getting a commitment from the coaches as to what they’re actually going to do. So they have some thoughts, they have some insights, they might have some ideas. But what are you actually going to do, so you’ve had that important insight.

But you know what option does that translate into? What are you going to be doing differently tomorrow you know the next day whatever? So it’s about wrap up, it is about committing to that action plan if you like. So I mean that all sounds quite strange to listeners just you know as an introduction for the first time. But that’s what grow is, it’s an acronym and it’s a four stage sort of template for a coaching conversation and it’s incredibly powerful. You know I’m sure listeners can’t appreciate just how powerful it is listening to this. But you know that’s one of the reasons why it is as popular as it is. Of course it’s so powerful.

Coaching for Safety – Transcript continued…

Richard: You mentioned earlier Michael about there being some reluctance as opposed in some respects you may be assumed that people would be really enthusiastic about these things as much as we possibly are. But hopefully that’s starting to turn now as you said. but in terms of reasons why people wouldn’t want to take a coaching approach, one of the things I read was that sometimes it can be difficult for the coaching relationship to be built and if for example someone is trying to coach people who directly report to them or the [37:38 inaudible] you know is such a way that it actually can hurt the potential of that coaching relationship.

Do you have any sort of advice on you know when you should try and coach someone and when you shouldn’t maybe or are there times where it fits patter between two people and other times when it’s not so suitable.

Michael: That’s a difficult one to answer. I mean we do cover this on the course about the manager sort of employee relationship. You know we ask you know can line managers use coaching skills and the obvious answer is yes and many organizations now are putting managers on coaching skills and organizations aspire to be coaching organizations these days. So the obvious answer to do managers use coaching support or can they is absolutely a resounding yes. But there’s a different question which is can your line manager be your coach and the answer to that question is no. because in coaching everything is about the coaches.

Now in the safety context we have to draw breath of that and again we cover it on the course. As a safety practitioner it can’t always be all about the other person. Which again is why in a safety role coaching suits on situations and not others. But in a pure sense, coaching, pure coaching is all about the coaches. So you have to ask the question is can your line manager make everything about you and the answer is no because the line manager has too many plates to spin.

You know he’s got the rest of his team to consider, he’s got quality targets, he’s got you know production targets, he’s got budgets all the rest of it. You know he’s got a very obvious conflict of interest.

So he can’t make everything about you. so that’s why the faculty,  the Academy of executive coaching where I learned my coaching they come down very heavily on any suggestion that your line manager could be your coach. On a safety coaching course we talked about that. We talk about the different scenarios in which coaching applies and is appropriate and those when it isn’t. So again it’s something that is absolutely needed in a toolbox. But it’s not something that you use or is appropriate all of the time and I’m not sure whether that answers you question Richard, I hope it does.

Richard: I think you’ve answered that perfectly. it was kind of a exactly the point I was trying to get to maybe and a bit of a roundabout way and so I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there and thanks for clarifying that. I think it’s quite an important aspect of this as well.

Thank you so much for coming on once again Michael. We’ll be putting your resources up on this podcast for you. Do you want to let the listeners know where they can actually find yourself and more information about what you do?

Michael: Yeah well my company is Securus Health and Safety Limited. So my website is I’m on LinkedIn. Please look me up on LinkedIn and if you struggle to find that document that you mentioned Richard on the IOSH website, I actually wrote it. So if your listeners wanted to contact me, I could ping them a copy across would be happy to.

Richard: No worries we’ll put it on the show notes. I have already done ordered a copy and I didn’t realize you actually had written it yourselves. Well done for that and yeah excellent thanks again for coming on Michael and safe travels I know you’re travelling around the UK at the moment. So keep up the great work and I I’ll catch you again soon. Thanks again.

Michael: Thank you very much and thanks for asking me.

Richard: Not a problem cheerio.

Michael: Cheers then, bye bye.

Richard: Well folks that’s the end of our call with Michael Emery. Obviously we covered quite a lot of ground there. But I’d like to ask you know after that how do you feel about being a coach? maybe some of the things that Michael has said and introduced you to have started to get you thinking a little bit about what it actually means to be a coach and what opportunities there are and in terms of training yourself to take these approaches. I hope that’s little taster of coaching for safety has given you an introduction as to what it means to be a coach and giving you an insight into the potential that may exist in applying some of this theory into your own management style.

If you’d like to find out a little bit more about coaching for safety, of course I’ll post some documentation and links on a podcast page for you. As well as that I’d love to know your thoughts on this conversation and what do you think in terms of how this can apply to what you do on a daily basis. Thank you once again for tuning in to the podcast. If you haven’t already done so, please subscribe at or via iTunes or stitcher. If you’re enjoying the content it would mean a hell of a lot for you to leave an honest review on iTunes to help us continue doing what we’re doing for you. Until next time keep stepping out of your comfort zone, keep making a positive impact and hopefully we’ll catch you again very soon. All the best.

Thanks for listening to the safety podcast. We would love you to tell us which episode you would like to hear. Don’t forget to give us a shout at [Music]

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