The Case for Executive Safety Coaching
By Martin Royal
There are reasons why the best organizations across industries provide executive coaching to their leaders. Coaching has been demonstrated to be one of the most effective practices in creating sustained positive changes among leaders. Coaches help executives and organizations reach goals that they may not be able to reach on their own. Coaches may help process obstacles to progress, act as accountability or thought partners, teach, give advice, and provide resources.
Executive coaching has been around for three or more decades, and various specialties have emerged over the years such as healthcare executive coaching, education executive coaching, executive coaching in government, executive coaching in IT, etc. One specialty that has yet to emerge is that of executive safety coaching.
Executive safety coaching aims to develop an executive’s impact and influence to drive the organization’s safety culture and performance. For some executives, thinking as a safety leader is often a major shift from how they are accustomed to thinking about workplace health and safety. Safety is the responsibility of the health and safety department among many executive teams and occasionally might be led by one of the team’s executives. The idea that ALL executives should be held accountable for the safety performance of their team and the organization is often met with resistance. Nobody will dispute the importance of pursuing safety goals as long as someone else is responsible for them!
Executives may be held accountable for safety through their effort to promote safety programs, coach their managers to address safety issues and concerns, and to provide the necessary visibility to show their commitment to safety on the shop floor.
The challenge is that as an organization makes the choice to evolve the culture and thinking about safety, executives may not have the support and awareness to effectively drive the transformation. In this case, executive coaches that specialize in safety leadership and safety culture transformation can support executives in the success of their initiatives.
These executive coaches understand the unique work environment of high-risk jobs. They understand the drivers of safe work but also the necessary influence that executives must apply to successfully drive improved safety performance. They understand that safety isn’t just a function, but it is an outcome that all leaders are accountable for.
Why Would You Need Executive Safety Coaching?
It can be lonely at the top when driving a safety culture transformation! Executives are responsible for the people who report to them, and they are also responsible for achieving results, safety, productivity, and profitability. Many executives do not have the space or the people to discuss their challenges in a confidential manner. Often, the only people around them are those impacted by their decisions! Other executives don’t have the people in their network who can challenge them while supporting their progress.
An executive coach is one of the few people that is able to tell you what you need to hear but cannot or will not see. A coach can give objective and constructive feedback on your blind spots and provide an outside perspective on the business and the team.
Is Executive Safety Coaching for you?
- Are you responsible for leading a safety culture transformation or improving safety leadership?
- Are you willing to reflect on your experience and observe yourself in action?
- Are you willing to take responsibility for your actions and be held accountable for the results you produce?
- Are you open to trying new ideas and different ways of doing things?
- Are you willing to be challenged by your coach to realize your goals?
- Are you willing to change or eliminate hindering behaviors that limit your success?
- Are you willing to be truthful about your fears and barriers?
Then you are ready for Executive Safety Coaching!
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