Dealing with Stress Whilst Driving: Coaching

Lastly, we’re going to be talking about coaching, we are driving instructors after all. So why does coaching help reduce stress?

Any good instructor knows and practices a peer to peer style of driver development. Instructors are not lording over their pupil but working with them. Instructing in its extreme can become very negative. The instructor can be frustrated by a pupils inability to comprehend the instructor’s ‘words of wisdom’. Think back to when an authority figure was telling you to do something and you did not understand. That stress of dealing with an authority figure when things were not going well made you feel worse. But when one of your mates took you to one side and explained it all, it became clearer.

GROW model

The instructional style is fault-based and looks back at what has been done. Coaching looks forward to what will be done. The difference here is that we go with the positive rather than dwell on the negative. This creates a more positive environment for the pupil. If a pupil begins with a positive environment they are more likely to continue down that road, even when they’ve passed their test. GROW models come to mind. The GROW model is a simple method for goal setting and problem-solving. Obviously, certain things need to be done but pupils should be aware of these things and will work with you to achieving the goal.

With coaching, there should be an awareness and a sense of responsibility from the pupil. A driving instructors job, for which they are being paid is to provide the knowledge, skills and a safe environment for this to happen. Note the last bit: a safe environment. It is an instructor’s job to create this environment and the pupil’s to be receptive to this.

When we feel safe, when we have the right knowledge and when we have or are developing the necessary skills with the right kind of support we feel happy that we were achieving something. This is certainly less stressful than struggling with something you’re not sure about or trying to do something you’re uncertain of.

Learning to drive and even driving can be stressful and we wanted to look at some ways it can be made less so. We are grateful to our NHS Therapist ex-pupil who shared her techniques with us and allowed us to pass on these tips to our other pupils.

In turn, we hope that some of the techniques we have spoken about in the past few weeks have helped you or someone you know. Yes, driving is stressful and in turn, can create anxiety but you are in control.