With recent events unfolding we have seen the germination of the me too campaign. We have also heard of some truly troubling situations where women have been subjected to unwelcome attention from men who abuse their positions of power.
It has led me to think about the settings in which we as driving instructors train our clients. And the potential pitfalls we can face through failing to risk assess the situation.
Historically driving instruction has been synonymous with male instructors and female clients feeling vulnerable when learning how to drive.
The landscape has changed drastically and both clients and learners are unique in their personas.
However this does not mean that initial risk assessment of the learning environment and the clients needs is not necessary.
Ensuring that all parties are safeguarded during the training process is imperative for the learning relationship to progress on the basis of mutual trust.
Personally, whether I am training a male or female client, I reinforce some standards of behaviour prior to commencing training especially outlining each individual’s ‘personal space’.
The aim of which is to ensure that neither I or my client is in any doubt as to where our boundaries lie.
As driving instructors our main form of advertising is through personal recommendations, therefore it is vital we carry ourselves with integrity.
We are responsible to our regulator, the DVSA and the public and any behaviour below exemplary is not acceptable.
We must always remember our responsibility to ensure that we meet the standard of being a ‘fit and proper person’
This was something drummed in to potential instructors when I became an instructor many years ago.
Being a fit and proper person was the minimum requirement.
I’m not sure today that box could be ticked by certain driving instructors.
Code of Practice
Recently I heard about a situation involving an instructor exhibiting inappropriate behaviour towards a client which ended in court with the instructor getting a custodial sentence
I think it’s useful to regularly revisit the Approved Driving Instructor Code of Practice and the following points in particular:
• avoid inappropriate physical contact with clients
• avoid the use of inappropriate language to clients
• Do not initiate inappropriate discussions about their own personal relationships.
Take care to avoid becoming involved in a client’s personal affairs or discussions about a client’s personal relationships, unless safeguarding concerns are raised
• Avoid circumstances and situations which are or could be perceived to be of an inappropriate nature.
One of the worst places where I have seen such bad behaviour is social media.
Maybe these keyboard warriors feel safe hidden behind their computer/phones and don’t feel accountable for their behaviour.
Facebook being a prime example, would you believe there’s a group called ADI/PDI rant!
Essentially it’s a forum to belittle and moan about their clients with disgust and venom.
I’ll leave you to form your own thoughts as to whether this is in line with the standards of the profession.
For me it’s simple the first rule of thumb is to respect clients and treat them as you would expect to be treated.
Treat clients with dignity and they will become your marketing tool if used correctly.