Always a new start
The festive hangover brings with it the inevitable new resolutions, but it's not just about cutting things out
There are always new challenges and we need new ideas to renew our sense of motivation. Re-evaluating our approach to our customers is always a good place to begin in order to avoid complacency and continue to raise demand for our services. It’s all too easy to continue to do what we have always done, even if that has worked well. It’s not about changing what is successful, after all, ‘if ain’t broke, why fix it’? This is about ensuring that it is still polished, up to date, the detailing is on message and still communicating with the tastes and fashions of an ever-changing audience. Simple reviews can often bring about highly effective changes.
Often overlooked is asking why a new student wants to learn to drive? Is it so they can get a job further from home, or to drive to college or university, to help out with family transport duties, or perhaps they are a car fanatic desperate to learn as soon as they are legally allowed to? The answers to these questions are hardly going to bring about massive changes to the way that you teach them, but it will help you build a positive relationship and know what their priorities are, while also giving you some indication as to how they will approach their learning and what they might overlook in the process. Acknowledging their individual needs and aspirations will make a huge difference to the way they learn, and what they learn. Another area worth going through with new students is what they are looking forward to learning the most and why, as well as what they are really dreading. When I was learning I remember that feeling of elation when I was first asked to turn onto a national speed limit road; I wasn’t scared of it, but pleasantly surprised at my driving instructor’s faith in my ability. Whereas, many of my friends froze or even panicked at this point. If you know your student’s concerns and fears, you can tailor lessons accordingly, improving the end results and avoiding frightening situations for both of you. Gaining an understanding of what they want in terms of lesson times and frequency is another area, and one that can be revisited throughout their learning. To be asked by my instructor what times worked best for me really made me feel more responsible, and my opinion valued, but I wish I’d also had a discussion about frequency – I had the time, money and ability to have more frequent lessons.
Attention to small details can often be overlooked or seem trivial when you are delivering lessons all day every day, but to your students these small personal touches really do make a difference to their perception of you both as a person and a professional. Learning requires engagement, and engagement requires a positive relationship, and a little personal investment can pay big dividends.