Annie’s Lesson 7 – What a wally!

We discussed Annie’s goals for the lesson, and where Annie thought she was with making decisions in thinner roads when we had oncoming traffic. She felt it was important to feel comfortable with it so she wanted to work on this first.

Again we talked about making things easy for ourselves & thankfully we had oncoming traffic this time, so no need to ‘imagine them’.

There was a couple of times Annie felt she didn’t know what the other car was going to do. Whether it was going to pull in for her or not, and this made her nervous. In my experience nervousness is a block to learning so I felt it was important to confront this.

We discussed the ‘body language’ of the oncoming car and what clues we could spot about what they might do. Annie made the decision that to ‘just make this easier’ she would just get ready to pull in every time. This would help her not get nervous as she already knew what was likely to happen…she would be stopping somewhere. If the other car stopped before her then this would be a bonus.

We worked on Annie’s principal for a while and it seemed to work for her. Again ‘being in the know’ was important for Annie….as it does with most people I guess.

Annie told me she felt comfortable with this now, much less nervous and she was ready to do something else. It was time for me to be naughty again! We hadn’t discussed manoeuvring as a lesson goal…for a reason!

This is something I do regularly, especially with manoeuvers. I feel that putting learning into ‘boxes’ (e.g. this is a hill start, turns in the road etc) can have a negative impact on learning. Pre-conceived ideas and experiences – from friends, family, common room gossip – can affect the learning and how we approach it.

For instance, I still shudder when I think back to how I used to teach the parallel park before I started coaching. I used to say, even before they’d had a go that this was the toughest manoeuver because of the confined space! I thought I was being helpful!……what a wally!! How did that make my customers feel before they’d even had a go!?

So time for Annie to show me (and herself) a turn in the road. New stylie 🙂 As we are driving along I ask Annie to pull over…..

‘Oh Annie I’m really sorry I’ve come the long way round. It would be quicker if we just turn around here rather than carry on. Just do me a favour and turn around here’

‘What here?’

‘Yes please’

‘Er ok, how?’

‘Well I’ll just let you use your imagination. You can drive forwards and backwards and that’s all turning around is’

‘Um ok’

So looking a little like ‘how do I do this?’ Annie just had a go.

She did it. She turned us around, no help from me. I just made sure we were safe.

Annie asked ‘Is this like a 3 point turn?’

I had a little smile to myself as we pulled over ‘Do you think it was?’

‘Well I think so. I don’t know I’ve never done it’

‘How do you think you did?’

‘Um I think it was ok. I got round. I felt pretty comfortable once I got started’

‘Ok great. If you were going to do it again would you do anything differently?’

‘No, not really’

‘What if I closed my eyes and asked you to do it again?’

Laughing she said ‘Well I’d make sure I was looking’

‘Where & when?’

‘Everywhere, all the time’

‘Ok show me’

Annie had a another go. After only her second attempt I would have let her have a go with my kids in the car….that was how good it was.

‘How did you feel about that go?’

‘It’s pretty easy isn’t it’

‘Yeah you make it look easy’

We had a quick chat about why you shouldn’t do 3 point turns etc and other options. With a bit of quick Q&A Annie had a good understanding of the manoeuvre already.

Annie had completely ‘owned’ that learning. Her body language showed me she was really proud of herself.

We had some time left. ‘Are you happy with turning round? Anything else you want to have a go at?’

‘Can I try parallel parking?’

‘Yeah of course’……..We found a car. I asked Annie how she felt about PP

‘Well I don’t want to hit the car!’

‘Good!, but why would you?’

‘I’ve never done it before’

‘Are you sure?’

Looking puzzled ‘yeah’

I asked Annie to draw a picture of the reversing practise we had done where I asked Annie to reverse and get us closer to the kerb. I asked for the pad and drew a car between her starting position and the kerb…(apologies if this doesn’t make sense to you guys, it did to Annie!)

‘So what’s the difference?’

‘Oh ok I get it. Nothing I suppose. I’ve just gotta make sure I miss the car.

‘Yep. Want to have a go?’

Looking more confident ‘Yes’

Annie pulled up alongside the car. I little further from it than I would have been but that didn’t matter. She had a go. It wasn’t bad, a little far from the kerb, and a little way back. With a bit of Q&A we discussed these two things in real life situations and she got better with each go. We had four attempts before it was time to head back.

This lesson highlights my belief that, if safe, just let my customers have a go and see what happens. They just might surprise themselves! Certainly with manoeuvers this has been one of the biggest changes for me since I started using coaching techniques. No more tries over and over till they get it right in my eyes. Now its about eliciting the feedback to help them feel comfortable with what they are doing, and not putting subjects ‘into a box’ and over complicating learning.

Until next time…..



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