Driving Instructor Interview
Headshot of Graham Hooper, Tri-Coaching Partnership

Graham Hooper Managing Director, Tri-Coaching Partnership

← More instructor interviews

Graham Hooper On Keeping Sane and Productive During the COVID-19 Lockdown

Graham Hooper, co-managing director of Tri-Coaching Partnership, gets on video chat with GoRoadie CEO, Michael Carr, to talk coping during the epidemic and what instructors can do to stay engaged.

First off, how is everything with you, how are you getting on?

For me personally, same as everyone else really, adjusting to a new normal. My partner lives 70 miles away so I’m self-isolated on my own. I do quite good during the days but get a bit bored in the evenings.

I count my blessings. I’m grateful for what I’ve got in my life. The business is interesting – we are all still relatively busy, although we have to adjust, develop and transform our business in new ways that will satisfy our customers and find other ways of diversifying. It's a challenging time.

We’re lucky that our customers — and I want to thank them for this — they’re pretty damn loyal to us. We really need to thank them, because without them, you’ve no business.

Can you tell us what Tri-Coaching Partnership does?

We run courses for developing ADIs. Online courses, such as Route 51 as 50 weekly webinars. We’ve taken a selection of those webinars, during this current climate and given 30 webinars away daily to our client base. It’s helping keeping up to date with things like coaching, driver education and driver training. Lot’s of good information there.

The BTEC Level-4 in coaching for driver development is our flagship course. The course that, if you want to be a trainer with Tri-Coaching Partnership, you must complete along with a couple of other pieces.

That course has introduced some great trainers into the ADI industry, including but not limited to, Award-winning instructors Neil Wightman, Ray Seagrave. Coaches like Fiona Taylor and Kev Field.

I think everyone, if they set aside just a couple of hours a day to learn: reading books, watching videos, their mind will grow and they’ll see opportunities in that.

What tips would you give to any ADIs at the moment, while we’re in this environment?

What an excellent time to develop new skills. Whether those skills are I.T. skills, marketing skills, advertising skills, presentation skills, coaching skills. I think everyone, if they set aside just a couple of hours a day to learn: reading books, watching videos, their mind will grow and they’ll see opportunities in that.

Start thinking about what an ADI should be doing. If you’re not feeding your pupils information about road safety, I’d say “why not?”. You need to stay in contact with them and ask about their welfare to make sure they know you’re still there.

We’ve got no idea, when we go back, if social distancing will be a problem for driving instructors. Will it mean the school of mum and dad becomes more prominent? Does that mean we can act as support agents? I don’t know, but there are opportunities out there.

This will be a warning to all self-employed businesses. One of the things I try to teach my children is that their 5th day should be saved. You should save 20% of your income, every single week — week in, week out, which is easier said than done — but maybe as an industry, we need to treat ourselves more as a business than “I don’t mind helping someone out” or “I’m doing it for a living wage”.

Lastly, is there anything else you want to share with the driving instructor community?

My love goes out to everyone during this tough time, but stop beating yourselves up. Start supporting one another, start creating the community. I know that Fiona Taylor is doing Zoom meetings once or twice a week. Go look for the positives.

Thank you very much for taking the time to chat with us.

Lovely. Thank you for your time.

New pupils when you need them

Listing your driving school on GoRoadie is completely free and only £25.99 per pupil when you choose to accept them.

Set your availability during busy or quiet periods and stay in full control of your prices or discounts.

Sign up, it's free Find out more