Topic 5 – SMART Goals

In driver training, where goals are usually set to improve performance such as achieving more independence from the trainer, to improve a particular skill, or to prepare for an assessment such as the theory or practical test, SMART goals are preferred: 


An ADI and pupil are discussing the next lesson and are deciding what goals to set based on today’s lesson. To make sure the goals are Specific you should consider:

The pupil and ADI are currently working on mini roundabouts and the pupil wants to be able to manage the big roundabout without help from their instructor. A specific goal could be, ‘I would like to gain the knowledge, understanding and skills to be able to deal with the big roundabout safely and feel good about it’.


The goal must also be Measurable so you can track your progress and stay motivated. Assessing your progress helps you to stay focussed, meet deadlines and feel the excitement of getting nearer to your goal. A measurable goal should address questions such as:

The pupil might measure their goal of gaining the knowledge, understanding and skills to be able to independently safely and successfully negotiate the big roundabout by the end of next week’s lessons.


You goal needs to be realistic and attainable to be successful. In other words, it should stretch your abilities but still remain possible. An Achievable goal will usually consider questions such as:

The pupil should ask themselves if developing the knowledge, understanding and skills for independently negotiating the big roundabout by the end of next week’s lesson is realistic, based on where they are at now with mini roundabouts. Do they have the time, necessary resources and finances to meet this goal?


You need to make sure that your goal matters to you, and it also aligns with other Relevant goals. We all need assistance and support in achieving our goals however it is important we keep control over them and be responsible for achieving your own goal. You should be able to answer ‘yes’ to these questions when setting a Relevant goal.

The pupil might want to independently negotiate the big roundabout by the end of next week’s lesson, but they are still having an issue with checking mirrors before slowing down and changing direction and from a safety point of view, this takes priority over the roundabout goal.


All goals need a target date so you have something to work to and something to focus on. Be careful to keep this to a target date and not to set a date in concrete as the time pressure of a looming date that you have set can cause additional pressures on you and in fact be counterproductive. Be willing to move the target date to another date as sometimes you need to reprioritise your goals due to many different factors.

Gaining the relevant knowledge, understanding and skills to independently negotiate the big roundabout needs more time to build up enough experience. It is important to set realistic timescales for achieving the smaller goals to get to the bigger ones.

Make sure you formulate the SMART goal positively

Whatever you focus on increases, so when you focus on not doing something, all you think about is that thing and it will increase.

Keep the SMART goal positive and focus on the achievements

Top Tip

A top tip is to always be cautious with goals that someone else has a power over. For example, the ADI might say ‘by the end of today’s lesson, you will be able to…….’ as this depends on many factors including, the traffic, the weather and road conditions, the car, if the pupil can afford the lesson today, how the pupil is feeling, plus more. But the goal the pupil has set to get the knowledge, skills and understanding to be able to deal with the big roundabout is in the pupil’s hands.  

When goal setting, bear in mind the different types of goals.

These are techniques or strategies (e.g. clutch control or defensive driving)

These are concerned with achieving a certain standard (e.g. doing five parallel parks without needing any input/help from the trainer)

These are the desired outcome (e.g. winning in a competition)

It is best to concentrate on process and performance goals, with the emphasis on the process goals. This is because better performance in these leads to a greater likelihood of achieving a performance goal. Setting outcome goals can lead to disappointment because the goal is often dependent on the performance of others.

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Terms and Conditions

This course includes our COVID-19 Guarantee. If the course has to be cancelled due to COVID-19 we’ll transfer your place or issue a refund where necessary. 

If you cancel within seven days of booking we will refund the cost of the course. However, we cannot issue any refunds if you want to cancel anytime after this. We may need to cancel or postpone courses occasionally due to reasons beyond our control. The course date will go ahead even if there is just one attendee. If you plan to book overnight accommodation as part of this course, do ensure you book a refundable option in case the course date had to be changed, postponed or cancelled. The DIA is not responsible for any costs you may incur.

Terms and Conditions

By purchasing this product you agree that you have read and understood the requirements of the test that you are applying for.

Refund policy: Once a booking has been confirmed with a trainer directly for either a one-to-one standards check or mock test session you will need to give seven days notice to cancel, otherwise the fee will be lost and a new booking and payment will be required.

NOTE: For all training sessions and mock tests you and your trainer must wear a suitable face covering. Your trainer cannot provide one for you, trainers are only responsible for their own face covering and PPE protection. If a suitable face covering is not in place, your session will be cancelled and the fee will be lost. If you have a medical exception to wearing a face covering, this must be provided as proof of exemption to your Diamond trainer. You must demonstrate that your car has been cleaned, using anti-viral wipes to clean passenger handles inside and outside, the dashboard and any other touch points for the trainer. If your vehicle is not fit for purpose your session will be cancelled and the fee will be lost.

Candidates should not attend a training session or mock test if they are feeling unwell, particularly if they identify core symptoms associated with COVID-19 (such as a persistent cough or fever). We ask candidates to notify the DIA of any possible exposure to, or diagnosis of, coronavirus as soon as possible. If you are unable to take a test due to a COVID-19 diagnosis or possible symptoms, your session will be postponed without losing your fee and you will not be permitted to rearrange your standards check session or mock test within the next 14 days following the cancellation.

Once you have paid for your standards check session and/or mock test,  your details will be forwarded to your nominated Diamond trainer local to you, who will be in touch with you within 48 hours (Monday-Friday) with a view to booking you in at a mutually convenient location, date and time. Some flexibility will be required in terms of location, taking into account trainer availability at regional level and where restrictions with COVID-19 may be taking place. Your Diamond trainer will make arrangements to meet via text, email or telephone. We do not have specific meeting locations and your Diamond trainer will discuss any other queries with you once your booking has been made online.

You will need to use your own vehicle for the standards check session and mock test, which is suitable for training and allows for your Diamond trainer to role play a suitable candidate, with the relevant insurance in place to allow for this. All Diamond trainers are qualified ADIs with a Diamond examiner qualification in place. You will need to show relevant insurance cover to your Diamond trainer, either before or on the day of your agreed booking date and time. The vehicle you supply must be both roadworthy and legal for the purposes of the standards check session and mock test and your session will be cancelled if you do not present a suitable car with the relevant insurance. If you are more than 15 minutes late to your standards check or mock test session you will lose your booking and the fee will need to be paid again.

You will be asked to read a number plate at the required distance, full details can be found at www.gov.uk/driving-eyesight-rules. Your standards check or mock test session will be cancelled if you cannot reach these requirements. You will need a current and valid driving licence which will be checked by your trainer should you need to drive as part of your standards check or mock test.

Online classes

To attend the Zoom sessions you will need a PC, laptop or tablet that can run Zoom and must also have a camera and microphone so you are able to participate fully in the sessions. You are responsible for ensuring you can access and navigate zoom and that you have a strong enough internet connection. If you cannot join the session due to technical difficulties, we cannot guarantee that you will be moved to another session. Session dates are subject to change.

During this course you will be placed into small ‘live’ discussion groups and will need to converse. Please be aware of how to mute and unmute your microphone for the general discussions that will also be taking place.