The benefits of workplace coaching for diverse-thinkers
Claire Brown is a qualified Life, Career & Executive Coach and supports professionals to do work they love. Claire is passionate about enabling others to find meaning and fulfilment in their professional lives. Here she talks to Ucan2 on the benefits of workplace coaching for diverse-thinkers.
The prevalence of neurodiversity / autism
When we spend over a third of our lives working, it’s really important that we get to do work that matters to us. Everyone deserves the opportunity to do work that they love and to bring the very best of themselves to the workplace. With an estimated 15-20% of the population experiencing some form of neurodiversity, it’s important that employers are equipped to provide the individual support their employees need for the benefit of everyone.
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability and affects approximately 2% of the world’s adult population. It affects how people communicate and interact with the world. Those with autism often experience heightened senses, causing things, very easily, to become overwhelming. Common traits associated with autism include difficulties with social interaction, having an unusual interest in objects, a need for consistency, unexpected emotional reactions and expressions, under/over reaction to one or more of the senses and fluctuations in energy from day to day.
What is workplace coaching?
Workplace coaching offers huge benefits for neurodivergent team members and their employers. These facilitated conversations are a highly effective way of finding practical solutions to challenges experienced in the workplace by identifying individual strategies that can be implemented with the support of Line Managers, HR Professionals and Colleagues in the form of reasonable adjustments.
It doesn’t just benefit the employee as it provides a safe space in which honest and open conversations can be had that enable the employer to better understand their colleagues' needs and the practical ways in which they can harness and play to their strengths, which benefits the whole organisation.
The benefits for employees
By gaining a better understanding of their own needs and how they can bring their best to their work, employees can set themselves up for success. They are more enabled to practice effective state management and limit the negative impacts of stress and anxiety upon their performance.
In addition, they can feel more fulfilled in their work, gain a greater sense of achievement and are enabled to unlock their potential. Diverse-thinkers can have a greater awareness of their strengths and harness these which, in turn, leads to improved performance and productivity.
The benefits for employers
Neurodiverse conditions including Autism are classed as Disabilities under the Equality Act 2010. Therefore, as an Employer, you may be required to put in place reasonable adjustments to provide the necessary support.
In addition, neuro minorities often have particular strengths that can be of real benefit to your organisation. These can include seeing the big picture, thinking outside the box, connecting ideas, 3D thinking, creativity and innovation.
Employees who feel better understood and supported are more likely to stay in their role for the longer-term, so additional benefits to the company include job sustainability and retention.
Coaching can also help to raise awareness around neurodiversity issues within the workplace and improve communication across the organisation. This, in turn, helps to address absenteeism, improves line management people skills and increases productivity.
Employers have the opportunity to play a key role in celebrating neurodiversity and encouraging a really positive narrative within their organisation by recognising the numerous strengths that neurodivergent individuals bring and the benefits brought to the company by adopting a more creative and innovative approach.
Organisations such as Genius Within CIC are experts in this field and can provide the relevant advice and support if you’d like to find out more.
You can find out more about Claire and how she can help here.