Workplace Coaching: A Dyslexia Coach’s Perspective

RSS

Guest Blog


 

The following guest blog was written by Guy Brewer, Independent Dyslexia, ADHD and Dyspraxia Work Coach and associate coach for Dyslexia Box.

Guy carries out strategy coaching to manage the impact of neurodiversity (specifically Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and ADHD) in the workplace. He also has his own YouTube channel to help spread awareness of neurodivergent conditions and assist people in overcoming barriers.



'Workplace Coaching: A Dyslexia Coach's Perspective'

- By Guy Brewer


One of the hardest questions that I deal with from my clients, is usually the first one.

They say, “So, what is this workplace coaching thing?”

And it is not the easiest question because coaching is different for everyone. It depends upon that individual. I use a person-centred approach. I don’t have a programme that I dish out to everyone in the same way each time. Everyone I meet is different. Everyone has a different ‘blend’ of neurodiverse traits. No two people are the same. That is the joy, and the challenge.  

Quite a lot of my clients have been having a tough time in work. For one reason or another, their dyslexic and/or other neurodiverse traits, have led to challenges in the workplace. That can lead to frustration and overwhelm, anxiety and stress, and is not great for productivity – which frustrates them and their managers!

 


So, what IS workplace coaching for dyslexia?

 

The short answer, is that it is a process that rebuilds self-confidence and self-esteem, rekindles the passion for your job and makes your life better.

 

But that is a bit simplistic and vague. And for people who are maybe having a hard time it doesn’t have enough substance to be convincing. They want to know what is going to actually happen in a session. Is it worth the time?

Dyslexia is a thief of time for many people – reading can take longer, checking spellings and punctuation after struggling with composition is time-consuming. There is no time to waste. Coaching has to be good and be productive.

So, what I tend to say, is what my past clients have told me. They say that it is wonderful to have the time to think about how you do what you do in work, and to have the opportunity to think about how to do things differently, to get the results that you want.

Often, people with dyslexia are so busy trying to keep up with the constant workload, that they don’t have the time to stop and think about how they could be doing things differently. Or, for some, their confidence has been badly dented and they are reluctant to propose changes, especially if that is to their managers or colleagues who may not seem to be very understanding of dyslexia.

 

"Workplace coaching provides dedicated time to think, in a safe and non-judgmental environment."

 

It is time to consider what works well for you, what could be better, and how to do things differently and more effectively at work. I can offer ideas and strategies that I know have worked well for other people.

My clients tell me that they like this time to think and to hear about other people’s experiences. It is a chance to bring clarity to what may previously have been a situation fraught with frustration and overwhelm.

As I am the person ‘delivering’ the coaching it might sound as though I do something special to rebuild confidence and self-esteem. But actually, that’s not the reality.

I don’t know these people, or their jobs, or anything much about their situations. So, I can’t tell people what to do! People with dyslexia are in practically every occupation. I am not training anyone to do anything.

And there is no tuition – I don’t teach people anything. They have all learned to read and write. It may not be their most comfortable medium for communication, but they can do it.  

 

But here’s the thing… the people that I coach, who come from all walks of life, are creative and imaginative, great problem-solvers, incredibly resilient and hard-working, and have great integrity. This makes life fascinating because I know that the answers to the challenges probably already exist in their minds, and are simply waiting to be revealed.

So, what I do, is ask questions. That is how, between us, we find out what their strengths are, what their values are - the things that matter most to them, and what they need to do a great job.

 

 

Before I was a coach I worked in education as a peripatetic teacher for pupils with additional needs. I worked with the pupil, their teachers, the headteacher and deputies, the parents of the pupil, and any other professionals involved. I learned how to listen.

In my last few years in that role, I managed a team, so I understand the pressures from both sides of the management divide. Listening helped then too!

I learned that asking questions was often more helpful than imposing ‘solutions’ on people. It is far more empowering for a person to come up with the solutions themselves, with a bit of help from others, than to be always given those ‘solutions’.

 

However, for me, it is always a temptation to tell someone to try something out.

I warn new clients of this weakness of mine, as the same thing happens every single time!

I’m listening away and a ‘brilliant’ idea pops into my head.

When there is a pause, I say, “I have just had a brilliant idea!”

“What is it?” they say, fired up by my enthusiasm.

“Have you thought of trying…ABC?” I say, bubbling with excitement.

Their face falls. “Oh yeah,” they say, “I did try that. It was rubbish. It didn’t work for me.. But now that you mention it, what did work was XYZ!”

And suddenly, they are inspired, because they have just thought of a great idea to manage their existing problem. And then they thank me – as if I had done something! Which I hadn’t – it was all their work. I was just the catalyst.

Then they say, slightly puzzled, “Why didn’t I think of that before?”

And the reason why they didn’t was because they work so hard, racing to keep up, that they don’t have the TIME to think. Coaching allows that time.

 

 

"For me, it is a great privilege to be a workplace coach."

 

People trust me with their vulnerabilities and sessions can be emotional. For some people this is the first time that they have spoken openly to someone else about their struggles – and the first time that they have spoken to someone who understands what they are talking about.

I have been coaching for 6 years now and have spoken to a lot of people with dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD, dyscalculia and autistic traits. So, I can tell the people that I meet for coaching, while respecting client confidentiality, that they are not alone in their challenging experiences, and that there are many others who are going through the same struggles and frustrations. They are NOT being stupid, lazy or crazy!

Of course, there are other factors in the workplace that need to be taken into account. People need the right environment to work in, the right technology and the training that supports that, and they need colleagues and managers to be understanding and aware of the challenges that the neurodiverse brain can present. These topics feature a lot in our sessions too.

 

"Workplace coaching supports personal development and it supports productivity. And that’s a win-win situation."


Subscribe to Guy's YouTube Channel


Blog written by Guy Brewer, Independent Dyslexia, ADHD and Dyspraxia Work Coach and associate coach for Dyslexia Box.


If you would like to find out more about our Workplace Strategy Coaching services then contact our team today.



Take a look at some of our related articles:


Guest Webinar by Ellie Middleton

Ellie Middleton is Head of Community at Neuropool, Personal Brand Manager at Great Influence, prominent Neurodiversity advocate and a LinkedIn sensation. Her guest webinar is titled 'Things it's ok to ask for when you have ADHD'. Find out more about Ellie and watch her webinar here.

Guest Blog by Michelle Brown (Learning Labs)

Michelle Brown is the Strategic Relationship Manager at Learning Labs. Her guest blog titled 'How aware are students of the Access to Work programme?' discusses findings from a report with APPGAT into the extent of student's knowledge of Access to Work and also looks into hopes for the future.

Update on Coventry University Remote4All Project Collaboration

Coventry University has released further details about their research project looking at digital innovation and e-working for adults with disabilities and neurodiversities. Dyslexia Box are proud to collaborating on this project. Find out more here.

Previous Post Next Post

Comments 0
Leave a comment
Your Name:*
Email Address:*
Message: *

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.

* Required Fields