As a specialist coach and mentor supporting people on the autistic spectrum and other Neurodiverse conditions I have a lot of experience 1:1 with clients. When providing support for those in employment it is sometimes appropriate to also mentor the line manager. However this can raise some ethical issues around confidentiality and the levels trust and rapport with my client needs to be high. Yet to really to support my clients overcome their challenges in the workplace and ensure reasonable adjustments are appropriate and effective both the client and their manager need to be involved.
The key issues that occur for people with AS / ADHD/ Dyspraxia at work are around:
Structure of the role and setting objectives
Feedback and managing performance
Working environment and sensory issues
Culture and practice (the unwritten rules)
Predictably these are issues with social communication, social interaction and executive functioning. To address these issues both the manager and the person I support need to be involved.
Recently I have started co-coaching working with both parties together. Time is invested in agreeing the ground rules around confidentiality and to build trust and rapport that will allow for transparency and honesty. My approach is strength –based and person centred, but working 3 –way enables challenges and barriers to be identified and discussed openly and positive approaches agreed and implemented.
Another great benefit of co-coaching is that both parties increase their understanding of the other person’s perspective in particular raising the understanding of the manager of autism and other neuodiverse conditions. This enables the person with the condition to be open and self-advocate leading to the reduction of the need to mask and to help reduce anxiety levels. This builds stronger working relationships.
Co-coaching can therefore work at a number of levels leading to the employee with a neuodiverse condition being able to reach their potential with improved performance and productivity and thrive at work. The employer gains a dedicated member of staff with key skills and a diverse approach. This ultimately creates a diverse and inclusive organisation.