HOW NEURODIVERSITY COACHING HELPS
Neurodiversity coaching helps you find your way in a world that doesn't always embrace people 'whose brains are wired differently'.
Neurodiversity coaching aims to make you more aware of the power of your differences. Neurodiversity fosters a positive acceptance that, rather than disorders, some neurodevelopmental conditions are naturally-occurring variations in humans. The term is most typically applied to people on the autism spectrum. For a more detailed understanding of neurodiversity, see Wikipedia.
I focus my coaching specifically on people who are diagnosed or exhibit symptoms of high-functioning autism. As a coach, my role is to help you reflect and become more self-aware of how your own behaviours impact what you achieve and the people around you. Through self-reflection you will learn to capitalize on the strengths attached to high-functioning autism while managing your areas for development just as anyone else can.
These are some of the areas my clients focus neurodiversity coaching on...
Developing self-awareness relies in part on feedback from other people, often expressed non-verbally. It’s not surprising therefore that people who have difficulty with non-verbal communication find it more challenging to be self-aware. Working with a coach will help by providing a mirror so you can glimpse how you are perceived by others. This in turn will help you reflect on how and why you act or react in certain ways. That’s a start to self-awareness. Self-awareness is key to being more intentional in how we relate to ourselves, to others, and to the world at large. Without it, we operate mostly in auto-pilot – which may or may not lead to the outcomes we want.
Facing Your Fears
Have you noticed there are certain topics you constantly avoid? Certain activities you put-off as much as you can? People you always disagree with? Over the years you’ve probably developed techniques to compensate for the fact that you perceive yourself as being different from most other people due to your high-functioning autism. Have you wondered why? Perhaps your dislike and avoidance of certain topics, activities or people are rooted in a fear of rejection, failure or ridicule. These fears come from somewhere deep within you. Face the fears, overcome the limiting beliefs associated to them, and you will open up a world of unexplored options for yourself. And you will find that the strengths associated with high-functioning autism can be very powerful.
Having lower degrees of empathy for others is commonly associated with the Autism spectrum. As empathy is a fundamental component in establishing meaningful connections with other people, you may become lonely or feel excluded from social interaction. And yet, while emotional empathy may be challenging, cognitive empathy is easily achievable for people with high-functioning autism. Cognitive empathy can be defined as knowing how another other person feels and what they might be thinking. It can be achieved through verbal communication. Some exercises, particularly perspective-taking, are very useful in placing yourself in someone else’s shoes… even if you can’t actually feel how they feel.
People with high-functioning autism enjoy predictability/routine and tend to develop repetitive habits. Changes in life – small or large, expected or unexpected – can wreak havoc with your emotional balance. And yet change is an inevitability in life, and in fact change often brings opportunity. Learning to accept change as something that 'just happens'… something that generally isn’t targeted at making you feel upset… something that can enhance your life… this is a key skill that will make a fundamental difference to you.
Do you find that certain people ‘rub you the wrong way’? Do you feel you need to understand how people behave? Do you often feel wronged by the world? Do you spend hours thinking of why someone did something? Given the heightened cognitive capabilities of people with high-functioning autism, the temptation to over-rationalize everything is understandable. And yet the truth is, more often than not, you will never understand people's true motivations. Knowing when to let go is a key skill to achieve balance in life.
Tension in a relationship is a natural consequence of people having different perspectives. And yet, it can be a positive element in most relationships in different ways over time. Tension can be particularly difficult for people with high-functioning autism to accept – perhaps because difficulties with non-verbal communication make the tension so incomprehensible. Coaching can help you understand the nature of tension... and how to accept healthy tension in your relationships.
This is what you can expect from neurodiversity coaching with me...
I am a qualified coach with significant experience coaching private individuals and leaders within large multinational corporations. I have a Diploma in Transformational Coaching.
Personal Experience with Neurodiversity
Having high-functioning autism myself, I know first hand the challenges of living in a world that at best ignores my differences and unfortunately often misunderstands them. I've learnt that the answer to better interaction with the world is always within me... as is the responsibility for making sure my behaviours are perceived in the way they are intended.
Cognitive & Compassionate Empathy
I have been very successful in developing cognitive empathy to a point that I have actually been called 'naturally empathetic' by others. While emotional empathy will always be very challenging to me, I can extend my cognitive empathy to become compassionate empathy - it compels me to take action as a coach to help my clients however I can.