I thought I’d start this piece with a brief introduction to myself. My name is Chris and I’m 35. In 2014, I was diagnosed with dyspraxia (I knew I had this and that this diagnosis was severe from early childhood) and mild dyslexia.
For nearly 8 years, I have worked as a Workplace Strategy Coach, specialising in working with people with a wide range of differences at work. As well as other professional certification, I hold the ILM Level V Certificate in Coaching and Mentoring in Management.
How it all began…
I started my journey as a software trainer when I was already a coach. I was inspired by how much difference assistive technology can make in people’s lives. I then worked to became supplier accredited in most of the major software packages
As a freelance consultant, responsible for running my own business and represent a number of different companies. Being organised is key and independent evaluation of the work has given me positive feedback.
My clients come to me in different ways. Usually, they would have had a Workplace Needs Assessment; where an assessor will recommend a set number of coaching and training sessions and appropriate technology.
On a typical day, I may have an appointment at 9:30 AM and then be travelling to an appointment for 2 PM. Between times, I can get referrals from a number of different sources to contemplate and organise.
With both types of work, we both look for the first mutually available appointment, with a gap in between to allow the client to practice using the technology or to develop the strategies in daily working life.
Additionally, I need to ensure that I have enough time in my working week to complete paperwork to the agreed timescales. Each coaching session has a summary report and timesheet. Training reports are simpler and usually completed in the session and they also have a timesheet.
Additionally, I need to ensure I do tasks, such as scanning travel receipts and updating my invoices.
Here is a brief insight into a typical day
I’m at the train station by 8 AM. Luckily for me, the trains are running relatively smoothly and I am at my client in perfect time. I start with a very friendly client called Paul with dyslexia and dyspraxia. Paul owns his own business and is a coaching and training consultant too and so we have a lot in common.
Since I’d last seen him, he has had a lot in his attention and this has meant his practice has been very little. He has noticed the connection between practice and being able to use the software effectively.
He was supplied with: Dragon Professional Individual (speech recognition software); Text Help (reading software); inspiration (mind mapping software); & a Digital Voice Recorder.
After this, I’m able to put more attention to my email. It’s lucky I have my own laptop computer, as I have three new referrals to look at. Next, some lunch on the train before the next appointment.
Andrew is a senior manager and has a diagnosis of dyspraxia. Through coaching, he has developed strategies to improve his Organisational Skills. These range from the better use of Microsoft Outlook to spending half a day every month working with his assistant to clear electronic and physical files that are no longer needed. Andrew would like his boss to attend the last session, to talk to him about his dyspraxia.
Then it’s time for the journey home, which today is only an hour. I managed to update my invoice and clear my email on the train. I arrived home by about 5:15 PM to be greeted by my two cats, who claim to be starving.
Chris is a freelance training executive for Hands-free Computing amongst others.