Helping talented disabled people get into and on at work
The London 2012 Paralympics were, I hope, a turning point in how people see the ability and the potential of disabled people in our society. The stories about the athletes were as important in inspiring the huge audiences as their superb sportsmanship. And they helped to challenge a lot of people’s assumptions and ignorance about disability.
In my own work with disabled people, I’ve heard extraordinary stories about individuals’ positive thinking, their resilience in face of change and their brilliant problem solving powers – all skills today’s employers badly need.
Yet in the workplace, talented people are too often passed over because employers cannot make the vital extra step to see their ability instead of their disability.
I can help disabled individuals shape their personal stories about their lives and their challenges into powerful narratives that can help them secure the job or the promotion their talents merit.
Through using their own stories, disabled people can take control of the conversation with employers. That conversation needs to be more honest and open, and even employers committed to diversity and inclusion need help to make it so. That way they will be better equipped to recruit talented disabled people and empower all their disabled employees to contribute fully in the workplace.
I use a combination of creative coaching techniques including appreciative inquiry and video recording and review to help people develop their own stories.
I am an associate with Kate Nash Associates and on the board of Great with Disability and Hammersmith based Action on Disability. Recent clients include Oxford University Career Services; Barclays Bank; the Back Up Trust and the Radiate Network.