Job coaching is an initiative in the US (and also in other countries), which aims to help people with intellectual disabilities to get a real job, working with other colleagues who do not have any disabilities.

Job coaching is done by professionally trained individuals who know how to deal with disabled people, and how to prepare them for work-related situations. There has been plenty of discussion if job coaching is effective or not, and if it has sense at all. People are questioning the effectiveness of everything paid by the government…

Nevertheless, the recent studies show that job coaching is effective, and disabled people who pass the program are doing much better in the interviews and also in their jobs.

Open palms symbolize an offer of help. Illustration of a goal of job coaching.

How does a job coaching look like?

Usually a coach simulates with the trainee various situation that can happen on the workplace. Starting from taking basic orders and coming on time, continuing with some very easy tasks, up to things that happen on a workplace but are not work related (like informal chit-chat with the colleagues, eating lunch with colleagues, etc).

Job coaching focuses on scenarios that happen in every workplace in the world (meeting a colleague, conflict with a colleague, talking to a customer, feeling pressure, etc).

In some advanced stages of the coaching program, the coach practices with the trainee also the job interview. Good coach knows that interviews with intellectually disabled people are done in a different manner, and follows the manner in the training. This helps the trainees to get ready for the challenges they face when seeking a job.

The most important ability for the coach is patience. Intellectually disabled people are learning in a different way, it takes time, and many of them learn only by repetition. Each exercise has to be repeated at least ten times, and then ten times again, until the trainee creates a habit of appropriate behavior in the given situation.

This is not a profession everyone can do. Consider your decision twice before applying for a job of a coach. It is more a mission than a profession, and if you do not have patience with people, it is not the right choice for you. On the other hand, if you love to help the others, like to work with young people and would not mind the work that is repetitive, then job coaching can be a career that will bring a meaningful purpose to your life….

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Glen Hughins
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