What is a Job Coach?

By: Taryn Oesch – 05/11/2018

Many people with autism or intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD) succeed in the workplace with the support of a job coach. Job coaches may help individuals with autism/IDD find a job based on their skills and interests, develop job-related and interpersonal skills, and identify accommodations they may need to be successful. A coach might also work with the employer to provide those accommodations and understand the needs and skills of the employee.

For example, let’s say an employee with autism is working in an open office environment, and she is struggling to do her work because of the noise around her. The coach might work with the employee to identify some strategies, like using noise-cancelling headphones or how to talk to her co-workers about noise, to help her adapt to the situation. He might also help her ask her manager if there is an office with a door that she can use when the noise becomes too much.

As another example, let’s say a restaurant recently hired an employee with an intellectual disability. While this employee is excited to learn how to do his job, he is struggling with the training program the restaurant uses. His coach might work with the employer to create a flowchart for the job that uses pictures to provide examples. She might also help the employee identify co-workers whom he can ask for help when needed.

Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to provide “reasonable accommodation” for employees with disabilities. Such accommodations might include job coaches. Aside from basic legal compliance, though, working with job coaches benefits both the employee and the employer, improving the employee’s time to proficiency, performance and productivity, and social and collaborative skills. This #InternationalCoachingWeek, consider your employees and the accommodations you provide. Might a job coach help?