Whitney Iles MSc

Invited paper: Neurodiversity and Intersectionality in Coaching

Dr Nancy Doyle and Whitney Iles

Neurodiversity typically references conditions such as ADHD, autism, dyslexia and more, within the Social Model of disability, indicating that their presence is part of a broad spectrum of human cognition and specialist thinking as opposed to a medical deficit. Coaches encountering neurodivergent thinkers are likely to be addressing topics such as time management, organizational skills, memory and attention, as well as communication and stress management issues. From an intersectional perspective, coaches also need to consider the prevalence of mis and under diagnosed populations and the impact that this has on identity, integration of personality, emotion, imposter syndrome and trust in professional services. Communities marginalized by race and poverty are less likely to receive adequate diagnosis and also females in general have historically been ignored and misdiagnosed. This short paper is presented by two women, one of mixed heritage and one of white heritage, one autistic one ADHD, one formally diagnosed one not. From the perspective of our differing, intersectional lived experience, our extensive community coaching and mentoring practices, our psychological research and business leadership, we will provide advice and guidance to coaching psychologists on navigating these boundaries with clients.

Whitney Iles is the CEO of Project 507 and has over 17 years of experience as a front-line practitioner working with young people and communities affected by violence. She has trained in forensic psychodynamic and organisational psychotherapy, has an MSc in Violence, Conflict and Development from SOAS and is currently studying the Psychology and Neuroscience of Mental Health at King’s College London.