Why Coaching Relationships Fail: The Neurodivergent Gap

coach training coaching coaching skills coaching techniques life coaching neurodivergent coaching Jul 22, 2023
Aphantasia  Coaching Academy founder Sassy Smith typing her latest blog post which is all about why coaching relationships fail for neurodivergent people

Why Coaching Relationships Fail: The Neurodivergent Gap

 In the ever-evolving world of coaching, one area remains significantly underexplored: neurodivergence. As coaches, we strive to unlock potential, inspire change, and foster personal and professional growth. Yet, if we overlook the unique needs of neurodivergent clients, we risk not only failing these individuals but also missing out on a significant portion of potential clients.

Understanding Neurodivergence

Neurodivergence refers to variations in the human brain regarding sociability, learning, attention, mood, and other mental functions. It includes conditions such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and others like aphantasia, alexithymia and SDAM. Neurodivergent individuals often perceive and interact with the world differently than neurotypical individuals.

The Neurodivergent Gap in Coaching

Despite the growing recognition of neurodiversity, coaching has been slow to adapt. Many coaches lack the necessary training to effectively work with neurodivergent clients, leading to misunderstandings, ineffective coaching relationships, and ultimately, dissatisfied clients.

This gap in the coaching industry is not just a problem—it's a missed opportunity. It's estimated that around 20% of the population is neurodivergent. That means one in five potential clients could be walking away from coaching relationships because their unique needs are not being met.

The Cost of Ignorance

Let's put this into perspective. The global coaching industry was worth $2.8 billion in 2019. If we estimate that 20% of potential clients are neurodivergent, that's a potential market of approximately $570 million. If coaches are not equipped to work with these clients, this is a significant loss in potential revenue.

But the cost is not just financial. The cost is also in the lost potential of neurodivergent individuals who could benefit from coaching but are turned away because the coaching industry does not cater to their needs.

The Need for Specialised Training

Understanding and effectively coaching neurodivergent clients is not a 'nice to have' skill—it's a 'must-have'. As coaches, we must strive to understand the unique experiences, challenges, and strengths of neurodivergent individuals.

This understanding requires specialised training. It's not enough to apply the same coaching techniques and strategies used for neurotypical clients. Neurodivergent clients may require different approaches to communication, goal setting, and problem-solving.

The Benefits of Coaching Neurodivergent Clients

Training to coach neurodivergent clients is not just about avoiding failure—it's about unlocking success. Neurodivergent individuals often have unique perspectives and strengths that can lead to breakthroughs in coaching sessions. They can offer fresh insights, innovative solutions, and creative approaches.

By learning to effectively coach neurodivergent clients, you can expand your client base, increase your revenue, and make a real difference in the lives of individuals who are often misunderstood and underserved.

The Path Forward

The coaching industry must adapt to meet the needs of all clients, including those who are neurodivergent. This requires a commitment to learning, understanding, and adapting our coaching practices.

We must seek out training programs that equip us with the knowledge and skills to effectively coach neurodivergent clients. These programs should provide a deep understanding of neurodivergence, practical strategies for coaching neurodivergent clients, and guidance on how to adapt coaching techniques to meet individual needs.


As coaches, we have a responsibility to serve all our clients effectively. This includes the 20% who are neurodivergent. By seeking out specialised training, we can bridge the neurodivergent gap in coaching, unlock new potential, and ensure that our coaching relationships are successful and satisfying for all clients.

Remember, understanding neurodivergence is not a 'nice to have'—it's a 'must-have'. Don't let lack of understanding be the reason your coaching relationships fail. Embrace the opportunity to learn, grow, and better serve your clients.

In the end, the question isn't whether you can afford to invest in training to coach neurodivergent clients. The question is, can you afford not to?

Learn these must-have skills now.

Take the Advanced Neurodivergent Coaching Skills and Practice programme and for just £597 you could be one of the most sought after coaches for neurodivergent clients.   

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