Celebrating Capabilities: Skils’kin Employment Services Employee Helps Participant Discover Potential

One year ago, Richard, a participant in Skils’kin’s Employment Services program, secured employment at the Arc as a custodian. Richard is a well-known regular at the Arc of Spokane Community Center, so when a position opened up at the Arc, the maintenance lead specifically requested Richard for the position. From the beginning, Richard enjoyed his work immensely, as his work filled him with purpose and gave him opportunities to build relationships with coworkers.
However, not long after Richard began his position, his job security came into question. He was underperforming, there was a lack of clear communication with management, and Richard felt an overall lack of direction. Furthermore, Richard began to doubt himself, and his confidence was shattered. These difficulties culminated in an unfavorable review, a review that was far short of what Kaleb Ashby, Richard’s job coach, knew that Richard was capable of doing.
“It was hard to see Richard struggle when I knew he was capable,” Kaleb recalls. “There was a lot of internal struggle with himself because he took his struggles personally.”
Kaleb, however, helped turn everything around.
To clear up the inadequate communication and lack of direction, Kaleb put together a task list for Richard and handed it to the manager at the time, asking for approval. They went back and forth until the appropriate standards for quality were met and the expectations of Richard were clear. Kaleb then helped Richard refine his skills, and as a result, Richard began to complete his tasks in half the time.
While Kaleb was coaching Richard, there was a specific moment that proved to be the turning point. Kaleb had been teaching Richard how to tie knots on trash bags, but Richard continued to struggle with the task. He exploded at himself in anger, asking himself why he could not do this, saying to himself that there was something wrong with him.
Kaleb quickly curtailed this negative thinking. He told Richard, “There is nothing wrong with you. What you have to do is tell yourself that you can. You may not do it right away, but you can do it.”
That moment set Richard on his path to success. “He just needed someone to say that there is nothing wrong with him,” Kaleb explains. “He was blaming his disability for his limitations, and he wasn’t celebrating his capabilities. He shifted his attitude after that. From time to time, I would hear him audibly tell himself while he worked, ‘I can do it… I can do this.”’
Kaleb helped Richard find his potential, and ever since, Richard has been confidently performing at a top level. But Kaleb is not stopping there. Kaleb has coached Richard to a point where he can now fade out, but he is also actively working to get him more hours, so Richard can spend more time doing the job that brings him so much purpose. With Richard now tapping into his potential, there is no doubt he is ready for it.

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