Great thread, but I think a lot of the replies are missing the OPs issue. He (she?) is concerned about the way you have to take your eye off the ball and turn halfway around to put the motor in neutral at a time when you should be facing foward because the dock is about 18" (0.5m
I wrestle with this as well. On my 18, I only had to turn around; the 25 sits much higher off the water* and I need to reach down as well. It has been impossible so far to accomplish this without moving the tiller and affecting my approach (sometimes for the better, I admit).
Long term, I'm going to install remote engine controls and do it the way the pros do it. Short term, I'm going to rig up some sort of extension for the shift lever. I'm thinking of a short piece of PVC on the lever itself and an old tiller extension connected to the top of that. I worry that it won't be 'crisp' enough and I'll be flopping from F to R and back, missing N. I'll try it.
Single handed docking with an outboard will be very challenging. Stay tuned!
*Oh, the problems I have!