ADHD coaching is an ongoing partnership that helps clients live more effective and satisfying lives by deepening their learning, improving their performance, and enhancing their quality of life.
Clients with ADHD have the same human needs as any coaching client, and also face unique challenges related to ADHD, which can interfere with their quality of life. These challenges might include hyperactivity, impulsivity, and/or inattention, as well as the belief that they can't reach their goals because they have ADHD.
ADHD Coaches support their clients in developing a comprehensive understanding of both the nature of ADHD and the impact of ADHD on their client's quality of life. In addition, ADHD coaches work with clients to create structures, support, skills and strategies to help them move forward with fuller and more satisfying lives. Coaching assists clients with ADHD to stay focused on their goals, face obstacles, address core ADD-related issues like time management, organization, and self-esteem, gain clarity and function more effectively. The client is seen by the ADD coach as resourceful and thus, with increasing self-awareness, as fully capable of discovering his or her own answers.
Understand that the source of many of their challenges is ADHD, not personal shortcomings.
Safely examine areas of failure and areas where they want to be held accountable.
Heighten self-awareness and self-observation skills, and use those heightened skills to improve decision-making and performance.
Change perspective when "stuck" (i.e. learning new ways to work with procrastination, perfectionism, staying on task, or being more consistent.)
Become aware of their own learning styles, processing styles and learning preferences so they can enhance their ability to learn and comprehend information and situations.
ADHD Coaching can be an important part of a comprehensive program for individuals with ADHD . The coaching process initiates and encourages taking ownership and self- responsibility. Coaching is individualized and action-focused, so the client is working to build productive habits and systems that lead to a fulfilling life.
Source: ADDCA: *Taken from The Guiding Principals For Coaching Individuals With Attention Deficit Disorder, presented by The National Attention Deficit Disorder Association Subcommittee on ADHD Coaching.
1) Supports Their Client in Developing an ADHD Education
Before a person with ADHD can expect to better manage their ADHD, they must acquire an increased understanding of the bio-neurological nature and challenges of ADHD.
The ADHD coach has the knowledge, listening skills, and ability to explain the complexities of ADHD in simple language they will understand.
2) Reframes the Client's ADHD
The coach brings an improved understanding of ADHD to the client. This creates better awareness that explains their under-performance in the past.
This explanation can help diminish the self-blame that has contributed to feelings of poor self-esteem. Having a better understanding of their ADHD also produces a feeling of relief and acceptance that what happened was not their fault. It simply was a function of their unique ADD brain wiring.
3) Reminds the Client of Their Uniqueness
As the coaching relationship grows the old paradigm of: "I'm a broken toy in need of repair," gives way to "I'm a uniquely wired individual, who has unique and brilliant skills, and is capable of achieving success in a unique way."
The coach provides the client with evidence of their unique style and where it has produced successful results.
4) Explains and Plans for the Paradoxes of ADHD
ADHD is paradoxical and situational. The ADHD coach can explain why in specific situations your ADHD challenges manifest, while in others they don't,
i.e. You may be able to sustain focus with the completion of a specific task or can read a book for 45 minutes. However in other situations you fall asleep or daydream.
The ADHD coach helps to identify these paradoxical situations so that the client can be coached around prioritizing and focusing their energy and skills for the appropriate tasks.
5) Pinpoints the Client's Attentional Challenges
The ADHD coach partners with their client to identify different attentional challenges that can occur in a variety of situations.
Focusing on the intended stimulus
Shifting focus at will
Hyper-focus (a super intense, trance like concentration) or hypofocus (daydreaming)
The ADHD coach will work with their clients to determine which attentional challenges occur during specific situations, and co-develop proper strategies to effectively manage them.
6) Helps the Client Articulate Their ADD Challenges
ADD can manifest a variety of impulsive, hyperactive, and attentional obstacles that impair the quality of an individual's life.
A well-trained ADD coach can not only identify the challenges getting in the way of progress, but can provide clear and concise descriptions for their clients to communicate with health professionals providing support services.
An ADHDer's ability to provide specific descriptions of their impairing challenges is a tremendous benefit to physicians attempting to diagnose and treat an ADD individual.
7) Asks the Client if They Are Taking Their Meds
ADHDers forget to take their meds all the time.
They also have a tendency to take the medications when they feel like it, or only when it is necessary, i.e. they will take their med's at work, but not at home. The result is improved performance at work, but procrastination or inattention at home.
The ADHD coach reminds their client of the importance of taking their medications, as prescribed, to improve daily functioning and inevitably enhance their quality of life.
The ADHD coach will also support the client in creating a simple system that reminds them to take their medications at scheduled times.
8) Assists the Client in Developing Questions for Potential Health Providers
The ADHD coach will help the client create a list of specific questions to ask a physician, diagnostician, or therapist who specializes in ADHD.
Questions will include some of the following areas:
Percentage of ADHDers in their practice
How diagnosis is determined
The parameters and specific process of the relationship
ADHD organizational affiliations, conferences attended or presented at
Familiarity with coaching
Asking the appropriate and specific questions can provide important information that facilitates selection of the best health professionals. Effective questions will also give the client a sense of a professional's willingness to work with them, as well as their ADD knowledge and experience.
9) Identifies the Client's Learning/Processing Style
An ADHD coach assists their client in identifying how they learn, by educating them about the various ways ADHD individuals process information and stimuli in their environment.
There are six modes of processing or learning styles that ADDCA Coaches focus on with their clients:
*Visual * Verbal *Kinesthetic *Conceptual *Auditory *Tactile
ADDCA coaches look at these six processing styles and identify the client's preferred learning style. This information is used to allow the client to more easily sustain focus and concentration by using dominant style of learning.
(i.e. In college I would rock on my rocking chair (kinesthetic, preferred style) and sing (verbal, auditory, dominant style) my class notes in order to better understand them. ADHD coaches assist their clients in learning how they learn and then work with them to integrate these new learning skills into their lives.)
10) Reflects Back to Their Client What They are Paying Attention To
ADHD coaches pay attention to what their clients pay attention to.
Unfortunately, ADHDers pay attention to past stories of poor performance and failure. These stories are based on other people's standards about who they are supposed to be, and what they are supposed to do, have, and acquire.
Through ADHD coaching, the client quickly begins to understand that:
ADDers are not WHAT they do
Their value as a human being is not dependent on their past or present performance
Their value is based on what they believe about themselves
The ADHD coach makes the client aware of their true strengths, passions and internal character traits that have always been there, but have gone unnoticed.
Once the client becomes aware of their natural abilities and decides to use them consistently, they experience success.
These new experiences provide the client with confidence and an ability to KNOW they are capable of creating what they want and what they believe is important in their lives.
Source: ADDCA, ADD Coach Academy, Accredited Coach Training Program