In every sport, the coach keeps the player focused on the task at hand and offers encouragement along the way.
Coaching people with adult attention-deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) works the same way. A coach can stave off a return to old habits of procrastination, disorganization and negative thinking. A coach points out when the ADHD mind starts down the old negative grooves and brings it back to a positive place.
ADHD coaching is concerned with life’s practicalities — time management, organizational skills, memory problems, and any other functional difficulties an individual may be experiencing. It is a holistic approach, concerned with the total person, not just his or her individual problems.
Coaching clarifies values, goals and activities and identifies obstacles to achieving a person’s goals. It deals with the here and now, as well as with the future. Unlike psychotherapy, it does not necessarily dig into how the past affects the present. It focuses on tasks, priorities, action and learning from mistakes, as well as on having effective interpersonal relationships.
Coaching is a newer professional term to describe people who typically don’t have a formal education background in mental health (they are typically not psychologists or master’s level professionals). Coaching typically isn’t regulated by state authorities or licensing boards, so there isn’t much government oversight of the field.
ADHD coaching helps the person learn what motivates him. It helps him deal with difficulty initiating an activity and with distractions. It helps develop the tools, techniques, strategies and interventions needed to accomplish goals. Coaching encourages accountability and provides methods for reporting what has or hasn’t been accomplished. It develops trust in the relationship, the process and the outcome.
In many ways, ADHD coaches conduct many of the same or similar kinds of things that a therapist does, but does so in a more involved and direct manner with their clients. An ADHD coach, for example, may offer a client direct advice, while therapists avoid doing so. ADHD coaches are also less likely to challenge a client’s beliefs, since that might cross into doing psychotherapy.
In the long run, coaching is a vehicle for helping individuals become successful on their terms. Someone should consider a coach if they feel it is a better fit for their needs or they cannot afford a traditional therapist.
Want to learn more about ADHD coaching?