When I tell people that I’m a Coach specializing in helping individuals challenged with ADHD create the life they want to live, they say, “Great, but what exactly does an ADHD coach do?”
My answer: “It depends.” And it does. It depends entirely on what the client is looking for in a coaching relationship.
A lot of clients come to me with a relatively new diagnosis and are looking for education. There are thousands of resources out there. Just like with any educational pursuit, the information can be daunting, confusing, and overwhelming. Distilling the information into a usable format can be frustrating. Most clients need to start with education and insight into how their brains affect what they want to get done.
Other clients come to coaching looking for process improvement. They know something isn’t working the way they want it to, but they don’t understand why. Why can’t they “just figure out” how to get from A to Z in a straight line? The world is designed to work with a neurotypical brain (about 94% of U.S. adults). A neurotypical brain works more linearly, and that’s not how an ADHD brain works. There are many times an ADHD brain can figure out a faster, better, more innovative way to do something, yet convincing the neurotypical universe that it’s better can be super-frustrating.
Some clients come to coaching to better manage their time, energy, and tasks. Because an ADHD brain has a looser association with time than a neurotypical brain, it takes a lot more work to plan and execute effectively. Once plans are made, it is sometimes WAY harder to activate and sustain focus on unpleasant or tedious tasks. A lot of the work I do helps individuals figure out what they need to do, by when, in what order, and helping them break it all down into manageable chunks where they can make progress.
Some clients are looking for thinking partners. They are looking for a safe, non-judgemental partner with which they can process their thoughts. Someone who can ask pertinent (and sometimes difficult and uncomfortable) questions that will help the client get to the core of the problem, challenge fixed-mindset thinking, and help them develop strategies that will work for them.
Then there’s that whole accountability piece that clients want. Many of my clients are entrepreneurs or work in business settings where they are not highly supervised. These circumstances can create the opportunity for procrastination and lack of momentum. Having a coaching partner that the client knows will ask them about their progress, celebrate success, and challenge inaction can be a valuable tool in their toolbox.
Coaching is a prescriptive process. No two clients are alike. Therefore, no two coaching partnerships look the same. A successful coaching partnership works with the client’s strengths, knowledge about themselves and creates an environment where they can thrive.
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