The Role of the ADHD Coach
by Nancy A. Ratey, Ed.M., MCC, SCAC
The ADHD coach, who is trained in specific techniques to help those with ADHD, works with clients on tactical, not psychological, issues.
Together, the coach and client address practical issues such as managing time, maintaining focus, and becoming overall more effective in both personal and professional life. The coach asks what, how, or when, never why, such as: What can you do about it? How can you motivate yourself to take action? When must this action be completed?
The coach helps clients focus on understanding their own needs and setting their own goals for creating new behavior patterns. The coach provides encouragement, recommendations, feedback, and concrete techniques such as reminders, questions, and calendar monitoring to help the client stay on track.
The ADHD Coaching Process
The coaching process can make the difference between the client’s desire to reach a goal and the subsequent ability to attain that goal. The coach provides the external support and guidance necessary until the client learns the skills to keep himself or herself on track. Ultimately, clients learn to self-initiate change, but during the process, the coach is the external voice demanding accountability until the client’s internal voice kicks in.
The coaching process begins with an initial interview in which the client shares his or her goals, history, and current challenges with the coach. The potential client and the coach have an in-depth, one- to two-hour meeting to develop the step-by-step plans needed to achieve goals.
Regular meetings and weekly check-ins are an essential part of the coaching process. These sessions can be conducted in person, over the telephone, or via e-mail, depending on the client’s preference.
The People Who Most Benefit from ADHD Coaching
Those who benefit most from ADHD coaching are ready, willing, and able to participate in the process, and they are committed to taking action. They acknowledge they are struggling and need help, they are accountable to their coach, and they have no overriding psychological issues that would keep them from making progress.
But because coaching is not a substitute for therapy or medication, individuals with ADHD often need the collaborative efforts of various people, such as one or more of the following: physician, psychologist, therapist, social worker, schoolteacher and/or administrator, employer, family member, or significant other.
The Time Frame of ADHD Coaching
Because the coaching process is unique for every individual, the time frame for individual coaching relationships varies. Some clients need to hire a coach for a short-term project, while others hire a coach for long-term goal achievement.
Nancy A Ratey, EdM, MCC, SCAC
Strategic Life Coaching