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How to pick an ADHD coach

October 6, 2008

by Kerch McConlogue, CPCC, PCC

Coaching is a personal relationship. It should be a dependable and safe vehicle where  you can decide on the changes you want to make in your own life.  So it’s particularly important that you are comfortable with your coach and that you believe your coach is comfortable with you.

First, choose a couple of coaches to interview. You can find them in the ACO Find a Coach database or search on line for “(ADD, ADHD) +coach” without the quotes (That search will return all the coaches who’s websites say they work with people who have ADD or people with ADHD.)

Lots of coaching takes place on the phone, so it’s not necessary that the coach is in your town. Long distance rates have gone down or you can use a prepaid phone card to make the calls. You might also find a coach who will talk to you over Skype or some other VoIP provider.

Next, check out the coach’s website. It should be a reasonable representation of the person and might tell you something about how the person works. So see if what you find resonates with you, if you think you might like to work with that coach.

Then call the coach on the phone. Say you’re interested in working with an ADHD coach and that you’re interviewing a few people.  Coaches are used to that. It won’t be strange. They might, however, ask you to make an appointment to have a longer conversation.  That generally doesn’t cost anything.  And you’ll get to speak with the coach when you both have enough time.

During the first call, the coach may offer you some information to start the conversation or you may choose to start off with some questions like:

  • How long have you been a coach?
  • What did you do before you were a coach?
  • Do you have coach training? And specifically, to be an ADHD coach?
  • What kinds of clients do you work with most often?
  • What do you expect from your clients?

Take some time to be sure the coach you pick seems like the right one for you.  However, the right coach for you today might not be the right coach for you tomorrow. This is not uncommon. And it’s better to get going than to keep thinking about getting going. And you can always change your mind.

Keep track of your list of questions and your list of prospective coaches. During your initial interviews and to help if you want to look for a new coach, add to your list things you’ve learned about coaching so you can ask different or additional questions the next time.

And if you decide to change coaches, it’s quite possible that your existing coach can help you find a new one.

Photo by Jeffrey Kliman

About the author: Kerch McConlogue, CPCC, PCC is a Baltimore-based coach in private practice who works with adults who have too many ideas. You can find her on the web at www.mapthefuture.com. Contact her by email using kerch@mapthefuture.com or by phone at (410)233-3274.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Megan Ramroth April 2, 2012 at 11:16 pm

I am confused as to why most ADD Coaching site advise that sessions are conducted on the phone. – I would think concentration would be very difficult for most ADD/ADHD kids and a lot of benefit of the session would be lost. Am I missing something here?
Thank you in advance for taking the time to answer my queston.
Sincerely,
Megan Ramroth

Sunny Aldrich April 3, 2012 at 7:19 am

Hi Megan, your instincts are very good! Coaching over the phone with kids is a challenge. Body language is very important since young children may have difficulty verbalizing thoughts and feelings. Additionally, it might be harder for the child to connect with and trust someone over the phone. For teens, those factors are likely less crucial, but it all depends on the coach and how they approach the coaching relationship. Not all coaches work with children and those of us who do often only meet face to face with children under a certain age. I hope that helps!

Jonathan Carroll April 3, 2012 at 8:15 am

I always encourage potential clients to do his or her research before hiring a coach. I want every perspective client to understand my expectations as well as what other potential services are available.

elaine taylor-klaus April 3, 2012 at 9:18 am

Hi Megan,
When I started coach training, I didn’t really believe that telephone coaching would work, but it turns out it can be REALLY effective. Sometimes, the lack of visual actually enhances the coaching, both for the coach and the client. In fact, I believe in it so much that my business partner and I created ImpactADHD for parents and it is ENTIRELY virtual — training, coaching, and support ALL provided on the telephone and using the computer. There may be blind spots for some (no pun intended), but on the whole its remarkable to take advantage of modern technology to broaden the reach of coaching! Try it, you might find yourself surprised!! :)
Elaine@ImpactADHD.com

Susan Lasky April 3, 2012 at 9:20 am

One of the benefits of ADHD coaching is that it helps to de-stigmatize the issues. Action oriented, we focus on how to have a life that works better, not on how to ‘fix’ the client. Therapeutic interventions are mostly in person, so a phone or Skype session changes perception. Phone coaching also eliminates the additional time and effort of traveling to an appointment (often an additional stressor for our clients), especially when the sessions themselves may be only 30 minutes (which is preferable for most students and many adults). I agree that younger children, and even some adults – especially those who are verbally challenged – benefit from face-to-face coaching, which is offered by some coaches.

Abigail Wurf April 3, 2012 at 11:01 am

I work in person and over the phone with clients. They are different experiences but both valid. I enjoy meeting one on one in person because you get to interact on a more visceral level. On the other hand, sometimes clients are more able to focus when all they are doing is talking on the phone and taking notes. They get into a kind of hyper focus. I do agree that with children, in person is better. Adolescents are there own breed and some prefer to use technology and others want to see who they are dealing with. Being located in Washington DC, I have some clients who come in person from Maryland or Virginia for the original in-take session (and many a few more sessions) and then move to the phone. My adults depending on whether they are working or not, flexibility they have with their jobs and their inclinations decide whether we meet in person or over the phone. I work predominantly with adults, college students and adolescents. Abigail

Susan Lasky April 3, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Here’s a great link to a post by a student on why she prefers phone coaching – http://edgefoundation.org/blog/2011/02/10/4-great-reasons-for-phoning-a-coach-instead-of-meeting-in-person/

Warren Simonoff, ACG April 3, 2012 at 11:01 pm

There is an upgrade coming to my website or so the designer tells me.
I have an 84-year old aunt that was a choral director in her first life.Now she is certified to work with stroke and brain-injured individuals. She’s using SKYPE. Another alternative is Face Time from Apple. It is also on the ipad. I find Face Time to be more in the realm of High Definition.
Female clients and coaches may be reticent to have to use cosmetics and all of those “Doodads” to make themselves camera-ready. Even as a man I would have to shave at least weekly.
I hope Pandora didn’t mind that I opened that box with all those “Doodads” in it. This is just a thought. I honestly haven’t done it yet either because I’m siliconically challenged and may blow up my computer. Perhaps my aunt can give me a hand.

Susan Macintosh April 4, 2012 at 2:57 am

Hi Megan,
Thanks for writing in…
Personally, I wouldn’t recommend coaching over the phone for a child or a teenager, unless there is no other choice..as in coaching to those in rural or remote areas. I prefer to meet my younger clients in person or on skype. It is good to be able to see a child’s face, even a teenager’s face, to physically see how a message or conversation is being received. Children and teenagers usually need a different style of coaching. They are usually much miore int eh “present”.
Adults however often enjoy phone coaching. I too, like Abigail, have clients who like to meet (initially) face to face, and then reorganise their meetings with me, to best suit their working and family lives. This usually means calling me, or skyping me from where ever they are in the world. Calling also saves time and is reasonably immediate and is cost efficient. And as a Coach, you would be very surprised as to what you can “hear” in a person’s voice, which may be hidden by a physical presence….and I know that I as a client, I can often concentrate much better, if I am being coached by phone.
Megan, coaching is such an individual experience… be curious and “play” with several coaching concepts and then make your decision…you may be very surprised by your final choice! I hope that all of our comments have been of some help? Warmly, Susan

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