Letter from the Editor

Maureen Nolan, Editor, Circle
Maureen looking at you!

Recently I took a look at the requirements for ADD Coaches and was surprised to discover that no college degree of any kind is  among them. Not for an ACO coach, not for an IAAC or a PAAC coach and not even for an ICF coach. Since these organizations are relatively young and still under development, I suggest it’s time to revisit this professional issue.

My own initial reasoning suggests that an ADD Coach should have a college degree as we regularly interact with other professionals who are required to have an undergraduate degree including psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, counselors, social workers, teachers and a plethora of other support professionals.

Higher Education for Professional Leveraging

I remember working in an architectural firm almost thirty years ago as a Marketing Specialist. When I left the position to become a stay-at-home mom, I suggested my replacement have an architectural degree for more professional equity and leverage in the position. I believe the same is true in this situation. Among the professionals we have referral and consultation relationships with we have an equalizing credibility to relate to them about our client’s needs and to understand the academic challenges that our clients need assistance in managing if we have a college degree.

When I became an ADD coach, I mentioned it to a neighbor whose first question was where did I get my degree? I explained there wasn’t a degreed program, etc., etc., but I haven’t forgotten his reaction (and yes, he was a lawyer). In truth, no client has ever asked me about my undergraduate degree, but when I’m eye to eye with a referring psychiatrist I am confident that I am lingo-literate and well-prepared for an appropriate discussion about ADHD, coaching and client support systems. I have sought and received good ADD coach training and I believe I built a solid foundation for learning earned through four challenging years (for me) at St. Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri with an unidentified learning disability and ADHD.

The ADD Coaching methodology is distinct in the profession of coaching, requiring an understanding of more neurology than the average life coach needs. I propose that at least a two-year college degree would raise the level of professional standing to be commensurate with the referral professionals with whom we deal.

Growth of Nursing as a Template for Coaching Growth?

The nursing profession is one of the most fluid and vast in its acceptance of and cultivation of professionals through many levels of education, starting with a two-year college degree. It is one template to look at while considering our discussion of criteria. Will change come from natural evolution or revolution? My grandmother earned an RN in 1918, an Irish immigrant with no formal education (a privilege refused to the Irish pre-independence by the ruling English). She wouldn’t make it in our present education system. Who are we missing with our present credentials and who do we want to exclude due to lack of education? Do we want to design levels of coaching service per education? And then there’s the wicked idea of licensing…shhhh. Will change come from natural evolution or revolution?

What is your level of education and do you think it is sufficient to properly serve our clientele? I want to ‘run this up the flagpole’  as we continue to grow as a professional service-oriented community. What do you think? I’ll be at the CHADD Atlanta meeting – look for me and let’s have a discussion. Share your thoughts below, too.