By Bob Browy, Guest Contributor, and Sarah D. Wright, Editor

In Part 1 of this series on certification for ADHD Coaches, we introduced you to the Professional Association of ADHD Coaches (PAAC), the certifying body for ADHD Coaching.

paaccoacheslogoPAAC offers three levels of certification (Certified ADHD Coach Practitioner, Professional Certified ADHD Coach, and Master Certified ADHD Coach), each requiring varying levels of training, experience, and proficiency. Proficiency is evaluated according to PAAC’s ADHD Coaching competencies, which have been grouped into three distinct competency areas.

In Part 2 of this series, we discussed PAAC’s Partnership Competencies. In this, the third part of our series on PAAC certification, we will look at the Exploration Competencies (look for a discussion of the final competencies–the Action Competencies–in next month’s newsletter).

The Exploration Competencies

Four competencies must appear in order to show a command of exploration. These four competencies are critical to the ADHD Coaching Process, as it is with these that the coach invites the ADHD client to fully explore, learn, and reach clarity about themselves, their passions, their strengths, their challenges, and the life they wish to lead. So let’s take a look at these competencies:

Demonstrates Listening through an ADHD Lens

Focuses intently on what the client is communicating verbally and non-verbally, including the full text and subtext. Takes special notice of where ADHD traits are impacting and/or supporting how client think and acts. Draws out client’s self-expression and self-awareness.

Listening is such a powerful tool for an ADHD coach, truly listening and being able to mirror or reflect back the thoughts of a client allows the client to realize strengths, perceived weakness and allows the client to explore ideas and feelings.

Asks Evocative, Insightful Questions

Asks strategic, curiosity-based questions, which engage the client to think deeply, observe his/her own strengths and processes, explore new information, challenge assumptions and consider other viewpoints so the client may discern new possibilities, choices, discoveries, insights or actions.

These questions help the client explore deeper into thoughts and feelings that they have expressed. Ask question that elicit the client to clarify their thoughts and allow them to self observe, and develop awareness around how their ADHD truly affects them. It allows the client to recognize the limiting beliefs, and negative self-talk that holds them back.

Delivers Insights, Wisdom and Intuition

Integrates what the client is saying, succinctly and effectively conveying insights, perspectives, intuitions and wisdom to support the client’s understanding and progress. Here is where the coach can champion the clients strengths, successes, courage, intention and effort.

This is an opportunity to connect and educate the client to resources and self-education opportunities. Here the purpose of any coaching assessments, exercises and tools are conveyed.

Facilitates Learning and New Awareness

Assists the client in exploring new ideas while also developing a clear and empowered self-portrait of his/her unique characteristics, style strengths, abilities, systems and brain wiring.

As an ADHD coach, this is a chance to help the client look beneath words, stories and situations to bring to light underlying mindsets and rumination. To pinpoint situations, specific executive functions, and behaviors that hinder performance, as well as those that support them.

The Webinars

In order to educate coaches who are considering pursuing certification, PAAC has recorded a number of webinars, each discussing one of its eleven competencies. Listed here are the webinars on the four competencies that comprise Exploration:

Demonstrates Listening through an ADHD Lens: JUN2014 with Paul O’Connor and SEP2013 with Elizabeth Vieira-Richard
Asks Evocative, Insightful Questions: SEP2013 with Paul O’Connor
Delivers Insights, Wisdom, and Intuition: NOV2013 with David Giwerc
Facilitates Learning and New Awareness: NOV2013 with Chana Klein

We encourage you to click through and listen to these PAAC competency webinars from leading ADHD Coaches.

Bob Browy was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult and sought out a coach to help him understand and manage his ADHD. With the help of the tools he learned from his coach, Bob spent 27 years in the business world as a salesperson, general manager, IT manager, and partner in a successful software development company. Wanting to give back, Bob trained at ADDCA and now works with adults with ADHD. You can reach him at 224-286-4149 and at

SarahDWrightSarah D. Wright is a founding board member of the ACO, author of ADHD Coaching Matters: The Definitive Guide and currently serves as Circle editor. She can be reached at