By Cameron Gott, PCC, Guest Contributor
Don’t you love it when your ADHD clients have amazing awareness light-bulb moments? The AEC Model helps clients create a practice of awareness that provides value BEYOND that first enthusiastic flash of light.
I use the AEC Coaching Model with all of my clients to help them develop the skills for effective follow-through and desired change. Developed with Denslow Brown, MCC, the AEC Model is an integral part of our advanced ADHD coach training program at Coach Approach for Organizers. It is not a model for coaches per se. Rather it is a coaching model to use directly with your clients to foster improved awareness, engagement, and completion. It is a useful tool to bring structure and process to a mindfulness practice. Mindfulness has recently been proven to be a very effective intervention for managing ADHD.
Awareness — More Cause, less Effect
Change begins with awareness. ADHD disrupts the ability to create accurate awareness, moving the individual away from the fact-based place of ‘Cause’ and shifts them to the stimulating and inaccurate place of ‘Effect’. Good coaches help clients foster accurate awareness of goals, challenges, strengths through the coaching process of curiosity and exploration.
Engagement — Putting the Plan in Action
Talk is cheap. Our experiences are rich laboratories for learning. Experiences don’t happen without engagement. ADHD plays havoc with the ability to engage and re-engage with what is truly important to the client. ADHD coaches support their clients with realistic action plans developed with the client and powerful and positive accountability grounded in respect and trust.
Completion — Timely Pivot Points
Completions and completion opportunities are all around us – e.g., the key meeting with follow-up actions identified, the progress report delivered to the CEO on time, the delivered product, leaving the house with the essential supports. Larger relevant milestones are made up of smaller completions but much like a transition, the art of effective completion is hampered by ADHD and its related challenges around prioritizing, activating and sustaining effort (in the midst of multiple competing interests) to final task completion. Many individuals with ADHD will value speed and momentum over agility and maneuverability and blast through key intersections or pivot points in their work day burning up valuable time, attention and energy. Good coaches help clients identify key completion points and support their efforts to hit the mark, make adjustments and move forward.
Using the Model with a Client
I start by introducing the model to my clients and encouraging them to use the three terms as they talk and think about their key intentions. We coaches know the power of language. Much like a guided mindfulness exercise, clients create much needed awareness around these three concepts simply by paying attention to them and introducing the three into their daily narrative in a neutral, non-judgmental way.
- I am aware that I am spinning my wheels!
- I am aware that I am more productive in the morning.
- I will engage here for 30 minutes, then see where I am.
- I just got engaged ‘in the weeds’ working on this damn spreadsheet!
- I want to disengage from surfing the web but am not being successful!
- I am engaging but not completing.
- That completion was ugly but still a completion!
My clients have found that using the actual terms is like adding new cogs to their gear box and allows for smoother shifting from standing still into their intended task (and back again). What we pay attention to grows and ADHD management is all about attention (and executive function regulation). I invite my fellow coaches to ‘test-drive’ the AEC Model and share it with your clients. Let me know what you think!
©2015 Cameron Gott
Cameron Gott, PCC, coaches creative and resourceful adults nationwide to help them take action on what really matters. He is a mentor coach and also an instructor at both ADDCA.com and CoachApproachforOrganizers.com. He can be reached at 434-409-3603 and CameronGott.com.