If you have considered ADD coaching, the first question you likely pondered is, “how is ADD coaching going to help me?”
Over the years I have seen clients use coaching in many different ways, often in ways that they did not imagine when we initially started working together. Generally, as Dr. Edward Hallowell, author of many books including Driven to Distraction, notes, the focus of ADHD Coaching is on:
“… building skills and taking action. Good coaching definitely helps people to improve their business focus, interpersonal skills and ability to get things done in such a way as to lead a more productive, fulfilling and rewarding life.”
There are many specific ways that ADD Coaching can help adults with ADHD reach their goals.
Like many adults with ADHD, you may spend endless hours in your thoughts, not knowing how to make the next step or, perhaps, not even knowing what the next step should be. You say things to yourself like,
- “I need to get more organized.”
- “Something has to change because this job is driving me crazy!”
- “I want to get more done around the house.”
- “I should get a handle on my finances.”
But this may be as far as you have gotten. And so you feel overwhelmed by your thoughts, and like you don’t have control over your life.
By working with an ADD Coach you can get out of your head and clarify:
- what is within your control to make your situation better.
- how making a particular change supports your values and goals.
- what changes you are realistically willing and able to make.
- what your end goal looks like in measurable and concrete terms and how to get there.
- what kind of support you need to make the changes you want.
- and more…
Once you have more clarification, you certainly will feel more confident that you can be in charge of your life. And you will feel relief as you realize that you can reach your goals in a way that works with your ADHD.
Learning About ADHD
Understanding the impact of your ADHD and how to manage it is a critical piece of the puzzle in helping you successfully reach your goals.
And by the time you consider working with an ADD Coach, you may have learned quite a bit about ADHD through books and online resources. An ADD Coach can help you expand on your current learning and apply the information to your unique situation. As you do this, you will be in a better position to answer such questions as:
- What professional and personal environments would be a good fit for me?
- What new strategies and skills do I want to learn in order to be more effective, and how can I successfully adopt them?
- In what contexts are my ADHD traits strengths, and how can I use them to support my efforts?
- How can I identify and drop or delegate tasks that are challenging for me because they require skills I have no interest in building?
- How else could learning more about my particular ADHD help me?
Answering these questions will help you take the next step of creating an environment that works for you.
Creating a Supportive Environment
It feels good to work hard when you are working toward a goal you really want, right? And breaking out in a sweat now and then is ok, but you don’t want to get hurt and pull a muscle!
Working with an ADD Coach you can decide how to upgrade your environment so you can reach your goals while exerting less effort. While you will design your environment in a way that will best support you, you certainly can’t do this all at once.
So, with the help of your coach, you can choose those aspects of your environment that, if you made changes, would give you the greatest leverage. For more on this, check out “Creating a Supportive Environment.”
Understanding and Compassion
But you may think that what you really need is a “swift kick in the tush” to get you motivated. This thinking is likely due to a long history of people, including parents, teachers and bosses, telling you, “just work harder!”
So you may have come to believe that since you can’t seem to work harder on your own, an ADD coach is just the ticket. But, if you are looking for an ADD Coach, my guess is that being told by others to work harder has not worked for you so far. And having a coach push you is not going to help, either.
Rather, an ADD Coach will demonstrate understanding and compassion in their coaching, and assist you in building understanding and compassion for yourself.
Don’t worry, this is not the same as letting you off the hook for not following through on your intentions! It means recognizing and pointing out how your ADHD symptoms are getting in your way. And then creatively figuring out how you can work with your ADHD and follow though in order to reach your goals.
One result of this understanding and compassion is that an ADD Coach offers a great deal of support, commensurate with your needs and wants.
In terms of frequency of contact, an ADD Coach typically offers daily emailing and short calls in between sessions to provide support and accountability. While the amount of contact is up to you, it is available in recognition that following through on intentions and making changes is a challenge.
The degree to which a coach will be involved in helping you learn new skills and strategies is also dependent on your needs and desires. With the help of your coach, you might:
- learn in real time how to most efficiently use your task manager, process your email, etc. (I do this by screen sharing with clients.)
- design the exact steps you will take to complete a project.
- prepare and practice a conversation you want to have with a colleague, as you enhance your communication skills.
- decide what strategies you can use to reduce your impulsivity in specific contexts.
- figure out your priorities, what to keep on your plate and what to take off or defer.
- strategize how to solve a particularly vexing problem.
Especially in the beginning, as you are first learning and making changes, hopefully you will feel comfortable leaning into your coach for more support.
ADDed Perspective Bottom Line
It takes time. I hope you will give yourself the time you need.
ADD Coaching is about taking action and learning. And, over time, as you learn and implement new strategies and skills, you will rely more and more on your own resources.
An ADD Coach can help you get there.