Key highlights of leadership coaching simplified in few Q&As.

What is ADHD coaching?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD, is a medical condition characterized by attention difficulties and hyperactivity. It often starts early in childhood and can persist into adulthood. Low self-esteem, mood swings, impulsiveness, relationship problems, depression and difficulty in focus are some common problems associated with ADHD. It is a common condition with around 10 million cases diagnosed in India per year. A medical diagnosis is required to confirm if a person has ADHD.
Proper coaching and treatment can help patients suffering from ADHD. In ADHD coaching, ADHD coaches work closely with their clients suffering from ADHD, to address their specific needs and goals. ADHD coaches help their clients by encouraging, providing feedback and offering suggestions to help address their specific challenges.
ADHD coaches focus on what are your everyday problems, when do these problems affect you and how to address these problems? ADHD coaches usually do not address why do these problems occur? In a nutshell, ADHD coaching addresses practical daily living issues and not psychiatric, emotional and interpersonal problems. ADHD coaching involves a collaborative relationship between the coach and the client. It is an interactive two-way session which promotes self-discovery of the client. This coaching session usually lasts 30 to 60 minutes in the coach asks open-ended questions to help the client reflect on their goals and promotes self-discovery by providing opportunities for skill development. These sessions help clients get an enhanced understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses which they can use to their benefit. ADHD coaches are trained professionals who use a variety of techniques and strategies to help their clients decide which ideas to try and implement for best results.

How is ADHD coaching different from traditional intervention?

Traditional intervention methods include pharmacological interventions, psychosocial interventions and newer studies and developments in treating ADHD. Pharmacological treatments are prescribed medications which can be classified as stimulants and non stimulants. Psychosocial interventions include behavioral parent training (BPT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), behavioral classroom training and skills training. Newer interventions include cognitive training, modifications in diet and alternative medicine. Many therapists use the combined effects of pharmacological and psychosocial interventions to treat ADHD. This includes monitoring the clinical aspects such as treatment response and collaborative efforts among clinical personnel, parents and school staff. It is observed that such efforts lead to greater effectiveness in treating ADHD. Therapists are combining these well-established treatment methods (pharmacological and psychosocial interventions) with newer innovative approaches to broaden the range of treatment for their clients.
ADHD coaching on the other hand, is a wellness model focused on forming positive habits and behaviours to maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle. This includes maintaining proper nutrition, exercise, sleep patterns and having proper time management. Maintaining a congenial atmosphere at home and having a sound control of your finances is an important aspect of ADHD coaching. ADHD coaching is a two-way process which holds the client accountable for their actions. This leads to heightened self-awareness, better management of stress, better control of emotions, improved interpersonal interactions and increased self-esteem resulting in a feeling of satisfaction for the client.

How can someone get the most out of ADHD coaching?

Coaching is a two-way process. No coaching can be successful if the coachee is not willing to make an effort in that direction and make the right inputs. That’s the same for ADHD coaching as well. ADHD Coaching is a long process, may take months and sometimes years as well for an ADHD coach to bring out the desired result for his client. However, there are some steps you need to take proactively if you want to get the most out of your Coach.

Steps to make your coaching successful:

  • Increase Self- awareness: Being self-aware that there is a problem and that needs to change is the first step to the change itself. The more you are aware of the condition you are in and the impact it would have, the faster you can change the situation.
  • Be honest with your Coach: The Coach is a neutral person who is never judgemental or opinionated about anyone. He is the one who needs to know your exact problem to be able to solve it. Hence you should be ready to give out all information to him so that he can help you. You have to be honest with your coach and not hide anything related to your condition.
  • Make your goals for yourself and not for someone else: Coaching is a process which can only help if you contribute as much as your coach does. However, if you don’t set goals for yourself and do it for your parents or spouse or anyone else, you will not take it seriously and the efforts won’t show.
  • Set expectations form each session: You need to look forward for each coaching session and ask yourself “what am I going to achieve after this session?” You need to have your agenda very clear for the session.
  • Practice what steps the Coach tells you: This is the most important factor. If you don’t change the way you think and do things, you will never be able to change your life. The coach will guide you and mentor you, but to adapt the changes is in your hands and you should do it diligently to change your life.

These are some of the steps that you can take to get the most from your ADHD coaching.

How is ADHD coaching different from tutoring?

Tutoring and Coaching are two different aspects of training and learning enhancement; however both are different than each other in many ways. With respect to ADHD kids and teens, tutoring and coaching are two distinct concepts which would give completely different results. ADHD children are not bad in academics, they understand concepts and relate them to real life as well, however their problem is that they forget easily or get distracted easily or tend to lose out on some critical information. The functioning skill of the brain needs to be worked upon for an ADHD child and not the logical thinking, and that’s what an ADHD coach would do.

Let's look at some differences between an ADHD Coach and tutor:

  • Tutoring is more specific to a particular subject. A tutor will teach the concepts more clearly to the child and explain; however, an ADHD coach will work on the child’s memory skills and help him remember the concepts by giving simpler examples.
  • ADHD Coaching is focused more on strategies to help the child increase his academic performance by concentrating on specific needs like study skills, enhancing time management and organization skills etc.
  • ADHD Coaching focuses on Life Skill development and making the child more independent, self-aware and organized whereas tutoring enhances skills for one particular subject.
  • Tutoring can prepare the child for a nearing exam, however Coaching is a long term process which will yield results for a lifetime. ADHD Coaching is a slow process; it is certainly not a quick fix. It focuses on the root cause of the problem and providing a solution to it.

To summarize, Tutoring is a here and now process and the results are also momentous; however Coaching is a long drawn process with benefits which can be seen for the lifetime.

How do I choose an ADHD coach?

Selection of an ADHD Coach is a slightly more complex process than selecting any other Life or Relationship Coach. This involves more complex thinking and analytical capability and someone who should be able to deal with the ADHD person’s thought process and align himself with them. It is always recommended to speak to at least 3-4 ADHD coaches before you finalize on the one you would want to work with.

There are three key aspects that you need to check in the coach before choosing your ADHD coach:

  • The person’s understanding level or knowledge about ADHD.
  • The integration of ADHD knowledge with his coaching methodology.
  • His ability of skill competency mapping and facilitating the coaching process with an ADHD person.

Most coaches would also offer you a complimentary session to understand the chemistry between you and the coach. In that session, you can try and gauge the coach’s methodology, whether he would be able to make a change in your overall life. You could validate if he could make you comfortable during the session and if you could open yourself up to him to share your issues. Was he a good listener or was he trying to push his views on you? Did he try to empower you by getting you closer to finding solutions or did he suggest or advice you what to do? Was he being pre-emptive in his approach or was he patiently listening to understand each of your problems? At the end of it, you need to make a conscious call that did you learn anything new out of the session or was it a downpour of information from the coach.

At the end of the session, if you were able to understand the coach’s philosophy and how he would work with you in the future to resolve your issues, then you could consider him to be the potential coach for you, else you could keep your hunt on.

How ADHD coaching helps teens & adults focus?

Teens and Adults with ADHD have common day-to-day problems in focusing on things, remembering information, concentrating on work or even organizing their things in a proper way. And hence, no matter what they do, they are left behind in life’s race due to their inability to perform tasks in an appropriate manner and a given time. Time management issues, lack of organizational skills, overloading themselves with too much work and forgetting & losing things are the common areas where ADHD teens as well as adults need help in.
An ADHD coach first works with them in becoming aware of these challenges and makes them understand the impact of these challenges in their future aspirations. He will then mentor, coach, guide them and assist them in each of their challenges and work around a way to organize things much better. The coach needs to make them aware of their weak areas so that they could develop the strategies and ways to curb it themselves. Increasing self-awareness and self-confidence is the key to the coaching methodology. Once this is done, the next step is to work cohesively with the ADHD person and set small, attainable targets and goals to achieve. Taking smaller steps, one at a time, when the ADHD person, starts to achieve the desired goals, they start feeling motivated and reach out for larger goals and aspirations. The coach then devices a mechanism wherein they jointly strategize each of the tasks and chalk out ways and means of achieving it.
The coach helps them focus on their tasks by realigning their tasks into smaller pockets and taking one step at a time. Time management, scheduling of tasks and organising stuff, all of it can be handled for an ADHD teen or adult is handled in a methodical manner and by guiding him to do it.

What does an ADHD coach do?

People with ADHD disorder face problems in life while doing basic tasks as they are defocused, inattentive and disorganised in nature. They can’t concentrate on a particular task for a long time, can’t organize their stuff properly, can’t be steady on any task for long and as a result of all these, they end up getting detracted from their career path. Due to this inefficiency, they often go into depression as well and declare themselves as failures.
An ADHD coach works with the ADHD person and helps him deal with his day-to-day problems like being organised, time management, retention issues and other functional issues which otherwise are becoming a deterrent for him. This in turn helps in upgrading the confidence level of the coachee as well. Simply put, an ADHD coach will work with the person on a holistic level and not just fix a particular type of his behaviour or nature. He will work on his present issues but also fix his future.
The Coach will enable the ADHD person with some tools and techniques on how he can improvise on his pain areas and get desired results. First the Coach will understand what are the person’s goal and also understand what are the obstacles which are preventing him from achieving the goals. Then he will chalk out a strategy on what tasks or activities needs to be done to overcome the problem. The Coach will also motivate the coachee to adapt the strategies and see a brighter future by their adaptation.
Hence ADHD Coaching is more of therapy wherein he would dwell deep into the person’s nature and behaviour patterns, analyse which behaviour patterns need to be worked upon and design techniques to combat them.

What are the common challenges of teen & young adults having ADHD?

Teens and Adults with ADHD disorder i.e. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder face similar challenges that the kids with ADHD face; however, the intensity of the challenges could be a bit more with Teens and young Adults. ADHD is a disorder in which a person would face issues in concentrating on things, remembering things taught and also hyperactivity and impulsivity sometimes.
As compared to children, teens are exposed socially lot more and their environment could also be slightly demanding considering education and social expectations. Hence they would react differently in such environment as opposed to when they were kids. Growing Academic expectations: Teens are generally around the high school category and at this stage their academic pressure could be much more than during their earlier childhood days. To cope up with such pressure in comparison with their peers becomes one of the biggest challenge for an ADHD teen. Also, at this stage, they have little or very less monitoring by their teachers or parents in their studies as teens are expected to accomplish that at their own pace and ability. However, for an ADHD child, this kind of freedom may become a boomerang as well.
Social anxieties: Teens with ADHD may face difficulties in forming relationships with friends and peers as well due to their often hyperactive or impulsive nature. They also become very sensitive or aggressive sometimes, which other kids would not be able to relate to. Making friends and strong bonds during teenage years is a major challenge that most ADHD teens and young adults face.
Poor grades, less aptitude, depreciating self-confidence, societal anxiety, unable to relate to their physical bodily changes as well as emotional self are some of the common challenges any ADHD Teen or a growing adult would face as opposed to other children at that age.

What are the common challenges of teen & young adults having ADHD?

Finding an ADHD coach is a bit complex task as opposed to finding any other life coach around your area. Handling an ADHD person and enabling him to success is not everyone’s cup of tea. It requires a qualified and trained person who has certified in ADHD training and coaching to be able to handle this task. Hence you will have to look up information from various sources, interview and analyse their skills and then finalize on the right coach.

Below mentioned are some of the sources from where you could seek a Coach for yourself:

  • You can specifically look for Certified ADHD Coaches near you through the internet.
  • Take out a list of certified coaches from an accredited ADHD Coach training institute.
  • You can also look through various Coach providing platforms like Catalyyze which can help you identify a good ADHD coach for yourself.

Whether you look for a coach yourself or hire them through a company, it is essential that you spend some time with the coach before signing up to check the compatibility level. You need to feel relaxed and comfortable with the coach to discuss your problems. This can be gauged in the first interaction. If the coach is not taking effort in making you comfortable and you don’t feel that connect, in most probability, the association wouldn’t work.

You could also ask some specific questions on your behaviour type and how he would be able to help you overcome those. You can quote an example or situation wherein you would need help and see if you get a satisfactory answer to that.

Find a good coach for an ADHD person is important. It requires a different skill set and methodology. Getting the Coach with the right methodology is very important.