ADHD Coaching has been proven to be particularly effective in helping adults with ADHD navigate their symptoms and live more fulfilling lives. While the field keeps developing, ADHD Coaching is inherently flexible, adapting to the unique needs of every individual.
December 2022, Agave Health Team
The mind of a person with ADHD is a gold mine of creative ideas and desires for great things. And in many cases, one knows how to pursue their vision but falls short at the executive stage, scrambling to bring those ideas to completion. Even patients on ADHD medication have difficulties with day-to-day planning, self-esteem, and communication. ADHD coaching can step in and make a big difference in one’s quality of life.
Coaching is a practical intervention that actively encourages, educates, and instructs clients to achieve success - be it in time management, problem-solving, social skills, or self-esteem.
ADHD coaching - a brief introduction
ADHD coaching is quite a new field. It started expanding in 1994 when Dr. Edward Hallowell, a psychiatrist, and New York Times best-selling author, published the book Driven to Distraction. Based on his work with patients and personal experience with ADHD, he saw a necessity in providing practical support and in-depth guidance to ADHD patients that weren’t possible within the framework of traditional therapy. In his best-selling book, Dr. Hallowell compares coaching with conventional psychotherapy and describes the former as more “educational, informative, directive, and explicitly encouraging.”
At the center of coaching lies the idea that ADHD clients thrive within an external framework. Like a pair of training wheels on a bike, this external guidance aids clients in pursuing their life goals and maintaining a daily routine. Over time, a trained coach urges a client with ADHD to drop the metaphorical training wheels and helps them develop skills to stay organized and become more adept at facing life’s challenges on their own.
How can a coach help an adult with ADHD?
In a nutshell, coaching will help adults living with ADHD to tap into their unique mind and understand its benefits and limitations so they can pursue more rewarding and fulfilling lives, explains Joel L. Young, MD, a board-certified psychiatrist and Medical Director of the Rochester Center for Behavioral Medicine, for Psychology Today.
ADHD coaching is inherently flexible and fluid. It centers on the individual with ADHD and their specific needs. As a result, a coach may focus on wide variety of things such as sorting out finances, building social skills, maintaining a health and fitness routine, reducing procrastination, or educational development.
Furthermore, a client can either pursue specific short-term goals, like arriving to work on time and excessive spending, or focus on the bigger picture, such as low self-esteem or building a successful career.
Based on one’s specific circumstances, a professional ADHD coach can offer some of the following benefits:
Organization: plan a day-to-day routine, time management, problem-solving, multitasking, and overcoming distractions.
Healthy lifestyle: keep up with medical appointments, have a healthy diet, and maintain a regular fitness routine.
Motivation: lower procrastination and develop self-motivation skills.
Relationships and communication: conflict resolution, punctuality, and setting boundaries.
Emotional awareness and stability: working on self-image, self-respect, and dealing with anxiety, worry, and stress.
Clear judgment: understanding one’s potential and limitations, building long-term plans, and setting priorities.
ADHD education: clarity of what ADHD is and isn’t, free of misinformation and stigma.
A growing body of science supports the above-listed benefits. Though relatively few in number, studies consistently find a positive effect of ADHD coaching in adults. The Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) factsheet lists “taking greater responsibility for their actions, using goal-attainment skills, modulating emotions, managing stress effectively, and increasing positive expectations for performance” as the key benefits observed in studies. According to CHADD, study participants also reported experiencing better time management, concentration, self-awareness, and self-esteem.
To summarize, a personal coach is a mighty ally for every single ADHD patient, even those on medication or undergoing psychotherapy. The best way to understand its vast benefits is by experiencing it firsthand and booking a coaching session.