Although the concepts of professional and personal coaching have been around for several decades, the concept of ADHD coaching was first addressed in the 1994 book, Driven to Distraction,1 by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., and John J. Ratey, M.D.
ADHD coaching seeks to address the daily challenges of living with ADHD. A coach helps people with ADHD carry out the practical activities of daily life in an organized, goal-oriented, and timely fashion. Through a close partnership, an ADHD coach helps the client learn practical skills and initiate change in his or her daily life. A coach may help an adult with ADHD:
- Maintain focus to achieve identified goals
- Translate abstract goals into concrete actions
- Build motivation and learn to use rewards effectively
Through regular interactions, coaches learn how the symptoms of ADHD play out in the daily lives of their clients and then provide encouragement, recommendations, feedback, and practical techniques to address specific challenges. They may offer reminders, raise questions, or suggest time management methods (see the related What We Know sheets on time management and organizing the home and office). Coaches ask questions to help the client come up with strategies and act on them. Examples of such questions are:
- What can you do about it?
- How can you motivate yourself to take action towards this goal?
- When must this action be completed?
- What steps have you taken already, and when will you take the remaining steps?
Regular meetings and check-ins are an essential part of the coaching process. These sessions can be conducted in person, by phone, or by e-mail, depending on the client’s preference. However, before the coaching process begins, the client and the coach should have an initial session that addresses issues such as client needs, expectations of the client and of the coach, and fees and payments (coaching services are often not covered by traditional health insurance). The first coaching session is typically an in-depth, 1-2 hour meeting to develop a step-by-step plan for identifying and achieving the client’s goals.
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