In short, ADHD coaching is…
an ongoing collaborative partnership between a person with ADHD traits (or someone impacted by ADHD) and a professional coach who brings knowledge, best practices, understanding and skills as well as ADHD-friendly tools to facilitate positive personal and/or professional change for the client.
What can I expect from ADHD coaching?
Ideally, you will have a greater understanding of yourself and how your version of ADHD shows up. You will have increased awareness of how ADHD can impact you and the people around you. Assuming you have been able to engage well, you will have discovered what works for you specifically to overcome challenges and harness your strengths. It is hoped you will achieve positive, sustainable, behavioural changes.
Frequently asked questions…
What is Coaching?
Coaching is defined by The International Coach Federation (the leading global professional body for coaches) as:
“Partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”
In a coaching partnership, the client is viewed as naturally creative and resourceful and the expert in their own life. The coach’s role is to create and hold a safe, confidential space for the client. By asking the client open questions, the coach facilitates the client to increase their self-awareness and come up with insights and/or possible solutions as they work towards their desired outcome. A key difference between coaching and other conversation-based approaches to change, is that while the coach may offer information, they do not give advice and their approach is non-directive and non-judgemental. As the expert in your own life, when the client comes up with a solution or a way forward, they are more likely to follow through on whatever they commit to doing differently at the end of a coaching session.
Why is an ADHD lens important?
Many adults who seek ADHD coaching feel they have been underachieving. They feel frustrated with themselves and are searching for a way to unlock their full potential. A professional ADHD coach can support you to see yourself through an ADHD lens, which offers the possibility to better understand oneself and the impact of your unique brain-wiring.
What’s in The Coach’s Toolbox?
The ADHD Coach’s professional training equips them with a range of ADHD-specific and ADHD-friendly tools and strategies to offer their clients to support them to discover what might work for them specifically.
An ADHD coach can also help with self-confidence and self-esteem. You may choose to explore replacing old beliefs that no longer serve you, or challenge your inner-critic.
Coaching is not available through the HSE’s Adult ADHD service but it is possible to engage in coaching privately in tandem with ADHD services or as a stand-alone intervention.
When is coaching not the appropriate service?
Sometimes it is appropriate for a coach to refer a client or prospective client to alternative professionals if it becomes apparent that the client needs supports outside the coach’s realm of expertise. The most common example would be if a client working with an ADHD coach experiences a dip in mood or a period of heightened anxiety that is preventing them from progressing. They may need to put their coaching on hold while they seek support from a more appropriate professional. Once the client feels able to move forward again, they can resume coaching.
How many sessions would be typical?
Coaching is an on-going collaborative process. Typically, a minimum of 6 sessions would be required to implement habits and structures relating to ‘the what’ but some clients require more. The number of sessions will be influenced by the individual client’s starting point, what they set out to achieve at the end of the coaching process and their typical pace of work have a bearing on the number of sessions that may be required.
How do I find a qualified ADHD coach?
Please note that any certified coach can advertise as an ADHD coach. Experts in the field of ADHD coaching like Barbara Luther and David Giwerc are adamant that if a coach working with an ADHD client hasn’t undergone ADHD specific training they can do more harm than good and suggest it is unethical to do so. Training programmes vary greatly. When choosing a coach, the client needs to check that their ADHD coach has relevant training for their needs.
You’ll find links at the bottom of the page to coach directories. If you’d like tips on finding the best coach for you, see below:
Questions to ask when considering an ADHD coach
Most coaches offer a complimentary ‘chemistry’ session. Here are some questions that might be useful to consider:
- Has this coach completed ADHD specific coach training?
- Do you get the impression they know enough about ADHD to coach you using an ADHD lens?
- Are they a member of a relevant professional body for coaches e.g. The International Coaching Federation (ICF) or The Professional Association for ADHD Coaches (PAAC)?
- Do they adhere to the ethical guidelines set out by their professional body?
- Was their training programme ICF (International Coaching Federation) approved?
- Does their area of special interest relate to you?
- If they have ADHD, have they been coached themselves? Do they walk the talk?
- Do they engage in regular supervision? While not obliged to do so yet, most professional coaches engage in regular supervision to reflect on their practice and grow further towards personal and professional excellence.
- Do they have professional insurance?
- A coaching relationship is based on trust – do you like this coach’s company? Do you feel you can trust them enough to discuss personal topics openly with them without feeling judgement? Lack of trust can be an obstacle to progress for both parties.
- What fees are they charging? Are their fees appropriate for their hours of experience, or their level of training or credentialing?
- ADD Coach Academy Coach Directory
- PAAC Directory of Coaches. The Professional Association of ADHD Coaches (PAAC) aims to protect and empower people with ADHD by supporting and qualifying superb ADHD coaches.
- ADHD Ireland - Clinicians Page
- ADDitude Magazine - a useful source for information on ADHD and typical co-existing conditions.
'This information about ADHD coaching was compiled by ADHD Coach Heather Blackmore, PCC, PACG.'