As part of the diagnosis of ADD/ADHD, one has to have ‘impairment’ in functioning, in addition to the required number of symptoms.
In my experience, people often don’t put enough importance on the impact of this impairment.
Having ADD/ADHD symptoms can be problematic on its own…
But the real issue is when your (or your child’s) functioning is impaired.
How does this show up?
In adult ADD/ADHD, impairment in functioning can come out in these types of situations:
- Paying bills and keeping up with paperwork
- Setting goals and achieving them
- Handling relationships
- Coping with frustrations
- and much more…
In child/teen ADD/ADHD, impairment in functioning can come out in these types of situations:
- Completing tasks/chores
- Handling frustration
- Social situations
- Listening to and following instructions
- And much more…
While all treatments for ADD/ADHD aim to improve functioning – they don’t always succeed. Medication can have a big impact on ADD/ADHD symptoms, and can often have an impact on functioning. Though often the improvement in functioning is not enough with medication on its own.
We aim for ‘multi-modal’ treatment – i.e. treatment which includes medication, as well as other modalities to help, because ‘pills don’t teach skills’.
One modality which has grown in its popularity and usefulness in the field of ADD/ADHD treatment is coaching.
What is coaching for ADD/ADHD?
Coaching for ADD/ADHD starts with a trained coach. Coaches who specialize in working with ADD/ADHD are trained life coaches, and may be certified by the ICF – the International Coach Federation, or other organizations like the International Association of Coaches (IAC) or others. In addition to having this qualification, ADD/ADHD coaches also specialize in ADD/ADHD (and they have taken specialized training in ADD coaching from organizations like: ADD Coaching Academy (or others))- so that they can tailor the coaching methodology to suit the specific needs of individuals with ADD/ADHD.
What Do ADD Coaches Do?
ADD/ADHD Coaches work with people in a collaborative way. Whereas therapy is often looking backward – i.e. at previous issues or challenges and how they can understood differently – coaches are forward focused – i.e. on functioning in the present and in the future.
ADD/ADHD Coaches help people to:
- Find their strengths
- Develop strategies for their areas of challenge
- Pull in the resources they need
- Develop skills to take care of themselves
- And a whole lot more…
The coaching relationship is a very collaborative one – where the coach works with the individual to work on his/her own goals, challenges and issues.
The ADD/ADHD coach provides: accountability, support and encouragement.
When someone has been challenged with functional issues with their ADD/ADHD for some time – these three things can make a world of difference for someone who has been struggling.
How Does ADD/ADHD Coaching Work?
When someone works with an ADD/ADHD coach, they meet with their coach regularly. It is very common for these meetings, or appointments to occur on the telephone. There are times that someone can have sessions with their ADD/ADHD coach in an office (or even a coffee shop) for face to face sessions, but it is very common for telephone coaching to occur. Telephone coaching helps to eliminate the need for travel time, and it helps people to find a coach who suits them best, even if they are geographically far away from that coach.
In general, there would be a ‘getting to know you’ session, and the parameters of coaching would be discussed – so that the participant learns what he can expect from the coach, as well as the coaching process.
Then, there are coaching sessions which occur on a reasonably frequent basis – i.e. 2-4 times per month. Many coaches also include ‘check in’ emails on a more frequent basis. These emails help people to be more accountable, and to have more ongoing support between coaching calls.
How much does ADD/ADHD coaching cost?
Prices can vary – depending on the coach’s experience, and their expertise. For example – a new coach would charge less than someone who has been doing this for years. It is common for people to pay $300-$400 per month for the personalized support of an ADD coach.
Group coaching is an option which can make it more affordable for people to participate in ADD/ADHD coaching. This way, there is less personalized attention, yet the person is able to still benefit from the coaching process. Group coaching is less expensive, and thus it is often easier for people to participate in.
Does ADD/ADHD Coaching Work for Adults, Teens and Kids with ADHD?
ADD coaching has been done with adults right from its start. When an adult engages in coaching, he/she can take responsibility for his/her participation in the process and benefit from it.
When coaching is done with kids or teens with ADHD, it can be much harder. This can relate to many issues – including a child or teen’s comprehension of what is going on (i.e. do they even attribute problematic behaviors to their own symptoms or actions?), or their desire to work on challenging or frustrating issues. My understanding is that for older teens, ADD coaching can be a lot more helpful than for young kids.
That said, as with behavioral treatments for kids and teens with ADD/ADHD, when the parents learn the specific skills, they can help to support their child or teen with these on a day to day basis. Thus, if parents learn the skills that an ADD coach can provide, it can help the child or teen significantly.
Resources which you may be interested in:
- AD/HD Coaches Organization (ACO)
- Institute for the Advancement of ADHD Coaching
- An Article on Coaching from CHADD
This article is meant to be an introduction to coaching for ADD/ADHD. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Please let us know: Have you ever considered coaching for ADD/ADHD? Have you ever tried it?
Please share your comments below.