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You’re under-performing and you can’t seem to break out of bad habits that produce predictably disastrous results…could an ADHD coach help you to transform the limitations of your disorder and achieve the kind of success you deserve?  

Read on to find out more about:

  • General info on adult ADHD coaching, how it can help you and what it can’t do for you
  • Expert recommendations and research supporting its efficacy

What Is ADHD Life Coaching?

An ADHD coach assists you in identify goals and also obstacles that interfere with your ability to realize these goals. He or she then helps you develop and stick with a plan for success.

Through very regular interactions (regular check-in texts, for example) a coach learns how ADHD symptoms affect daily life and then offers personalized feedback, focusing questions, encouragement or advice to help you overcome limitations and achieve your stated goals.

If you struggle with financial problems, for example, a life coach might help you to set up a system for bill payments that keeps you from the late fees you normally incur. She could then keep you on track with reminders, questions and advice.

So What, Specifically, Can an ADHD Coach Help Do for Me?

Adults with ADHD may struggle in one or more areas of life.

  • Though intelligent and creative - career success may prove elusive.
  • Though loving, kind and pleasant – relationships never last
  • Though well intentioned – finances are a disaster…

An ADHD coach helps you to identify areas in life you’d like to improve on, and then helps you to implement effective behavioral strategies to get you where you want to go.

A committee from the US Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA) came up with a draft proposal on the benefits of ADHD coaching. Some of the benefits from their list include:

 1. Facilitating Goal Achievement, by:

  • Helping you to overcome procrastination habits
  • Helping you to consider options beyond your normal responses
  • Offering feedback on course correction when you encounter obstacles
  • Creating the types of accountability that help you to achieve (such as breaking up large projects into a serious of smaller deadline tasks)
  • Helping you to create an environment that facilitates your success

2. Encouraging Skill Development, by:

  • Helping you to learn effective time and money management skills
  • Teaching tricks and skills to control impulsivity
  • Helping you to set and keep personal boundaries
  • Helping you to improve social and communication skills
  • Helping you improve assertive conflict resolution skills

3. Improving Your Emotional State, by:

  • Helping you to reduce stress, worry and feelings of being overwhelmed
  • Improving your self confidence

4. Encouraging Self Knowledge, by:

  • Helping you to realize how ADHD affects you personally, specifically
  • Assisting you in developing personalized strategies for success1

ADHD Coaching Cautions

Two cautions to keep in mind when considering the idea of adult ADHD coaching are:

  1. Coaching is not the same as therapy and should not substitute for professional help
  2. While many qualified and capable people work as ADHD coaches, people with minimal qualifications/abilities/experience can also call themselves ADHD coaches. A doctor, mental health counselor or psychologist can’t practice until fully qualified and licensed, but an ADHD coach can open for business without needing any qualifications or licensing.

Do Experts Recommend Adult ADHD Coaching?

Experts generally recommend comprehensive multimodal treatment as the best approach. Elements/characteristics of this treatment may include:

  • Medication
  • Psychotherapy
  • Education/skills training
  • The coordinated involvement of a team of healthcare professionals
  • The involvement of a spouse or other significant family members2

ADHD coaching is not generally recommended as a core component of multimodal treatment for adult ADHD, but that being said, many people find that it helps as an addition, rather than replacement, for core treatments.

It’s a valid tool in a well stocked tool box against ADHD – but it’s not a first line treatment.

How Much Does It Cost?

Fees vary tremendously, depending on experience, services provided, geographical location and a great many other variables.

Fees are often charged as a flat rate per month and are inclusive of a pre-arranged number of interactions per day or week, for example, a twice a week telephone check-in and 2 longer phone meetings per month.

In general, the costs of working with an ADHD coach are similar to the costs of working with a therapist, often between $300 and $600 dollars per month.3

Is There Any Research to Support the Concept of Adult ADHD Coaching?

Although a lot of anecdotal evidence supports the use of ADHD coaching, very little clinical research has been done to prove that it really works.

One initial study, however, released in 2010 by Wayne State University researchers, shows that ADHD coaching helped college students with ADHD achieve greater success.

  • For the study, researchers tracked 127 college students with ADHD from 10 institutions across the country. Students were randomly assigned to either receive ADHD coaching or to receive no treatment (the comparison group).
  • The results – students who received the ADHD coaching had statistically significant improvements in self regulation, study skills and  motivation, self confidence, time management skills, overall sense of well being and positive emotional states.4

Will an ADHD Coach Be Able to Help Me?

The likelihood of success depends largely on the skill and motivation of the coach and on your willingness to work, make changes and follow recommendations and directions.

Before you consider paying for coaching, ask yourself?

  • Am I ready to get coaching? Do I really believe that I have a problem and that I need to make significant changes to my lifestyle to improve myself?
  • Can or will I find enough time to work meaningfully with a coach on a regular basis?
  • Am I willing to make the changes to lifestyle and life-strategies that a coach might suggest?5
References
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Page last updated Jan 11, 2013

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