Coaching for ADHD
Some of our therapy patients may have noticed that I am doing ADHD Coaching and wondered what that means. Individuals with ADHD tend to have major difficulties with organization and time management. They may struggle getting started on a project or following it through to the end. Tasks that are time sensitive, such as paying bills or work projects on deadline, may feel impossible. In coaching sessions the client and I work together to develop strategies for handling these and other problems stemming from ADHD, not just generic strategies, but ones specific to the clientís personality and style. By taking into account the specific individualís temperament and strengths we are more likely to put in place strategies that will really work.
Some people with ADHD have always had problems concentrating, completing tasks, etc. Still others have always managed in spite of undiagnosed ADHD but suddenly find themselves in difficulty because of a change in their home or work environment. The change can be a new job or a new task at work, maybe one that requires more attention to detail than has previously been required. Maybe there is suddenly an expectation that the person work on several projects at once. Rising to the level of supervisor may create a crisis because the employee is required to stay on top of the work of several other people, to maintain focus in several directions at once. A job that requires planning ahead can also be a problem, as can one in which good time management is a must.
The arrival of a child may be the straw that breaks the camelís back, especially if a woman is suddenly required to parent and hold down a job. Or a Mom may do fine when the kids first enter the family, but feel completely out of control when she has to start interacting with the school, getting children there on time, staying on top of assignments, keeping abreast of all the forms the school requires the parents read, fill out or sign. The difficulties are worse if she has children in different schools or if one or more of the children also struggles with ADHD. And it isnít just dealing with the school that becomes a problem. As she struggles to keep up with the demands there, she will find herself more disorganized or forgetful at work or regarding other household tasks.
As a coach I help clients create new coping strategies then help them tweak the strategies that donít work, or come up with new ones. Staying in regular contact, through face-to-face meetings and/or e-mail, helps the client to stay on track the same way working with a personal trainer helps some individuals to continue with a work-out routine. We will stray into more generic life-coaching, working on career change, supervisor problems, even parenting issues, but always with an awareness of how the issue is affected by ADHD.
A therapist generally does not coach her therapy clients. The processes of therapy and coaching are different and trying to switch between them can be confusing. I do find however, that being a therapist informs my coaching. As a therapist I have studied how people learn in order to help me understand what approaches might be most helpful for patients; this is a skill that applies directly to coaching. Also, I am trained to recognize depression and anxiety so if a coaching clientís inability to focus is from depression rather than ADHD, I am able to discern that and respond accordingly.
I am finding coaching to be an exciting twist on the therapeutic work I have done for almost thirty years. It is helping to keep me fresh as a therapist and I am greatly enjoying the creative problem-solving that is the essence of coaching.
If you have a friend or family member whom you think would benefit from coaching, please share this newsletter with them or give them my number. As a therapist my goal has always been to assist people in finding happier, more satisfying lives; coaching is another way I am able to do that.