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ADHD – Coaching is What I Really Need??

I just read an article that was on the APA site, “ADHD-A Woman’s Issue” by Nicole Crawford, and I cried. I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 26, one month after I finished my Masters in Ed (It was a miracle that I did). I have been on at least 8 different medication trials, none have been all too helpful, but I stuck with Wellbutrin. I suffer from Depression and Anxiety…I am EVERYTHING that was described in the article. I never knew that it was different in women.

So many people have been skeptical of my ADHD, saying that I am far from hyperactive. I just lost my second job in 1 1/2 years, because of tardiness and disorganization. I am an elementary school teacher. I am now 33 years old. I haven’t been in a relationship in 7 years because I am “too intense” and too depressed. I am scared to get another job because I don’t want to fail again. I am a mess… my confidence is shattered!

I need help. I am in therapy, have been for many years…but it is only mildly helpful. I have been searching for a coach for a few years (since reading Driven to Distraction), and have had no luck. I am again convinced, after reading the article, that coaching is what I really need. I find myself in therapy saying quite often, “I just don’t know how to do it (how to go about _____), I just don’t know what the first step is”. But therapists never have an answer or suggestion for me…they just listen. I need someone who will tell me what to do, how to change my life for the better.

Do you have any advice, suggestions, names or numbers to call…anything? I don’t know if you can, but figured I might as well try. I would be so grateful.

Thank you,

Dear NT:

Coaching is an important addition to any treatment regime and can definitely help with setting and achieving specific goals or completing tasks. Through their interactions with their clients, coaches are in the unique position of seeing how AD/HD symptoms play out in the daily lives of people with AD/HD. A coach can help you develop strategies to address issues such as time management and eliminating clutter in the home or office. They can provide encouragement, recommendations, feedback, and practical techniques such as reminders, questions, and calendar monitoring.

As you know, a coach doesn’t have to be in your immediate area. Sessions can be conducted in person, over the telephone, by fax or via e-mail, depending on the patient’s preference. It is important, however, that you find a good match with the coach you choose. The following list of questions may be of help during this process:

  • Is it important to you that the coaching sessions be face-to-face? If so, look for a coach who is geographically close and offers this as part of their service package. Many coaches conduct the initial session in person, and then do weekly check-ins by phone and/or e-mail.
  • Do you prefer to be coached by a man, or a woman?
  • Would you benefit most by seeing someone with a specific background in business, academia, gender issues, etc.?
  • Are you looking for someone who has expertise in an area such as clutter management or family issues?
  • Do you want someone who has a lot of energy, or someone who takes a more subtle approach?
  • Is a sense of humor important? Would a more serious person make a better match?

It is also important to determine a coach’s involvement in and commitment to evolving advancements in the field of AD/HD coaching; successful coaches need to be engaged in ongoing dialogue and education about the newly emerging field. Here is a list of questions that you might ask of a potential coach:

  • How many patients with AD/HD have you coached?
  • Have you attended conferences on coaching?
  • Have you taken any of the available coaching courses?
  • Are you involved in local professional coaching groups?

The American Coaching Association also suggests the following questions:

  1. What percentage of your practice is devoted to individuals with AD/HD?
  2. How long have you been doing AD/HD coaching?
  3. What are your fees?
  4. What professional organizations are you a member of? (Coaching and AD/HD organizations)
  5. Are you familiar with medication issues and AD/HD?

Contact the following organizations for listings of and referrals for AD/HD coaches:

  • ADDA Yellow Pages
  • A.D.D. Consults
  • ADHD-The On-line Community
  • ADDult Support of Washington for Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder
  • ADD Coach Academy

More About Coaching
NCGI has just listed a new article on the site about the coaching process written by Dana Rayburn. It should also be of help to you and our readers… Please check it out at

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