Book Excerpt: Facilitating Learning and Results: Avoid Telling Clients What to Do – Part 1

While helping young people with ADHD generate and identify personalized strategies, coaches will be engaging in a more directive coaching approach (with the coach speaking 35% of the time, compared with the client’s 65%) as compared with the life coaching process, in which the coach may say very little (20% to the client’s 80%) during a typical coaching session. Coaches will far more frequently be in the “facilitating learning and results” mode, which includes creating awareness, designing actions, planning and goal setting, and managing progress and accountability—as detailed in the International Coach Federation’s Professional Coaching Core Competencies—when working with clients with ADHD than is customary in life coaching. A coach might ask an open-ended question, such as, “What strategy might you be willing to try to improve your relationship with your parents?” but the coach may then follow up with a more directive comment if he or she sees the client flailing to find an answer. For example, the coach might say, “Would you consider requesting a time to sit down and talk with your parents?” Brainstorming is a common skill used in coaching, and I have found it to be especially helpful when coaching young people who just don’t have the answer readily available. By volleying ideas with the coach, clients can oftentimes come up with a solution that would have otherwise remained stuck in the recesses of his or her brain for a while longer, leading to frustration or a sense of failure.