Book Excerpt: Gain Understanding and Recognize Setbacks

Consider Aimee, a 20-year-old political science major who has indicated that she’d like to write her resume by the end of the month so she can apply for summer internships. In the first two coaching sessions, Aimee seemed excited and committed to the process. She brainstormed with the coach to identify her desired strategy for writing the resume and blocked out five hours each week to focus on creating and editing her resume. Then, Aimee missed the third coaching session. When she finally rescheduled with the coach, she said she didn’t really care about getting an internship anymore.

A coach who understands the typical presentation of ADHD—and the mindset that often accompanies it—will know that what is happening with Aimee is common within the context of ADHD. Her reason for stalled progress could be one of many, but the fact that she seems to be faltering and her motivation is dwindling is not necessarily a sign to call her out on lack of commitment or to end coaching. Instead, it is a cue to the coach that Aimee may need some additional support or new strategies to keep making progress. The coach’s knowledge of ADHD thus helps the coach put forth a best effort to meet the young person where he or she really is and to help coaching be most effective.