Book Excerpt: How Does ADHD Coaching Differ From Life Coaching? Part 1

ADHD coaching is like life coaching in that it involves helping clients through the process of exploration, goal-setting, identifying and taking action steps, and checking in to maintain accountability.  In addition, as with life coaching, ADHD coaching provides structure, support, and encouragement. Where ADHD coaching tends to be different from life coaching is in terms of the degree of support and structure offered, with ADHD coaching involving an increased amount of support and structure and a higher level of accountability between coach and client to facilitate results. This becomes evident in the kind of questions that a coach poses. Let’s imagine that a young client comes in with the question of “How do I approach my professor with the problems I’m having in class?” If that client doesn’t have ADHD, the coach might ask, “How would you like to approach your professor with this problem?” and “What would you like to see as the outcome of your conversation with the professor?” In this case, the coach volleys fairly general questions to the client because the client has the capacity to discover what he or she wants with minimal prompting from the coach and mainly needs a sounding board. In contrast, if the client has ADHD, the coach will still ask the client some general, open-ended questions, but the coach will also ask more specific or in-depth questions that prompt the client to consider each and every action step needed to accomplish a goal, taking into consideration that the client struggles with initiation and follow-through. So when the client says, “I will talk to my professor sometime this week,” the coach might ask, “When will you do this?” “What do you need to do to make this conversation a reality?” and “How will I know when you have talked to your professor?”