Book Excerpt: How Is Coaching Useful to Adolescents and Young Adults With ADHD?

Coaching can be valuable to many kinds of clients, regardless of age or issue. Coaching provides a reliable, trusting environment in which the client can create a vision for his or her life, brainstorm on how to bring that vision into reality, and engage with a supportive partner—the coach—along the way. Now imagine the value of such an environment to a client who not only is young and just gaining access to a world in which he or she has greater responsibilities and more need to direct his or her own life, but who also needs to figure out how to manage all of these things while struggling with challenges in executive functioning, attention, and focus. For adolescents and young adults with ADHD and learning issues, it can be both difficult and daunting to step out on one’s own into the world and try to be successful. This is where a coach can come in and help a young person transform daily life from chaos into clarity. Coaching provides a sounding board, a source for ideas, and a safety net that all help the young person with ADHD try new ways of operating, go after what he or she wants, collect him or herself when things go differently than planned, and then try again, each time growing a little wiser and a little more confident. From an emotional and life-skills perspective, adolescents with ADHD are typically not prepared for the transition from dependence on parents, teachers, and other important figures in their lives to the increasing independence they face as budding, near adults. These young people are typically behind their peers in terms of their readiness for independent life and lack the skills necessary to make good choices or to understand the consequences of their actions. They often find it hard to understand what’s going on around them and don’t know how to react appropriately in different situations. Coaching offers young people with ADHD a supportive structure through which they can explore life options, learn new skills, and start to be more independent while in a safe space.