Coaching Teens and College Students with ADHD – Common questions from Parents answered

ADHD coaching for Teens and College Students is still a new idea for many parents so they have lots and lots of questions. Here are a few of them along with our answers:

 1. Does coaching work for teens? 

Coaching can be very beneficial for teenagers, however, it requires involvement from the parents as well.  Teens are not going to seek out a coach; services are most always requested by the parents.  Therefore, it is important to have them involved from the beginning.  As a part of the coaching agreement, the coach, the teen and the parents can agree to terms that will work for everyone involved. Posting a written coaching contract is helpful for both parents and teens.  

One of the more sensitive areas when working with teens is trust.  It can become a problem if not addressed at the initial meeting.  There must be an understanding of what is confidential between client and coach and what information is shared with the parents.  One solution to this potential problem is a weekly or bi-weekly update with the parents and teen.  These updates provide information for the parents to discuss with their teen. Include a review of the goals, which have been previously agreed upon by the parents and the teen.  

2. I am a single mother with a 14-year-old son.  We both have ADHD.  If I hire a coach; will it help my son, too? 

Definitely!  Once you begin recognizing inappropriate and ineffective patterns and rework them to make yourself more productive, your son will most likely come along for the ride.  He will undoubtedly observe your progress and learn the strategies right along with you.  You can act as cheerleaders for each other and work your way into a forward movement at twice the speed!

3. Can friends coach one-another?       

Friends might be able to coach one another if there is a shared understanding of ADHD and the effect it has on progress and motivation. “Buddy coaching” has been found to be effective and supportive for teens.  This can be done at school or at home. A buddy system can be set up so that the two meet each day, in school, to review the assignments, check on organizational issues and be prepared to do homework with all the resources needed each day. 

At home, the buddies might work together to clean their rooms or work on long-term projects.  It is important that ground rules are set in advance to insure that work is getting done and that the arrangement is equitable. Each student must contribute to the process.

4. Can coaching take the place of medication?        

Coaching does not replace medication. However, for some children/teens, coaching can be used to help them learn techniques to be more focused, stay on task, and improve time management and organizational skills.  Medication is not required in order for coaching to be effective. Coaching is a beneficial tool for many children and teens.  It can help them develop new strategies for success.

5. Where can I find a qualified coach for my child/teen?

There is a listing of ADHD coaches on many websites (refer to their links directory).

In addition, ask your doctor, school guidance counselor or social worker if they have any suggestions for coaches in your area. Other resources include your local CHADD chapter, ADDA and parent resource centers in your local school district.

6. ADD coaching sounds a lot like behavioral therapy–are they the same?           

ADD coaching is a goal-oriented, step-by-step process. Behavior management plans and reward systems are used in coaching. This is not behavior therapy, yet the components may look similar. ADD coaches use a behavioral approach, when appropriate, to help a child/teen reach their goals.   

7. What is the difference between coaching and tutoring?           

Coaching focuses on having the client identify and set goals.  A coach helps the client define the steps and strategies required to meet those goals. A coach does not work on actual academic content. A tutor works on the content of the subject matter and actually works through the homework with the student.  A coach might ask a student if a tutor would be helpful in understanding the subject matter. The next step would be to empower the student to find a tutor or to ask their parents for help in this area.

Jodi Sleeper-Triplett
Social Media: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube
Author: Empowering Youth with ADHD