Many people are helped enormously by working with a life coach. A life coach does not need to know anything about ADHD to be certified by the International Coach Federation (ICF). That makes sense, since less than ten percent of the population has ADHD. But for those folks who do, it can be quite important that their coaches have at least some understanding of the impact of ADHD.
One reason for this has to do with the kinds of challenges and expectations that coaches can hold for their clients. After all, folks go to coaches for help moving forward in their lives. They usually expect to be challenged and inspired to take steps they were not taking on their own. The problem is that folks with ADHD aren’t motivated to get moving in the same way neurotypical folks are, and if a coach doesn’t understand this, he or she may come down too hard on the ADHDer who is doing the best he can.
The coach is not likely to be the first person who has found the ADHDer did not follow through in the expected way. Failing to meet expectations is probably a pattern that has become all too familiar to the ADHDer. To the coach, as with others before her, the ADHDer may appear lazy or irresponsible or lacking in some other way. It may not occur to a coach who is not knowledgeable about ADHD that the client’s brain operates in a different way from most of her clients.
Not only will a more knowledgeable coach support the client in discovering unique ways of functioning that work with the ADHD nervous system; the coach will also want to educate the client about ADHD, since often there is a large information gap. The result of this lack of understanding can be that the ADHDer has lived all his life feeling different or inferior. The coach therefore has an opportunity to help the client learn to understand his unique nervous system and at the same time to begin to uncover strengths that may have lain dormant, strengths that will support the client as he begins to learn new truths about himself.
If you have ADHD or think you might, there are several places to find coaches trained in ADHD. One is through the ADD Coach Academy (ADDCA). Click here for ADDCA’s listing of trained coaches
Another source of ADHD-trained coaches is the ADHD Coaches’ Organization (ACO). Click here for their find-a-coach page.
The Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA) also has a Professional Directory where trained coaches and other professionals can be found.
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