If you have ADHD, or if you are fairly certain (based on family history and life challenges) that you do, it can be helpful to take a step back and look at your life to see where ADHD is having the most impact in the short and long term. You are the best one to answer that question, since only you have your unique manifestation of ADHD, but you might need a little outside help.

It seems that stepping back and looking at your life is not a strength demonstrated by most people with ADHD. The executive function ability called “metacognition” (thinking about what you are thinking) is often weak in people with ADHD, though it can be practiced and learned. This is one place an ADHD coach can help.

Even though you are accustomed to living only in the “now,” fully engaged in everything you are doing and thinking in the moment, you can learn to step back and observe yourself. For example, your coach might suggest that you imagine that you are looking down on yourself from the second floor.

Why might this be an important skill? It gives you a moment to pause and notice a bigger picture. In that moment, instead of reacting with a knee jerk, you have the opportunity to make a choice. The impulse that you feel and usually act upon may not serve you well, and unless you learn to step back and pause and notice, you will continue making choices that are not well thought out.

A coach who specializes in ADHD can be of enormous help. As you talk together, your coach can notice what is going on for you and where your greatest challenges lie. He can serve as your metacognition while you are learning to notice for yourself. Just because this skill doesn’t come naturally to you doesn’t mean that with practice you can’t learn it.

Together you and your coach can even do something as practical as taking three deep breaths together. You need to slow down and pause to accomplish that. While you are breathing and pausing, you can mentally take a couple of steps back to observe what choices are presenting themselves to you in that moment. Then you can make a considered choice.

Credentials to Look for in an ADHD Coach

ADHD Coaching is a specialization of life coaching. While anyone can call him/herself an ADHD coach, or a life coach for that matter, it is important to find a coach who has been trained in the specialty of ADHD coaching.

Start by checking out where the coach received his or her training. The ADD Coach Academy is the first and only comprehensive ADHD coach training program fully accredited by the 1) International Coach Federation (ICF), the governing body for the entire coaching profession; 2) the Center for Credentialing & Education (CCE); and 3) the Professional Association of ADHD Coaches (PAAC).

I would recommend that you find a coach who has been credentialed by both ICF and PAAC. Then take advantage of the initial complementary brief session that most coaches offer to see how you think you might work together.

At Free To Be ADHD Coaching, We Are Here to Help

Neil and Linda Swanson of Free To Be Coaching, LLC, have been accredited by both ICF and PAAC and are graduates of the advanced training program of the ADD Coach Academy. In addition to our training, we both have decades of life experience with ADHD. Our bios and some testimonials from clients can be found on our website – freetobecoaching.com.

Our in-person coaching is done in Warrenton and Centreville, Virginia, but we also coach English-speaking clients around the world by Skype, FaceTime, or phone.

Contact us through the contact form at freetobecoaching.com to schedule a free exploratory session. We work individually with clients, so let us know whether you prefer to speak with Linda or Neil. We look forward to hearing from you!


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