Book Excerpt: How Does ADHD Coaching Differ From Life Coaching? Part 2

The line between providing ADHD clients the structure they need and not becoming overly directive is an important one. For example, the coach doesn’t want to say to the client, “You can’t go in to talk to your professor without an appointment!” even if the coach suspects that this is the case. Instead, the coach might ask open-ended questions to help the client think through relevant issues for success, but it is not the job of the ADHD coach to tell the client exactly how to accomplish something. Doing so would do a disservice to the client, who needs opportunities to practice generating solutions and testing out action plans in the real world. In addition to asking smaller, more specific questions that help a client break action plans into small, achievable steps, ADHD coaches also hold their clients more accountable, which involves a tighter check-in plan between coaching sessions and more frequent contact than in general life coaching. For clients with ADHD, coaching sessions typically occur at least once a week, which is more often than in many life coaching or executive coaching programs. Check-ins occur between client and coach to provide more structure and serve as a brief connection to confirm action taken or not taken or to update the coach on progress toward stated goals. In ADHD coaching for adolescents and young adults, the check-ins may be set up as often as daily. It is the consistency and frequency of contact that helps make ADHD coaching so effective. Typical means of contact for this regular accountability include e-mails, text messaging, check-in calls, and some form of follow-up if the client doesn’t call in at the designated time. The specific details of the check-in plan are best established in the intake and revisited throughout the coaching relationship.