There are many different types of coaches who help individuals improve technique and skills to meet the demands of a specific activity (e.g., sports, dance, voice and workplace). The concept of coaching for ADHD originally was described by Hallowell and Ratey in their book, Driven to Distraction (1994, revised 2011) who emphasize that individuals with ADHD do not need someone to manage them as much as they need someone to coach them. They put forth the image of an individual standing on the sidelines with a whistle around his/her neck barking out encouragement, directions and reminders to the player in the game.
More recently, in their book, Coaching Students with Executive Skills Deficits (2012), Dawson and Guare portray coaching as a process that helps people establish a link between long-term goals—which may also be described as hopes and dreams—and the daily behavior they need to perform in order to achieve these goals. ADHD coaches help individuals understand how their struggles impact behavior while inspiring and involving the individual in making changes using creative strategies.
Ratey described a fundamental difference between ADHD coaching and therapy. She emphasizes that therapy by nature is treatment using therapeutic techniques and remedies, while coaching is more holistic or wellness-based and is intended to improve daily functioning and well-being for individuals without significant psychological impairment. Coaching is viewed more as an educational process rather than a treatment process.
Specific areas of support provided by a coach include planning, organizing, study skills, test-taking strategies, memory, prioritizing and time management. Additionally, a coach can provide strength-based suggestions to overcome challenges related to ADHD. By improving self-awareness and observation, individuals can make better decisions, improve performance and be more resilient when faced with stress. If a person is “stuck” in a situation due to procrastination, perfectionism or organizational difficulties, s/he can develop new approaches to responsibilities and demands in life.
Several individuals in the Ann Arbor area offer coaching as part of their practices. After completing an assessment at CNLD, we can sculpt treatment interventions that may include ADHD or executive function coaching. We typically try to match the skills and personality of the coach to the individual. To give you an example of ADHD coaches within the local area, we have highlighted two particular practices that are specifically geared toward coaching:
We offer Executive Function and ADHD coaching to help develop and train the “conductor” of your mind. They are very experienced and highly capable clinicians, available to work with you within our clinic.
If you would like more information, or to discuss scheduling you or your child for coaching, contact our office.