Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tools: How Does Coaching Help with ADD?

How does coaching help with ADD

When I say ADD most people get a picture in their minds of a hyperactive school boy, climbing the walls and acting out. While most people do know that people with ADHD have hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention, they don’t always know that it can be so much more subtle than that.

ADD shows up in varying degrees, in-fact no two ADD-ers are alike. We don’t all suffer with hyper-activeness, or impulsivity, in fact some of us can be way over at the other end of that energy spectrum. We may be inattentive only, or a combination of symptoms, which makes it sometimes difficult to diagnose ourselves. Also another facet that clouds the facts is that so many of the traits of ADD are common to all of us at one time or another. Have a look here at some of the traits

ADD-ers have problems with;

Sustained focus, organization, time management, self-regulation, procrastination, black & white thinking, perfectionism, impulse control, self-awareness, working memory, short term memory, emotional outbursts.

The fact is- all of us forget from time to time. Or procrastinate, or miss an appointment, or let our paper work pile up. So how do we know when our problems step over that line into an actual disorder?

I like to say you can define it by both degrees and impact.

For example, if you do all of those things just occasionally, and it has little or no impact on your life, career, school or family then I would say that by definition, it’s not a problem. If however you are constantly dealing with these issues and it does impact your life, then it has now stepped across that line into a problem for you.

ADHD can be devastating if it is undiagnosed and untreated, it can lead to a whole host of other issues, like; Addiction, depression, failed marriages and careers, money issues, failing grades, lost friendships and low self- esteem. However, if it is properly diagnosed and treated, all of the challenges and traits can be overcome or managed.

When people come to me for coaching, they are usually at the end of their rope, and they’re often in some kind of crisis. Their children may be about to be suspended from school or failing with their grades, or they may be facing the prospect of losing their job. Or maybe they are stuck in a career they hate, and they are just overwhelmed, all the time. They are typically just getting through their day, surviving, rather than thriving. They have often, sadly given up on dreams or goals because it’s too hard to get there and just getting through the day takes up all of their energy.

So how does ADD coaching help? Well unlike talk therapy, coaching is a partnership and generally our focus is on the now and the future, as a coach I use my coaching skills to help to bring self- awareness and self- regulation, and by reflecting back to you what I see and hear, I also give you some accountability, and we work together to make sure that it is set up in a way that works best for you.

We also look at the systems for your life, to find ADD friendly ways to organize your time, stuff and thoughts etc.

We systematically go through your obstacles and find out what’s blocking you and together we find processes to put in place that help eliminate or minimise those obstacles. We also stay in touch in-between sessions to help remind you of your goals, and to tweak here and there when things aren’t working for you.

From a practical stand point, I may help you to set up accommodations at your school or work place that help you to do better. I may help you find ADD friendly systems to organize your time, home or work life, or to make your schedule more predictable. I can help you to find ways to deal with that mountain of paper work, or else we can find ways to change your life so you do not have to procrastinate. In other words we tailor the coaching to fit your specific needs and challenges

I believe in staying flexible about how I coach so that I can respond to my client’s needs, this isn’t common to all life coaching, but this is crucial for ADD clients. This may mean, home visits, tele-coaching, Skype calls, emails and texts or I.M. in-between sessions to help keep you on track.

Coaching has been proven in the last decade to make a considerable difference to ADHD-ers lives. All the experts in the field now know that although medication or other therapies can offer some or a lot of relief, pills don’t teach skills. At the end of the day it’s proven again and again in studies that a multi-modal approach is the key ingredient in order to achieve sustained success.

Multi-modal simply means combining treatments, such as medication and cognitive behaviour therapy, or medication and coaching, or exercise, diet, nutrition and coaching.

Either way the upshot of it all is that what you do about your ADD depends on what you want to get out of life. The more you would like to achieve, the more support you are going to need. Coaching isn’t however a crutch, most clients complete about 3- 6 months before they are able to begin to coach themselves. After that, dropping in for a session only as and when needed.

If you are curious about coaching and would like to learn more to see if it could work for you, most coaches give a free Discovery or consultation/coaching session. That way you can ask all your questions, find out if coaching would really benefit your situation and see if it’s a good fit for you.

Diane O’Reilly ACG is a professional ADHD coach, who trained at the ADDCA coaching academy, NY. She is also a member of the ACO (ADHD coaches organization,) CADDAC (the Canadian centre of ADHD advocacy) and practices in Oakville.

You can find out more about Diane at 905 599 2485 and e.m