Thriving with ADHD: The Benefits of Working with a Coach
Updated: Apr 5
The goal of ADHD coaching is to improve an individual’s ability to manage their symptoms and achieve long-term success.
Benefits of ADHD coaching include self-awareness, time management, goal setting, and communication skills.
ADHD coaching and therapy for ADHD have key differences; both are important parts of treatment.
"Hacking" ADHD means learning to harness the creative and positive sides of ADHD - and yes there are positives to ADHD!
Believe it or not it is possible to thrive and learn to harness the power of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) through coaching. Just to recap, ADHD affects an individual's ability to sustain attention, focus, and control impulsive behaviors. ADHD is diagnosed in childhood, but can very easily persist into adulthood. Anyone with ADHD can tell you that ADHD impacts an their academic, social, and occupational functioning. With a solid integrative treatment plan for ADHD, individuals with ADHD can learn to manage their ADHD symptoms and lead successful lives.
I want to be clear, my view of ADHD is different than many other providers. As an integrative provider, I view ADHD in the context of each person individually – there is no one size fits all approach. Also, I don’t like the word “disorder” because it implies something is inherently wrong. I think depression is a disorder, because, well, I can think of any positives to having depression. ADHD, on the other hand, has lots of positives, including intense creativity, wider range of emotion, imaginative mindset, and yes, even risk taking can be positive. So, I consider the D to be a divergence, not disorder. We’re talking about a different way of processing, not inherently negative.
What is ADHD coaching?
The goal of ADHD coaching is to improve an individual’s ability to manage their symptoms and achieve long-term success. ADHD coaching may focus on a variety of areas, including time management, organization, goal setting, and developing strategies for coping with ADHD symptoms such as distractibility, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. The coach may also work with the individual to develop strategies for improving communication skills, social skills, and academic or professional performance.
Another goal of ADHD coaching is to help individuals with ADHD develop self-awareness, learn new skills and strategies, and build confidence in their ability to manage their symptoms and achieve their goals. Coaching is usually one on one, although groups are also popular. Coaching sessions may be conducted in person or virtual.
What are the benefits of ADHD coaching?
The benefits of coaching for ADHD coaching are based on the goals we talked about earlier. Here are some of the key benefits of ADHD coaching:
1. Improved self-awareness:
Ground zero is learning to understand one’s strengths and weaknesses, and how their symptoms impact their daily life. This self-awareness is crucial before digging deeper to develop strategies to manage symptoms and achieve goals.
2. Better time management and organization skills:
ADHD coaching can provide individuals with ADHD with tools and strategies for managing time and organizing their work and personal lives more effectively. This can improve productivity, and ultimately reduce ADHD related procrastination and stress.
3. Enhanced goal setting and achievement:
ADHD coaching can help individuals with ADHD set realistic goals and develop strategies for achieving them. This can help increase motivation and self-confidence.
4. Improved social and communication skills:
ADHD coaching can help individuals with ADHD develop social and communication skills that can help them build stronger relationships and improve their performance in academic and professional settings.
5. Greater overall satisfaction with life:
By helping individuals with ADHD develop strategies to manage their symptoms and achieve their goals, ADHD coaching can lead to a greater sense of control over one's life and an overall greater sense of satisfaction.
ADHD coaching can be a valuable resource for individuals with ADHD who are looking to better manage their symptoms and achieve their goals. All this sounds great, but coaching alone is not a substitute for a comprehensive treatment plan. I recommend working with an integrative provider that covers all the bases including coaching. However, I also believe in therapy for ADHD, tailored ADHD medication plans, and targeted nutrition and exercise counseling for ADHD – all of which are indispensable interventions.
How does coaching for ADHD differ from therapy?
This is an interesting question! To be fair, there is likely some overlap, especially when I provide coaching, for ADHD or otherwise. That being said, coaching for ADHD and therapy for ADHD are different in several ways:
1. Focus and scope:
Coaching for ADHD focuses on developing strategies and skills to manage symptoms and achieve goals. Therapy for ADHD focuses on exploring and resolving emotional and psychological issues related to ADHD. With coaching, we are talking about action items. In a session, I might make direct suggestions on how to alter routines or behaviors. In therapy it is far more abstract in that we are talking about emotions, feelings, and processing our experiences.
ADHD coaching is usually time-limited and focused on achieving specific goals, whereas therapy for ADHD may be more open-ended and focused on addressing underlying emotional and psychological issues.
Again, coaching for ADHD is typically more action-oriented, with a focus on practical strategies and solutions, whereas therapy for ADHD may be more insight-oriented, with a focus on exploring underlying emotions and patterns of behavior.
This is a huge difference between coaching and therapy. ADHD coaches do not need to be licensed mental health professionals, although many have training and experience in psychology, counseling, or related fields. Therapists who work with individuals with ADHD must have specialized training and credentials and must be a licensed therapist, counselor, social worker, psychiatrist, or psychiatric nurse practitioner like me!
5. Insurance coverage:
Coaching for ADHD is typically not covered by health insurance, while therapy for ADHD may be covered by insurance depending on the type of treatment and the individual's insurance plan. This is one of the benefits of working with someone who provides therapy. If coaching is a part of the therapy work, insurance will likely cover the sessions. And while I don’t take insurance, I do offer assistance with out of networks reimbursement submissions.
Both coaching for ADHD and therapy for ADHD are important tools, but it’s good to be able to define how they’re different. Both can be helpful for individuals with ADHD, but knowing the limitations and objectives for each helps decipher which is more appropriate. In a perfect world, an individual will get a bit of both as part of a well-rounded, holistic plan.
What does it mean to “hack” ADHD?
To "hack" ADHD means to develop strategies, techniques, and tools that can help individuals with ADHD manage their symptoms more effectively and improve their daily functioning. The term "hack" implies a creative and innovative approach to problem-solving, using unconventional methods to achieve a desired outcome. We're talking about learning to harness the creative and positive sides of ADHD. Coaching can help us “hack” ADHD in an efficient manner. We’ll talk about this in greater detail in a future post, but here’s a preview.
Hacking ADHD can involve a variety of strategies, including:
1. Developing a personalized system of organization and time management that works best for the individual's specific needs. This means learning what works for you, and what doesn't.
2. Using technology tools such as apps, timers, and reminders to help with focus, productivity, and time management. This is about trial and error. It's also about using tools to help us be accountable.
3. Using physical exercise, meditation, or other techniques to help manage ADHD symptoms. Yes, exercise is a critical piece of the puzzle for ADHD.
4. Creating a supportive network of friends, family, or peers who understand ADHD and can provide encouragement and support. Having an understanding and supportive system of other people can make a difference. I encourage enlisting those around us to help! Struggling alone is much harder.
5. Learning how to communicate more effectively and assertively, both at home and at work.
The goal of hacking ADHD is to find practical and effective strategies that work for the individual and can be incorporated into their daily routine. By developing personalized coping strategies and tools, individuals with ADHD can improve their ability to manage their symptoms, reduce stress, and achieve their goals.
Conclusion: The Benefits of Working with a Coach
We talked about how I view ADHD from a different perspective. We also explored coaching for ADHD and its benefits, including improving self-awareness, time management, goal setting, and communication skills. Therapy and coaching might look similar on the surface, but there are key differences to note. Finally, hacking ADHD means developing strategies that harness the power of ADHD to use it positively. As always, working with an integrative provider empowers success through comprehensive treatment planning and truly individualized care. Stay tuned for a few more posts about coaching for ADHD!
If you have any additional questions about ADHD or integrative psychiatry in general, shoot me an email or reach out through my website. If you're looking for a provider and you're in the Washington, DC area, I'd love to help you on your treatment journey!