As researchers and clinicians have increased our understanding of ADHD, it has become clear that for some individuals traditional methods of treatment, such as medication, behavioral or psychological therapies, and education or workplace accommodations, are not sufficiently effective. For these individuals different intervention approaches and services are needed.
Within the scope of new services and treatments, a field has emerged called ADHD coaching. ADHD coaching is practiced by coaches who work one-on-one with people with ADHD. The Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA) supports ADHD coaching as an adjunct or additional intervention within the range of available methods of treatment.
ADDA believes that one of the most critical steps in advancing ADHD coaching services is to establish a standard of care for people seeking coaching. As in any newly formulating field, consistent and accurate information is needed. Over the past decade, coaches with extensive experience have begun to identify certain principles regarding what constitutes effective coaching for people with ADHD. It is the combined efforts of these coaches, working within the ADDA Subcommittee on ADHD Coaching, which helped create these Guiding Principles.
The ADDA Guiding Principles for Coaching Individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder represent an attempt to improve the overall care of individuals and their families who are affected by ADHD. These Guiding Principles should not be viewed as a coaching cookbook or intervention manual. Rather, they seek to define the essential elements of ADHD coaching, in order to help consumers increase their understanding of ADHD coaching and its benefits.
As a consumer advocacy organization, ADDA’s goal is to have these Guiding Principles serve as a step towards identifying the core components of ADHD coaching. This document should be reviewed not as a final product, but rather as an ongoing work to be added to and updated as theories and practices are refined and built upon. We hope that these principles will improve the quality of life for everyone affected by ADHD.
ADHD coaching is an ongoing partnership that helps clients live more effective and satisfying lives by deepening their learning, improving their performance, and enhancing their quality of life.
Clients with ADHD have the same human needs as any coaching client, and also face unique challenges related to ADHD, which can interfere with their quality of life. These challenges might include hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and/or inattention, as well as the belief that they can’t reach their goals because they have ADHD.
ADHD Coaches support their clients in developing a comprehensive understanding of both the nature of ADHD and the impact of ADHD on their client’s quality of life. In addition, ADHD coaches work with clients to create structures, support, skills and strategies. Coaching assists clients with ADHD to stay focused on their goals, face obstacles, address core ADHD-related issues like time management, organization, and self-esteem, gain clarity and function more effectively. ADHD coaches work with their clients to develop strategies to move forward towards their goals, to deepen their self-awareness and to continue moving toward fuller and more satisfying lives. The client is seen by the ADHD coach as resourceful and thus, with increasing self-awareness, as fully capable of discovering his or her own answers.
ADHD coaching also helps clients to:Understand that the source of many of their challenges is ADHD , not personal shortcomings.
- Safely examine areas of failure and areas where they want to be held accountable.
- Heighten self-awareness and self-observation skills, and use those heightened skills to improve decision-making and performance.
- Change perspective when “stuck”, for example, learning new ways to work with procrastination, perfectionism, staying on task, or being more consistent.
- Become aware of their own learning styles, processing styles and learning preferences so they can enhance their ability to learn and comprehend information and situations.
The following standards represent a framework for ethical ADHD coaching practices:
- Provide access to ADHD coaching for all appropriate clients regardless of age, gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation.
- Respect and hold in confidence all client information, obtaining permission to discuss or disclose client information only when a formal release form, specifying the terms of release, has been signed.
- Clearly and accurately represent their level of competency, expertise, training and credentials.
- Explain in detail the terms of the coaching contract, including administrative details and financial arrangements.
- Define the coach/client relationship and under no circumstances take advantage of a client personally, socially, sexually, or financially.
- Avoid all possible conflicts of interest by disclosing to the client any personal gain the coach might receive by referring the client to another professional or advising the
client to take some specific action.
- Continue learning about coaching and ADHD specifically, attending and participating in professional conferences and organizations.
- Build strong and ethical professional relationships with colleagues to enhance and promote communication and collaboration for the benefit of the ADHD client.
- Maintain full compliance with any institutional or governmental regulations and laws that may apply regarding research.
All ethical guidelines and standards for practice are directed toward maintaining and promoting quality assurance in the field of ADHD coaching. All ADHD coaches have a responsibility to uphold and advance the values, ethics, and knowledge of the profession.