What is ADHD Coaching
ADHD coaching is a specialised form of coaching that focuses on supporting individuals with ADHD in various aspects of their lives. The primary goal of ADHD coaching is to help individuals understand and manage the challenges associated with ADHD, while also capitalising on their strengths and maximising their potential.
ADHD coaches work collaboratively with their clients to develop strategies and techniques tailored to their specific desires and goals. These may include improving time management skills, enhancing organisational abilities, developing effective coping mechanisms, setting and achieving goals, improving self-regulation, and enhancing overall well-being.
Through regular coaching sessions, individuals with ADHD receive personalised guidance, accountability, and support to navigate the unique challenges they face. ADHD coaching empowers individuals to better understand their ADHD, develop effective strategies for success, and lead fulfilling and productive lives.
What I believe about ADHD
I hold the belief that each person possesses inherent uniqueness. The initial step towards understanding your ADHD involves introspection and recognising the diverse ways ADHD shows in individuals' lives.
ADHD does not present the same for everyone, emphasising the need for self-reflection and understanding.
By embracing and leveraging our distinct qualities, we unlock the potential to lead lives filled with fulfillment, meaning, and create pathways for growth, happiness, and success.
Three Crucial Understandings about ADHD
The first thing to understand is that every individual possesses certain characteristics and traits associated with ADHD, which can vary greatly from person to person. These traits are part of the human experience, and individuals with ADHD tend to exhibit multiple traits at higher and more intense levels. Therefore, it is crucial to keep this in mind when acquiring knowledge about ADHD. Each person is unique, and no two individuals with ADHD will display exactly the same set of characteristics.
The second thing to understand about the ADHD brain is, it is wired for INTEREST and always looking for ways to receive dopamine. So if you are wondering why sometimes you can focus on tasks and achieve goals, and other times you can’t sit still and pay attention if your life depended on it, take notice of how interested you are in the task, project or topic.
The third thing to understand is that having ADHD is not solely defined by negativity, despite what some may suggest. While it is true that there are real challenges associated with ADHD, it is important to recognise the remarkable and unique qualities of ADHD brains. By gaining a deep understanding of your ADHD brain and how it functions, you can harness its strengths to your advantage. With this knowledge, you have the potential to achieve and accomplish anything you set your mind to in life.
Navigating Challenges with an ADHD Brain
Some people struggle with retaining information or have trouble recalling information easily, and when the brain is under pressure it can shut down quickly and feel like it’s just not working, especially if you interpret the topic as boring or have little interest in.
You may struggle to recall information or reflect on something you have done in the past which could be used as a guide in making good decisions for your future. This can cause low self-esteem and make us feel inferior to others.
Some people with ADHD may feel like they have a very a scattered mind with constant bombarding and intrusive thoughts, and sometimes may feel like they are thinking at a really fast pace.
It may feel like they have way too many ‘tabs’ open in their mind at once and feel unable to prioritise which thought to act on first, and therefore become easily distracted, interrupt people or appear absent minded to others.
Others have a physical urge to always be moving and on the go and these two are different.
It can be challenging for people with ADHD to stop, pause and think prior to acting on thoughts, distraction and emotions, or even making a decision.
This failure to pause means that they don’t have a chance to evaluate and make clear and thoughtful choices as to what will benefit them in making the wisest choice towards a good outcome.
It can cause them to react impulsively to things that are said or even do things that could potentially harm themselves without realising.
Some people may struggle to hold onto all the information required and create an action plan, break it down into steps, then sustain focus to be able to stay on task, whilst inhibiting impulses and distractions, and self-regulating emotions in order to carry out all the requirements to achieve a goal (unless you’re interested).
Being able to recall on memories and information can help you reflect on what has or hasn’t worked in the past so you can adjust behaviours and actions to achieve goals in the future.
Some people struggle with ignoring distractions surrounding them, mind wandering and day-dreaming, inhibiting impulses to act on other things going on around them, therefore an inability to pay attention.
It may be hard to sit still, stay focused on a conversation, follow through on goals or even watch a movie. EXCEPT if interested!
Some people struggle to calculate the time a task will take, this can result in arriving late to work or appointments, submitting projects late and feeling overwhelmed by responsibilities.
This can also result from being hyper focused when doing something of interest.
As a coping strategy, some people can be obsessive around time, which can lead them to overestimate the time it takes to complete tasks and feel excessive pressure to be on time, therefore wasting time.
Some brains can hyper-focus, which can be highly beneficial or very unhelpful depending on the object of focus. It can result in being late or not completing important tasks on time because you can’t pull yourself away from what’s holding your attention.
If it’s something you’re passionate about and is serving you well, hyper-focus can work for you, given strategies are in place to prevent burnout.
This is the opposite to when one has the inability to sustain focus due to inattention and distraction, and the ADHD brain can inconsistently swap between both of these.
Some people struggle to organise their life, tasks or possessions unless processes and procedures that work specifically for them are put in place.
This can create chaos in the mind for some and others it may just affect time management.
ADHD brains can also bore of processes and may need to change things up to create new momentum.
Some people are easily distracted by noise, smells, physical or energetic senses, visual movement, day dreaming and mind wandering.
They can impulsively act on these distractions without thought, which can lead to lower productivity and disorganisation due to the time management issues this creates.
Being distracted delays achieving goals on time and also puts pressure on the working memory, swapping back and forth between what is required and the distraction at hand.
Some people with ADHD can move between super high energy and motivation when working on something of interest or passion, to experiencing a total lack of energy and motivation when required to partake in something of little interest.
High energy can lead to burnout and it’s not possible to stay highly productive at all times.
Also, when there is little interest in things they are participating with in life, this can leave them feeling lifeless, which can also appear as laziness.
Some people can act impulsively on their feelings and emotions which can lead to overreacting to a situation, rumination and negative self-talk.
They may struggle to resist temptations and distractions which can lead to bad outcomes and choices in relationships, family situations, social settings, and in the work place or school.
They can have trouble rationalising and may not have the awareness to stop and think before acting or speaking, and may not have the ability to calm themselves down.
Some people can run negative stories on repeat in their mind, from past experiences, conversations or pre-empting scenarios about the future that is yet to happen. Allowing negative thoughts to play over in your mind and being unable to stop, can become distressing and negative.
This can occur when people are seeking more information than is required in order to make decisions or understand something that is required of them.
They may not have learnt the skills on how to slow down and take control of their thoughts or how to turn negative thoughts into positive ones.
Some people can experience a tornado of negative thoughts, always focusing and seeing the negative in themselves or a situation and struggle to find a positive view.
It is not uncommon for some people with ADHD to have a good memory for negative experiences, but have trouble remembering all the good memories for their positive experiences.
Some people are unable to recognise positive aspects within themselves. This can stem from poor executive function and working memory, where limited memory of your abilities and accomplishments can be recalled, leaving you with negative thoughts.
This can lead to rumination and emotional dysregulation and therefore lack of self-worth.
Some people can suffer extreme emotional sensitivity, which can be triggered by the perception of being criticised or rejected.
This can result in overwhelming emotional dysregulation where emotions can hit suddenly and take over the mind and body in a negative way.
Some people struggle to resist urges or distractions without even realising. They may be unable to recognise and feel the sensations in the body as a cue and aren’t aware enough to notice and PAUSE prior to acting.
They may struggle to hold back and evaluate a thought, feeling or idea prior to acting. Learning to inhibit impulses, emotional reactions and distractions are important for people with ADHD.
People with ADHD have little motivation to start or complete something they do not find very interesting.
The ADHD brain is has lower levels of dopamine which usually initiates the drive towards starting something of little interest.
People with ADHD can have super high motivation to start something of high interest and easily swing into action, but without interest can feel stuck and unmotivated.
Having little interest in a task or topic can lead to procrastination due to the simple lack of importance or interest.
Some people can put things off due to perfectionism, by not believing something isn’t good enough for their own expectations.
People with perfectionist tendencies have high standards and expectations of themselves, they seem to find the negatives in all they do.
They struggle to see what they have accomplished due to a lack of self-belief, and a feeling that nothing is good enough unless it’s perfect in their mind.
This can lead to procrastination and time management issues, along with negative self-talk.
The ADHD brain is always seeking interest to provide the motivation and reward, which is due to the lower levels of dopamine available.
Therefore, people tend to struggle to finish projects or tasks to completion when there is a lack of interest, due to limited reward in return for effort.
Breaking larger tasks down into smaller sections can help with perseverance due to more regular rewards received.
Some people can become easily overwhelmed by mess and objects, noise, visual movement and distractions, procrastination, perfectionism, negative thoughts, emotions, rumination and time management.
This can lead to a heavy physical sensation in the body and an inability to take forward action and feeling stuck
Some people with ADHD have a habit of impulsively blurting out thoughts at inappropriate times.
This can stem from the fear of not wanting to forget a thought as it comes in, as we know how quickly it can be forgotten.
It can be due to impulsively acting on thoughts without considering if the situation is appropriate and a lack of awareness towards self and others and can be perceived as inconsiderate.
The ADHD Brain and the Power of Pausing
ADHD brains don’t instinctively embrace pausing, but the act of taking a pause allows us a short window to stop and contemplate our thoughts, feelings, and planned behaviors. It gives us the opportunity to assess the situation and the underlying emotions influencing it. Pausing gives us the time to choose our response to a situation and make decisions that are genuinely beneficial for us.
Impulsivity, often stemming from boredom or lack of interest, can lead to seeking immediate rewards in an attempt to experience dopamine-induced satisfaction. Therefore, it becomes crucial to be aware of this tendency. Additionally, it is essential to question negative self-beliefs and the internal chatter within our minds before they overpower us and lead us down a path of negative rumination.
When we PAUSE and slow down our thoughts, we create space to evaluate situations from alternative perspectives, we can then question our automated responses, and therefore make better decisions that will enhance our overall quality of life.
Refocusing on the Strengths of ADHD
- Embracing a unique ability to think beyond conventional boundaries, fueled by innate curiosity towards creative and imaginative thoughts.
- Being naturally intuitive, confidently relying on intuition to make decisions that others may hesitate to make, leveraging impulsivity as a strength.
- Following one’s heart and passion effortlessly, serving as a powerful driving force that swiftly propels into action.
- Harnessing the natural ability to hyper-focus on areas of strength and passion, transforming dreams and aspirations into tangible realities that surpass ordinary expectations.
- Channeling abundant energy and unwavering drive to surpass the achievements of the average individual, unlocking the potential for extraordinary success in life.
Challenging Misunderstandings about ADHD
Historically, ADHD has been primarily associated with young children, especially boys, who display hyperactive behaviors such as restlessness, interrupting, and being disruptive in the classroom. These behaviors draw attention and often lead to frustration among teachers and parents. However, it is crucial to recognise that ADHD does not present in the same way for everyone. There is a whole generation of middle-aged women who went unnoticed during their school years. These individuals have the inattentive type of ADHD and are cognitively hyperactive rather than physically.
They were the girls whose minds wandered during class, causing them to miss important information and struggle to perform to their full potential. They experienced difficulties paying attention and remembering things that didn’t capture their interest, ultimately impacting their self-esteem and self-perception. ADHD manifests in various ways, and each child or adult with ADHD is unique. It is essential not to compare or manage individuals with ADHD in the same manner.
ADHD is a distinctive experience for each person, although there are common areas of impact.