Practical Help for Adult ADHD: Consider an ADHD Self-Management Coach 

Adult ADHD (sometimes called ADD) can create limitations in every major realm of functioning – it reaches into all aspects of life and even into other people's lives. Most people who have ADHD struggle with some symptoms into adulthood. Generally, the greater number of problems that were experienced in childhood, the greater the number of areas of impairment in adulthood. Table 1 shows some examples of how childhood symptoms are translated into adulthood.

Coaching has become a buzz-word over the last several years, with all sorts of people (with a range of qualifications) using the title. A coach can be helpful for an adult with ADHD, but it can be confusing to sort out the nature of the services being provided, who is providing them, what their qualifications are, and whether or not they will help. Simply having ADHD and compensating for it relatively success-fully does not make someone qualified to coach others who have ADHD.

Symptom Domain in Children

  • Runs/climbs excessively
  • Squirms and fidgets
  • Unable to stay seated
  • Unable to play/work quietly
  • Is "On the go" or "driven by motor"
  • Talks excessively
  • Blurts out answers
  • Intrudes/interrupts others
  • Difficulty sustaining attention
  • Doesn't listen
  • No follow through
  • Can't organize

Common Adult Manifestations

  • Inefficiencies at work
  • Can't sit through meetings
  • Drives too fast
  • Self-selects very active job
  • Can't tolerate frustration
  • Talks excessively
  • Makes inappropriate comments
  • Interrupts others
  • Difficulty sustaining attention
  • Paralyzing procrastination
  • Slow, inefficient; poor organization
  • Poor time management

ADHD Self-Management Coaching is provided by a qualified mental health professional, who specializes in ADHD and takes an active approach to addressing the deficits of ADHD. ADHD Self-Management Coaching focuses on specific, practical approaches to change ADHD behaviors that get in the way of success. Although it shares some characteristics with traditional psychotherapy and life coaching, it is different from either of these approaches, and is uniquely positioned to create the greatest amount tangible improvement for the adult with ADHD.

Traditional Psychotherapy

  • Provided by a licensed mental health professional with training & experience in understanding a variety of psychological issues 
  • Often considers how the past impacts the present 
  • Generally less directive 
  • Seeks understanding 
  • Typically focuses on exploring complex psychological and interpersonal experiences 
  • Usually, an emphasis on what is going wrong (symptoms, difficulties) 
  • The patient depends on the therapist as expert 
  • Sessions are in person, typically one or more times per week 
  • Reimbursable by insurance companies

Life Coaching

  • Provided by a variety of individuals, varied in levels of training, often without training or understanding of psychological issues in general, or ADHD-related issues in particular 
  • Stays focused on the present 
  • Directive 
  • Seeks tangible accomplishments in a wide range of areas the client might present 
  • Focuses on pragmatic strategies to address less psychologically complex issues 
  • An emphasis on enhancing strengths (what the client wants to do more of) 
  • The coach depends on the client as expert; the client determines what to work on and is seen is 100% capable of determining their own solutions 
  • Sessions provided in person, by phone, or by email, typically according to a standard schedule 
  • Not reimbursable by insurance companies 
  • No license or degree required; no regulations

ADHD Self-Management Coaching

  • An integrated biopsychosocial approach provided by a licensed mental health professional who has training and experience in a variety of psychological issues, but specifically in ways to deal with the core biological, psychological and social issues faced by the ADHD adult 
  • Stays focused on the present 
  • Directive and goal-driven 
  • Seeks understanding of expression of ADHD in the particular individual and tangible results in the specific areas that will improve daily life management 
  • Focuses on pragmatic strategies designed to address complex issues in a step-by-step fashion 
  • An emphasis on understanding what is going wrong (ADHD symptoms and impairments specific to the individual) and strengths and gifts that can be used to compensate for weaknesses (what the client should do more of) 
  • Collaborative problem-solving process between the ADHD adult, who is an expert regarding him or herself, and a ADHD self-management coach, who is an expert in both ADHD and self-management strategies 
  • A customized plan is created. This might include individual in-person sessions, an educational group, telephone contacts, or email contacts 
  • Reimbursable by insurance companies (because as defined, ADHD Self-Management Coaching is broader than coaching and can be understood as directive psychotherapy)

The right treatment for the difficulties with life management associated with Adult ADHD is ADHD Self-Management Coaching. Self-Management ADHD coaching will help you manage and compensate for your ADHD more effectively by utilizing the extensive training and expertise of the provider in a practical, flexible, here-and-now, results-oriented format you need to make real changes and create optimum success.

Call Dr. Roche to schedule an initial consultation and create a customized plan for your ADHD Self-Management Coaching. New ADHD Self-Management clients will receive free Adult ADHD and Self-Management questionnaires and a 30% discount on Dr. Roche's $205 initial patient fee. Don't put it off; call now before your commitment to yourself is lost in the shuffle.

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