Can coaching help me with ADHD?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition many assume affects children and teens alone, yet for adults with ADHD, the associated symptoms can leave them feeling frustrated and out of control.
Characteristic behaviours associated with ADHD can leave many feeling frustrated, confused, and even held back. Could working with a coach help you to feel more in control?
Hyperactivity, inattentiveness, restlessness, and impulsiveness (all common behaviours of ADHD) can be mistaken for laziness, thoughtlessness, carelessness, and a lack of drive. Those who are diagnosed with ADHD are more likely to experience other ill mental health issues such as depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
But could coaching help make it easier to concentrate, think before acting, and become less distracted?
What is ADHD coaching?
A supportive process that can help both adults and children alike, working with an ADHD coach can help you to identify areas for improvement, working towards specific goals and achievements. The idea is that by creating a close, trusting relationship with your coach, you can develop greater structure, focus and purpose in your life.
An ADHD coach can help you to identify or create personal goals, develop an actionable strategy to help you achieve these goals, and discover new ways of managing symptoms that may be affecting your day-to-day life. A coach can help you to increase and develop your self-awareness, self-belief, and motivation.
How can coaching help me with ADHD?
Adults, teens and children looking for help and support in finding new ways to cope with or manage symptoms of ADHD may benefit from working with a coach. While different people find different elements of coaching to be helpful, some of the main areas that could benefit you include:
Increase your concentration – for many with ADHD, hyperfocus (intense, deep periods of concentration) or trouble focusing on something specific can be problematic. A coach can teach you a variety of techniques that can help you to calm your mind, focus on the present, and bring your awareness back to the here and now. Mindfulness, for example, combined with meditation can help with ‘strengthening our concentration muscles’, as one life coach explains.
“People who regularly practise mindfulness are better equipped to deal with emotional and physical discomfort. They experience an increase in resilience that expands out into other areas of life… have greater concentration, and can stay focused for longer.”
Goal development – having a big end goal or ambition is easy; but knowing how to break that down into achievable, manageable milestones? That can be tough. A coach can help you to manage your expectations, set realistic mini-goals, track and set manageable tasks. With their help, you can learn to recognise obstacles that could stand in your way, come up with a plan for how to overcome them, and make real strides towards achieving your ultimate goals.
As coach Clare explains, setting goals is an important step towards getting from where you are now, to where you want to be. Setting SMART goals can be a particularly good way to achieve this. Standing for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timed, creating SMART goals with the support of a coach can help you to hold yourself responsible for making progress, helps you to define how you will measure your progress or success, as well as giving you a realistic time limit to help avoid procrastination.
Time management – a common difficulty for those with ADHD can be struggling to focus on a task for a long period of time. Coaching can help you to better estimate how long tasks can take, how you can best prioritise tasks, and ways you can cope with the emotional stress and anxiety that may arise.
Coach Louise explains that many of us feel overwhelmed by the amount of work we have, or find that it feels like we’re not achieving a great deal despite the effort we may be putting in. “Chances are that you could benefit from better management of your time, and pausing to consider how you are handling tasks could lead to more efficient working habits.”
Working with an outside expert can help to give you the space to recognise the things that may be hindering your progress. Together with their help, you can develop practical measures to help keep you on track, set realistic timeframes to make progress, and find ways to help you stay on track.
A coach can also help you to recognise when you are taking on too much, teach you how to increase your productivity by decreasing how often you multitask, and help you to take more impactful, regular breaks.
Improve organisational skills – working with a coach can help you to better understand the importance of organisation, as well as to discover how you can manage your thought process whilst organising tasks. Together, you can restructure and optimise your environment, creating a more productive, less distracting space.
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