What to consider when picking a coach

So you’ve decided that you want to try coaching to help manage your ADHD symptoms? Awesome! Now what?

It can be overwhelming to try and find a coach. Where do you even begin? You can try just googling for ‘ADHD Coach’ and see what comes up. If you have one, you can ask your psychiatrist or psychologist if they know anyone they would recommend. There’s also a large list of available resources at ADDitude’s website- I’ll even link it here for your viewing pleasure: https://directory.additudemag.com/listing/

First, make sure the coach work the way you want them to. Do you want to meet virtually, over the phone, or in person? See how they offer their services to make sure they’re in line with what you need.

You should get consultations from multiple coaches to see who is going to be a good fit for you. This should be free, as coaching is a partnership and both parties need to be willing to work with each other. It would be unethical for a coach to take you on as a client if they don’t think they can help you. Coaching is an investment in yourself, so you should absolutely shop around and trust your gut. When you find the right person to help you, you’ll know. After all, no one knows you better than you. It would be pretty bold and wrong for a coach- a total stranger who has talked to you for about half an hour- to assume that they know what’s best for you, and it’s definitely them.

Look for a coach that has had training with a program approved by the International Coaching Federation (ICF). At this point, coaching is not a licensed or regulated profession, so anyone can call themselves a Life Coach with little or no knowledge about anything. This may change in the coming years, but until that time, you want someone who knows what they’re talking about, and follows ethical practices. A coach should be absolutely upfront about their titles and credentials, and not misrepresent their qualifications and education.

A coach shouldn’t straight up tell you what to do or give unsolicited advice. As I said before, coaching is not a licensed profession, and coaches aren’t necessarily qualified to tell you what to do. If that’s what you are looking for seek the help of a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist (which some coaches may also be, again, look at their credentials). A coach is going to work with you to create strategies and brainstorm creative solutions to your problems. A coach’s main focus is on the present and the future. The most a coach should pry into your past is asking about what’s worked in the past, or where a thought may be coming from.

Also, everything a coach asks comes with your permission. You have the right to direct the session. Your time with a coach is yours- you call the shots. If you are really wanting advice after working with a coach for a while, you can ask them what they think, and with your permission they may tell you, but getting advice from a coach should not be the absolute first move at solving a problem. It’s more of a last resort.

Another thing you should look for in a coach is if they have clients who, for lack of a better word, “graduate”. Coaching is designed for you to not be dependent on a coach. We literally want to talk ourselves out of a job by helping you. It’s unethical for a coach, or any mental healthcare professional really, to create a situation where you become dependent on them. It’s also pretty creepy if you think about it. Some people may need more coaching than others, but that’s for you to assess what you need.

Take your time picking a coach, don’t impulsively jump into anything. Coaching is an investment into yourself. It’s your mind, time, and money, so it’s important to consider all your needs. From my experience, most coaches just want what’s best for the client and for them to succeed, even if it isn’t with them.

Coaching isn’t about the coach, it’s about the client. Listen to yourself. You’ll find the coach that’s right for you.

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