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What does ADHD mean to you?

Does it conjure up a mental picture of a child behaving badly? A child running round out of control, bouncing off the walls with a parent or teacher pulling their hair out not knowing how to deal with their inattentiveness, impulsivity and hyperactivity?
Maybe it makes you think about the drug Ritalin, the medication that has been prescribed to help these youngsters’ focus and concentration?

ADHD is diagnosed across the world and is said to affect between 2-5% of the population.

But ADHD is not a condition just affecting children. Children with ADHD grow up into adults with ADHD. Some adults with ADHD may not have been recognised as having the condition, which covers a wide spectrum, so their diagnosis may come relatively late.

This week I met up with Susan Macintosh http://www.susanmacintosh.com/
who works as an ADHD coach and we discussed some of the issues facing adults in particular who are diagnosed with ADHD. Susan has very kindly posted this guest article on my blog – thanks Susan!

Hi, my name is Susan Macintosh and I am a specialist ADHD Coach. Jenny has kindly offered me an opportunity to describe ADHD Coaching, which is a growing profession internationally.
Perhaps you have heard about coaching? Probably yes. Maybe sports coaching or executive coaching?
Have you heard about specialist coaches who help you to think better and smarter?

What is coaching?

There are now specialist and accredited coaches who work with you, to help you better understand how you think, and how you can live life more successfully with more ease. These specialist coaches are often called ADHD Coaches, because they are often to be found working with people who think differently or want to think differently! However, you may choose to use their skills, if you are looking to understand how your brain works and how you can become more successful quickly and easily, not because you have ADHD. ADHD Coaches are trained to work within the worlds of applied behavioural neuro science and applied positive behavioural psychology. They usually come from other Professions, such as Medicine, Education, Nursing or Psychology. They work as coaches, not as therapists.
Coaching is defined by the International Coach Federation as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential”. ADHD coaches usually work with those people impacted by ADHD or ADHD’ish tendencies to manage their attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. ADHD coaches will also work with you on memory issues, relationship issues, work / life balance issues, business issues, health issues..any matter where you need to gain clarity and focus to develop your potential.

What is an ADHD coach?

An ADHD coach could be described as a well trained, professional “best friend” who totally believes in you. Even if all you can see is what’s not working in your life, your coach sees what is working, what’s good, and what’s possible for you. Your ADHD Coach can help you understand your unique brain wiring, your strengths, and how you can use that knowledge to your great advantage, unlocking extraordinary potential. Your Coach is there to help you grow a life that is full of satisfying successes, stimulating experiences, and many moments of joy, allowing the real you to shine. Life becomes fun again!

The time you spend with your coach is all about you.

Your coach will provide a safe and nurturing environment, listening to and hearing your concerns.
Your coach can help you through the maze of other helping professionals, explaining their roles, and assisting you to communicate most effectively with them.
Your coach will help you understand and support your treatment program and save you precious time and wasted energy.
Your Coach listens to your troubles and concerns then supports you in finding your own unique solutions.

Your conversations together will be supportive, not judgmental. Coaching is about learning and exploring to help you reach personal goals and build a life you’ll love. Your coach is a collaborative partner who will help you learn to minimize and/or manage weak areas so that you can focus on what you’re good at and what you’re passionate about. You will cover topics that include health, education, life skills, tools and strategies and ways to keep on track. An ADHD Coach will help you design your life to be one which will give you satisfaction, variety, and success. Your ADHD coach can help you overcome the frustration, confusion, and discouragement you may have felt around your life and, with understanding and appreciation, support you in designing and enjoying a new life of possibilities and potential.

Finding a good ADHD coach

So, how do you find a good ADHD coach? What is a good ADHD Coach? A simple Google search, using key words, will bring up credentialed, ADHD specialist coaches and their web sites. Alternatively, the International ADHD Coaches Organization has a list of coaches you may choose to access. These are professionally credentialed coaches, who are committed to excellence in coaching and quality of care.

It doesn’t really matter where your Coach is located geographically, as you will probably be phoning or Skyping them. I for example, travel frequently, working with clients in the United States, Canada, Europe, Iran and Australia! The majority of my coaching sessions are held via a weekly phone call or Skype. What is important is that you find a coach who is well trained by a credentialed ADHD coaching school.

You should feel comfortable talking to your Coach, and feel as though you will be able to establish a good working relationship with him or her. Here’s a tip for knowing which coach is right for you: Choose the coach who makes you feel the best about yourself and who helps you feel excited about your goals

You may even find that you feel some new confidence that your goals are within reach when they may have felt impossible before. Sometimes it may take a couple of conversations to discover the right Coach for you, so don’t be afraid to interview more than one. A good coach will tell you if they don’t feel that they are a good fit with you, and may be able to refer you to other coaches that they feel might be a better fit. A good Coach is concerned about supporting your best interests at all times.

So, at the end of the day, an ADHD Coach is “better than your best friend”! Your Coach is there for you and for the life you want to create, to help you clarify what it is that you really want, to help you to learn how to manage ADHD challenges, to build upon your natural gifts and interests, and to encourage you to reach your goals and enjoy a life well lived. It is the one relationship that meets you appreciatively and where you lead the way. It is an extraordinarily rewarding and fun partnership where the benefits and rewards are all yours to enjoy.”

For more information about Susan and the resources she provides, you can visit her website at www.susanmacintosh.com

Other information about adult ADHD, symptoms and different treatment options can be found at Help.org

If you are an adult living with ADHD, what have been your experiences and have you used a coach?

Dr Jenny Brockis

Dr Jenny Brockis is a medical practitioner and internationally board-certified lifestyle medicine physician, workplace health and wellbeing consultant, podcaster, keynote speaker and best-selling author. Her new book 'Thriving Mind: How to Cultivate a Good Life' (Wiley) is available online and at all good bookstores.

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