When I first began ADHD coaching I wasn’t sure what special something I brought to my coaching and client interaction.
I am enthusiastic, but so are others.
I am well educated and well trained, but again, so are others.
I have ADHD so I have experienced what many of my clients have experienced, but, yet again, so have others.
I have struggled with many of the co-morbidities that are common with ADHD such as depression, anxiety and learning disabilities. But, yet one more time, so have some others.
How coaching is defined
Coaching is an interdevelopmental relationship between the client and coach . It is a partnership of equals. The coach is expert on coaching and the client is expert on him or herself. It is assumed that the client is whole, competent, creative and intelligent. Unlike therapy, consulting or mentorship, the client is not in a one down position from the expert therapist, consultant or mentor who is one up in the relationship. And, to repeat, the client is assumed to have no pathology.
Here is the rub
ADHD is a pathology! Just like diabetes is a pathology. So some coaches do not believe in ADHD coaching because by the very definition of “whole” the ADHD client is counted out due to their ADHD and possible ancillary issues. The ADHD coach is also “expert” in ADHD (or should be) and that puts them “one up” on the ADHD client.
I can see their point. ADHD coaching could turn into a one up and one down relationship but that depends on howthe coach sets up the situation. But it is not destiny. The point is only true if the ADHD coach places her or himself above the client.
I have expertise
It is true that I most likely will know more than my client about ADHD. Aside from the fact that I have studied the topic and continue to do so, I also meet and interact with many more ADHD affected people that the average person with ADHD is likely to. That is why ADHD affected people come to me.
But what about the Special Sauce?
But there is also my special sauce and I’m it! All my experiences have brought me to this point and I bring all that knowledge to the coaching relationship. I could never be one up from my client because I also bring my failures and triumphs along with my skills, training and knowledge
I constantly hear from clients how reassuring it is that someone who is perceived as an “expert” can still fall into the same traps that she can easily identify if asked or even sometimes fail spectacularly. It is also reassuring to my clients to hear of the triumphs not only of myself but also of the many other ADHD people I know. Hope is an important ingredient in any special sauce. So is the humility I believe I bring to each session with a client. We learn together what might work for them and/or others.
Another ingredient to a good special sauce is openness to new ideas and possibilities.
I am demanding
I ask a lot of my clients. I expect them to come with a willingness and openness to experience change in their lives. They must be ready for what I term that “internal shift” when you stop reacting and start acting as an advocate for yourself. Only if you are in the right place can you truly appreciate the finer notes of my special sauce.
A question for you
Are you ready to stop reacting and begin acting on your own behalf. What would be your first step? Share it, it will help you to commit to it.
Abigail Wurf, M.Ed, CLC
ADHD and Executive Functions Coach
Abigail Wurf works with adults, couples and parents affected by ADHD or executive function issues (see definition below) in a coaching and/or consulting capacities. Her clientele also includes college and graduate students struggling to make it through their programs.
She conducts workshops and speaking presentations on executive function issues such as productivity, planning, prioritizing, goal setting, time management, task initiation, emotional disregulation, focus, meta-cognition, working memory, self inhibition and flexibility/shift.
Abigail’s work also includes presentations on ADHD, specific executive functions or theories of executive functions, invisible disabilities, resiliency and motivation.