Recently, I was invited to present to a group of therapists on ADHD coaching. The goal of the presentation was to introduce coaching to the therapists, describe the benefits, including the evidence to support the success of coaching as an intervention, and to delineate the differences, and crossover, between ADHD coaching and therapy.
I receive inquiries from potential clients that are hoping that coaching will help them to address their challenges related to ADHD; that is my hope as well. But sometimes, these potential clients are not “available for coaching.” And therapy, either while in coaching or prior to starting, would l enable them to move forward.
Having ADHD can cause one to doubt one’s abilities, sanity, and value. It can ramp up anxiety; it can, when challenges become too great, cause the ADHDer to sink into depression.
While it would seem that addressing ADHD challenges would cause ones mood to lift, anxiety to lessen, and self esteem to rise, the past is still there. The feelings of being “less than” might dissipate; but having had those feelings before coaching can still get in the way, because they are ready to jump up when something doesn’t work.
For example, let’s say one of the strategies that a client and I discuss as a possibility is having a morning routine that includes taking time to eat breakfast, while sitting at a table with actual silverware and plates (by the way, a great way to start the day!). So, my client tries this out, finds they look forward to it, and so are more apt to get up on time. A win!
Until the day they oversleep.
And then, there is no time for this luxurious breakfast. There’s barely time to shower. And the entire time, the messages of the past pop up, sometimes in the voices of parents or teachers, ready to destroy the client’s self esteem and good feelings.
Now if this happens once in a while, it can be addressed in a coaching session. But if the client is struggling, these events of the past, and the subsequent emotions they evoke, can really get in the way.
Potential clients sometimes want the shortcut (really, who doesn’t?) They want the answer to how to deal, without addressing what has been before. However, shortcuts that ignore how a client shows up for support don’t work. And any responsible coach will tell you that.
Therapy addresses your past. Therapists help clients to explore what happened, how it impacted one’s emotions and self-talk, and how to deal with those pesky messages in the future. And when clients have dealt with their past, coaches are there-ready to walk side by side with clients, into the future.