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What are the top three things you need to know when looking for an ADHD coach? by Alan Graham

What are the top three things you need to know when looking for an ADHD coach? by Alan Graham

What are the top three things you need to know when looking for an ADHD coach?

Alan R Graham, PhD, PCC, MCAC, author, The Guide to ADHD Coaching: How to Find an ADHD Coach and What to Do When You Get One

Coaching is all about the relationship. Do you feel comfortable with the coach? Do you want to feel uncomfortable? Do you feel safe with the coach and do you feel the coach gets you? Do you feel heard and understood? These are some of the questions you need to ask yourself when you are deciding to engage a coach. Coaching works best when there is a good fit between coach and client.

So, what should a prospective client look for when searching for a coach. They are really three components to finding a good match: commonality, compatibility and credibility.
The first component to consider is whether you and the coach have some commonalities in the way you look at the world.  These commonalities may be as simple as age or gender.  Do you want to have a coach of the same or opposite gender?  Does it matter?  The same goes for age.  Some clients feel that an older coach has had more life experience so can offer more wisdom than a younger coach.  On the other hand, a younger coach may have more energy and be more curious and could provide more excitement into the coaching.  When research on the relationship in psychotherapy is reviewed, one finds that age and gender do not have a significant impact on outcome.  So it comes down to personal preference.

Another commonality that might be important to the client is if there are common interests between coach and client.  Again, does it matter if your coach is more interested in tennis rather than golf, Republican or Democrat, etc.?

The second component that contributes to a good fit is compatibility.  Compatibility is related to personality and behavioral preferences.  Do you prefer a coach who gets right down to business and has a no-nonsense approach? Or, do you prefer a coach who has a more easy-going style with a sense of humor?  Although their approaches may be different, which coach do you think will hold you more accountable to working toward your goals? Also, how does the coach handle him or herself in your initial session?  Does he/she interrupt too much or too little?  Ask short concise, probing questions that get you to think or ramble on and eventually get to the point?  Which one do you prefer?

Lastly, is the coach credible? How do you know if a coach is credible? I suggest that you find out answers to the following questions:

1. Do they have the competence and training to help you reach your goals?
2. What is their training?  Mental health professional with a coaching credential? Or not?
3. How long have they been coaching?
4. Get a sense for how they work

You can discover this information through an online search.  There are a number of credentialing bodies for coaches that identify coaches who have met their standards as a qualified coach.  Check to see if the coach you are considering is credentialed.  Digging deeper, look at their websites, network with others who may have benefited from coaching, etc.  

Armed with this information, interview 2-3 coaches to decide which one is the right “fit”.  Considering these three components (commonality, compatibility and credibility) can provide the framework for you to make the best decision for yourself.

Finally, if you choose a coach and you don’t feel that you made the right choice, you can always try another coach.

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