Coaching requires the client to know where they want to go, or at least: to have some idea of what they would like to get out of coaching.
Of course, a coach can also help you clarify this. But if you don’t invest time- in the beginning of your coaching relationship- in getting that clarity, the results will suffer.
The coach cannot wave a magic wand and make your life better, because the process of making it better is a trajectory unique to YOU. Only you know what will make things better for you.
Dissappointing, I know!
Coaching is not educating
There is a conundrum here for ADHD coaches, and other coaches, because sometimes we don’t know what we don’t know. We need to be educated on something in order to see new possibilities and know what new knowledge and skills we need to acquire to succeed. Education is not a part of coaching per se. But ADHD coaches often point to sources to self-educate or spend a tiny amount of a session giving a mini explanation of something (always with your permission) if they feel that bit of knowledge can help shift a roadblock or a limiting perspective that is getting in your way. Education may not be part of coaching, but it can be a big part of finding the solutions and strategies that work for you.
The real coaching work
But coaches know that often of success does not come out of that. A client can educate themselves all they want (as many do) and still remain stuck. Most successes come out of:
- Paying attention to your current situation
- Setting clear goals
- Using what you already know
- Checking in with how you act and feel
- Things you can uncover from actively reflecting and evaluating current practices and outcomes, based on your own measures for success
- Trying out solutions you can come up with using all those data points
This can be hard to do on your own, which is why the coach and the coaching process are there to support you. But it’s you doing most of the work and coming up with solutions based on your formidable knowledge and intuition, built up over years, about what works. The coaching just helps you surface the blind spots, old beliefs, and ingrained strategies that are not serving you (anymore), and design useful experiments for trying out new things.
Doing, finishing and persisting despite roadblocks
As Russel Barkley once said, “It’s not about knowing what to do, ADHD-ers often know what to do, they just won’t do it!” And if we do start, we often don’t finish… So we need to find out what gets in the way of doing and finishing! ADHD coaching is much more about finding out what could help you to actually take consistent action, follow-through, and don’t give up when frustration, overwhelm or stuckness get in the way. And then it’s a matter of celebrating your progress so you are actively reinforcing those actions that are bringing you closer to your goal. Instead of focussing on what did not go so well – as we often tend to do!
This can be a very complex, multi-step process. Because our ADHD brains can trip us up at many points along the road that leads from exploring motivation and goalsetting all the way to an actually completed goal.
When frustration sets in
This is the reason people often get overwhelmed or frustrated part way through a coaching program ( or any training program or project).
Sometimes it seems like for every problem you solve a new one pops up in its wake. If your overarching goal for coaching is on finding a better, more fitting job for yourself, midway through getting coached on that you may go: “I finally conquered my fear to do networking, only to find myself dealing with overwhelm and imposter syndrome as job opportunities and projects to collaborate on start coming in from these newly build contacts. OH NO!”
Connecting back to the source. Why did you crave change? What did you long for and dream about?
This is why it is important to get super clear on what your big coaching goals are and how they will make your life better. Because having that super clear picture, truly backed up by a lot of inner motivation is your fuel. It is the one thing that will help you power through the discomfort of finding your way there and overcoming all the smaller obstacles that are encountered with every step along the way.