Thank you for joining me.
In this episode I’ll be covering selecting an ADHD coach. This is something I have been going through the process of doing recently.
I spent a lot of time researching coaches, narrowing it down to a shortlist. I then scheduled interviews with them over a few weeks to decide on a coach.
I’ll take you through the process I went though and how I selected a coach.
The first step is to be clear about what you are searching for a coach and what you hope to get out of coaching. This is going to be the first thing that coaches ask you when you do an introduction call with them.
You’ll want to create a document in word, google drive, a paper notebook or another note taking app to write down all the things you are searching for in a coach.
I was searching for a coach to help me with accountability and strategies for organisation, time management, prioritisation and procrastination.
You can create a long list of everything you need help with. Write down all the areas you are struggling with and then where you need help. It doesn’t matter how small the item is, like running late for work, not being ready in the morning, missing the train every day, paying the bills, doing the dishes or taking the trash out, write it all down.
Then look at the list and decide the top 3 priorities in that area. You might find that a lot of these are related. For example, if you struggle with getting ready in the morning, missing the train to work, running late, and paying the bills but you have also written that structuring your day, prioritising and time management are challenges.
Then your top 3 might be time management, prioritising and structuring your day because if you can help with these areas then taking the running late and paying your bills would come under these areas.
It’s important to list the specifics so you have clear outcomes to discuss. For example, just asking a coach if they have experience with time management isn’t a great question because all coaches will say yes.
Being specific about your situation, the challenges your facing leads to better questions. For example, instead of asking a coach if they experience with time management ask them “do you have experience working with female professionals that work in a office and struggle with running late for work, managing distractions in the workplace and managing a team of people”
Or “do you have experience working with young males in college that struggle with procrastination, meeting deadlines and also having balance in their lives”
You can then ask about some of the challenges similar clients have had and how they overcame them.
After creating your list of what you are searching for in a coach and the areas you need help with. The next thing is to decide whether you want a coach or a therapist. If you have written on your list that you are struggling with anxiety, depression or other mental health issues then you might want to start by looking for a therapist instead.
This will be among the first few questions that most coaches ask. Most coaches are not therapists, so if you are struggling with depression they may tell you to seek out a therapist first.
Some coaches will work alongside a therapist and can refer you to one that they know, however in most cases if you need to see a therapist, then you it might be worth seeking them out first before a coach.
There are some areas that will overlap, for example if you have trouble with hoarding and live in a messy house, there are specific ADHD coaches for organization and hoarding. In these cases there may be underlying issue around the hoarding, so a therapist might help with the underlying issue behind the hoarding and a coach might help with strategies to organise and clean your house.
It’s also important to decide whether you want the coaching to be via the phone, video call or in person.
I am traveling and living overseas so doing a consultation in person wasn’t an option for me. So I was able to rule out any coaches that didn’t offer consulting online.
I also much prefer video calls. I find I get distracted if I’m on a phone call and won’t pay attention, or will be doing other things. So for me it was essential that the coach offered consultations over video calls remotely.
Another thing that was very important to me was a coach that specialized in people with ADHD. I didn’t want a life coach, corporate coach or productivity coach that didn’t understand the challenges people face with ADHD.
I’ve worked with coaches in the past and a lot of the strategies just don’t work. It’s also a waste of everyone’s time when you don’t complete the tasks they assign you and then they don’t understand why.
You just end up feeling guilty for not doing the tasks and then you want to avoid them and end up cancelling the coaching because it doesn’t work.
I don’t think hiring someone that is the same gender as you is important, in fact 90% of the coaches I shortlisted were female. However, I think a coach that works with people of the same gender and situation is important.
To go back to the previous example, if you’re a women working in a corporate environment then you want a coach that has experience working with other corporate women and not young males in college.
It’s important to have a connection with the coach, to be able to communicate well with them, that they understand your situation and have worked with similar clients in the past.
I work remotely and run an online business so an ADHD coach that works with people with flexible work schedules, working remotely or business owners was the one of the most important aspect to me.
Once I had a list of what I was looking for in a coach and my requirements I created a folder in my browser to bookmark coaches and a document to make notes and started researching online.
You’ll need to create a spreadsheet, folders in your browser for bookmarking sites or a way to capture all the website addresses and notes otherwise you’ll end up researching and forget why you shortlisted the coaches and get overwhelmed.
I think paper might be more difficult to capture all the details quickly but you could use this instead of digital methods if you prefer.
I did a lot of research, I’m not sure if this is just me or if this is common with other people with ADHD but I have a tendency to want to know all my options.
Actually, I did a lot of research first, then got overwhelmed with all the options and then created a note to record all the options. Don’t make this mistake, and make sure you create a place to record the different coaches and notes first.
I then googled ADHD coaches and adult ADHD coaches. If you’re not familiar with how google works, the first page of results is not always the best coaches. The first page of results in google may just be the coaches that spend more money on getting their website to rank in google.
So the first page may be coaches that are great at marketing but not great at coaching. That’s not always the case but it makes sense to go through the top 5 pages in google to find coaches that might be good at coaching but bad at marketing.
I then found several websites that listed coaches. A lot of these were life coaches that didn’t specifically focus on ADHD.
After searching a bit more I found websites with directories that specifically listed ADHD coaches.
This took me down another rabbit hole of searching as these directories has hundreds of ADHD coaches on them.
This can be overwhelming so another tool I recommend is one tab. It’s a free browser extension for when you’ve opened too many tabs and can’t find out what you’re meant to be working on and which tab the music is coming from.
You can press the chrome extension and it closes all your tabs and puts them into a list of links. They’ll be saved there so you won’t lose them and you can start researching more without the tab overload.
Some of the best directories I found were:
I’ll put a link to them in the show notes.
You should have an idea of what you are searching for in a coach but don’t have an idea of who you think that coach will be. For example, I work online and with a lot of technology so I initially thought that a young coach that understood technology would be best.
After interviewing a lot of young coaches, I actually found that even though older coaches didn’t have the same experience as me, they had more a lot more coaching experience with clients similar to me which was more important.
Don’t judge a coach on the quality of their website but judge it on the content. For example, there may be coaches with a great looking website but if you read the content you’ll see it’s all focused on coaching children.
Also the content needs to resonate with you. Make notes about specifically what resonates with you about what they wrote on their website.
You can also get an idea of prices. A lot of coaches don’t list prices on their websites. Don’t dismiss a coach because they don’t list their prices. I’ve found that most coaches were around the same price and some that didn’t list prices were actually much cheaper than coaches that did list prices.
Price shouldn’t be your main consideration, price doesn’t equal value. Coaches may offer payment plans or allow you to pay hourly instead of a monthly package.
You also don’t want to waste time on coaches that you absolutely can’t afford, but if they coaches around your budget then it’s worth shortlisting them and doing an introduction call.
I personally didn’t find that price of the coaching service and the coaches I connected with the best were correlated. It was really about how we were able to communicate and their experience with similar clients.
When going through the list of coaches I created a quick list. It was very much just dismiss them quickly or put them on the list. After creating a massive short list of around 30, I tried to narrow it down more.
I looked the websites again, and read the content in more detail. If the website didn’t mention coaching adults or people similar to my situation then I transferred it to a maybe list.
I didn’t want to lose all the coaches I’d short listed so that’s why I transferred them to a maybe list.
Some coaches I listened to any podcast episodes or videos they had which helped understand their coaching methods better.
If the price was way outside of my budget or there were other factors that made me think they wouldn’t be a good fit then I delete them from the list.
The main factor in deleting coaches from the list was that they specialised in children and students and didn’t mention much information about working with adults.
Eventually I got to a list to a list of around 15 coaches. Some of the coaches had a page where I could book an introduction call online. Some other coaches only had a contact form or email address.
Some of the coaches that only had a contact form, didn’t get back to me so I followed up with an email.
I found that the contact forms on the website didn’t always work, so it was worth sending an email as well.
A lot of the coaches that had contact forms on the website that didn’t work were good coaches so it goes back to the point that it’s worth looking at coaches that don’t rank in google and don’t have great websites. They might be terrible at marketing and websites but great at coaching.
In the emails and initial contact, it helped to provide some background about myself and the struggles I am having. It was also useful to provide some questions. This helped as the coach has a lot of background when we started the introduction call to save time.
After contacting coaches and booking in some introduction calls I then researched top questions to ask an ADHD coach and created a list of questions.
I’ll put a list of questions to ask in the show notes. Some of the most useful questions were who the majority of their clients were, what type of clients they focus on and around their experience coaching people with similar issues and similar profile to me.
Asking about a similar issue they had with a client and how they solved it and their coaching style was also useful.
Most of the introduction calls are around 30 minutes so I think it’s important to just be as open and honest with the coach.
Don’t feel like you need to please the coach or you need to act differently. Act like yourself and be honest on the introduction call.
You’ll need to tell within a short period of time if this coach is going to be a good match for you.
Some of the different coaches I came across when selecting a coach were:
Coaches that focused on children.
There were a lot of coaches that focused specifically on children and students. While many of them said they could coach adults, the majority of their clients were not adults.
It also seemed like their coaching style or personality was structured towards children and students. So they didn’t seem like a match.
Coaches with ADHD
A lot of the coaches had ADHD themselves. I’m not sure if this was helpful or not. Some coaches with ADHD were good to talk to as they could really related to the same issues that I was facing.
However, other coaches with ADHD weren’t easy to talk to. They went off on tangent and didn’t get to the point quickly.
Some were talking so much that I forgot what the question was and my mind started to wander.
Coaches without ADHD
There were coaches that didn’t have ADHD that were really easy to talk to as well and there was great communication. There were coaches that didn’t have ADHD that weren’t easy to talk to and I felt they couldn’t understand where I was coming from.
Coaches with children with ADHD
There were coaches that didn’t have ADHD but they had children with ADHD. This wasn’t useful for me but might have been useful in terms of relating to people with children with ADHD.
Overall, I didn’t find a massive difference between whether a coach had ADHD or not. Some coaches that had ADHD were good, some coaches that didn’t have ADHD were equally as good.
It was more important that they specialised in ADHD and had experience working with people with ADHD.
Some coaches had a life coaching experience but no qualifications with ADHD Coaching. Others had ADHD coaching qualification but ADHD was a small part of their life coaching business.
These were the coaches I felt I couldn’t relate to the most. I didn’t want to be the worst client of a life coach who couldn’t understand why all the strategies worked for all their other clients but not me.
I didn’t want to go through motivational speeches and be told that their other client wakes up at 4am and does 1,000 push ups, and reads 5 books before going into work as an astronaut where they run their business from space.
Therefore I should be able to use the same strategies to do a little bit of exercise and read a few pages of a book each day and finish my tax return from 3 years ago.
That’s a mild exaggeration but that really is how it felt to me when working with coaches that don’t specialise in ADHD. The comparison between their other clients and yourself and the results really did feel like worlds apart.
During each call I made notes about the call and ranked the coaches. It’s important to take notes or ask them if you can record the conversation for your reference.
It might be hard to take notes during the call but make sure you take a lot straight after the call to capture exactly how the call went and your impression of the coach and communication.
I mentioned that for me video coaching was essential, and one coach said she didn’t do video coaching. She was ruled out because to me that was an essential.
Another coach she said if I really wanted to we could do video coaching on the first session and then do phone coaching after that. It seemed the video coaching was not something she wanted to do or offer as a standard.
I didn’t want to move towards phone coaching, I wanted to do video coaching for each session which is why I asked about it and mentioned that it was important to me. So that’s why I think it’s important to be clear in the introduction what is important to you and be up front and open with the coaches to know their response and whether you will be a good fit.
Other coaches said they did do video coaching but some clients prefer phone coaching as they can walk around and are less distracted on the phone rather than video.
So for those people, video coaching wouldn’t be important at all and phone coaching would more important. They may prefer a coach that only does phone calls and is has more experience with phone coaching.
Also I found a lot of coaches ran their own businesses and worked for themselves from home. I found I connected well with them rather than coaches in large organisations. I felt like I was more important to them as a client and could build a relationship and connect with them faster.
Other people might prefer a large organization where they can change coaches and use the same system. People might also prefer to be able send a message and get a response from a team of people instead of waiting for a reply from one coach.
There’s no perfect coach that will suit everyone, each coach will suit different people and their individual needs. It comes down to what you are looking for and require in a coach, so don’t look for the perfect coach for everyone but for the perfect coach for you.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode and found it useful in finding an ADHD coach. You can access a list of questions to ask ADHD coaches and other details about hiring an ADHD coach from this weeks episode at: ADHDproductivity.com/podcast