I get asked a lot – how do you find or choose a coach?
In my opinion, coaching can be effective for most people struggling with ADHD issues of executive function, but only if you believe in the coach AND adopt a “coachable” mindset.
First, realize that coaching is not the same as therapy. Don’t expect it to be. That’s your first fork in the road. To dramatically over simplify the issue, therapy deals with how your perception of the past is impacting your present while coaching draws a map to take you from your present into your desired future. Therapy deals with emotional dis-regulation and “baggage” while coaching takes a pragmatic approach. Coaching will generally not be successful if you’re dealing with underlying therapy-appropriate needs. Coaching asks the question, “Where to from here AND, how do I get there?”
Bottom-line for me is simply this: If you’re convinced that you’re selecting the best coach for the specific tasks you have in mind and not settling for second best, you’ll be giving yourself the best chance at success.
For coaching to be successful you must be willing to let go of the things holding you back. Unfortunately, those are often the very things we often cling to most tenaciously. If you don’t trust in the process enough to let go of your old ways, coaching will be a waste of time and money.
Can you honestly say this to yourself? “I’ll listen and make the changes I need to make.” Yes? Then read on.
Here are the expectations and goals I had when I sought out my first coach fifteen years ago. After choosing between dozens of possibilities I chose one.
This excerpt is direct, unedited and cut directly from the email I sent her.
“I’m expecting someone who is highly results oriented. Given that to be worthy of such quality & commitment, I know I have a responsibility, too. A responsibility to learn, to implement, and to succeed thereby proving the value of your coaching! Our interests will be EXACTLY aligned in that respect.”
You might phrase it differently. What’s important is commitment to the process. Any coach that doesn’t expect commitment from you isn’t the right coach … period.
More cut and paste from my application:
“Here’s what I’m looking for:
1) To learn to stay on track and remain focused on my daily and longer-term business plans.
2) To break the procrastination/avoidance/self-defeatist cycle I seem to fall into repeatedly.
3) To achieve a better balance in my life.
4) To receive unvarnished objective feedback as to my progress or lack thereof.
5) To curb some of my impulsivity and side step the areas where I seem to f … um … slip up.
6) To be accountable to someone who has a thorough understanding of the somewhat unstable/undisciplined nature of my ADHD brain, yet who has zero tolerance for excuses. You know? A brilliant, compassionate drill sergeant! LOL (Is that a triple oxymoron? LOL)
7) To receive guidance, re: the ongoing refinement of my “vision and purpose.”
8) I’m looking to be fully engaged in the coaching process with the aim of termination and full independence within the not too distant future. I want to fly on my own!”
I think it was Einstein who said something to the effect of “we can’t expect to solve problems with the same thinking that caused them in the first place.” Well, that’s paraphrased and I suppose he was talking about political/military types tinkering with the unimaginable powers of the elementary particles that underlie the construction of this strange world. However, it suits my logic. I knew I would not be able to resolve my issues without there first being an infusion of “new thinking,” a bit of synaptic rewiring.
I hope this helps. Select carefully, be open to change, and be committed.
Richard Webster, the author of this article, is the CEO of Rena-Fi, Inc., a financial literacy platform. ADDA has partnered with Rena-Fi to bring the benefits of financial education to its membership. Rena-Fi empowers and inspires students to develop a better financial future. Learn more at Rena-Fi.com and check out our other articles about managing your finances here.