Coaching and Mentoring Introduction
Not quite a therapist
, a coach is trained to help you organize your life, coach you through difficult times in your life, help you organize and keep on-task, give advice, talk things out with those who need it, or to coach those with ADHD symptoms
. Some coaches also specialize in bipolar disorder. One individual with bipolar disorder stated that coaching was more effective for him than was therapy.
Coaching for ADHD is a well-developed field, with train, and certificate accreditation through reputable organizations. Coaching for bipolar disorder available, but it is not as developed as it is for ADHD. Some opt for a ADHD coach or life coach, rather than a therapist. Some use a coach along with a therapist or psychologist. Coaching can help those with adult ADHD and young people with ADHD symptoms. It can even be of value for some children with ADHD. The Nurtured Heart approach is one avenue of coaching that helps both the parent and the child with ADHA, ODD, Autism, FAS, PTSD, RAD and other childhood difficulties.
An ADHD coach helps clients to keep on target with their plans and goals, to help a client keep organized and to provide support on a number of fronts. An ADHD coach provides services on a different level than a therapist or psychologist, and can add a layer of support to anyone with ADHD.
Tara McGuillicuddy (off site link) is an ADHD coach, whose site also features helpful newsletters and podcasts on subjects related to ADHD.
What is Coaching?
Coaching is, in some respects, somewhere between tutoring and therapy
. “Coaching may be used as a first line treatment for those with ADHD who are reluctant to use psychotropic medications or therapy,”
says a source on the National Resource Center website on ADHD.
A coach has been described as “someone standing on the sidelines giving encouragement, instruction and reminders.” It provides structure and support; also it helps a client build skills and coping strategies It has become popular among those who may not want to use a therapist
and who may not even require one, but who need help with motivation, organization and life skills. And it deals more with the what’s, where’s, when and how questions, while therapy delves more into the why’s.
All green links on this page are off-site links from sponsors and funds are used to support the non-profit activities of the AYCNP
There are coaches which specialize in ADHD, as well as Life Coaches, who can help those with a wide range of mental health difficulties to better focus on life skills which can help them overcome certain obstacles in their day to day life and say on target with goals. Professionals also utilize Life Coaches for needed support.
What are Some Typical Reasons Someone Might Work with a Coach?
The International Coach Federation includes coaching as an option of support for those with mental health disorders. There are many reasons that an individual or team might choose to work with a coach, including the following:
When there is something at stake (a challenge, stretch goal or opportunity), and it is urgent, compelling or exciting or all of the above.
There is a gap in knowledge, skills, confidence, or resources.
A big stretch is being asked or required, and it is time sensitive.
There is a desire to accelerate results.
There is a need for a course correction in work or life due to a setback.
An individual has a style of relating that is ineffective or is not supporting the achievement of one's personally relevant goals.
There is a lack of clarity, and there are choices to be made.
The individual is extremely successful, and success has started to become problematic.
Work and life are out of balance, and this is creating unwanted consequences.
One has not identified his or her core strengths and how best to leverage them.
The individual desires work and life to be simpler, less complicated.
There is a need and a desire to better organized and more self-managing.
How Coaching Helps in Mental Health Support
However, coaching is often used in conjunction with a therapist
also. Coaches are being used today in many areas of life and are also used in helping people with ADHD
or who have mental health
Sean was a person with ADHD had been told all his life that he was no good, that he couldn't do anything that he would amount to nothing. He believed it and lived up to it. He didn't have a job, never held a steady job, and really believed that he could accomplish nothing. A mentor who served as a coach, helped him to realize that this wasn't the case, that he did have value, that what he had been told all his life wasn’t true. He could work if he wanted to, and he could overcome his problems.
This kind encouragement, along with help with some practical matters of life, as well as help in overcoming certain self-destructive lifestyles, helped Sean to the point that he was able to hold a steady job for the first time in his life. He realized that he could be successful and accomplish something and that what he had been told most of his life wasn’t true.
A coach can provide ongoing, even daily support, helping a client through practical areas of life and helping him or her to develop coping skills in dealing with a problem or lifestyle. A person might utilize a coach daily, 15 or 20 minutes every day, or once or twice a week for an hour or two.
Compassion goes a long way for anyone going through mental health difficulties. Many adult clients have often stated that it was a coach who was the first person to understand the frustration of their challenges, but also they were the first person to sincerely believe all of their stories concerning their difficulties. Having a sympathetic, non-judgmental listener, who sincerely believes one’s point of view, is an essential component of overcoming even serious mental health disorders.
If the person with whom you might confide is also in a position to take action, hospitalize, change one’s medications, in some way administer something that might infringe on one’s self-determination, it can effect what is needed to keep open communication. This is why coaching can be a positive step for open communication for many. It is said to be a relationship “more conducive to personal encouragement and motivation than the traditional doctor/patient relationship. The skilled coach provides an environment for open and honest communication.”
Benefits of Coaching for Mental Health Support
- It provides needed and continuous support.
- It helps clients identify their strengths.
- It assists to guide the client and help him or her to build self-esteem.
- It helps to contribute to a safe environment and can help a person out of isolation.
- It can help a client develop strategies for overcoming problems and improving the quality of life.
A coach is there to help a client develop pragmatic solutions to problems, help him or her with problem solving, how to get life back on track, develop a plan to accomplish his or her goals and putting these into action, developing and implementing practical coping and healing strategies.
The coach can help with specific lifestyle issues, how to get enough sleep, good diet
, keeping TV time down to a minimum, to develop an exercise schedule, encouragement to quit smoking
or keep off of alcohol
or drugs. Some coaches work only by phone, some will go to your home and help there as well in organizing bills, the home office or room, and paperwork. For some it can be a vital link of support. Coaching can be a part of an arsenal of natural remedies, person-to-person, that can give someone the strength and determination to succeed.
Helping Young People to Focus is a Critical First Goal for ADHD Coaches
Dennis Carothers is a coach in Massachusetts, who said that he felt that for adolescents the most important thing was that youths with such challenges needed to “recognize pressure situations at school and at home, socially, to identify them and reduce them.” It is “a critical first step to help them to focus.”
How Mentoring Helps
A mentor can give valuable support to a young person or to anyone struggling with ADHD symptoms or other mental health disorders. A mentor can come from a organization designed for that purpose such as Big Brother or Big Sisters, or it can come from the local community, family or extended family, religious organization, or from a teacher or counselor. The mentor provides ongoing support by telephone or otherwise to the one needing help. In some respects the mentor provides the services of a coach in an informal setting.
A mentor should be non-judgmental, supportive and help to build the self-esteem of the individual he or she is mentoring, at the same time, respecting boundaries of privacy and personal determination and decision making of the one he may be assisting. Additionally, if there are family involved other than the individual needing support, respect and deference must be given to the immediate family, as well as cooperation between all involved. Cooperation is need also if there is professional support being provided to the individual. Because the role of the mentor might not be professionally mandated, the mentor must always strive to keep the delicate balance in assisting someone who needs support and self-monitoring his or her own, most likely, informal role in providing needed assistance.
ADHD Coaching and Mental Health Coaching Organizations
- (off-site links)
ADD Coach Academy
ADHD Coaches Organization
Institute for Advancement of AD/HD Coaching - IAAC
International Coach Federation - ICF
Nurtured Heart Approach Coaches List
of Coaches - Coaching for difficult children
Bipolar Disorder Coaching
Giant Steps Coaching
Off site link
Certified by ADD Coaching Academy, Slingerlands, NY.
ADHD CoachingNurtured Heart Approach
, Marc Norris - Quebec, English, French - Skpe U.S. and internationally
Pathways to Success
- AD/HD and LIFE COACHING
Elizabeth Ahmann, ScD, RN
Pages Related to Coaching and Mentoring
Art for ADHD
– Children and Adults
for mental health
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Types
16 Keys for Good Mental Health
and Depression Self Help