Before I became a certified ADHD/executive function coach I spent a lot of time volunteering in my son’s school. His elementary school classes seemed to be divided into three groups: the children who followed directions and interacted appropriately, those who were able to do so with available support, and those who weren’t—they were bright and talented kids who couldn’t make themselves pay attention or sit in their seats. I spent many years helping the students who fell into the last group.
I tutored students in school, cocreated a school-based camp curriculum, and created sports camps for boys who were always on the move. These were opportunities to apply my knowledge of executive functions, student advocacy, and IEP development. Years later I looked for a profession to which I could apply over fifteen years of training and experience helping kids with executive function challenges. My degree from the University of Michigan and my career in news and public affairs seemed unconnected to my new passion. Before graduating from JST Coaching and the ADD Coach Academy I learned that my curiosity is the link.
Curiosity is as essential to good documentary interviews as it is to good coaching. When adult and student clients learn how to be curious about their ADHD they are free to explore their strengths, challenges, and goals without shame. New insight helps clients better understand their unique challenges and strengths so they’re able to develop effective strategies, skills, and confidence.
Another asset I identified through coach training is my own ADHD. When students don’t show signs of hyperactivity and are able to compensate for their inattentiveness they often go undiagnosed. Some people “fly under the radar” for decades. Without support, however, executive function challenges become increasingly difficult to overcome.
It’s important to remember the strengths associated with ADHD and executive function deficits. These unique strengths can be the reasons why people thrive in their chosen careers. The ability to work under pressure and hyper-focus, allows reporters and emergency physicians to block out the chaos around them and focus on the tasks at hand. Entrepreneurs take risks others would never consider.
The diagnosis of ADHD gave me permission to seek support and it opened the door to many effective resources. Though everyone with ADHD experiences it differently, there are commonalities. I know many of the strengths associated with ADHD and many of the challenges which can overshadow them. From the perspective of a coach and a client, I know how powerful coaching can be. It’s an honor to help others identify their strengths, overcome challenges, and move toward their goals.
Images courtesy of Morguefile.com