After an ADHD diagnosis, many new clients want to know, “What can I expect from coaching?” This may be especially true for adults with ADHD who are already feeling overwhelmed. They want to change their lives for the better, but they wish they could do less—not more. At Lynda Hoffman Life Coaching I will support you in making this process manageable.
So, how do you get the best results? What would lead to improved work performance, healthy relationships and financial stability? As it turns out, the best results occur when clients are prepared to do things differently.
Consider the following 6 steps:
1. Get to know your ADHD
It may be obvious, but getting a formal ADHD diagnosis is important to your success. ADHD is a neurobiological disorder and with a diagnosis , you will know definitively why you have not been able to focus at will like other people. You will learn that you did not cause your ADHD symptoms and that you are not to blame.
2. Be committed to your stretch zone
Just outside your comfort zone is the best place to make meaningful change in your life. This is where new habits are formed and self-confidence is developed. The idea is to feel the stretch, take the action anyway and celebrate. Your coach will support you in finding the balance between trepidation and effective learning.
3. Pratice neutrality
You can expect that feelings of frustration, fear and even shame may come up as you fumble with new habits. Practice responding with neutrality. Non-judgment will support you in persevering until you reach your goals. It helps to see your failures as learning opportunities, and remind yourself that nothing is personal.
4. Set reasonable expectations for yourself
Many people with ADHD take on too much at one time, become overwhelmed and then stop. Setting goals that are achievable leads to increased success. For example, overwhelmed by the piles of paper on his desk, one of my clients wanted to set up systems to keep his desk clear. For him, the first step in this goal was to purchase a scanner. Once he did that, he felt more confidence to take the next step.
5. Take action
Be prepared to take action if you want to change your life. There is no getting around this part. The plans you make with your coach are just the start; the real work takes place between sessions as you implement new, more adaptive habits. A word of caution, don’t let perfectionism stop you from practicing a new skill. Skills are developed over time. They will not be perfect the first time they are used. Instead of judging your performance, celebrate that you took a step toward something better!
6. Consider all parts of your life
Be willing to explore all areas of your life. For example, if you make a plan with your coach for improved time management without mentioning that you have a wedding scheduled in the middle of your peak work period, the plan is likely to fail. Be open to sharing what is going on in your life, even if it does not seem relevant. The best way to connect the puzzle pieces is to throw them all on the floor, then sort through them afterwards.
Remember, coaching is a partnership to improve your life. Decide to show up consistently, with openness and curiosity, and you will find the success you are looking for.
Do You Struggle with ADHD?
People with ADHD know that willpower alone does not change their ability to get things done. Why is this? The problem is due to human brain chemistry, which automatically shifts one way when we think about something we enjoy, and another way when we anticipate doing something we don’t really want to do. In either case, the change in the brain is not something we control consciously.
But there is good news: to get our brain chemistry to its optimal place, we need to think of what gives us pleasure. If you’re an adult with ADHD, finding what interests you becomes an imperative, not a luxury. When you know what gives you pleasure, you can use it as motivation to persevere through tedious tasks. In this way, it acts like a tantalizing carrot.
On a deeper level, recognizing your dreams and giving them space in your everyday life is a powerful way to move forward and reach higher goals than you may have thought possible.
I have repeatedly been surprised by how much a client can overcome and get done when sufficiently motivated. The limits in front of us are often of our own making, just as much so for people with ADHD. If we tell ourselves that success is only about doing the boring tasks we find difficult to do, we keep ourselves in a box that limits our potential. By withdrawing, judging ourselves and failing to try, we keep ourselves small. But what if we allow ourselves to dream big? This is where we gather the energy to find the strategies to overcome what gets in the way. Making the dream vivid by visualizing it, feeling it, sensing it and breathing life into it is a good way to change our brain chemistry. When we operate from this place, we give ourselves a well of energy for getting started, monitoring progress and continuing to the end. We can then learn to notice without judgment. “Oops, I’m off track, but my trip to the Amalfi coast is out there. Oh the colours, the smells and textures! Better get back to work.”