Feb 18, 2009

What is an ADHD Coach & How do I Find One?

After reading one of my recent posts, Effectiveness of Personal Coaching for ADHD College Students, a reader asked.....

I would love to know more about this ADHD-coaching thing. It seems there are such a variety of people involved when your child is diagnosed, and having one person to be a clearing house for all that information and help you look at how to integrate all the advice you are getting would be great. Any idea how to get one?

I love it when you all ask questions! It gives me a reason to dig a little deeper and do some research. That is exactly what I did to find the answer to this reader's question.

First of all, I wanted to find the proper definition of an ADHD coach. According to the ADD Resources website, the definition is as follows:

Coaching is an emerging field that seeks to help individuals accomplish their life goals. The coaching relationship is intended to help people achieve better results in their lives: academically, professionally, socially, or in any area of life they want to improve. Through individualized assistance and support, coaches help people concentrate on where they are now, where they want to be, and how they can get there.

Another definition that goes into more detail can be found on the same website. It states:

"An ADHD coach is a professional trained to guide and support a person in overcoming the challenges of living with ADHD at work, at school, and at home. Specifically, ADHD coaches help their clients:

  • Create structures and tools to stay on track
  • Improve organizing skills and design organizing systems
  • Plan projects, get clear on tasks and manage time
  • Increase self-awareness
  • Set and reach their goals
  • Improve crucial lifestyle habits such as diet, sleep, and exercise
  • Improve relationship and communication skills"

ADHD coaching can take place face-to-face or by telephone or a combination of the two. It all depends on which works best for you.

Generally, an ADHD coach has received his/her certification from an accredited source. One leading source is the International Coach Federation (ICF). The ICF "is the leading global organization dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high standards, providing independent certification, and building a worldwide network of credentialed coaches." While they do not offer a coaching specialty in ADHD, they do offer courses relevant to it.

You will often see initials after a coaches names to signify that they have indeed graduated from a coaching training course. To help you determine watch these initials mean, here's a list:

  • MCC—Master Certified Coach the highest credential issued by the ICF.
  • PCC—Professional Certified Coach the mid-level credential issued by the ICF.
  • ACC—Associate Certified Coach the basic credential issued by the ICF.
  • ACT—ADHD Coach Training showing that the coach is a graduate of the Optimal Functioning Institute's comprehensive training program for ADHD coaches.
  • CAC—Certified ADDCA Coach showing the coach is a graduate of the ADHD Coach Academy's comprehensive training program.

There are other coaching training courses out there like the ADD Coach Academy, the Edge Foundation and the Optimal Functioning Institute.

The cost of coaching varies greatly. As with many other professions, the more experience a coach has, the more he will charge. Also, meeting with a coach one on one will be more costly than attending group coaching sessions. Phone coaching will often be less expensive than face to face meetings as well. These services are generally not covered by most insurance companies.

Finding the right ADHD coach is critical to the success of the child/coach relationship. There are several sites that can help you locate a coach in your area. Each site enables you to search by specialty (adult, child, business, etc.) and state or country.
The Edge Foundation also offers ADHD coaches specifically for students. They provide a form on their website to request more information and to receive help in finding your child a coach.
I would suggest you interview several coaches before deciding on one. Questions that may be useful during this interview process include:

  • How long have you been a coach?
  • Do you have coach training? And specifically, to be an ADHD coach?
  • Do you have personal experience with ADHD?
  • What kinds of clients do you work with most often?
  • What do you expect from your clients?
Well, I truly hope this has answered any questions you may have about ADHD coaches. Since I do not have any personal experience using an ADHD coach, I'd love to hear from those of you who do. How long have you used one? How long did it take you to find the "right" one? Are you still using him/her?


  1. This is wonderful. Thank you!

  2. Great insight into a alternative method for managing ADHD symptoms. At one point, we all have to find an alternative way to manage ADHD besides medications. ADHD medications do not "cure" ADHD. Coaching, exercise, and diet are the three most reputable strategies to incorporate into our lives.

  3. Thanks for your great Q & A on finding a coach. It's great to know that organizations like the Edge Foundation will be around to help supplement my parenting when my 8 year old goes into high school!

  4. What a succinct and accurate summary of ADHD coaching! Your research and depth of information is impressive. As an ADD coach (and an ADD woman), I appreciate your honest and balanced presentation as well as your recognition that coaching CAN be an important part of ADHD treatment/coping/strategy.

  5. This is a nice, thorough and organized article about coaching. Coaching is underutilized and should be used not only for those with ADHD but by others with mental health disorders. Overcoming ADHD Without Medication lists coaching, tutoring and mentoring as support services that parents should consider for their children with ADHD. It can make a difference. https://www.createspace.com/3410900


Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I love comments and feedback!