PAAC kicked off our series on the ADHD coaching competencies with Master Certified ADHD Coach and PAAC president Barbara Luther discussing the third competency in the section titled Partnership — Establishes a strong partnership with the client.

This competency is central to all coaching partnerships and sessions because a coaching partnership must establish some early agreements about what the client wants from the coaching, how the coaching relationship will work, and the specific parameters of the coaching relationship.

In this session, we discussed those early overall relationship agreements — how you and the client will work together, the need for a written and signed agreement, then how to help our clients identify initial short and long-term objectives they want to reach in the context of understanding that our ADHD clients may find it difficult to identify and articulate their goals.

The competency also refers to clarifying with the client that he or she is ultimately responsible for his/her decisions, actions, and results. Good coaching always keeps the responsibility, accountability, and authority with the clients or helps clients become empowered to own their lives, goals, and dreams, in the case of young ADHD clients.

Even when it comes to supporting our clients and holding them accountable, we must explore with the client what supports and accountability they want and need. While the coach may be the client’s early accountability, our long-term goal as coaches is to help our clients learn to create their own support systems and accountability partners.

Finally, once the overall coaching relationship has been established and short and long-term goals identified, then we have specific session agreements to get each time we meet with our client. We want to clarify and reach agreement on the client’s desired outcome(s) for the session and even explore how the client will determine the success of the session. This is essential to do in each session because without a clear desired outcome to work toward, a coaching session can meander and leave both parties dissatisfied.

When you are testing for certification, it’s unlikely that you’ll get to demonstrate setting the relationship and long-term objectives. In one oral coaching session, it will be the session agreement that you’ll demonstrate.

Sometimes our ADHD clients will come to sessions unclear what they want from the coaching or overwhelmed, and just assisting them to find clarity or process toward clarity can be a useful desired outcome. We also want to help our clients understand how their session topic and desired outcomes fit into their overall goals. I’ve found it’s often very insightful to ask, “If we reach this outcome today, what will that do for you?” or “How will our reaching this goal move you closer to your long-term goal?” or “Why this topic today?” Having context for what we’re trying to reach often helps us create even more value within the session.

We had a fun discussion on this competency, and we encourage you to listen to the recording.

Watch for the monthly talks coming up on other PAAC ADHD coaching competencies!