by Linda Walker, PCC, ACCG
Coaching presence is a must-have for all successful coaching relationships. As ADHD coaches, not only must we ensure we are fully present and engaged, we are often also required to assist our ADHD clients to be fully present, which can be a challenge.
ADHD Adds Challenges
ADHD clients are often inattentive and may be distracted by their environment. As ADHD coaches we must listen to ensure our clients are paying attention to what’s happening in the session. We increase our clients’ chances of staying engaged by being fully engaged ourselves and by making the session highly interactive. While mirroring our clients’ energy is a great way to build rapport, bringing our energy up a notch or two, especially for our non-energetic clients, ensures the session stays engaging.
Our ADHD clients may also be impulsive and follow every thought they have, jumping from one subject to another, making the focus for the session elusive. As clients divert from the agenda, we must revisit the agenda to ensure they are still strongly committed to the session’s coaching agreement.
ADHD Coaches Empower Their Clients to Tap Into Their Strengths, Values, Vision and Higher Self
A lifetime of trying to overcome their weaknesses means ADHD clients may not be aware of their strengths and values,nor are they likely to acknowledge their progress and accomplishments. Our engaged presence allows us to notice these and reflect them back to our clients, helping them not only take notice of their brilliance but to also celebrate who they are. In the process of taking notice and celebrating their accomplishments, we also empower clients to acknowledge and tap into their own strengths.
Empowering our clients also means recognizing they are the expert of their lives, leading them to see their own wisdom and to trusttheir intuition. As ADHD coaches, we bring our expertise in coaching and our understanding of ADHD and we may feel tempted to “tell” clients what to do. However, when we help them tap into their own wisdom and trust their intuition, we contribute even more to their growth.
Masterful ADHD Coaches Manage Strong Emotions
Of course, life as an ADHDer is far from rosy. At times our clients may struggle with difficult challenges. Faced with these, masterful ADHD coaches acknowledge the challenge with empathy, help the client seethe challenge in the context of ADHD, and help them see new perspectives and opportunities for growth,without trying to downplaya negative situation or put a positive spin on it.
At times, clients may come into a session demonstrating strong emotions. ADHD coaches need to first manage their own thoughts and emotions. We must provide a space for the client to express these emotions and recognize, as Don Miguel Ruiz statesin his book The Four Agreements, that
“Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream.”
There is much more that can be said about ADHD coaches’ presence but the following definition of being fully engaged summarizes it well:
“To be fully engaged, we must be physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused and spiritually aligned with a purpose beyond our immediate self-interest.”
Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz (The Power of Full Engagement