If you or a loved one has ADHD, you have probably tried a bunch of technological and other tools to get some structure into your work and personal life. You want to get organized! You may or may not have thought about hiring an ADHD coach to help support your efforts. ADHD Coaching is an effective and often overlooked strategy for dealing with adult ADHD.

I recently had the pleasure of talking to ADHD Coach, Jo Ann Skinner, PCC. Jo Ann is a certified coach based out of Wilmington, NC. She is a coach that helps clients open doors to growth by focusing on self awareness, setting priorities, capitalizing on strengths, and breaking down negative self-talk.

What led you to ADHD coaching? 

JS:  In 2006, my 17-year-old daughter was diagnosed with ADHD. She is a wonderfully creative, intelligent kid that was having a hard time in school and we didn’t understand why. After her diagnosis, coaching was recommended. We sought out the services of a coach in the next town who just so happened to be a training coach as well.

In working in collaboration with the ADHD Coach, she told me that she thought I might be good at coaching. In 2009, after extensive training, I left my marketing company where I had been working exclusively with the National Cancer Institute and began my coaching career full-time. I wanted to help other families. This experience has truly unfolded a whole new world for me.

What do you do as an ADHD Coach? 

JS:  I support people with ADHD to get the results they long for in life. I help to normalize what my clients are going through. We work on tools and strategies to better structure their life. The first step is for clients to look at their “whys” or reasons for wanting a more organized and structured life. I want to help unlock their own creative awareness.

Who typically uses your services? 

JS:  Often my clients are women who have just had their kids diagnosed with ADHD and notice that they have the same issues. Many clients are referred by their therapists. Then, there are clients who know they have ADHD and also know their life can be better, more balanced. They are looking for tools to help them have better self-regulation and self-management.

I also work with students to support them in planning out their week, chunking out studies so there is less stress and frustration. I find it rewarding to help a student through their college application process as well. I help bring in organization and focus instead of rushing at the last minute.

What challenges do your clients generally describe? 

JS:  Procrastination and impulsiveness are big ones. I hear things like:

  • My house is a mess.
  • I am overwhelmed all the time.
  • I can’t seem to manage my time right.

What strengths do you typically see in your clients? 

JS:  Oh, so many strengths! Clients don’t always notice strengths in themselves, yet I find that they tend to be naturally creative, resourceful, and whole. I work with very caring, curious, funny, sensitive, passionate, and spontaneous people. Because people with ADHD are able to hyperfocus on topics they are interested in, they are often very good at trivia too!

What is it like to work with you? 

JS:  In the beginning, I meet weekly (most often via the phone) with clients for 3 months to create new habits with accountability built in. We spend time on tools, setting boundaries, and managing expectations. Later, we set up check-ins for ongoing accountability. It is important to me that a client feels safe, comfortable, and never judged.

What are some of your Top Tips? 

JS:  Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Set intentions. For example, decide what you want to accomplish for the day and write it down.
  • Chunk out tasks into small pieces. Break out a project into small tasks. An entire project can seem overwhelming, but the parts are manageable.
  • Set a timer. Accomplish small tasks by setting a timer for 10 or 15 minutes.

Last words

JS:  Coaching is really effective if the person is willing to work and seriously values making changes in their life. Change is more fun with a partner and coaches are on equal footing with you. It is a very collaborative process. I have seen it be a life-changing experience for people.

To contact Jo Ann Skinner, PCC you can visit her website:  www.joannskinner.com

Kate Murphy, LMSW

Kate Murphy, a therapist in Berkeley Lake, specializes in helping you decrease stress and anxiety so that you can live a more balanced, connected, and meaningful life. Kate works with individuals and couples over the age of 18 to support healing, communicating, and experiencing joy more often. www,katemurphytherapy.com