ADHD Coaching is a partnership dedicated to you. ADHD Coaching provides support and encouragement for you to follow your passion and realize the visions of your childhood.
ADHD Coaching will help you vanquish negative thought patterns and help you build strategies to master organization and time management. New confidence and a healthy self-image provide the motor to climb your personal mountains.
Your coach will listen to your stories of pain and frustration and hear your wholeness, your strengths, and hidden resources. Powerful questions open up new vistas to explore. Making choices leads to ownership instead of victimization. The result is a new awareness of self. Your coach is your loudest cheerleader, and they expect you to succeed.
ADHD Coaching startswith an inventory of where you are now and where you want to go. Many clients want some help organizing, managing time, and surviving overwhelm. You will choose two or three areas on which you want to focus in your coaching.
In following sessions, usually held once a week by telephone, a coach will hear your success report, help you explore problems that have arisen and ask you to choose and commit to your next steps for the next period of time.
A successful ADHD coaching relationship requires honesty and a willingness to change. You will do the work of creating new habits. It is important that this is important to you and not your spouse, parent or employer. A coach must be able to be honest with you. It may be hard, but important for you to learn how others see you.
Permission is granted to forward or post this content in full for use in a not-for-profit format, as long as this copyright notice and full information about the author, Sarah Jane Keyser, is attached intact. If any other use is desired, permission in writing is required. *** About Sarah Jane *** Sarah Jane Keyser worked for many years with computers as a programmer, analyst, and user trainer, but her struggle with inattentive ADD kept getting in the way of her plans and dreams. Her credentials include ADD Coach training at the ADD Coach Academy. The Newfield Network’s graduate coaching program “Mastery in Coaching” and “Coaching Kids and Teens” by Jodi Sleeper-Triplett MCC.
“Image courtesy of StuartMiles–FreeDigitalPhoto.net” Modified on Canva
The reason for making this list is that ALL (or most) AD(h)D’ers have a low self-esteem issue. I wanted to make this list to help myself as well as others.
Follow my steps to a better, more confident YOU!
After all, I made this list for my tribe!!
Let’s get started!
Your first step is STRUCTURE.
By creating structure, each day, you’re giving yourself a reason to wake up and get out of bed!
The second step echoes the first step. Set up a daily to-do list. This will give you a sense of accomplishment (it gives you a reason to be proud of yourself).
Step 3. FOCUS on your good qualities. Look in the mirror and choose 5 things about yourself that you DO like about you! Write these 5 things down and tape it to the mirror (changing the 5 things each week). By choosing 5 things you do like about yourself, you’re creating hope and mindfulness that goes deep down to create an inner peace. Inner peace leads to a sense of power and in a matter of weeks, a more confident you!
4. Be your own cheerleader! No one else will do it for you. Your only concern should be you. If you have to, tell yourself, “I can do this”, “I am going to do great”, “I AM worthy”.
5. Learn to LIKE yourself. Meditation works wonders!! Sit in a quiet place for 10 minutes and just breathe in and exhale all of that negativity.
6. Get CREATIVE. DIY projects, draw/sketch something, crochet or paint a landscape. Anything that makes you use your mind in a positive, constructive way.
7. Get ACTIVE! This means anything from exercise to walking up your street. You could also try Yoga or Karate. This activates the positive chemicals in your brain- happy vibes! If all else fails, DANCE!
Number 7 would tie in perfect for the eighth step as well, which is, SEEK SUPPORT. This can be a family member, a close friend, a Facebook support group or any other networking support groups. Enlist someone you trust to get active with you. Killing two birds with one stone is always a plus! By enlisting a close friend or relative, you’re getting the support aspect as well as working those happy brain cells. If you make this a habit and decide, “I’m not up for this today”, that partner will get your butt up and make you do it! Ah, support is great!! That brings me to number
9. All of us could use a little pep in our step and we’re not getting there by loading up on donuts. Try introducing a, once a day, healthy snack. This will promote energy and unlike donuts, won’t bog you down. With time, you can baby step your way to healthier meals. Instead of that scone in the morning, try a banana and yogurt. Protein and potassium make for a great and energizing way to start your day. An apple with peanut butter is a great option as well. Make that apple and peanut butter a snack and you have a totally guilt-free snack and an afternoon burst of energy!
10. GET OUTside or change the scenery. It’s a great way to promote a healthy mentality and a happier you.
11. TAKE CARE OF YOU! The world is an amazing place, but it’s also very stressful at the same time. Take time for yourself. Get a massage, pedicure or do something you love. (We’re nearly there!)
12. TRY SOMETHING NEW! This is a way to get out of your comfort zone. Say you decide to try Yoga, well, some of those stretches are hard to do. Go with me on this. You sign up for a class, get in there and do better than other first timers. That will boost your confidence and make you proud that you were able to try something new and excel! If you don’t do as well, hey, practice makes perfect and you’re working your way up to a brilliant confidence level while achieving a goal. That is definitely something to be proud of. It’s a double plus!
13. LEND A HAND! This is a no-brainer for me. I love helping. It makes my inner self-pleased to do something completely selfless and the reward- a smile on someone’s face. Examples of ways to help out are volunteering, helping an elder struggling to carry groceries etc. Get creative and look around. There’s always someone out there that needs a little assistance.
14. STEP IT UP. Comfort zones are hard to get away from but in order to succeed anywhere in life, you must step it up. Put on a smile (even if you’re not feeling it.) You never know who will see your smile and it impact their day and mood positively or, to go a bit further, your smile could save a life. I’m not kidding – Those people that are lonely, that never get noticed, the ones that keep a frown because no one cares – You notice. STEP IT UP, greet them. You may be preventing them from ending their life.
15. MEDITATE every morning to promote a peaceful mindset and every night before bed to promote a healthy, restful night’s sleep to wake refreshed and ready to begin your day.
16. BABY STEPS. Nothing happens overnight (Rome wasn’t built in a day), contrary to beliefs and otherwise. Start out slow and work your way up. All good things come with time, so be patient.
Finally, REINFORCE STEPS 1-16 each and every day. A healthier mind and body lead to a happier and more confident YOU!
Allow yourself to follow these steps and you will surely improve your esteem!
Just remember, I believe in you!
Self-advocacy can give you the opportunity to speak for yourself regarding your needs and help to secure the necessary support at work or school and for your personal life. We don’t have to struggle so hard. Developing self-knowledgeis the first step. ADD Coach Dana Rayburn reminds us, that, “when properly treated, ADHD loses much of its power over our lives. As adults, we can paint a new picture of who we are and what we contribute to the world…” (1)
The goal is to develop your strengths and delegate your weaknesses.
Don’t go it alone, feeling you have to prove yourself over and over again that you CAN persevere! The truth is, delegating the things you aren’t good at, or just plain don’t like, is a good idea for anyone. If you have ADHD, however, it can make the difference between constant struggle and an enjoyable, successful life.
Negotiate with other workers/family member/friends/employees for help in areas where you struggle. (Hint: Ask them for help in areas where they shine – or at least don’t mind doing with the right incentive). What can you offer or trade to make their lives easier? Make it a point of honor to follow through with your end of the deal.
1stName your challenges both at home and at work. What are your weaknesses? When and where do they cause you the most problems? For basic challenges of ADHD, refer to any ADHD symptom checklist. The official DSMV diagnostic criteria or any of the ADHD screeners we list are good choices.
It’s also important to identify the situations when problems are most likely to show up. Being in a hurry, under stress, and during times of transition between places or activities are common reasons. Certain environments can also bring out symptoms. Being unable to move about freely, noise levels and visual distractions are just a few. We often think of ADHD as involving “getting things done,” but don’t neglect to note emotional reactions and uncomfortable social interaction as challenging symptoms.
2ndKnow exactly what your strengths are. Your values, talents and skills are all contributing factors. You probably have a general idea, but the more specific you can be, the better. According to Myers Briggs Type Indicator practitioner, Nila Nealy, “You don’t need someone else to tell you what your strengths are. Your heart knows them. Still, I believe that sometimes we take them for granted or are so sucked in to the “you must be broken” viewpoint that using tools other people have created can be helpful.” (2) Don’t forget that you have friends and family that can also help you identify your strongest points. (After all, they know you, love you anyway and are probably your biggest fans)
“Give yourself permission to proceed with identifying, embracing and integrating your unique brain wiring into your life,” ~ ADD coach and trainer, David Giwerc. “The standardized ways of learning, processing information and performing may not work for you…Your job is to discover the options that naturally work for you and integrate them into your daily life…Educating others in your life about what works best for you, can help you facilitate home, school and workplace environments that…serve you.” (3)
Another reason to utilize these tools is that self-esteem is a core issue of ADHD and you may not be comfortable “claiming” your strengths without outside verification. Don’t neglect to ask those who know you well what they think are your strongest points. Your friends and family are likely to be your biggest fans. Don’t let self-denigration get in the way of accepting their positive feedback
3rdYou can’t wait until you ‘get over’ your ADHD before you start your life. Develop strategies that reshape how you approach life. Leading with your strengths rather than your weakness allows you to fully express yourself in new ways. It’s about accepting yourself and making good decisions based on what you do naturally, without struggle. It is based on getting the help that you need to highlight your ability rather than simply shoring up your weaknesses.
Tools for Discovering your Strengths
Evaluateyour assets, accomplishments and the strengths they reveal. Try these exercises from Nancy Ratey from the companion website for her self-coaching Workbook, The Disorganized Mind. (4) (Copy and paste this URL: http://www.thedisorganizedmind.com/)
Seeing Strengths – Strategize and Seeing Strengths – Copy and paste: http://www.thedisorganizedmind.com/adhdselfcoaching/answer-strategize
Goals and Abilities Worksheet – Also from Nancy Ratey – (Copy and paste this URL: http://www.thedisorganizedmind.com/adhdselfcoaching/goals-abilities-worksheet)
Strengths Finder 2.0– Buy the book ( $12 to $16 (+ S&H) Use the code within to take the online test *One use only. Your Goal? Identify your top 5 talents. (You can buy a version of the test only through another site, but the book provides great personal stories and ideas for using your strengths at work and in your social life.)
Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator Tests
MBTI is what it says it is, an indicator. It points you to the general area of preferences you have for interacting with the world, taking in information and making decisions. Some ways just may feel more natural than others. The MBTI assesses how you get energized as well as the ways you perceive and express yourself.
Official MBTI assessment with certified professionals ($50 or $150 with person-to-person feedback from a certified MBTI practitioner.
Discover your Strengths by assessing your values. – In recent years, some people have proposed that ADHD itself conveys certain strengths. In 2015, the VIA Institute on Character, in conjunction with the ADD Coach Academy, conducted a research study to identify whether there are indeed specific strengths of people who have been diagnosed with ADHD. (5) Instead, but not surprisingly, the study found that most people with ADHD had shared difficulties in areas related to impulsivity and sustaining attention. Their weakest ”Strengths” were Prudence, Self-regulation [self-control] and Perseverance. Although the qualities of Creativity, Humor, Kindness, and Teamwork did rank slightly higher in people with ADHD , their highest “Character Strengths” were uniquely individual.
What was a revelation, however, was that when individuals worked in accordance with their highest values, their weaknesses proved to be situational. That is, they were far less of a factor in getting things done when interest inspired action. As David Giwerc explains, “When you focus on what ignites your heart and your positive energy, you will always be able to self-regulate.” (6) That is why a “Strength-based” approach works so well. You can continue to struggle to “will” yourself to do work which does not inspire you, or create an environment where your interest and urgency based nervous system works with you to achieve what you desire.
VIA Youth Survey (Also FREE, but for ages 10-17) Takes approximately 10-15 minutes to complete.
VIA Reports– Take the VIA survey, but receive more in-depth reports of your personalized profile. Learn what your strengths mean and how they can help you reach a more optimal, positively fulfilled life, whether you are using for yourself or with others. ($10 for youth, $40 for adults)
During their younger years, it is the parents responsibility to speak up for his or her child to get their needs met at school. However, as therapist Louise Levine writes,
“Doing everything for your children may make you feel like a successful parent but it may not let your child be a successful person.”
“Before children leave the protective shelter of home and zealous parenting, we need to help them practice basic techniques and instill competencies that will enable them to:
Feel comfortable conversing about their disability,…
Identify their warning signs,…
Advocate for themselves,…
(Have systems in place that)… will help them…manage their lives, and
Have a sense of humor about ADHD….and their own particular foibles.” (1)
For all children, the ability to view the future with hope is central to their future success. According to the Gallup Student Poll, hope, engagement and well-being are all factors that have been shown to drive students’ grades, achievement scores, retention, and future employment. (2) For students with ADHD, knowing that they have areas of competence and strengths that can help them overcome their difficulties gives them hope.
Realizing that many of your weaknesses are not personal but symptomatic of the disorder and exploring strategies to address specific problem areas provides a sense of power and competence they may not have felt before. Knowing that asking for help is often met positively builds social trust. Being skilled in requesting options to standard requirements at school can also help students to re-engage with learning. The ability to affect their environment and how people react to them increases self-esteem and, in turn, affects their sense of well-being.
For those with ADHD, knowing there are ways around your difficulties that don’t involve constant struggle is truly liberating.
We have found a few strength assessments and self-advocacy programs that can help your teen through this process.
FREE – Interest Profiler – Discover what your interests are and how they relate to the world of work. The Interest Profiler helps you decide what kinds of occupations and jobs you might want to explore based on your interests.
Going to College.org– Designed for high school students, their My Place section offers a good selection of activities and on-line resources for identifying learning styles and personal strengths as well as exploring interests. They present basic information about why knowing your personal style is important and recommend self-evaluation as well as talking with friends, parents, and teachers about what they perceive as your strong points.
BUILDING A BRIDGE From School To Adult Life – A Handbook for Students and Family Members to Help with Preparation for Life After High School (92 page Workbook – Includes strengths and interests survey as well as self-advocacy tips)
What do you think of when trying to manage your ADHD? When starting down the path of managing their ADHD many adults, at least in the beginning, may assume they are broken.
If this is the case for you, you may focus your time and energy on trying to fix yourself. Because that is what you do when something is broken. You fix it, right?
But what if you decided you were not broken? What if instead you were able to adopt the perspective that you just operated differently? What if you decided to rely more on your strengths?
Your approach to managing your ADHD could look quite different.
Talents That Come Naturally To You
The key to managing your ADHD is to identify, build on and work in domains that utilize your strengths as much as possible, while still managing around your weaknesses when necessary.
For now let’s focus on your strengths.
One definition of strength is:
“…an innate or learned characteristic that you possess, or behavior you exhibit, that when applied consistently allows you the greatest chance of successfully reaching your goals.”
You could also say that strengths are talents that come naturally and easily to you – you do not have to work so hard to express them.
You may even possess strengths that you utilize in one area of your life that you do not yet realize can be applied to help you in other areas. It is also possible that there are things that come easy to you that you do not even realize are your strengths!
The trick, of course, is to identify these assets and examine how you can use them to help you accomplish your current goal(s).
Identifying Your Strengths
You are probably intimately familiar with your weaknesses. If you are like many other adults with ADHD, you may focus an inordinate amount of time and energy on patching up your weaknesses.
Try putting away your “sewing kit” for a bit and pick up your “weights.” I hope you will take the time now to focus on ways to identify your strengths. The ideas below can help get you started.
Before looking outside yourself try this exercise. You may be surprised by what you find.
You can answer these questions in one sitting, or you may take a couple of weeks as you observe yourself in action. No doubt, reflection takes longer than answering questions on an assessment. However, taking more time may uncover hidden strengths that a quick assessment may not reveal.
To start with the most obvious, what are your strengths? This is not the time to be modest!
What activities capture your attention and keep you consistently engaged? Often the activities that we get excited about participating in are those that use our strengths. What are the strengths related to these activities?
What types of tasks do you learn and understand quickly, and which are challenges you approach with a sense of joy? If you are a “natural” at something, there may be a strength related to the skills required by the activity. What are your strengths related to these tasks?
What are you passionate about? How are your strengths related to your passions?
Under what conditions and in what environment do you work best? When these conditions are present and you are in this environment, what strengths do you notice?
What are the strengths you can use most directly related to achieving your goals?
If you are not able to complete this exercise on your own, ask one of your “fans,” such as a friend or family member, to help you. Who would you ask? If you have someone in mind, ask him or her to help.
After reflecting on your strengths, you may be curious enough to go beyond these questions in order to learn more about your strengths.
It is also important to remember that your ADHD symptoms can be strengths. Whether your ADHD symptoms are strengths or weaknesses depends on the context. To identify how your symptoms are strengths think about how they help you in various domains.
For example, my willingness to take risks, persistence, creativity, energy and sense of humor have been instrumental in my business success. But that same energy and humor, if not managed well, can be a distraction in some settings, like in “very serious meetings.”
What strengths do you have that come from your ADHD? In what context(s) can they serve you?
The Kolbe A Index measures your instinctive way of doing things, your strengths. You can use this information in both your personal and professional life. ($49)
DiSC is another assessment that gives you insight into your behavior and personality, designed primarily to help you understand yourself and colleagues in the workplace. ($29)
By finding out your personality preference as measured by the MBTI you can make decisions about your current environment and future goals. ($50) More information on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
The StrengthsFinder 2.0 is also a popular assessment to uncover your strengths. You can find a free strength assessment along with a 20-minute video by Marcus Buckingham, co-author of Now Discover Your Strengths, here. ($12 to $16 for the book – Includes code to take the online test. Use the book for reference and further study into how to use your strengths.)
Imagine The Possibilities!
Theoretically, I think you could do many things you want, given the right amount of persistence, dedication, and time.
However, I am just as interested in your journey as I am in you reaching your end goal(s). And, if you also think the quality of your journey is just as important as reaching the finish line, then using your strengths along the way is critical.
Because when you are operating from your strengths you are more in flow and life is just easier. As Dr. Seligman, founder of the Positive Psychology Movement notes, using your highest strengths leads to…
more positive emotions
more engagement in life
and more accomplishments
Wouldn’t that be nice?!
Once you know your strengths you can make choices that will work best for you in creating the life you want.
What Is Next?
Ok, so you know that knowing and utilizing your strengths is helpful. Great. But now you may be wondering, “After I figure out my strengths what do I do?” Here are a few options to ponder.
Choose What You Do
Put yourself in situations where you can apply and use your strengths.
If you have some freedom in what tasks you do at work, think about choosing those that will draw on your strengths. Likewise, if you are considering a career / job transition, incorporate what you know about your strengths into your decision.
Another example is volunteering outside of work. You may be afraid of getting stuck with some administrative task, if you offer to help. So, if being outgoing is one of your strengths, offer to greet new members at the meetings. And when asked to take minutes say, “no!” Well, maybe say, “No, thank you, but I can do…”
Where else can you put yourself in the “right situations” that rely on your strengths?
Negotiate, Delegate, Barter, Decline…
There are things that need to get done both at work and at home. Ideally, everyone would just get to do those things that play to their strengths. That will likely not happen for you, right?
But once you know your strengths you can be more strategic. And start to think about how you could spend more time and energy doing tasks that draw on your strengths.
ask to “trade” tasks with someone for one that better suits your talents?
delegate a task so you have more time for others that suit you better?
barter for a task that will use your strengths?
just say, “no,” so you have more time to operate in domains that use your gifts?
Just because you have been doing things a certain way up until now doesn’t mean you have to continue that way.
What could you change up?
Become More Skilled
We know that strengths are not fixed. They can both grow stronger or atrophy. It is up to you.
As you discover your strengths you could choose to focus your attention on a particular strength to make it stronger, if you think it would serve you. Because strengths can be learned, practiced and cultivated.
What is one strength you have that you would like to improve?
ADDed Perspectives Bottom Line
When you are using your strengths you will be fueled by the motivation that comes with performing tasks that come easier to you.