Ask the Experts

Q: “Can a Life Coach Help My Teen with ADHD Behaviors?”

ADHD coaches teach their clients strategies and tricks for functioning better in the world. For high school students with ADHD, this may mean getting to class on time, studying more effectively, learning to resolve family conflicts, and even doing laundry. Learn how to find the right coach for your teen.

Q: “How do I find an ADHD coach who is a good fit for my 15-year-old son?” – ADHDMom


I am thrilled to be answering this question! With students transitioning to online learning platforms and having to work more independently than ever before, I see first-hand the benefits that an ADHD coach can have in helping teens with ADHD feel more empowered and in control. The right coach can teach a student the skills they need to succeed in learning and in life, especially now.

Notice that I said the “right coach.” Here is some food for thought:

1. Make sure the coach you find specializes specifically in high school students. Some might disagree with me, but as a coach who specializes in college students, my focus is narrow and deep. I’m very dialed in to what they are experiencing both in the classroom and on campus.

2. As a coach of teens, I believe it is just as important to focus on the “life” stuff as it is to focus on the academics. And sometimes even more so. A wise man once told me that college was 30% academics and 70% everything else. And it was that 70% that was going to be critical toward my success in the “real world!” And he was right!

Many of my sessions with students don’t even touch on study skills or time management. We spend our time talking about balancing social concerns, how to handle a dispute with their parents, or even how to handle money or do laundry. If this is important to you and your son, seek out a coach who believes the same.

[Pandemic Stress Has Upended Life. Maybe an ADHD Coach Can Help.]

3. Give your son a few coaches to try on for size. I can’t stress this enough. The coaching relationship is a very personal one, so you want to make sure you find the perfect fit. Set up two or three virtual meetings with prospective coaches and give your son the chance to try them on for size. Tip within a tip? Don’t let your son make a decision right on the spot. Have him interview everyone before deciding. As a coach, I do the same. I always tell the family I need time to process our meeting and will get back within 24 hours.

4. Ask about process. Every coach coaches differently. For example, it is critical for my relationship with my students that they check in with me multiple times a week. Being able to support them when and where they need it the most is essential to my work and their growth. So make sure to ask specific questions about each coach’s process. This will be essential to the success of your son.

Here are also a few wonderful resources for you to explore so you can find the right fit for your son:

  • JST Coaching & Training: I received my coach training with Jodi, the founder, who is a pioneer in the field of student coaching. Her site also includes a find-a-coach directory.
  • The Edge Foundation: This organization’s vision is to give every student — specifically non-traditional learners with executive functioning challenges — a coach, so they can realize their full potential.
  • The ADDitude Directory: Have you checked out ADDitude’s directory? Their listings for coaches and other ADHD professionals are easy to use.

Good luck!

[Read This Next: The 7 Most Essential Benefits of ADHD Coaching]

ADHD Family Coach Leslie Josel, of Order Out of Chaos, will answer questions from ADDitude readers about everything from paper clutter to disaster-zone bedrooms and from mastering to-do lists to arriving on time every time.

Submit your questions to the ADHD Family Coach here!

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