Choosing Professionals

The ADHD Coach: A Personal Trainer For Your Brain

What is an ADHD coach and how could an ADHD coach help you? Learn more about this popular treatment option for people with ADHD.

Goal Setting For ADHD Adults: Be Your Own Life Coach
Goal Setting For ADHD Adults: Be Your Own Life Coach

ADHD Coach Sandy Maynard is one of a growing number of personal coaches committed to helping clients with attention deficit disorder (ADHD). One of the pioneers of the coaching industry, Sandy has several high profile clients in the Washington DC area.

Sandy also has a unique perspective on coaching that comes from both being a coach and having used an ADHD coach. After working on developing curriculum for people who are interested in becoming coaches for over a year, she decided that she needed to follow her own advice and hire a coach.

“I wasn’t getting anything accomplished,” she said, “so I hired a coach to help.” Her coach provided the support and consistency that Sandy needed. “It’s helpful to know that you’re not going at it alone,” says Sandy.

Not all coaches work on such specific goals. Some people enlist the help of a coach to help with the day to day tasks that seem to overwhelm many of us who have ADHD. A coach won’t pay your bills for you, but he or she can help you to set up a system whereby your bills get paid. Coaches may also assist in helping you get organized and on track. Coach Linda Anderson has a list of practical, day-to-day activities that might benefit from coaching.

While some coaches focus on daily living, others prefer to provide more generalized help for the ADHD person.

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Twila Gates, an RN who has also been trained as an ADHD Coach, emphasizes that coaching is a practical and structured process that should touch most life areas, including physical improvement, emotional/intellectual growth, community/social skills, education, career/business, finances, environment, values/mission, spirituality and re-creation.

Twila explains that coaching is more than just a quick fix. “Your Coach will offer tools and assist you with structured and realistic goal setting.” She lists several other areas that could benefit from the help of a professionally trained coach, including…

  • Strategic planning & perspective
  • Making conscious & wise choices
  • Time, task & space management
  • Motivation & follow-through
  • Developing systems for success
  • Healthy communications & relationships
  • A deeper understanding and love of self
  • Steps toward a simplified and more orderly life
  • Achieving a balanced, healthy lifestyle” Twila can be contacted at .

Coaching sessions may be held face-to-face or from a distance. Sandy, who lives in Washington DC, coaches over the telephone. She has clients as far away as Israel. Terry Matlen is the woman behind A.D.D. Consults , a service that offers consultations and other services primarily through email. Terry’s web site also has ADHD resources that are not directly related to coaching, such as news and information.

[Your Expert Overview: Choosing the Right Professional to Treat ADHD]

Finding a Coach Who Works for You

Anyone who ever played Little League Baseball can tell you that while anyone can wear a coach’s hat, only a few actually know how to play the game. The same is true of ADD Coaches. The National Attention Deficit Disorder Association recently released Guiding Principles for Coaching Individuals with Attention Deficit Disorder, a document developed by a committee of coaches led by Nancy Ratey, one of the leaders in the area of ADD coaching.

Ratey hopes that the Guiding Principles will lead to some form of national credentialing and regulation for the industry. However, there is currently no regulating body governing who or what a coach should be.

Perspective coaches may enroll in training to develop specific skills and coaching techniques. David Giwerc, Founder and President of The ADD Coach Academy offers a nine-month program that includes specific instruction on how to deal with ADHD challenges like procrastination, prioritizing, and other problems.

The Optimal Functioning Institute trains coaches through an extensive program called ADHD Coach Training. Typically, an OFI Coach will have completed 18-22 months of training before being certified by the organization.

Current tuition for OFI is about $3,000. The cost and the effort involved tends to weed out those people who are not serious about the program or who are looking to make a quick buck. Graduates of OFI training have demonstrated an understanding of and a commitment to the special needs of people with ADHD.

How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Coach?

Like most things, the price of coaching will vary depending on which coach you choose and how much you want them to do. But, as Sandy points out, it could be that you pay a little to save a lot. How much money do you pay each month for some or all of the following:

  • credit card finance charges
  • late payment fees
  • overdraft protection fees
  • returned check fees
  • penalty for late filing of income taxes
  • parking tickets
  • ticket for not renewing car tag on time
  • penalty for same
  • take-out food
  • eating out
  • vegetables/fruit rotting before you ever eat any of it
  • laundromat because you haven’t called repairman for the washing machine
  • auto repair because you didn’t keep up with maintenance
  • library fines
  • late-return fines for videos and games
  • impulsive buying of non-necessary items
  • purchase of exercise equipment which is never used
  • other avoidable expenses

Having a coach doesn’t mean that you will never have another late charge on your credit card bill or that you will remember to balance your checkbook. But it could mean that you learn to use your time and money to do the things that you enjoy doing without having to worry about what you should be doing instead.


Updated on May 24, 2019

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