Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Finding My Life's Work


I am pleased and honored to be the contributing writer for the new CHADD AD/HD Coaching Blog. I will post a new blog entry every second Tuesday of the month. My hope is to cover a variety of topics that I think will be of interest and helpful to practicing coaches, to people looking for a coach, and to the public.

As many of you know, I’ve been coaching for over 15 years. What some of you might not know is how I came to be a coach. I got into coaching due to my own struggles with AD/HD. I was fortunate to have grown up in a very structured home and learned early on the importance it made in my life. However, all the structure at home didn’t prevent me from having all the same struggles and challenges that everyone with AD/HD faces when they become independent and go on to face the “real world.”

College was a huge hurdle for me, and graduate school was impossible. I had to drop out of Harvard after my first semester. It wasn’t a matter my knowing WHAT to do, it was knowing HOW to apply the skills I learned growing up. Once I was diagnosed with AD/HD and went on a trial of medication, everything fell into place. I finally was able to APPLY the skills I had learned from my father.

As the saying goes “people attract people like themselves.” Before I knew it I was helping others by passing on the lessons I learned growing up. I saw how these strategies and methods my father used to keep me on track made a difference in other people’s lives. Essentially I was doing a form of coaching to help my fellow classmates with AD/HD as well as setting the groundwork for what would become my life’s work—coaching!

So, what is AD/HD coaching and how can a coach help a person with AD/HD?

AD/HD coaching is a dynamic methodology that aims to nurture the client’s ability to self-initiate change in his or her daily life. It is a supportive, practical, concrete process in which the client and coach work together to identify and pursue goals. Coaching helps individuals with AD/HD develop the structures necessary to function effectively and to learn practical approaches to the challenges of daily life.

This goal is ultimately accomplished by using strength-based strategies and the client’s own innate creativity to solve problems. The coach provides structure, feedback, and encouragement to keep the learning process a dynamic one. This is done until the client increases self-awareness, builds an arsenal of strategies to draw upon, and develops the confidence in his or her own ability to self-manage.

AD/HD coaching focuses on the specific needs of the individual being coached. Like all coaching, it is a supportive, goal-oriented process in which the coach and the client work to develop the tools, strategies and confidence necessary to help the client reach his or her potential. The AD/HD coach is trained and experienced in working with people with AD/HD and is capable of helping them develop strategies that maximize the talents of the AD/HD brain and compensate for the individual difficulties the client experiences.

Typically, AD/HD coaching helps individuals with AD/HD develop the structures, processes, and practical approaches necessary to meet the challenges of everyday life and excel in their special areas of talent.

I am excited to share my thoughts and experiences with all of you. If you have any questions you would like me to address please feel free to submit them.

Thank you very much for participating in this exciting venture!




  1. Hello Coach Nancy,

    I am a High School Special Education teacher finishing my masters in LD and Ed Leadership. I have struggled with my ADHD throughout my education. I myself qualified for special education in 4th grade with comorbidity of ADHD and Dyslexia. As my life is getting more demanding (teaching, higher education, wife and 3 kids) I am starting to explore the possibility of medication. Currently I am using caffeine to maintain stimulated, however, coffee and sodas are becoming less impacting. Is medication a good option or should I tone down my life activities?



  2. Hi Coach Nancy,

    My younger son Nick has ADHD and I am currently in school for psychology and hope to continue on to some sort of ADHD therapy for ADHD coaching for other parents going through the same struggles I have gone through with Nick. I look forward to following your blog!

  3. Hi Nancy,

    This is really great. I've signed up to follow and wanted to invite you to follow my own blog at http://redefininghelp.blogspot.com/. Looking forward to meeting you!

    Dr. Abigail Levrini
    Psych Ed Coaches
    AD/HD Coaching & Counseling

  4. I am especially desperate to find some simple practical structural techniques on how to handle personal finaces for a single adult with ADHD who can not take medication.
    Sue Bee
    BA, MEd, Ed.S.

  5. Where Can I find a good AD/HD coach in Atlanta area. My 16 yr old needs this desperate;y

  6. Dear Nancy,

    I'm a fan and enjoyed the book that you wrote with Patricia Quinn and Theresa Maitland, "Coaching College Students with AD/HD." Although it is written for people who work with college students, I think it is also important for parents to read before their child with ADHD leaves home.

    I am looking forward to following your blog.

    Best Wishes!
    Maureen McKay

  7. I am so looking for ward to following your blog as I have a husband and a daughter with ADHD and I am constantly looking for information and helpful tips. I am somewhat of a structured person and it is a constant challenge for me to try to "think out of the box". When one is more structured (as I am), it is so difficult to constantly come up with creative alternatives to help my daughter and husband.

  8. Please address what a Mom is to do with the incredable amount of paperwork that kids get from school especially when school ends. I struggle with what to save, how much, keep it for the next kids, or save as momentos.

  9. I can't find "Finding a Coach" listing; so I can obtain a coach.

  10. I am a 25-year old with ADHD. I am unemployed, and have no health insurance. I can't afford coaching and I can't afford medication. I am trying to balance a job search with applying to schools so I can finally finish my bachelors. Are there any free services for me? Or am I basically SOL because I'm poor?