The ADD or attention deficit mind is always seeking stimulation and gets off task easily. I have talked to many people, adults and children, who intended to finish the job or homework assignment but just couldn't complete the final step or two. Sometimes the homework or project was done but not turned in
The ADD mind is often creative and high-powered but poor planning skills and inconsistent follow-through lead to missed opportunities in school, careers and relationships. I have heard it said that ADD is an intention problem as well. Attention that is not applied intentionally, in a goal-directed way, will not lead to desired results.
In addition, forethought is problematic for the ADD mind, which thrives on the excitement of the moment. It trades the boredom of the future for the pleasure of the now. Planning ahead requires suspending excitement and projecting into the future in order to formulate a plan and set up a sequence of sub-goals that will ultimately lead to larger goals. Goal completion is challenging especially when the tasks or sub-goals are boring or mundane. This is not so bad when there is little at stake, but when a job or relationship is not given the attention it needs, significant problems can arise.
An ADD coach can help provide the supervision and accountability needed to set goals and structure the follow-through that is critical for goal attainment. A coach is typically a professional who has experience and training in treating ADD related problems. Often a therapist, the coach may also have a background in psychology or a related behavioral science.
Many times the unofficial coach of school-age children is a parent. This can lead to great frustration and put tremendous strain on the relationship. I have met some parents who have successfully navigated the line between parent and coach but unfortunately too many times a parent ends up doing too much of the work. I will frequently tell a client who is not putting in the work needed to reach his or her goals that I refuse to do more work than he or she does. The same is true for ADD coaching. It is the responsibility of the individual to develop the necessary organizational skills and self-discipline needed to succeed.
It can be wise to remove the emotional intensity that often enters into the parent and child relationship by hiring a clinician who has experience with ADD coaching. The ADD mind does not always do a good job of self-supervising. A coach can provide the necessary structure and follow-up required until new skills are incorporated into a functioning goal achievement strategy. A coach is part drill instructor, part teacher, and part cheerleader.
A coach will meet with a client and assist with goal identification and development. Together client and coach will make a list of measurable and attainable goals and a structure will be established for monitoring and adjusting strategies as necessary. Regular face-to-face meetings and intermittent brief phone calls provide regular and close contact to keep the ball rolling. Barriers to goal attainment are addressed and successes are celebrated and used to fortify self-esteem and reinforce functional behaviors.
Coaching is one way to help people with ADD reach their true potential and feel good about their talents and abilities.