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About ADHD Coaching

ADHD can have a profound impact on a student’s academic, social, and daily life. At Evoke, we are dedicated to providing students with the tools they need to achieve their academic and personal goals. Individuals with ADHD often experience difficulty with self-regulation that may surface differently for each individual learner. ADHD and impaired executive function go hand in hand, and most symptoms of ADHD are fundamentally just challenges with executive function. In academic terminology, ADHD is an official diagnosis and executive function impairment is not. This weakness in the brain’s self-management system is instead referred to as executive function dysfunction.

ADHD can impact a student’s learning in one or more of the following ways:

  • Challenges paying attention and attending to important information in class
  • Trouble managing frustration and regulating emotions
  • Difficulty with self-control and impulsiveness
  • Challenges with planning and time management
  • Trouble with organization
  • High distractibility and forgetfulness
  • Difficulty holding information in working memory long enough to use it in the short term, focus on a task, and remember what to do next
  • Challenges demonstrating knowledge and ability in a testing situation, due to difficulty recalling and retrieving necessary information from memory
  • Sustaining effort and regulating alertness

As a result, students often experience gaps in their learning that affect their academic performance. Some students with ADHD process information very slowly, while others may have trouble slowing down enough to process it accurately.

What is an ADHD Coach?

An ADHD coach is a “life coach” specifically trained to help students better manage their academic and personal lives. Evoke’s approach to coaching is collaborative, supportive, and goal orientated. In close partnership with their student, an ADHD coach helps students to learn practical, research-informed skills and strategies, and to address their specific, personal needs and goals. Our coaches understand the biological underpinnings of the disorder, the core symptoms, and their comorbidity (or co-occurrence) with executive function. ADHD coaching addresses the academic, emotional, and interpersonal difficulties that are a result of these symptoms, and helps students find ways to overcome these challenges. Through individualized support, coaches help students concentrate on where they are now, where they want to be, and how they can get there.

Central to the coaching effort is regular contact. This facilitates weekly goal-setting, helping students identify the obstacles preventing them from achieving those goals, and creating a concrete plan of action to that end. We look to three categories to find solutions: executive functions, learning strategies, and supporting the student to be at their personal best. Ultimately, ADHD coaching increases self-awareness, allowing students to dig deeper and identify obstacles. Students themselves determine what it is they want, what they could improve on, and what they are willing to change in order to achieve that. To further these goals, our coaches also encourage their students to complete tasks between sessions. With a strong plan and regular check-ins to extend accountability, students are better able to realize their identified aims.

How ADHD Coaching Helps

ADHD coaching is a practical intervention that specifically targets the core impairments of ADHD, such as planning, time management, goal setting, organization, and problem solving. Coaching is an inquiry-based approach, grounded in facilitating the achievement of a student’s stated goals, in a self-determined and self-directed manner. Coaches employ open-ended questions to elicit unique, individual patterns of responses, and through this process, engage students in self-regulatory behaviour and better equip them to initiate change in their own lives. Evoke coaches students with ADHD to help them understand the opportunities and challenges of their neurodiversity. Coaching helps to establish habits that lead to accomplishing goals, teach executive function skills, and manage any obstacles they might encounter along the way.

Coaching sessions may focus on:

  • Helping students understand how the symptoms of ADHD play out in their daily, personal, and academic lives
  • Working with students to identify their personal and academic goals, and maintaining the focus required to achieve them
  • Translating abstract goals into concrete actions and creating awareness of self-sabotaging behaviours
  • Raising students’ awareness of what they could and are willing to do differently to meet their goals, and which research-informed strategies might fit best
  • Creating conditions under which student motivation is likely to arise and learning to use concrete and abstract rewards as motivation
  • Providing encouragement, feedback and practical suggestions to address specific challenges
  • Holding students accountable for following through on their goals and providing the external scaffolding they require to manage their executive function challenges
  • Offering reminders or suggesting time-management methods and tools for managing distractions
  • Reporting progress on the previous week’s goals, reflecting on factors enhancing and inhibiting progress, and developing a step-by-step plan for identifying and achieving the next week’s goals
  • Available resources and accommodations and how students might access them to level the playing field

Coaching Outcomes

Students who engage in coaching:

  • Develop enhanced executive functioning and self-determination skills
  • Engage in more positive thoughts and behaviors
  • Take greater responsibility for their actions
  • Use goal-attainment skills to manage stress more effectively
  • Improve study skills and learning strategies
  • Experience increased self-awareness, self-esteem and satisfaction with school and work
  • Are more likely to persist in postsecondary education and have significantly better retention and graduation rates than those that who did not receive coaching

Who is ADHD Coaching For?

Students who are ready for coaching are curious and open to learning new approaches and strategies. They must also want and be ready to make changes. As such, students must also be willing to spend the time necessary to co-create strategies for improving their habits and be willing to adhere to them to the best of their ability.