Leslie Josel is the Principal of Order Out of Chaos, an organizing consulting firm specializing in student organizing. She is the author of several books, including the recently published How to Do It Now…Because It’s Not Going Away, as well as the creator of the award-winning Academic Planner: A Tool for Time Management.
I’m thrilled to be answering this question! I work all day long with students and see first-hand the benefits of an ADHD coach in helping students feel more empowered and in control. The right coach can teach a student the skills they need to be successful in learning and in life.
Notice that I said the “right” coach. Here is some food for thought when picking a coach for your son.
- Make sure the ADHD coach specializes in college students. Some might disagree with me, but as a coach who specializes in college students, my focus is narrow and deep. I’m plugged in to what my clients are experiencing in the classroom and on campus. In other words, I speak their language.
- A college coach should focus on the “life” stuff as much as the academics— and sometimes even more so. I tell my students that college is 30% academics and 70% everything else – and it’s the everything else that will be critical for success in the real world.
Many of my student coaching sessions don’t ever touch on time-management or study skills. We spend time talking about balancing social concerns, roommate disputes, advocating for themselves, crafting an email to their professors, 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.
- Give your son a few ADHD coaches to try on for size. I can’t stress this enough. The coaching relationship is a very personal one; so you want the best fit. Set up two or three virtual meetings and give your son the chance to interview them. (Tip within a tip: Don’t let your son make a decision right on the spot. He needs time to process all the meetings before making his decision. As a coach, I do the same.)
- Based on what’s important to you (e.g., accountability, regular appointments, etc.), make sure you ask about the coach’s process because every coach coaches differently. For example, my students are required to check in with me multiple times during the week. Being able to support them when and where they need it is essential to my work and their growth. Some coaches only see their students once a week. Some coaches require parental involvement; others don’t. There’s no wrong way to coach. You just want to find one that will fit the needs of your son.
Here are a few resources that may help you find the best coach for your son.
- Jodi Sleeper-Triplett Coaching & Training: I received my coach training with Jodi, who is a pioneer in the field of student coaching. Her site also includes an ADHD Student Coach Directory.
- Have you checked out ADDitude Magazine’s Coach Directory? Their listings for student coaches and other ADHD professionals are easy to use.
- The Edge Foundation: This organization’s vision is to give every student – specifically non-traditional learners with executive functioning challenges – a coach.
- Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD): Their professional directory is chock full of coaches.
Related Smart Kids Topics
- ADHD Coaching: Can It Work for Your Child
- Helping Kids with ADHD Succeed in College
- Keys to College Success