July 18, 2023

My Spicy Thoughts on the Coaching Industry

Have you been considering a career change? Thinking about becoming an ADHD coach like me? Well, this episode is for you!

What this is not: a perfect fantasy with puppies, rainbows and unicorns.

What this is: my raw and honest truth about the pros and cons of the business.

It seems like having ADHD and/or becoming a life coach is very “trendy” right now. While it’s exciting to see growth and societal acceptance in these areas, this can also bring in some shady characters who see an opportunity to “get rich quick” with little to no accreditation or accountability.

The reality is that this industry is largely unregulated, held accountable only by consumers who are quickly learning who to trust and who to #unfollow. 

Maybe you have been feeling for a while that this is something you’re passionate about and want to consider as a profession. If so, then may I encourage you to seek out a credible, certified, ethical program that’s trauma-informed and specifically geared toward people with ADHD? I’m proud to say I’ve worked very hard to develop a training program for prospective ADHD coaches with a strong emotional regulation focus and an emphasis on positive thinking. There are no pre-recorded videos here. This is a high-touch, high-accountability training, exclusively reserved for members of FOCUSED only. That’s how serious I am about investing in the most dedicated people. 

Come take a look at ihaveadhd.com/coach and reach out if you’re interested in applying. 



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Kristen Carder

Welcome to the I have ADHD podcast, where it’s all about education, encouragement and coaching for adults with ADHD. I’m your host, Kristen Carter and I have ADHD. Let’s chat about the frustrations, humor and challenges of adulting relationships working and achieving with this neurodevelopmental disorder. I’ll help you understand your unique brain, unlock your potential and move from point A to point B.

Hey, what’s up, this is Kristen Carter and you are listening to the I have ADHD podcast. I am medicated, I am caffeinated. I am regulated, and I’m ready to roll. I’m here today to talk to you all about coaching. This is my once a year rant fest, where I dish out all of my spicy thoughts on the industry. And I invite you to come get trained by me as a coach. If that sounds fun, and exciting to you, great, amazing buckle up, it’s going to be a good time. If you have no interest in coaching the coaching industry or becoming an ADHD coach, no problem at all. I’m sure that there are episodes of this podcast that you haven’t listened to yet.

And I would love to invite you to check one of those out my new series, maybe I’m not the problem might be especially interesting to you. So go have a listen.

Okay, let’s get started on all things coaching, you’re ready, it’s going to be a lot. First and foremost. As I say often I love the profession of coaching. It is what I was born to do. In the last four plus years, I feel as though I’ve really come home to myself. And now I truly know why I was put here on the planet. It’s to be a coach. It’s to coach people with ADHD. I love that coaching is both a skill or a science and an art that good coaches combine technical modalities with intuition to lead their clients through transformation. I love that coaching can be so transformative. It’s changed my life. It’s changed the lives of some of the people closest to me. And I’ve watched coaching change the lives of 1000s of adults with ADHD, coaching itself as a profession. Incredible. Love it. It’s valuable. It’s important. And I love coaches, skilled coaches are some of the bravest people that I know. Good coaches are willing to study and train and learn and forge the path to do the work and then learn the skills and modalities to bring their clients along for the journey.

All of that being said the coaching industry is like kind of cringy some times there’s a lot of noise. There’s a lot of people making broad brush claims without being held accountable to back them up. There’s a lot of lifestyle influencers on social media pretending to be coaches, and there’s a lot of scammers and Grifters and people who just want your money and will give you nothing in return. It’s a lot and it’s off putting sometimes.

Sometimes I’m embarrassed, okay, sometimes just like once in a while I’m embarrassed to call myself a coach. Because of the nonsense that I see out there in the world. There are some real weirdos out there who give the profession of coaching a bad name. And this includes people that I once learned from.

Honestly, there are several people who have learned so much from who I am forever grateful to who I no longer align with ethically whose behavior is abhorrent and honestly enraging to me now. I’m not sure if they’ve changed or if I’ve changed. I think the truth is we probably both changed, and I just can no longer call them my teachers or my mentors any longer.

And so I’m sitting here holding two truths at one time, the truth that my life has completely changed for the better because of these people and the truth that I can no longer endorse them or align with them and their ethics or want to be associated with them like so I want you to know that upfront as we get into all of the SAS that’s about to come out to this episode today. People that you’ve heard me talk about on this podcast, a lot of them maybe most of them are not people that I would ever recommend to you anymore. The truth about the coaching industry is that it is unregulated. Nobody is like checking up on stuff. So people who seem to be out there for their own personal gain are really not held accountable very often.

Now, the FTC, the Federal Trade Commission is finally beginning to get involved and people like Sorry, I’m like, should I say her name or should I not okay, people like Britney Dawn are getting sued. And that’s like public knowledge but it’s rare. It’s rare because there’s no regulation within the industry at large. And I’ve gone back and forth about what I think about regulation in the coaching industry.

And honestly, right now, I’m leaning toward the belief that some sort of regulation would be really good for the profession. But suffice it to say, an unregulated industry means that anyone can wake up one day and call themselves a coach and make money for services provided and anyone with marketing skills, can sell coaching. And if you spent any time on tic toc in the last couple of years, you know that there’s a lot of people out there who are calling themselves experts and trying to sell coaching. And I always question are they experts at coaching are the experts at marketing and selling? You know, how Oh, my goodness, not only that, but ADHD has become very trendy. And it seems that everyone wants to capitalize on this the explosion of ADHD self proclaimed experts on social media, it’s been intense.

And even public figures like Simon Sinek, Mel Robbins, who I have thoughts about Trevor Noah, they’ve all come out and said that they’ve got ADHD. And on one hand, this is like so great, because it brings awareness to the disorder. And it allows more people to recognize ADHD characteristics in themselves and perhaps seek a diagnosis, get treatment make changes in their lives. Yay, big yay, that’s good.

But on the other hand, it can be a little sinister, because there are people out there in the world who are capitalizing on the ADHD trend, and trying to sell coaching or other services without having the knowledge or skills necessary, or experience to actually help people with ADHD. They simply see that ADHD is a moneymaker. Right now. ADHD is a buzzword, and they’re using their own ADHD as a way to peddle services that are not legitimate and not useful for ADHD ears.

Yikes, Yikes. Yikes. the only the only the only one holding the coaching industry accountable. My friend is you. It’s the buyer, it’s the market. Okay. It’s those of you who choose to invest or not invest in a person and their program, those are the only people that can hold coaches accountable is the market. So on the one hand, I’m so glad that coaching and ADHD are becoming more mainstream. This is such a good thing. And on the other hand, it I’m a little skeptical.

So I don’t know I don’t find it annoying that the coaching industry is growing. I mean, I wish I had known about coaching 10 years ago, I wish I’d known it was an option. I wish it would, I had known that I could get help. And I wish I knew that it was a profession. So it’s great that it’s taking off. It’s wonderful that hiring a life coach is becoming more and more mainstream and more accessible. Those are all good things. But we need credible coaches. We need credible, certified trained ADHD coaches in the world who are doing good, who are ethical, who are helping people who have the skills to help people who are not just capitalizing on the popularity of ADHD and trying to make a buck.

Now as coaching as a profession has exploded, the coach training and coach certification industry has also taken off albeit a little more slowly. But if you Google coach training programs, or coach certification programs, you’re gonna get a million hits. And I promise you, you will also start getting advertisements for Coach Training constantly.

I’m advertised to buy coaching schools all the time, and they say things like, become a certified life coach online in one day, or get a life coaching certification for $25. And this makes me so angry, like it’s absolutely ridiculous. It does our industry no favors. Like that’s just it’s yucky. It’s all yucky.

Something that I find really curious about the ADHD and just really life coaching programs that I’ve come across in general is that there’s little to no application process. This means that pretty much the only prerequisite for getting trained or certified is that you have the money to dedicate to the program. This does not sit right with me.

Why is no one screening applicants? No one is making sure that the people investing in the programs are actually good people and actually have the potential to become good coaches like this is not okay.

Something else that I’ve observed even with the very popular ADHD coach certification programs is that the training themselves are not very ADHD friendly. Oftentimes, the trainings are not set up for the ADHD brain. Some of them are over video classes, but some of them are over the phone like an actual phone call. Sometimes you’re sent a large PDF manual and you’re expected to read through the whole thing on your own.

I know more than one ADHD coach who did not complete a popular ADHD coach training program because logistically, it was just not set up to be ADHD friendly, and they couldn’t get across the finish line. I’ve got to tell you, this seems like a huge disservice to the ADHD community, especially when the program is designed to train ADHD coaches, most of whom you’ve got to assume have ADHD themselves.

I’ve been certified as a coach now by two separate schools, the training that I went through several years ago, it now cost $24,000. I’m going to repeat $24,000 for a six month training, what, what $24,000 For a six month training where you have absolutely no contact with the founder, so if you found her podcast or found her on a webinar or on Facebook, and you fall in love with her, and you want to learn from her, the only thing you’re going to get with your $24,000 investment are recorded videos and classes with students that she’s trained not with her she shouldn’t there should not there, okay, I can’t with this. I cannot.

The training that I completed this spring was an ICF accredited training. And while it was much more professional, it still was not set up in a way that worked well with my brain. The classes were three hours long. So there was that there was no cohort or community. I didn’t receive any feedback on my coaching. Okay, that’s not entirely true.

During some of the breakout sessions, the teacher popped into my breakout room and observed for two minutes, I’m not joking, two minutes, and then sent me an email with feedback based on those two minutes. I had to pay extra for actual feedback or mentorship, which I did, that’s fine. But that doesn’t even start until January. So I am certified by them. But I haven’t actually been mentored or given feedback by them.

So imagine becoming certified, but then having to pay extra for mentorship and feedback. Like why are we certifying coaches without first observing their coaching and giving feedback? What in the world? How can we know someone is worth certifying if we haven’t watched them coach through a full session, I’m getting heated up. I’m getting heated up. And this is exactly why I am training coaches now. I just see so much that can be improved upon, especially when it comes to setting up a training environment that is effective for someone with ADHD.

I’ve developed a coach training program for people with ADHD, meaning the training itself is ADHD friendly. It’s high touch and high accountability. There’s no huge PDF manual. There are no recorded classes, everything’s on video, we have a cohort and community. It works beautifully for the ADHD brain. It teaches causal coaching methods and combine several technical modalities to ensure that the student experience is robust. I’ve curated a toolkit from various psychologists and leaders in the industry that I believe are really helpful for the ADHD brain.

Why do I believe it because I’ve seen it work in myself, and 1000’s of adults with ADHD through my focused coaching program, meaning I have 1000’s of case studies to show that my coaching methods work and therefore when I teach them to my students, I have a robust history, an evidence base to lean on to say, Hey, I know that these tools work, they emphasize self acceptance with a hefty dose of self responsibility.

The tools I use include methods of observing and shifting unhelpful thought patterns, and identifying and processing emotions, we have a huge huge focus component on emotional regulation, how to understand feel process, soothe emotions, and how to help your clients do the same. It’s a causal coaching approach which gets to the root of the client struggle and helps them transform themselves from the inside out. If you’re hearing all of this and you’re like oh mg Yes, I am in I want it you can go to I have adhd.com/coach and get more details about the training. I just wanted to pop that in here now in case you want to multitask while listening to this.

Actually, who am I kidding? I’m sure you’re already multitasking. But if you want to add in another task to your multitasking, great you can go to Ihaveadhd.com/coach get more info there.

Now some leaders of the industry and make it sound like anyone can be a successful coach and I’m sorry to tell you I’m just here to tell you the truth. That’s not true. Please hear me. They are saying this because it benefits them. The more people that believe that anyone can be a successful coach will pay them, the more people will pay them, right? And the richer that they will get. And I think it’s yucky and I’m over it.

Of course, you can develop the skill of coaching. It’s a skill, but it’s also an art. And you have to have at least some innate gifting. Certifying simply, anyone who has the money to pay to be trained just seems? Well, I’m not sure it’s definitely out of alignment with my values.

My particular training is for those of you who feel like you may have an innate gifting.

Do you spend a lot of your time talking to people and helping them already? Do people in your life come to you with questions and ask you for direction? Are you considered someone in your community? Who is a helper? Do people ask you for advice? Do you feel drained after a conversation of helping someone? Or do you feel energized? Are you perceptive? Are you intuitive? Do you have wisdom to share with people? Are you insightful? Are you empathetic? Do you see things about people or the world that others just don’t see? Do you love encouraging people and telling them the truth about who they are? Do people tell you things like I just love talking to you, or I just had to call you to get your opinion before I made this decision.

All of those are great indicators that you might be someone with the gift of coaching. And if none of those apply to you, it doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t become a coach. But I would take some time to consider if it is right for you and why? Now, I want to make something really clear. I know I could sell a lot more spots if I open this up to everyone in the whole wide world. But I’m actually making it exclusive to focus members because I have no interest in becoming a coach training factory.

This training that I’m putting on will be deep, not wide. The people being trained will already have the strategies and tools inside of focus. And they will be using them regularly to change their own dang lives. I’m not about to reteach all of those skills and strategies in this training program. Because this training program is solely dedicated to learning how to coach. This is a boutique style training, the cohorts will be small, I will be involved in the entire training process. I will not farm it out to guest teachers. We will have a couple guests of course, but you’ll know about it in advance. And it will only be because I’m on vacation or sick or something. You will not be expected to watch pre recorded videos there is literally no automation involved. It is a high touch high accountability training. And it’s only offered to focus members because the st the Walmart, okay.

It is not a factory. It’s not Chipotle, you’re investing in a bespoke ADHD coach training program tailored to your specific brain so that you can learn in an environment where you will flourish and then take that transformation out to help ADHD errors in the world. Okay, here’s the last point I want to make. Ready, it’s a doozy. There are people selling coach trainings out there in the world, implying that if you want to be rich, all you have to do is become a coach.

I no joke saw a former mentor of mine on Instagram. It was a real and Instagram. And she said these words. Hi there. I’m at my house in Scottsdale. If you want a house in Scottsdale, you should join my training and become a coach. No, I’m sorry, no, do not fall prey to this type of marketing tactic. Not everyone who trains as a coach gets rich. Not everyone who trains as a coach makes money. If you choose to become a certified coach, no one’s gonna roll out the gosh darn red carpet for you. You’ll still have to build a business if you want to sell coaching and make money. And my question for you is do you want to build a business? Are you entrepreneurial? Does the idea of selling and putting yourself out there excite you? I mean, of course it’s going to scare you. It should definitely scare you, right. If it’s new to you, it will probably scare you. But does it also excite you? Do you feel a pull to it. Now if you already have sales, marketing and entrepreneurial experience, you’ll be way ahead of the game. And if you already have a large audience, you are going to be lightyears ahead of the game. Because once you learn the skill of coaching and you have ample practice, you might find that you make money really quickly. I made quite a bit of money, my first year of coaching but I had already developed a large audience. I had already been podcasting for a while I had grown this audience for over a year and I had been nurturing it for free and I also had 14 years of prior entrepreneur experience that included working through a ton of my own drama around selling, and putting myself out there and selling my services.

Okay, so just understand that no one is an overnight success. No one, it’s not a thing. It’s just not a thing. So if you want to make money as a coach, but you’ve never sold anything in your life, you’re gonna have to allow yourself time to grow this skill, you’ll have to learn how to sell, you’ll have to learn how to market your services, you’ll have to learn how to become an online entrepreneur, you’ll have to grow an audience, this isn’t a problem. I am not trying to deter you. If you feel called to coach, I want to train you to be a coach. But I also want you to be living in reality. And I don’t know why no one else out there is saying this stuff. Why isn’t anyone saying it? Why isn’t anyone saying it? I think it’s because the people who stand to gain from selling certifications to you don’t really want you to know. And the people who are already coaches who are like struggling to learn the business, maybe have some like shame and self judgment around how long it’s taking. And so they aren’t really telling the truth about it. I think that might be the case, I’m not positive. But I think and I just want to say like it is normal for this to take a hot minute, it’s totally fine. If you learn the skill of coaching, because you know, you are called to coach, you then are going to have to learn the skill of entrepreneurship. And that is beautiful. That process is so transformative. It’s an important part of being a coach who helps a lot of people.

Oh, okay. I just needed a deep breath, did you, I just want to reiterate that. The fact that it takes time, it takes time to learn how to be a good coach, and it takes time to learn how to sell. It’s just the normal pathway. It’s just the normal pathway. But like I said, no one is including this in their marketing materials. Most people selling coach training programs are not painting a very realistic picture of this very normal trajectory. They’re painting a get rich, quick picture, which is unrealistic, and in my opinion manipulative.

So I want you to understand that this skill of coaching, it takes time to learn. And then the skill of selling also takes time to learn. And you will have to grow, evolve and transform into the kind of person who sees themselves as a coach and an entrepreneur. And I would love to help you do that. Now I’ve had the privilege of training 35 coaches over the last two years, I’m not sure if that sounds like a lot or a little to you. To me, it sounds perfect. Like I said, this isn’t a factory. I have a very lengthy application process. This is a very exclusive program. The people that I’ve trained are expertly skilled, they’re highly experienced, they’ve read the books, they’ve put in the hours of class time, they’ve spent on average 50 plus hours of coaching and honing their craft throughout our six months together. 55 Zero 50 is the average there are there are some with way more hours than that. They’ve passed an objective evaluation or I’ve watched them perform a session from start to finish performance not the right word, but host a session they’ve walked the client through the process from start to finish. I’ve observed it and evaluated them on that. Their knowledge and abilities are impressive. They know how to hold space without judgment. They know how to be empathetic and still help their clients to embrace self responsibility. They understand ADHD, how it holds us back and what to coach on regarding ADHD. And perhaps most importantly, they know when to not coach someone, and instead help them process their feelings, breathe through a trauma response, or perhaps even refer them to a trauma informed therapist. I’m so proud. I’m so proud of each of them and I cannot wait to get started with my next cohort.

So if you are feeling called to be a coach, if you’re feeling the poll to this profession and want to be trained in an environment where your own ADHD is understood, and prioritized, this program might be a perfect fit for you. It’s a gentle trauma informed ADHD accepting approach that combines self responsibility with empathy and care. If you want to be in my next cohort you need to visit Ihaveadhd.com/coach to get more information. Applications are sent out in September. acceptance letters are sent out in October and classes start in January. If you’re listening to this offseason no problem sign up for the waiting list. I’d love to have the opportunity to train you

Visit Ihaveadhd.com/coach To learn more, and I’ll see you next week.

A few years ago I went looking for help. I wanted to find someone to teach me how to feel better about myself and to help me improve my organization productivity, time management, emotional regulation. You know, all the things that we adults with ADHD struggle with, couldn’t find anything. So I researched and I studied and I hired coaches and I figured it out. And then I created focused for you. Focus is my monthly coaching membership where I teach educated professional adults how to accept their ADHD brain and hijack their ability to get stuff done. Hundreds of people from all over the world are already benefiting from this program and I’m confident that you will to go to Ihaveadhd.com/focused for all details.

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