September 2, 2022

So, You Want to be an ADHD Coach....Part 1

Buckle up, my friends! In this episode I dish all of my thoughts on ADHD coaching and the coaching industry. I let you know what I think is awesome, and what I find annoying, and I tell you how I’m going to solve the problem: By training ADHD coaches myself.

The coach training programs out there are notoriously not ADHD-friendly. I wanted to create a training program for the ADHD brain, and I did.

The type of coaching that I practice with my clients (causal coaching) is not something that many ADHD coaches are currently being trained in, and I want to fill that void.

Tune in for all the details!



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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.

K You What’s up, this is Kristen Carter and you’re listening to the I have ADHD Podcast, episode number 174. I am medicated. I am caffeinated. And I am ready to roll this episode, you guys, it’s a real big one. It marks a pivot point in my journey. And while I’m thrilled to let you in, I’m also terrified. I’m coming at you today from my son’s closet because there’s no quiet place in my life, not in the office that I rent not in my home. Nowhere. So son’s closet, it is just in case, you’re wondering how glamorous my life is. I’m sitting on a tiny little ottoman. And my computer and mic are propped up on a laundry basket covered with a blanket. Okay, but I think the sound is actually going to be pretty great, because lots of lots of clothes and hair to absorb any echoes. All right. So as you listen to this episode, I ask that you if you consent, that you listen with a measure of grace, would you do that for me?

I know that can be hard. But if you would take just a deep breath and listen with an open heart today, I have what I think is very important information to share with you. If you want to be an ADHD coach, or if you’ve been wondering about the ADHD coaching profession, this episode is going to delight you. I have so many thoughts about coaching, and the coaching industry and ADHD coaching specifically, that I’ve been developing over the last few years. And I cannot wait to dish. Now, if you don’t want to be an ADHD coach, and you have no interest in learning about my thoughts on the industry. Don’t panic. This and the next two episodes will be about coaching. But then that’s it, we’ll get back to our regularly scheduled ADHD content right away. I have no interest in morphing the I have ADHD podcast into a learn to coach podcast. That’s not what this is going to be three episodes. That’s it back to the ADHD content. So if you don’t want to hear my thoughts about coaching, no problem, go find an episode that you haven’t listened to yet, or one that you want to hear again and enjoy it. And in a couple of weeks, we’ll be right back to the ADHD content. Okay, so we’re gonna get back to it full disclosure upfront. On today’s episode, I’m going to tell you all about my new focused ADHD coach training program. I developed a coach training program for adults with ADHD who want to coach adults with ADHD. I explain everything as this episode unfolds. And I go deep into my thoughts of why I believe this training is even necessary. So if you’ll hang with me, I’m gonna tell you everything. Alright, so let’s start with some juicy thoughts on the coaching industry, because that’s what really led me to create this coach training program for ADHD years.

So I’ve got some thoughts. They’re not all favorable. And I need to tell you that I’ve changed my mind about a few things regarding coaching. And I’ve changed my mind about quite a few people as well. So yeah, that’s right. I’ve changed my mind about people, even former mentors of mine. There are a lot of people who I’ve learned so much from who I’m forever grateful to sincerely who I no longer align with ethically. So I’m holding two truths at one time, the truth that my life is completely changed because of certain people, and the truth that I no longer endorse them or align with their ethics. I want you to know that upfront as we get into all the SAS that’s about to come through this episode. I love the profession of coaching. It’s what I was born to do. In the last four years, I feel as though I’ve come home to myself and now I truly know why I was put here on the planet. I love that coaching is both a skill and an art that good coaches combine technical modalities and 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 that are closest to me and I’ve watched coaching change the lives of so many adults with ADHD coaching itself as a profession. is incredible. It’s valuable. It’s important, and I love coaches. Love them.

Skilled coaches are some of the bravest and smartest people that I know. Good coaches are willing to study and train and learn and forge the path to do the work and then bring their clients along the journey. Skilled coaches are some of the most precious people to me on the planet, because they are creating the industry right now, as it’s growing. This profession is so new, that we’re literally building the industry as we go. The coaching industry is so fresh, it’s like a plump, little newborn baby. And the good guys out there, not all of them are good guys. But the good guys out there are helping to establish this industry on ethics and values and are developing credibility, and I love it. I’m here for it. That being said, the coaching industry is kind of cringy. Sometimes 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 out there on social media pretending to be coaches, and it’s just a lot. Sometimes 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 coaching a bad name. The truth about the industry is that it’s unregulated. I’m not really going to go into my thoughts and whether I think that’s a good thing or a bad thing, because I do see both sides of the issue. But suffice it to say an unregulated industry means that anyone can just wake up one day and call themselves a coach. And anyone with marketing skills can sell coaching. And if you’ve spent any time on tick tock in the last year, you know that there’s a lot of people out there who are calling themselves experts trying to sell coaching and I always question are they experts at coaching? Are they experts at marketing and selling coaching? Not only that, but ADHD has become so trendy, so trendy, and it seems like everyone wants to capitalize on this, the explosion of self proclaimed ADHD experts on social media has been intense. And on one hand, this is a good thing because it allows more people to recognize ADHD characteristics in themselves, and perhaps seek a diagnosis, get treatment, make changes in their lives, that’s good. But on the other hand, it can be a little sinister, there’s a lot of misinformation out there.

And some people are just capitalizing on the ADHD trend and trying to sell coaching or other services or self promote without having the skills necessary or the experience to actually help people. I don’t have this in my notes, and I wasn’t gonna say it today. But yesterday, Mel Robbins posted, you know, eight symptoms of ADHD, eight symptoms that I didn’t know were ADHD symptoms, something like that. They weren’t none of them were actual symptoms. They were impairments of ADHD. I gotta go find it. I’m gonna, I’m gonna find out I’m gonna read it to you. Okay, this is just one example of how somebody probably with a good heart and like, fine, whatever probably fine is using I believe the ADHD trend on Instagram or social media to just like Garner engagement. So the post is I was like, or like it’s an infographic I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 47. Here are eight surprising symptoms that I have. Or had.

Okay, so here we go. Anxiety about getting things done. No, anxiety is not a symptom of ADHD to do lists everywhere. No, sorry. That’s not a symptom, leaving the faucet running, not a symptom. trouble coping with stress, not a symptom, frequent mood swings, not a symptom. No frustration tolerance that I do believe actually is a symptom in the DSM five for getting why walked into the room, not an actual symptom, losing my train of thought, not a symptom. Okay, so this is why this is problematic because when somebody out there just pretends to be an expert than anyone who leaves the faucet running is going to be like I guess I have ADHD. Right like it’s an there’s an important distinction between symptoms and impairment and impairment is the outworking of the symptom.

The actual symptoms include fails to give attention to detail difficulty sustaining attention doesn’t seem to listen doesn’t follow through difficulty organizing tasks. Avoid tasks requiring sustained mental effort losing things easily distracted, forgetful fidgets or taps, feeling restless difficulty engaging in leisure activities driven by a motor toxic excessively blurts out and interrupts difficulty waiting turn. Those are the sim. Tom’s, okay. So when somebody calls leaving the faucet running a symptom, that’s just so annoying. Alright, so this is just a rant. It’s a toe Odle sidenote ADHD rant, I hope you can handle it. But my point is there are so many people out there like Mel Robbins, capitalizing on the fact that ADHD is super trendy right now. And it got like 70,000 You know, likes and 15 exists, like, so much engagement, which is great for her. But is that engagement, okay, I’m just I need to step.

Back to my notes, there are a lot of people in the world who are capitalizing on the ADHD trend, and then trying to sell you something, some sort of service or promoting their book without really knowing about ADHD, or having the skills necessary, or the experience to actually help people okay, let’s say focused, Kristen Carter, stay focused. There’s no one holding coaches accountable since the industry is unregulated. Except for you, my dear listener, the market, those of you who choose to invest or not invest in a person and their program. So coaching as a profession has grown exponentially in the last couple years. And I’m really, really happy about that. I don’t find it annoying. I mean, I wish I had known 10 years ago that coaching was a career option for me, you know, like, it’s so good that coaching as a profession is taking off. And it’s wonderful that hiring a life coach is becoming more mainstream and more accessible, those are good things. And as coaching as a profession has exploded, the coach training and certification industry has also kind of grown I’ll be a little more slowly. But now if you Google, like coach training programs, or coach certification programs, you’re going to get a million hits.

And I promise you, you’ll also start getting advertised to for Coach trainings constantly in your in your socials on the Google’s you’re going to start getting advertisements, of course, because that’s the way it works. I’m advertised by 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. Now, it’s so gross, in my opinion, not doing the industry any favors. That I find curious about the life coach and ADHD coach training programs that I’ve come across is that there’s little to no application process, as means that pretty much the only prerequisite for getting trained or certified is that you have the money to dedicate to the program that doesn’t like really sit well with me, like no one’s screening applicants. No one’s making sure that the people investing in the program are actually good people and have the potential to become good coaches. I don’t know.

It just doesn’t, it isn’t. It just doesn’t feel right. Since the industry is unregulated, and there’s very little transparency, anybody can say that they’re a certified life coach, or a life coach. But you don’t really know what that means. What was involved in their training, how many hours of study did they put in? Who are their teachers? How much actual experience coaching do they have? Like? I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Can you tell? So here’s, here’s like the major. Here’s something big. Something else I’ve observed, even with the popular ADHD coach certification programs is that the training themselves are not ADHD friendly.

Oftentimes, the trainings are not set up for the ADHD brain, like some of them are video classes, like recorded classes, pre recorded classes that you’re expected to watch. Some of them are over the phone, like an actual group phone call. Sometimes you’re sent a large PDF manual and expected to read through the whole thing on your own. There’s often very little accountability. And I know more than one ADHD coach who did not complete a popular ADHD coach training program. Because logistically, it just wasn’t set up to be ADHD friendly, and they couldn’t get across the finish line. I’ve got to tell you, that seems like a perfect 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.

The training that I went through a couple of years ago, they’ve now made it so that everything is pre recorded video. There’s no group cohort, there’s no accountability that I know of. And you have to have the executive functioning capacity to schedule one on one sessions on your own with one of their instructors to get feedback on your coaching or like help. I assume love it. I hate it actually. It’s not set up for the neurodivergent brain at all. So as I looked around the industry at what was happening I just observed all the things over the last couple years, I began to feel that it was important for me to create a training for ADHD adults who want to coach ADHD adults, a training that would support the ADHD learning style and set up the ADHD or for success. But not only that, I wanted to create a training for people with ADHD who really resonate with my style of coaching, which is quite different from most other training programs out there.

So I thought it would be interesting to just chat briefly about my style of coaching. First and foremost, I don’t practice accountability, coaching, accountability, coaching is good, and it has its place in the industry, but it’s just not what I do. I don’t sit down with clients and break down their goals and make a plan and then hold them accountable to that plan. I’ve tried it, I didn’t love it. That’s just not for me. Instead, I teach my clients how to become aware of their thoughts and emotions. I teach them how their thoughts and emotions work together to drive their actions. And I teach them how to manage their minds and hold themselves accountable, so that they can accomplish their goals in a timeframe that makes sense to them.

This is called causal coaching. And it’s much more focused on the cause of the problem rather than the symptoms of the problem. From what I can gather most ADHD coach training programs teach the skill of accountability coaching, which is totally fine. It’s good, it’s necessary. It’s great. But I would like to provide an alternative to this type of training. I want to teach adults with ADHD how to coach adults with ADHD using my causal coaching methods. So one of the questions that I’ve been wrestling with, as I’ve been dreaming about creating this training is who do I think that I am I to do this sort of thing?

Do I really think I am? And I’ve been wrestling with that question for years now. And I do think it’s an important question, it’s a good question to be able to answer. Sometimes we want to like brush off imposter syndrome. But really, it can be very helpful. forcing myself to answer this question only further solidified my desire to move forward with creating this training. So let’s go ahead and answer that question. Who do I think I am? To create a training like this? Well, in my past life, I spent nearly a decade working with children and teens who struggled in school, most of whom had diagnosed learning difficulties, many of whom had ADHD. And because of this, I spent years taking classes and lectures and courses and reading and doing all sorts of self study, not only in the area of ADHD, but in the area of like all learning difficulties in general, neuroscience and all the interesting things that went along with that, I became an expert in teaching people with neurodivergent brains, and implementing alternate teaching methods to suit people whose brains work outside of the box. And since starting this podcast, I’ve 10x My study in ADHD, obviously, I’ve had the massive privilege of not just reading their books, but sitting down and learning from some of the foremost leaders in the industry face to face.

Experts like Barclay and Halliwell and Quinn and TaqMan, and Ramsey and Solden have all sat down with me for face to face question and answer sessions, which I’ve gleaned so much from my goodness, I’m so grateful to them for that. And in the last four years, I’ve trained as a coach professionally and studied coaching, and coaching psychology obsessively. I’ve studied with and been coached by some of the world’s top coaches, and I’ve read the books, I’ve taken the courses, I’ve been to the conferences, I’ve done the things. And I’ve spent hours and hours and hours and hours and hours coaching adults with ADHD, I tried to add it up.

It’s well over 1000 hours of practical one on one coaching time with adults with ADHD. And I’ve seen my teaching and coaching methods work for over 1000 adults with ADHD. That’s while they want to think about that that’s over 1000 case studies of my tools working and serving a very large segment of ADHD ears. So I know that I’m uniquely positioned and qualified to teach adults with ADHD how to coach adults with ADHD. Yeah, this industry is a little bit like the wild wild west right now. It can be a little cringy and there seems to be only one type of training being offered for ADHD or as an I would like to disrupt that. I love adults with ADHD and I want them coached by expertly trained, highly experienced coaches.

And most importantly, I want to empower adults with ADHD who want to be coaches to learn to coach in an ADHD accepting and friendly environment. So I’ve developed a coach training program for people with ADHD meaning the training itself is extremely ADHD friendly. It’s a high touch, high accountability, no huge PDF manual kind of program. It works beautifully for the ADHD brain. It teaches causal coaching methods and combines several technical modalities to ensure that the client experience is robust. Now, here’s where it gets juicy, because I have a surprise for you. I’ve actually already implemented this training this year for six months from January to June with 20 Focus members as a pilot program. I wanted to test my process and my theories, and I wanted to see if I even like teaching people how to coach. And I want to see if it was successful. I, I wanted to really test the process, it was the maiden voyage. And I’m happy to report that I loved doing it outside of coaching and focused, it was the most rewarding thing I’ve done professionally. And as I’ve evaluated and analyze the program’s process, I really do believe it was spot on.

So I’m going to take a couple minutes here to tell you exactly how it works. For those of you who are interested in becoming an ADHD coach, you’re gonna be like eating it up. For those of you who are like, I just want ADHD content, remember, go find a different episode, this one might just not be for you. And that’s okay, my love. Okay, so here’s the process. Before the training even began, students had to read or listen to two books. One book was on how to coach, it was a coaching manual.

And then the other book was on ADHD, I’m guessing that you can all assume which book that was. So we made this part ADHD friendly by hosting book club meetings, to make sure that people were doing the work and staying on track and just making sure that we were supporting everyone. Once the classes started, they already had a lot of knowledge, you know, to work with already, which was really cool. So the structure was three calls with me. Each month, two calls were an interactive lecture style. And the third call was what we called practicum, where students coached each other on the call. And I gave them feedback in real time on their coaching, which was so much fun, this is my personal favorite call, because I got to observe my students coaching, and help them immediately like right in that moment, make changes and improve.

So in total, for the students, it was 18 hours of live class time, in six months. In addition to the class time, each student was required to peer coach weekly, so we paired students up together, and they had to figure out a time to meet and coach each other and practice what they were learning. And then about halfway through the program, each student was evaluated, they had to coach someone in front of an instructor myself or someone else, and objectively show proficiency in the in the tools within 20 minutes, which I love that part, there is an objective evaluation, you can either show proficiency in the tools, or you don’t show proficiency in the tools, it’s very black and white, that part which I love, love, love.

Now, this part is my favorite part. After they passed the evaluation, they were set up to practice coach focus members. So some of them are still coaching focus members, which is really fun, they’re still continuing to develop their skills. So I reached out, I was curious. And I reached out to my community of coaches to see how many practice hours they think they’ve put in. And the range was about 40 to 80 hours of practice coaching, which is a lot. So they’re leaving the training, with an average of 60 hours ish of coaching under their belts, which is quite substantial. And if you’ve been researching coach training programs, you know, that many of them don’t actually require you to coach as part of the training.

When I did my coach training a couple years ago, there was no hourly requirement for practice coaching, I didn’t have to submit hours or prove that I was practicing. There was zero accountability in this area. Now I was coaching full time by then. So I was able to integrate what I was learning right away, but I know many people who went through the training who barely did any coaching throughout. And I’m just gonna go ahead and draw a hard line in the sand and say that this is a disservice to the coach and the training program itself. Because listen, you can’t learn to coach unless you coach. It’d be like reading and watching videos and talking about how to ride a bike but never actually hopping on a bike. Never actually like making your body physically learn how to do it. And I know it’s awkward to hop on that bike the first second third time I know that, which is why people avoid it right? But again, you can’t learn to coach unless you coach so in my training program, coaching every week is mandatory.

Now I’m going to say something bold here. It may seem grandiose but I do believe it’s factual. My focused ADHD coach Coach Training Program was a huge success, maiden voyage successful. So I’m going to pause here and admit that oftentimes coaches call something successful without giving any data and in an unregulated industry like the coaching industry, super common, anyone can claim anything. It’s annoying. For example, let’s just give some examples here, because that’s fun. The coaching school that I trained in called themselves the Ivy League of coaching schools, but I didn’t ever hear data or stats to back this up. How did they know that they are the Ivy League of coaching schools? What does it even mean to be coaching schools? Is it just their thought that they decided to believe because it felt good to them? I think the answer is yes. Sometimes, it really seems like coaches just want us to believe them. Because they said so. Which is so demeaning and annoying. And I’m just like, all done with that, you know, like, listen, it was successful, because I said, so we are the Ivy League of coaching schools, because I said, so.

Now, I’m, I’m all done with that I really am. So I’m gonna give you details about the program’s success so that you just don’t trust me because I said, so. Okay, I want to substantiate my claim. So here we go. First, and this is my weakest argument. So I will start with it first. I know it was a success, because I watched my students go from not knowing how to coach to coaching their peers in the program. I watched it happen. I watched them transform before my eyes, it was so fun, I evaluated them. I gave them feedback, I watched them fumble and stumble and like try to ride that bike, so to speak. I watched them coach and learn and grow. And I watched them succeed. I saw it with my own eyes. I watched them transform, I understand that. I’m asking you to trust my word on this. But I was there and I saw it. And it was pretty. It was pretty. It was great. Okay, let’s move on.

Let’s move on. Next, we did have an evaluation process where the trainees had to coach people in real time, and be observed to see if they could take a person through the skills that I teach and get their client awareness and transformation in 20 minutes, there were objective standards that they had to meet, there were tools that they had to show proficiency in. And so I know that this program was a success, because 19 out of 20 people pass their evaluations. Some of them had to be evaluated a few times, but ultimately, 95% of them were able to show proficiency that they had the skills to pass, which is pretty freakin high success rate. If I do say so. And I do. Okay, next. I know it was a success, because the trainees themselves told me so they told me how much they liked it. They told me how much they learned and how much they grew. I do have data on this. And I’m going to include some of their testimonials in the show notes of this episode. I don’t want to take the time to like read it all to you here. But if you’re interested, go to the show notes of the episode and check out what they have to say about it.

And lastly, I know it was a success, because after they pass their evaluations, these coaches were required to practice coach focus members weekly. And I hear from focus members regularly that the coaching that they receive from my coaches is helpful, focused members sing their praises constantly, which is so fun. So this is just additional data that lends to the credibility of the program’s success. Okay, this is getting a little long, so I actually decided to cut it into two episodes. Next week, we’re going to talk about the tools that I will be teaching my coach training program, who the training program is for and whether or not it’s possible to make money as an ADHD coach, you’re gonna get all the info, and you’re gonna get all of my opinion. So if that’s something that’s interesting to you, great. It’s coming at you next Tuesday.

But before I leave you today, I want to tell you that as I thought through my vision for my training, and I thought through the ethics of how I wanted to set it up, something became very clear to me, I’m actually not going to be offering this training to the general public, I’m only offering it to members of my focused coaching program. You’ve got to be in focus at the time that the applications go out on September 15. And you’ve got to agree to stay in focused for the duration of the coach training program. There’s no public sales page, you’re not going to be getting like Coach Training sales emails about it like it’s not, that’s not going to be a thing based on my values and my company’s values. I just don’t feel like that’s the best way to go about it. Side note here if you’re interested in reading my company’s values on my website, I have adhd.com Let me tell you Do the two main reasons why I just really think it’s important that I only offer this coach training program to focus members.

First, I want the ADHD coach training program to be dedicated solely on learning how to coach. That’s it, that’s the only thing that we’re going to be learning. There are so many strategies in focused that you can use in your coaching practice, but they’re already in focused, I don’t want to repeat myself during this coach training, I don’t want to bore anyone with the same information that they’ve already learned. And I don’t have time to teach you all the strategies from focused and how to coach in six months. So we’re keeping it separate. In this training program, I’m going to teach you how to coach that’s what the training is for learning how to coach. That’s it.

So you must understand and have access to all of the material that I teach surrounding organization, procrastination, how to follow through how to manage emotions, etc, within focused so that I can straight up teach you the skill of coaching during coach training, right? Hopefully that makes sense. Oh, side note here, or little rant? Actually, let’s just take a minute and rant, shall we? When I went through coach training couple years ago, most of it was a repeat of information that I had already learned in my coach’s program. So I paid $18,000

To learn repeats of things that I had already been taught. And I don’t want to do this to you, or to anyone else. So I’m committed to no repeats, focus members have all of the tools and strategies workbooks techniques on ADHD. And in the focused ADHD coach training program, we will have laser focused tunnel vision on learning how to coach. Alright, so that’s reason number one. The second reason why I’m only offering this to members of focus is you don’t even know what tools I use, really, you don’t even know if they work, I don’t want you to buy into a coach training program without understanding what modalities will be trained in. I really want you to think about that how many people are buying into coach training programs, without really understanding the tools that they’re going to be trained in? When you sign up and pay 1000s of dollars for a coach training program, you should know in advance what tools you’re gonna be learning, you should know if they work. So I want you to hop into focus and take the tools for a test drive. Do you even like the modalities that I use? Do you even like the way that I coach and the way that I teach? Are you sure that this is how you want to be trained?

Now I’ll go into a lot more detail about this in next week’s episode. But for you today, what I want you to know is there’s no sales page, there’s no application link for you. If you want to be trained by me on how to be an ADHD Coach, your only job is to happen to focus and start using the tools. Start seeing if they work, start seeing if you resonate when with them, if you like them, if you want to be trained in them, make sure that you think that they’re good enough for you. Like really, really test them out. Applications will be sent out to focus members on September 15, I would love to train you to be a focused ADHD code.

So if that’s something that’s really resonating with you, if you feel like you’re really aligned with you know what I’m saying and my values, then hop into focused, start using the tools and you will get an email on September 15. With the application I would love for you to apply. I would love to train you to be a focused ADHD coach. All right, more of this coming at you next week. I’ll see you then. Hey, ADHD, or I see you I know exactly what it’s like to feel lost, confused, frustrated and like no one out there really understand the way that your brain works. That’s why I created focus. Focused is my monthly coaching program where I lead you through a step by step process of understanding yourself feeling better and creating the life that you know you’re meant for. You’ll study be coached, grow and make amazing changes alongside of other educated professional adults with ADHD from all over the world. Visit Ihaveadhd.com/focused to learn more

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