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Coach This: Celebrating the ADHD Journey

ADHD CoachingWith as much as I know about coaching in theory, and with as many coaches as I know professionally through my work in ADHD, you’d think I’d have a great handle on what, exactly, ADHD coaching is.

I don’t.

In the past I’ve asked my coach if others he’s worked with talk about similar issues. He assured me that the coaching session is for me, and whatever I want to work on, in whatever way I choose, is just fine.

This did nothing to quell my anxiety about whether or not I was doing this coaching thing right. What nailed it was our last session, which began with our usual chatter to ease in to the conversation. And then I said,

I want to share something. I’m not sure if it’s a subject for coaching.

He replied, “There’s a coachable moment in everything.”

Really? Okay then. Coach this…

I was relieved. I’d been preoccupied with a recent situation and hadn’t been able to focus on anything else.

As I shared a personal and traumatic incident, it became clear that I’d been more upset than I’d realized. I also realized that’s why I hadn’t been able to focus, including when I tried to work. As I spoke, I continued to worry that personal situations like mine were not the realm of ADHD coaching.

I’d forgotten that my favorite ADHD writers and experts emphasize the emotional component of ADHD. I don’t believe our emotional sensitivity is stressed enough. For many of us, it has a much bigger impact on our lives than we realize. My last coaching session demonstrated a case in point.

During the session, I explored my feelings about the incident. As I spoke, I remembered that processing and resolving strong emotions was a precursor to my being able to focus. Without a resolution, my ability to be productive faltered or failed completely.

It’s not that I didn’t know this about myself; it’s just that I hadn’t realized how upset I still was. Until my coaching session, I hadn’t put two and two together: upsetting incident plus sudden inability to concentrate.

I also realized why I’d been so exhausted. Similar to past incidents, walking around with unresolved but strong emotions was simply exhausting. I’d been wondering if I was coming down with something.

It was a sickness of heart, not a cold or flu, that I had to deal with. Predictably, after my coaching session, I slept better and had my energy back. And my focus.

But wait, there’s more!

Talking it through gave me the opportunity to gauge how far I’ve come since my ADHD diagnosis. I was reminded of how impulsivity, hyperactivity, and low self-esteem had conspired to wreak havoc with my adult relationships (I talk about how this happens with undiagnosed ADHD in adulthood in my book, ADHD According to Zoë.)

I recognized that there’s no way I could have dealt with a similar situation in the past the way I had just handled it. I didn’t have the tools. Or the jewels.

I’d found my voice. I was able to handle an awkward, challenging, and upsetting social situation with grace, firmness, and an unwavering determination. I hadn’t crumbled or caved, as I might have in the past.

The comparison was dramatic: I’d found my self-esteem. And it felt good.

I ended our coaching session with a new-found appreciation of how far I’ve come.

My coach ended it with, “I told you it was a coachable moment.”

He was right.


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Coach This: Celebrating the ADHD Journey

Zoë Kessler, BA, B.Ed.

Zoë Kessler is an award-winning author, journalist, and speaker specializing in women and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD / ADD).

A frequent contributor to ADDitude Magazine, Kessler has also created video, standup comedy, and guest blogs on ADHD and Marriage covering ADHD-related topics.

Zoë, an internationally recognized ADHD expert, has been interviewed on radio and featured in magazine articles, documentaries, and books on the topic of women and ADHD across North America.

Her newly-released memoir ADHD According to Zoë - The Real Deal on relationships, Finding Your Focus & Finding Your Keys (New Harbinger Publications, 2013) about life with ADHD is now available.

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APA Reference
Kessler, Z. (2014). Coach This: Celebrating the ADHD Journey. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 21, 2020, from


Last updated: 31 Jul 2014
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