Section 1—What is ADHD Coaching?

adhd-coachingADHD is a neurological condition that affects children, adolescents, and adults, causing them to have a wide array of differences and challenges compared to neurotypical individuals. Those with ADHD may face difficulties in school or at work; problems with impulsivity and discipline; hyperactivity (primarily in childhood); trouble organizing their time, tasks, and environments; exceptional struggles with procrastination and distraction; deficits in setting priorities and following through; difficulties with social situations and relationships; and a variety of substance abuse issues, including alcohol, drug or food addictions.

Moreover, those with ADHD often suffer from poor self-esteem and a distorted self-image, in part because of the long parade of criticism and rejection they may experience from others over their behavior or performance. As daunting as this list of potential problems is, it isn’t even complete. But, of course, no one who has ADHD has all of these problems. Everyone’s different and every affected person’s ADHD shows up in a different way. Adapting a quote from Steven Shore regarding a different disorder, we can fairly say that: “If you’ve met one person with ADHD, you’ve met one person with ADHD.”

Many with ADHD are helped by therapy and prescription medication from appropriate providers—psychologists or psychiatrists as the case may be. These approaches are important and yet they leave a large gap that can be powerfully filled by an ADHD coach, who has different professional training, skills, and aims for serving the client. An ADHD coach can play a major role in helping those diagnosed with the disorder to function at their best, enhance the way they see themselves, and have hope for the future.

Section 2—Education and Training for ADHD Coaches

ADHD Coaching requires a unique set of skills that are not taught in traditional coach training programs. An ADHD Coach works with individuals who feel or think they may have (or know they have) ADHD or ADHD-like qualities. ADHD Coaches may also work with persons who do not have the disorder themselves but must deal with ADHD in someone they’re living with, related to (e.g., a spouse or child), or working with (e.g., a business partner or colleague).

This much-needed area of coaching also demands specialized knowledge beyond that usually offered in coach training programs. An ADHD Coach needs to be sufficiently knowledgeable about the disorder and how ADHD can impact the client and others in the client’s life. That knowledge deeply influences how they work with the client and informs the ADHD coach’s insights, but is valuable in another way as well: ADHD coaches generally need to do a certain amount of education about the disorder and its effects along with coaching itself. One relationship that can be impacted by ADHD is the coach-client relationship itself and a well-prepared coach must understand this and know how to manage it.

Section 3—National Certification for ADHD Coaches

It is because of this unique set of knowledge and skills that ADHD Coaches around the world have felt that an ICF credential alone cannot identify who is a competent ADHD coach. By becoming a credentialed ADHD coach, you become part of a growing community of ADHD Coaches who have been formally assessed and are determined to meet the highest standards of skill, experience and training. This kind of certification also signals to clients and the wider community that the ADHD Coach is committed to delivering the highest level of ADHD coaching.

Currently, the only active global credentialing organization for ADHD Coaches is the Professional Association of ADHD Coaches (PAAC). PAAC is the international organization responsible for establishing and maintaining global standards of excellence for credentialing ADHD coaches and accrediting qualified ADHD coach training schools and programs.

PAAC was created with the mission “to establish high standards of excellence in our ADHD certification and accreditation programs. [PAAC] advocates for coaches and the profession of ADHD coaching…” The MentorCoach® ADHD coaching master classes are designed to address the core competencies of PAAC.

MentorCoach® is pleased to report that its ADHD coach training program has been approved and awarded accreditation by the Professional Association of ADHD Coaches (PAAC). In fact, MentorCoach® is one of only two coach training schools in the world to be designated as a PAAC Accredited ADHD Coach Training Program.

Section 4—How to Become a Certified ADHD Coach

MentorCoach ADHD Coach Training Programs

MentorCoach offers three levels of training leading to ADHD Coach Certification.

In the Level One ADHD Coach Training Program, you will become acquainted the fundamental core skills of the coaching process and the role Positive Psychology plays in building a productive coaching relationship. You will also develop an appreciation of the ethics involved in being a coach; have an opportunity to practice how to effectively use your coaching skills, and see how coaching can help to transform the lives of clients who have been impacted by ADHD.

In the Level Two ADHD Coach Training Program, you get the opportunity to deepen your coaching skills to become an extraordinarily impactful and confident coach. In the Level Two training, you will learn and practice dealing with a number of highly sensitive and important coaching issues you may encounter in your ADHD coaching practice.  In this program, you will be closely supervised by accomplished master coaches who provide feedback in a positive, encouraging manner helping you to be the best coach you can be.

The third and shortest route to ADHD Certification is for professionals who are already certified coaches.

(1) Level One ADHD Coach Training Coursework and Requirements
Foundations Course 31 hours
(25 hours of the 31 hours count as training in ICF core competencies)
Safe Passage: The New Ethics and Risk Management Master Class 10 hours
Positive Psychology and ADHD Coaching 13 hours
Positive Psychology and Advanced ADHD Coaching: Adults 14.5 hours
Positive Psychology and Advanced ADHD Coaching: College Students, Teens, Children and Parents 14.5 hours

You can find the description of these courses, with the exception of the Individual ADHD Coaching Supervision, on the Master Classes web page.

Tuition and fees for levels of ADHD Certification are here.

Other Level One Requirements

Individual ADHD Coaching Supervision

During your individual coaching supervision sessions, you will provide recordings of your coaching and debrief these coaching sessions with the supervisor.  The supervisor must be on the MentorCoach ADHD Coaching trainer team.

Demonstration of knowledge of ADHD

You are required to provide documentation of 20 hours of ADHD-specific training obtained within 5 years of starting the MentorCoach program.  This training can be in the form of conferences, webinars, workshops or similar types of training experiences.

Written Exam

Once these requirements are met, you will complete an open book written exam to demonstrate your knowledge of ADHD and ADHD coaching.

Associate ADHD MentorCoach (AAMC)

Upon completion of the Level One ADHD Coach Training, you will receive the designation of an Associate ADHD MentorCoach (AAMC)

Also, after completing Level One ADHD Coach Training, you will have enough coach specific training hours to apply for an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) designation from ICF through the Portfolio path.  You will also need to meet the any other requirements set down by ICF outside of the coach training hours.

(2) Level Two ADHD Coach Training Coursework and Requirements

Successful completion of all the requirements for the
(1) All Level One Associate ADHD MentorCoach (AAMC) Requirements, plus:

(2) Intensive Individual Coaching Skills:  24 hours

(3) Individual Coaching Supervision Class:  18 hours
Includes six one-hour advanced supervision sessions:  6 hours

(4) Pass a recorded oral exam by submitting a 30 minute recording of one of your ADHD coaching sessions.

(5) Successful completion of all requirements for the Certified Mentor Coach (CMC)

Tuition and fees for levels of ADHD Certification are here.

(3) If You Are Already a Certified Coach:

If you have been designated a Certified MentorCoach (CMC) by MentorCoach® or if you are an ICF Certified Coach (ACC, PCC, or MCC), you have already demonstrated that you have coaching skills at or above the level of an ICF Certified Coach.

In this case, you can become a Professional Association for ADHD Coaches (PAAC) Certified ADHD Coach Practitioner (CACP) through MentorCoach® by doing all of the following:

(1) Completing the three Positive Psychology and ADHD coaching classes shown above:

(2) Passing an oral exam by submitting a 30-minute recording of one of your coaching sessions.

(3) Passing an open book written exam (multiple choice and essay).

(4) Demonstrating that you have completed at least 150 hours of coaching ADHD clients and/or clients whose lives have been impacted by someone with ADHD. Of these 150 hours, at least 105 must be paid coaching hours, while up to 45 may be pro bono. Additionally, these 150 hours of coaching must be accrued by coaching at least 10 different clients.

Tuition and fees for levels of ADHD Certification are here.

(Note: The Professional Association for ADHD Coaches (PAAC) offers a more advanced credential called a PCAC (Professional Certified ADHD Coach) or MCAC (Master Certified ADHD Coach). PAAC is currently changing the requirements for these levels of certification. Rest assured that Alan Graham, PhD is a PAAC Credentialed Coach and will make sure our curriculum is consistent with any new PAAC requirements. Check for details at the PAAC website.)

Section 5: Our Three Extraordinary ADHD Coaching Master Classes

Here are the three ADHD Coaching Master Classes required for everyone seeking to be certified as an ADHD coach through MentorCoach, shown along with the course instructor and next offering. Coaches who have completed these three classes report that their knowledge and comfort level in working with this population increases significantly. Each of the three master classes is briefly described below. Please click on any of the course titles to take you to the master classes page for more details or to enroll.

The Positive Psychology and ADHD Coaching Master Class (13 hours) teaches much of the nuts-and-bolts information about ADHD needed to be an effective ADHD coach. Topics include symptoms, diagnostic methods, and medications; the importance of viewing each client as an entire individual; key challenges and useful interventions. Several case studies will be presented for class discussion. An expected outcome of this class is for each participant to have their own personal toolbox of interventions that they can use when coaching clients with ADHD.

The Positive Psychology and Advanced ADHD Coaching Master Class – Adults (14.5 hours) is designed to put the coach’s skill-set into action with clients. Each week is dedicated to a specific ‘type’ of client issue. The class focuses on adults with ADHD-type symptoms as well as issues that are unique to adults with ADHD. Situations related to working with spouses of those with ADHD are also addressed. Each participant has an opportunity to present a coaching conversation to the class, with a class debriefing afterwards.

The Positive Psychology and Advanced ADHD Coaching Master Class – College Students, Teens, Children and Parents (14.5 hours) is designed to put the coach’s skill-set into action with clients in the relevant categories. Each week is dedicated to a specific ‘type’ of client. The class focuses on children, teens and young adults with ADHD or ADHD-type symptoms. Situations related to working with parents of individuals with ADHD are also addressed. Each participant has an opportunity to present a coaching conversation to the class, with a class debriefing afterwards.

Section 6: The Dean of Our ADHD Coach Certification Program–Alan R. Graham, Ph.D., PCC, MCAC

Alan GrahamAlan Graham, PhD—a therapist, coach, educator, author, and presenter—has over two decades of experience helping thousands of ADHD children, adolescents, adults, and their families navigate life’s challenges and gain the tools needed to manage emotional issues.

Initially trained as a secondary and elementary school teacher, Alan went on to earn his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at Northwestern University, completing his clinical training at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago.

Alan was in MCP 3 and is a long-standing member of the trainer team for MentorCoach. Alan is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) through the ICF and was a Pod Leader for the Authentic Happiness Coaching Program. Alan is also a Senior Certified AD/HD Coach (SCAC) through the Institute for the Advancement of AD/HD Coaching.

Alan has worked with difficult children and adolescents in therapeutic day schools, inpatient, and outpatient settings. While creating his group practices, ACP Consultants, and the ADD Centers, he also was also an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois School of Medicine and at the Illinois School of Professional Psychology.

As a way of giving back to the profession, Alan has served as the chair of the steering committee for the American Psychological Association Psychology in the Workplace Network (PWN).  Alan also served on the Editorial Board of The Journal of Attention Disorders and was on the board of the Professional Association of ADHD Coaches (PAAC). It is in this spirit of service that, with Dr. Bill Benninger, Alan created ADDvisor.com as a means to share practical information to families and individuals who live with ADHD every day. For six years, ADDvisor.com was honored by CHADD as an Innovative Practice at the CHADD national conference.

Recognized for his work by peers and clients alike, Alan presents and writes on business, coaching and leadership issues, positive psychology, ADHD, child and family issues throughout the United States and internationally. He is the lead author of Lemonade: The Leader’s Guide to Resilience at Work, published in 2012. Alan co-authored the RAW-A, the Resilience at Work Assessment which has been taken by close to 3000 leaders worldwide. Alan’s current edited book is entitled: The Guide to ADHD Coaching:  How to Find One and What to do When You Get One. Alan is married, has three adult children and two grandchildren.

Alan’s office address is: 1580 N Northwest Highway, Suite 311D, Park Ridge, Illinois 60068. His office phone is: 847-824-1235. His email is alan@addvisor.com. His website is www.addvisor.com.

Section 7: Hear Alan Graham Talk About Our ADHD Coach Certification Program

Hear Alan Graham, Dean of the ADHD Coach Training Program, and Ben Dean talk about the Positive Psychology and ADHD Coaching class: how it’s structured, how ADHD coaching skills are taught, how Alan (now nationally known as an ADHD coach and trainer) first became interested in ADHD and how his own career development will inform this class. Plus more. (24 mins)

In a second recording, hear Alan talk about two other classes–one on working with ADHD college students, teens, kids and their parents and another on coaching adults affected by ADHD. Alan includes lots of information plus you can experience his warm personality and the breadth of his knowledge. He even talks about the first steps he’d recommend if you want to become nationally known in the field. (21 mins)

Note: MentorCoach reserves the right to modify tuition and the requirements for certification at any time.

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