Interview with Sarah Wright
I have a obvious confession to make: I am a chronic procrastinator. When I usually finish work I tend to relax so much that all other activities are put to the wayside. Its a modern day affliction but its a new year and my resolution will be to stick to this blog no matter what. I am putting the realistic goal of posting every monday once a week. Thats why I am putting clear parameters to keep myself from slagging off and maybe this month I will write an article about procrastination in how it ties into ADHD for all of you but most likely myself.
I had chance to interview one of the premiers in ADHD coaching, Miss Sarah D Wright. I’m sure all of you are familiar with coaching as a method to improve a person skills like how basketball coach gets a team to shape for a game. An ADHD coach functions by helping those with ADHD be aware of their negative attributes as well as try advantage of their postive attributes. Sarah Wright is a well known ADHD Coach who specializes in working with people with attention disorder or ADHD. She is the parent of a child with ADHD and Asperger Syndrome and knows in first hand the joys and frustration of dealing with loved ones that have the disorder. She also serves as an Immediate Past President of the ADHD Coaches Organization and on the board of the local chapter of CHADD.
She came to Saudi Arabia to do a workshop on coaching children with ADHD in association with the ADHD Support Group & Society. The interview is down below and I am sure you will find it as insightful as I did.
1) What is ADHD Coaching? (In your own definition)
ADHD coaching is a powerful hybrid of education, skills coaching and life coaching. Education is often the first thing coaches do with their clients. Although ADHD coaches always defer to the expertise of doctors and therapists, ADHD coaches are very knowledgeable about ADHD. Some doctors and therapists specialize in ADHD but most do not, which means ADHD coaches, who do specialize in ADHD, often know more about it than other professionals. Educating clients about ADHD is therefore part of what ADHD coaches do. Simply understanding the condition better is empowering and therapeutic.
Second, ADHD coaches help people both understand why certain skills or tasks are so difficult for them, and figure out customized systems and strategies that will help them become more effective and accomplished. This is the part I often liken to working with a left-handed person to live more easily in a right-handed world. Like ADHD, left-handedness is a genetically-related neurologically-based difference that affects about 10% of people world wide. When the world is designed for the majority of people, what systems and strategies do you use so that life becomes easier for you?
Finally, ADHD coaches work on life coaching with their clients. ADHD coaches help clients clarify what they struggle with, what they are already good at, what they care about, and what they want to accomplish. With this information, together the coach and client set up well thought out goals and then develop a plan to achieve those goals. The ongoing coaching relationship enhances motivation and creates the structure and accountability that help clients follow through and achieve their goals.
2) How did you become a ADHD coach?
Years ago I was working for an engineering company which was suffering growing pains. The company had employee and management problems which were threatening the success of the company, so the CEO brought in a corporate coach to straightened things out. My boss and I were very impressed with what the coach did. We also realized I had the skill set to do something similar. I began to do more of the employee hiring, development, and project management. Eventually I was put in charge of all the people-related aspects of the company and my title was Executive Vice President.
After leaving that company, I home-schooled my ADHD son for a couple of years. When I was ready to go back to work, I knew I didn’t want to go back to corporate America. I decided I wanted to blend what I had learned working for the engineering company with what I had learned helping my ADHD son. Someone had mentioned there was such a thing as and ADHD coach, so I went looking for training, and now here I am!
Since graduating my ADHD Coach training program I have lectured at many conferences, become a founding board member of the ADHD Coaches Organization (ADHDCoaches.org), participated in my local ADHD support group (SanDiegoCHADD.org), co-authored the popular book “Fidget To Focus: Sensory Strategies for Living with ADD” (FidgetToFocus.com), and founded my own company with two wonderful colleagues (FocusForEffectiveness.com). I have really found my calling as an ADHD coach!
3) How does coaching help those with ADHD? (In your view)
Most people do better with a coach. Personal coaches are used by actors, singers, and athletes to help them excell in their chosen professions. Coaches are commonly used by executives in the business world because coaching has been demonstrated to improve performance, relationships, problem solving, and the ability of the company to make money.
For people with ADHD, coaching contributes to an understanding of how the disorder affects them and how to minimize those effects. It dramatically helps strengthen executive function so their ability to manage themselves, their time, and their things improves. And, it helps clarify personal objectives and then helps the client break out of their old way of doing things to become more accomplished and effective. It is not surprising, therefore, that coaching often contributes an ever improving sense of self and ability.
4) Finally, how was your experience in giving a workshop on coaching in Saudi Arabia?
For me, the workshop was a tremendous experience. Getting to come almost half way around the world to a place I’d never visited before and to meet so many wonderful people was a great adventure. I was happy to do the week-long workshop and help the attendees better understand the many facets and challenges of ADHD. However, I wish I could have stayed another week to begin teaching these important coaching skills. I remain grateful to all those who spent their time to make the workshop a success, to the many people who showed me around Riyadh, and to all those who showered me withsuch kindness. I am very impressed with how much the Saudi ADHD Support Group has accomplished in so few years, and I am looking forward to my next trip and to helping develop ADHD coaching in the Kingdom!
Thank you for your time we really appperciate it.