ADHD: Are Teenagers Coachable?

By Jeff Copper, MBA, PCC, PCAC, CPCC, ACG – May 13, 2024

Jodi Sleeper-TriplettStudents, whether they’re teenagers, adolescents, or young adults in college, need to have their own goals, their own reasons to succeed, which really leads to whether they are motivated. Sometimes this means they need professional help, and coaching is an effective means to help them move forward because research is showing that coaching has a positive impact. However, there is a caveat. Are they coachable? Meaning, are they ready for coaching? That’s a very important question, because the answer apparently is, no, they are not all ready for coaching.

Coaches find that, even if students agree to be coached, is that something they truly want, or is it because their parents made them do it? Students sometimes say they came to coaching to get their parents off their back, or because their parents try to motivate them with money. But what a coach wants to hear is when they say they want to do better in school or improve social skills or develop relationships.

For a coach, it can be a lot of fun and quite fulfilling when a student truly wants to do it. When they start to mature and they finally get it, they become more self-aware and realize that coaching was what they needed so they can support themselves. This gives them a sense of pride of ownership when they see they can actually achieve success.

Please check out my interview with Jodi Sleeper-Triplett ( to understand more about this phenomenon. It’s something to think about.


Jeff:     Welcome to this edition of Attention Talk Video. I’m your host, attention coach, Jeff Copper. Today we’re here with Jodi Sleeper-Triplett, president and founder of JST Coaching, and ADHD coach herself.

And the topic today is, are all teenagers coachable? And if I may, before, Jodi has a coach training school that really specialized, I think, is excellent job in training coach to coach teens, and kids, and stuff like that, hence, what better person to ask this question though? So Jodi, are all teens coachable?

Jodi:     Great question, Jeff, and thanks for having me. The answer is no, and it’s an important question. And the reason that I say no, is in order for any person to be coached, they have to want to be coached.

Coaching is a collaborative process between the coach, and the client. So if I’m here as a coach, and the teenagers saying, “No, I don’t want to do this, I don’t care. I don’t want to do anything.” Well, coach can’t do it for them, neither can the parents. So a lot of times, the parents need to understand that the coaching can take place, only if their teenager is ready for it.

Jeff:     It’s interesting. I’m interested in your thoughts on this, because I don’t coach teens. I haven’t been trained in it, and my style of coaching doesn’t lend itself, but I’ve had parents come to me to ask to coach college students, and I tried it a couple of times, and it’s interesting, because I always say, well, I need to talk to your college student first, just because they say they want to do it for me doesn’t necessarily mean they’re into it.

It’s like it takes the pressure off. If I go to coaching, or I see somebody, I can say, “Hey, I’m doing something.” Even though they’re going, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re engaged. Now, that’s just my experience. Can you comment on that?

Jodi:     Sure. And I think that that’s really a good point, Jeff, because for students, whether they’re teenagers, adolescents, or young adults in college, we want to be sure that they have their own goals, their own reasons for wanting to be in coaching, which really leads to are they motivated? Is there something they want to work toward? Because if it’s just about the parents, and lots of parents, I’ll find out from the students say, “Well, my parents said if I do this, they’ll pay me, or I’ll get a car, or I’ll get this, or that.”

That is not what we’re looking for. We’re looking for, “I would like to do better in school. I would like to group my social skills, and have more friends.” We can work with that, and working without their parents. Some of them say, “I just want to get my parents off my back.” Sold. We can work with that too, so that’s how we look at it.

Jeff:     I got to believe that, as a listener, that they have kids, there’s no tried, and true way for every kid to be able to determine if they don’t want to go, or they’re not coachable, but in this other space, it’s really getting to know your kid a little bit, and we’re watching the markers to see how they take to it.  Is that accurate?

Jodi:     It is, and as far as the coaching, one of the things that the coaches that I train, and what I do, is we not only do we talk to the parents when they call to ask for information, but we ask that we have a short meeting, phone meeting, or maybe, a cup of coffee together, to talk about what they want, and to get a sense of each other, because the other part of it is, the coach, and the client, of any age need to click. So maybe, you’re a better coach for that person just by personality, or male, female, in comparison to me, or somebody else.

Jeff:     I think you bring up a good point, because sometimes, I know that I can connect with certain people, because maybe they’re interested in something that I’m related to, and that lends itself to more trust in a conversation, which goes back to the fundamentals of coaching, creating a safe space for everybody.  So some of it is coach-based, which can be interest-based, which just means that you have to look around for it a little bit.

Jodi:     Absolutely.

Jeff:     I had another question. I can’t really think of it. This is what I hate about live stuff.

Oh, one thing I can say, is that the experiences that I’ve had coaching college students, is honestly, when they want to do it, it’s so much fun as a coach. I mean, with adults, tears come down when they begin to see that they can do stuff, and that’s great, it’s wonderful, it really fulfills me, but I got to tell you, a coaching a kid in college, when they get it, it’s the greatest thing.

Jodi:     It really is. And I can share that I’ve had some students who say to me, that after, or in between the coaching sessions, or if we take a break, they’ll say, “I heard what we talked about in my head, so you really were my virtual coach.” Because what they start to notice is, as they become more mature, their brain matures, and they become more self-aware, they’re realizing that the coaching was the support that, now, they can support themselves. So there’s this pride of ownership of, “I can do it.” That to see that in a young person is absolutely amazing.

Jeff:     And you’re looking at the master here, because Jodi’s coaching program was reviewed as research was done. Research is showing that coaching is having a positive impact, and her coach training program is what they use at the Edge Foundation, and they’re using for the Shire scholarships, and if I’m not mistaken, you’ve done a lot of good work, but a lot of that came as a result of an individual that you coached. And I believe the daughter went to her father, and said, “That was the greatest present that was ever given to me.”

Jodi:     Right, absolutely. I was crying when I heard the story, but that’s how the Edge Foundation started, and I had already developed my work, but the fact that I was able to bring it, and follow my mission of making sure that every young person has a coach throughout the world, that’s where we’re going.

Jeff:     For those that are interested in learning more about Jodi, it’s

Jodi:     Yep., and I’d love to hear from you,

Jeff:     And thank you very much for coming on Attention Talk Video.

Jodi:     Thanks.

Jeff:     Take care.

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