By Jeff Copper, MBA, PCC, PCAC, CPCC, ACG – June 19, 2023
The first written record of the concept of ADHD coaching was in the book, Driven to Distraction, by Dr. Ned Hallowell and Dr. John Ratey in 1994. Little did they know at that time, the entire coaching industry would grow into a new ADHD intervention. In the late 1990s, a handful of individuals became life coaches that had ADHD and began touting the concept. In 2004, we saw the official formation of the ADHD Coaches Organization (ACO) as a means for coaches to come together and share best practices and competencies.
I was fortunate enough to join the ranks in 2007. In late 2008, I accepted the invitation to become a charter member of the board on the Professional Association of ADHD Coaches. Our mission was to develop competencies and certify ADHD coaches as a means of formally defining what is and isn’t coaching. Since that time, the number of ADHD coaches who have sought formal education through ADHD coach-specific training and have been certified has grown substantially. As a result, ADHD coaching is now recognized as a respected intervention option by other professionals in the mental health community.
In 2007, the ADHD Coaches Organization had their first conference independent of other ADHD organizations. The conference grew and in 2016 unified with Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder Association. Today, the unified conference is the annual conference on ADHD, usually the second week in November.
Coincidentally, Michelle Novotni, Evelyn Polk Green, and David Gwierc collaborated to write the first U.S. Senate resolution, bringing about ADHD Awareness Day in 2004. Beginning in October that year, we celebrated ADHD Awareness Day, which then grew to ADHD Awareness Day, and now, ADHD Awareness Month. Its single focus is to bring a broader awareness to those in need and encouragement to get help.
In 2019, I had the honor of interviewing Dr. J. Russell Ramsey of the University of Pennsylvania. As a psychologist, he has seen ADHD coaching growing as a treatment intervention and has become a huge supporter. In the interview Dr. Ramsey discussed how ADHD coaching looked promising as it was helping to bring treatment modalities together. He acknowledged that coaches were helping to remove the stigma of ADHD and that we now see that more of those with ADHD are seeking help and treatment.
Recently, the subject of ADHD coaches made it into The New York Times in the article, “Managing A.D.H.D. Is Hard. These Coaches Want to Help.
It’s a great personal honor to have been part of that small band of ADHD coaches early on and to see the industry bloom and grow. The future is bright for ADHD coaching. Increasingly, we are finding that ADHD coaching is a viable intervention to help those in need.
If you’re reading this article, you are certainly interested in coaching or, at least, find value in it. Please join me in celebrating the growth of the ADHD coaching industry.