Today marks two years since I started ADHD life coaching for my ADHD challenges!
My coach emailed me with a reminder and congratulated me on how far I’ve far come since I began my journey two years ago. As I read the email, I realised how much I had lost track of my progress and the past two years came flashing back. As I reflected on them, it made me realise just how much I had grown and how I had not stopped to reflect on the whole process. Being a coach myself today, I felt it would be useful to reflect on what it was like for me to go through the growth process, as deep understanding is one of my strengths. And perhaps you may find many aspects of my journey relatable as well.
Coaching Through My Eyes….
Over 28 months ago I was diagnosed with combined type ADHD and during this time, I was against medication as well as further treatment as it just did not feel like the right time for those. I for one was moving countries and on top of that, going through a lot in my professional life. I had just quit my job which itself was a significant change in trajectory. Naturally, I needed space to sort things out before doing anything at all. So, it was not until 6 months later–during the covid breakout–that I began my journey.
Once the stringent lockdown restrictions were implemented, I found myself sitting on the bed for days while trying to make sense of things. On the sixth day, I woke up and told myself this isn’t me! I needed to get up and do something! So finally, I sought the energy, focus and time for my next move.
Crossing paths with a certain channel about ADHD had me instantly fixated. As I began listening to the podcast and immersing myself in it, I heard the term ‘ADHD Life Coaching’ for the first time. I was unsure of what it entailed but knowing my hyperfocus, I was surely determined to find out the answers until the picture was clearer. Considering my situation cannot get any worse, I took a big leap and decided to set up a few meetings with some ADHD life coaches I had shortlisted. Fast track to a week later, I had already found my coach! It’s safe to say that it was impulsivity at its best in this case!
My coach was very different from anyone I’d quite met. There was no hidden motive of making a quick sale on something and she genuinely listened to what I had to say about my experiences. In so many ways, I was able to relate to her on a deeper level. This was so foreign to me, and I was initially very taken aback by emotions. I could not believe I was finally being acknowledged for being me; not the mask I wore, or the version everyone else saw, but ME! Tasha!
In the first session, we assessed the point at which I was regarding my ADHD as well as life and set some goals as to where I wanted to be. This was challenging as it was tough to envision things getting better considering my situation at the time. It was hard to imagine a better reality. It was also decided that I needed to keep a log of everything I was going to do to keep myself on track. Not only would that help to hold me accountable, but it would also serve as clear evidence of my actions and efforts.
The main thing I wanted to learn from the ADHD life coaching sessions was how the ADHD manifested and how to be my authentic self. Firstly, what I wanted to work on was a way to stay still and focused for prolonged periods like during a meeting for instance. I remember my coach asking… “Why do you need to sit still and focused the whole time?”. I did not know how to answer but what I knew was that I had never been given the option to do things differently.
Conforming to society’s standards was all I knew, and I naturally pushed myself to do what the world expected. ‘The shoulds’ of the world. We further discussed possibilities and explored solutions like using a hand fidget and a break reminder in my book that could help my brain take a mental cool down whenever needed. Also, carrying a doodle book on which I could scribble or jot down notes to keep myself on track. Guess what? I was able to focus for a whole hour with the help of these simple but useful solutions. It took some tweaking and time; however, I reached my first goal in a matter of a few weeks. This was the first of many changes that were to come!
What a journey it has been. Week in and week out, my coach and I met, discussed and experimented with strategies. There were moments of failure and emotional outbursts that called for redirection and breaks, but most of all, there were moments of victory that rightfully celebrated growth. I always knew that it was not going to be easy, but I knew that it would be worthwhile. The effort, time and implementation shifts were all going to be part of it. It was going to require learning about myself and how I could be myself in this society.
After coming across my coach and starting sessions with her, I was ready to explore any solutions despite the misconceptions I had heard along the way. Eventually, I was open to taking medication too, I did my part in the growth process by doing individual research on certain things and carried on with the multi-model approach of treatment that I selected. Based on the conducted sessions, I strengthened my knowledge and even extended strategies that were beneficial to different aspects of my life. Surely, I was going at full throttle into the whole coaching experience. It was one of those situations where hyperfocus effectively took form. Everything played out well and nicely.
There are many enlightening things I’ve learned from this journey just as I initially wanted to like improving memory, managing priorities, refining focus, and regulating emotions. However, what I hold most dear to me from this experience is having learned more about who I am. Of course, ADHD challenges were hard and coaching surely helped to come up with workarounds; however, the impact of being unadvised about ADHD was so much deeper and the consequences, therefore, heavier to budge.
I remember when one week my coach and I discussed finding a way to read and record information as reading was not my forte. It was something I did not enjoy doing but I wanted to be able to easily do. My coach helped me discover that I was an auditory or verbal processor and that listening to a book, for instance, would be far more beneficial. After a week of trying out this new approach, I wanted to test the waters. I wanted to be able to record a passage I had read and so, I forced myself with agony to repeat and repeat the words until I could process them and write them down as notes. To my dismay, it did not work. I was in tears and confused as I thought I was past this.
I met with my coach, and she helped me realise that sometimes it’s completely fine not to succeed and for things to not go according to plan because ADHD can make it harder. The word that changed everything for me from that point onwards was ACCEPTANCE! Accept that my ADHD is part of me yet not all of me. Accept that sometimes it was not going to work. And accept that I am so much more.
The next week, I printed the section I had been listening to. Instead of pushing myself to do something I found difficult to do, I discovered an alternative approach and permitted myself to test it. I relied on my ability to think outside the box. After learning what acceptance meant, I also learned to draw from my strengths, values and everything about me that was not linked to my ADHD. My coach and I explored them in-depth, relied on evidence that supported the strengths and utilised these points to overcome barriers.
Fast forward to some time later, I loved the whole process of coaching so much that I wanted to become a coach myself. Thinking back, I would have never even dreamt of re-routing my course and let alone, changing my career. However, with the help of my coach, I was able to transform it into reality! I wanted to help others just as she helped me. Through all of it, my coach saw me for who I was. She saw a girl who was creative, passionate and had so much potential. Week after week, she acknowledged this, validated it and emphasised it until I eventually started seeing it myself. This was exactly what I needed. I now have a book of notes that helps me, my brain and my ADHD. It helps me to live the life I want and deserve!
Coaching changed my life in so many ways and here are some I’s you could benefit from too:
- Is coaching right for me: Before reaching out to a coach, decide whether coaching is the answer for you right now. Sometimes, other things may need to be addressed before taking the plunge. Check out the questions here to see if coaching is what you need right now.
- Finding the right coach: The best thing about coaches is that they offer a free 20-minute introductory session allowing you to explore which one is the right for you. Here are some questions to prepare for these consultations. Believing in them and their ethos as well as getting along with them is key to making the most progress.
- Going in with your eyes open: Being very open and not having too much of an outcome in mind can help the coaching journey go to unexpected places! If we have a set idea, it can prevent us from going further than we could imagine.
- Keep a log to track progress: Finding a way to track the progress of your coaching journey along the way can help with not only accountability and memory but also as evidence that you can do this and help those negative doubtful thoughts. This log does not have to be a journal. Get creative
- Know that coaching is not a quick fix: I wish this weren’t the last one and that coaching could fix all your problems and be the answer! However, remember we do not need to be fixed. We just need help to see that we are not broken and that we just may need to look at and approach things from a different angle! Coaching does take time as so does change but stick with it as it will come sooner than you think!
Anyway, cheers to me! Although I am two years into the journey with my coach I am still growing with each passing day! Change and growth are now my core values, and the journey continues for me. Today, my ADHD is still a part of who I am, but the difference is that I am now thriving rather than just surviving with it thanks to my coach!
I dedicate this post to my coach for her incredible generosity in helping me finally be my true self unapologetically. Well, at least 80 percent of the time because I am still human after all.
Why not try coaching today?