Clients you may “know”
Some great stories about goals, challenges, and victories
The coach-client relationship is professional and confidential, and we protect the privacy of our clients to the fullest extent possible. These profiles and quotes have been volunteered, and the names have been kept incomplete. Read our full policy statement: Privacy & Confidentiality
Ted J. owns and operates a warehouse business with 6 employees. His primary goal was to systematize all aspects of personnel management: job descriptions, company policy and procedure, performance evaluations, payroll and legal requirements. He had been diagnosed with ADHD in high school and used medicine occasionally in college.
“I was knowledgeable about every aspect of what needed to get done. It was all in my head, but I had to realize that I just could not force myself pull it all together and get it down in black and white. In the back of my head I know ADHD was the problem.”
“With coaching we used strategies like finding models, short-term consulting, delegating some parts of it, and setting up my own quiet work space and designated time. It was really the first time I completed such a tedious long-term project. Accountability to my coach was a big part of getting results and kept things light. I feel real success and not so beat down by ADHD problems. I can use lots of this on other goals.”
Linda L. is an adjunct professor at two colleges. She loves teaching and the flexibility of her lifestyle, but that flexibility also presented problems. She tended to “invent” each day as she went, always in the immediate, doing much work at the last minute. She did not have the balanced life she hoped “flexibility” would bring, and many of her longer term academic projects were way behind. Her confidence was down and she felt “ashamed” of her situation.
“I love that I am reasonably organized now, less stressed and actually know what’s next. I don’t feel like a victim because my coach helped me to a much more objective grasp of ADD and less sense of self-blame…”
“I liked the fact there was a group of coaches to select from here. My coach fit me very well. She pushed a bit to take a wide look at things, not just focus on the urgent stuff. We made a wellness plan. I got help for depression, I have stopped smoking, and I developed a system for getting more activity and sleep. I have some simple systems to structure myself. “Crisis-mode” is way down, and my work is higher quality now. It took a few months, but it has been a great experience.”
Frank M. owns an insurance agency with three branches. He is a self-described “big picture” guy. He loves exploring business concepts, trends, models, marketing methods, or new IT possibilities. Unfortunately his ADHD caused him to spend more time chasing interesting ideas than executing operational needs. This hurt staff morale, as well as his bottom line. There had also been market changes in his field that he was unable to plan for and his business was in decline.
“I would say there were two big mental shifts my ADD coach helped me make. First, I came to see I had to make time more concrete in my life, something solid to work with like a tool to help get a job done. For me, time was like a vapor, and it just vanished around me.”
“Secondly, I came to see that the way to get more done is to focus on time allocation first, not to just make more lists or put pressure on myself. To execute, I must allocate time in advance. It’s what “they” call planning, which I had never taken the time to do really.”
“I now assign specific time to my ‘business research.” I actually plan time blocks to do this fun stuff of exploring the latest ideas. And I assign time blocks for the boring chores and calls. I bargain with myself for a balance, and it works. My coach always emphasized self-coaching, always reminding yourself of new ways to operate. My clients and staff are happier. I believe the business will move past just treading water.”
Jennifer B. works for a marketing firm that develops social media for big retailers. Given her experience and expertise, she felt she was not working to her full potential, and her manager agreed. He wanted her to be faster, more planned, and more able to “multi-task.” She was very concerned about her career future. Part of her did not “believe in” ADHD. She was a very self-sufficient person and did not want to be seen as making excuses.
“With the help of a kind insightful coach, I learned to make peace with the fact that just being smart and dedicated as hell does not always mean you can succeed wonderfully, happily at any job. Sheer will of force is not the key to success. Commitment is important but I can’t be really excellent at all things.”
“My ADHD coach was very knowledgeable. I liked his inclusive approach. I learned a lot about how my brain works, what my core strengths really are, and the support side of coaching, the sense of not being alone in this, which was more helpful than I first imagined. I redefined excellence as maximizing strengths and applying them to work that brings them out. Constantly fighting your weak areas just brings more anxiety.”
“My coach and I worked out a very planned approach to job transition, and I absolutely know the red flags to stay away from. I will not just jump at the next opportunity that has a good job title. I will do my homework and learn all I can about the true nature of the work and the culture of the organization.”
Josh P. has a sales position he is very good at, but it takes huge quantities of his time. His life was out of balance, which negatively affected his marriage. He felt like he was “chasing his tail” with no real hope for change. Josh was recently diagnosed with ADHD and was feeling several things: relieved but confused; hopeful but uncertain. He wanted his wife to understand more about the true nature of ADHD, and that his struggles on the home front were not for lack of commitment.
“My coach helped me turn a big corner in my life. I had to get past the idea that this was my fault, or a lack of will power or character. I had to understand the facts about ADHD and work with it, the pro’s and con’s, instead of just full on battle mode. My wife is very organized and it was confusing to her.”
“I had tried lots of things in the past, books and workshops, but follow through just never happened. The coach helped me developed a few simple organizational tools that actually worked. Simple was the key. Getting life more organized was the primary goal. I do much better with weekly plans and priorities, goals beyond work are starting to happen, and it has taken a ton of pressure off my marriage. There is a ways to go but coaching has been a huge part of turning things around.”
Sarah T. runs her own business as a building contractor. She develops bids, makes plans, coordinates jobs, and supervises residential projects. She has plenty of technical and general business knowledge. The problem was her tendency to over promise on deliverables, be late on invoicing, fail to pay bills, forget banking chores, and neglect related financial tasks. It was taking a real toll on her bottom line. She was rather skeptical about ADD as “real,” and about advantages of coaching over the phone.
“For the office “paperwork” problems, we worked on systems and skills, all very practical stuff that brought basic order to things. Only then was I able to bring in part-time office help, which was huge. Stress levels went way down.”
“I learned how small skills build success. I learned how to NOT say YES too quickly. I was making snap decisions to please people then not pleasing them because I could not deliver. I learned to be very polite and still defer YES until I thought about it. It all sounds so simple now, although it is still hard to do. One ADD fact of life, you have to Re-Tool your systems all the time. The idea that once something works it is in your mind forever is just a myth. I coach myself on this every day. My coach was a sweet dedicated person. I felt truly understood.”
Steven L. is an executive account manager in the insurance industry. His relationship building and support for clients and accounts was great. His working relationships and effectiveness with coworkers were not so great. Communications skills were a problem: impulsive emails, taking over team meetings, interrupting, offering help that wasn’t asked for, not listening well, and not getting the details straight. This was negatively impacting his performance reviews and advancement possibilities. He had gone through a thorough evaluation and found he was ADHD and dyslexic.
“A big part of career success grows from effective communications. It was a bit humbling to become fully aware of how I was impacting others. I started taking the ADHD meds consistently. Then I could slow down a bit and measure the situation better. Being more aware was hugely important. My coach kept reminding me, ‘just pause a bit and give your brain a chance to read the situation.”
“Really, in order to communicate better with others, I had to learn to execute what my coach called “STOPS” at certain moments. So this idea of improved communication skills gave me a very objective way to approach this issue of relationships at work. It was not about my character – I did not mean to come across as a jerk. It was about applying the right skills in various ‘people situations’.” My coach was great at his “tough love” approach, humor plus straight talk.”
Kathy D. is a doctoral student in her last year of dissertation work. She was severely behind in the research, review, and writing stages of her work, and she had no way to extend any of her deadlines. Her career options were going to be limited without completing this process correctly. Plus, it has always been her dream to reach this level of training and continue in the academic world. She had had a great experience with a therapist over a few years, but now she wanted concentrated practical support.
“The big problem was not executing consistent writing periods with my brain, mind and body all ON together. This long ADD struggle hurt my confidence and my love for the project. I was in avoidance mode. Procrastination, distraction, overwhelm, all that – a pattern of stuckness that seemed out of my control. The first thing my coach recommended was to reevaluate the meds, and get a sleep routine.”
“I was hoping my coach would have one big ADD solution, but “THE answer” was putting a set of small solutions in place. With some great support, I disciplined myself to wake on time, walk, eat well, take meds, limit electronics, and start with a clear plan and clear desk. I hired an assistant who chased down details and reviewed the writing, which I had been too embarrassed to do previously. The coach and I spoke often, and this support and accountability helped my mood and motivation. The paper was still late, but they took it, I have my degree, and my career will move on. I tell people, don’t wait, build a support team before crisis mode hits.”
Sam’s career and home life were going well. He had been working with a doctor and a therapist for about a year. Things were on an even keel. He had learned a lot, the medicine was working alright (although he remained uncertain about continuing with it), and he was very optimistic overall.
He felt settled enough that he wanted to develop goals and plans for his future. He wanted a sense of direction and sequence that was linked to his core interests, strengths, and financial goals. He wanted progress in several domains of life. He had fully accepted ADHD as a part of his life and wanted to take life to the next level.
“Terms like goals, processes, outcomes – these were like a foreign language to me really, things other people did. I couldn’t get my head around them. Goals and long term plans are something people are “supposed” to do, but I had no clue how to actually go about it. I thought I was just lazy or was fearful about decisions. My coach helped me grasp the parts of ADHD that make things like structure and time and goals hard to crystallize.”
“Doing this work verbally, a Q & A approach, a guided conversation he called it, it was very effective. Trying to do it alone with a notebook walking, or in silence at a keyboard, it was like pulling teeth or worse – at least they get a tooth job done.”
“We explored all parts of life, finances to hobbies, and my interests and dreams. It was like discussing a trip, looking at destinations and ways to get there, making a map. It is quite liberating to choose current priorities that match an intended future. A really feel I can get a lot of the future I want”
July S. is the director of a non-profit, community-based program. She supervises five staff members and oversees all aspects of operations, staffing, development, and finance. She loved the mission and the purpose but was overwhelmed by the load.
She could not say NO to a “good idea.” They had taken on more and more, and the staff was stretched too thin. Morale was lagging, and her confidence in her leadership abilities was falling. She had limited success with an “executive coach.” The ideas were good but her ADD challenges prevented much change at the day-to-day level.
“My coach helped me realize that my definition of success revolved around quantity, always doing more, taking on more. Always helping greater numbers of people was my automatic definition of success. We intentionally move to a definition that revolved around quality of service, valuing quality.
“The other realization was that I was not good at grasping the true implications of taking on more. The time, energy, and stress involved was not forefront in my mind. Making these vague notions concrete was something my ADD brain was just not good at. I was also so caught up in the excitement of doing more, I was kind of blind to the real impact my approach was having on staff.”
“These insights needed to be matched with some new management initiatives. I have taken steps to involve the whole team in decisions and plans, and to keep us tight to our core mission. We established some criteria to measure the quality of what we are doing, and now take pride in moving those measurable. But for me, the key changes had to do with insight about my brain’s struggle with things like time, goals, priorities, and decisions.“