Teen ADHD Coaching

TEEN ADHD COACHING: Supporting big goals and expectations

Being a teenager is an exciting time in life—a time when you approach challenges with new freedoms, new skills, and new friends. But adolescence isn’t easy. Being a teenager means big expectations and big responsibilities. It’s hard meeting big demands when you’re a teen; it’s even harder when ADHD is in the mix. Coaching can be an effective therapy for teens with ADHD who are struggling with daily goals at home and school, and who want to make big dreams happen, too. At Possibilities, we now offer ADHD Coaching across the lifespan.

Here are some common questions we are asked about our Teen ADHD Coaching Program, along with our answers.

Teen ADHD Coaching is an innovative, creative, and fun program based on brain science and CBT principles. Teen ADHD Coaching can help your adolescent get started on tasks, persist with grit, and get stuff done. Whether it’s cleaning a room, tackling homework, or achieving big dreams, our coaches can help!

Research studies show that coaching is an effective therapy in ADHD for building confidence and supporting follow-through on work and goals for children, teens, and adults. With ADHD, it’s hard to stay focused on tasks and get work done, especially if tasks are demanding and not too exciting. It’s also difficult figuring out the steps needed to work through tasks, and to estimate how long those steps are going to take. The desire to spend more time with friends adds to teen challenges, too, with school work and chores often being pushed aside and tackled at the last minute. Coaching is effective in ADHD because clinicians help clients tackle goals and expectations systematically by identifying concrete steps, estimating objectively how long steps are going to take, brainstorming strategies, creating timelines, and checking in regularly to see what worked and what didn’t. Coaching can help individuals with ADHD complete work and help bring them closer to goals and dreams.

Generally, an ADHD Coach is someone who helps people with ADD or ADHD achieve specific, meaningful goals. At the Possibilities Clinic, all our coaches are licensed health professionals. We have registered psychotherapists, registered psychologists, and registered social workers on our Coaching Team. That means our coaches—as licensed professionals—must adhere to specific health training and practice guidelines defined by their profession. Our coaches are reflective and creative in their problem-solving, informed by their deep expertise in ADHD and what the brain needs for effective scaffolding to support success.

Our coaches use various approaches—from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)  to Psychoeducational approaches that explain how the brain works and how specific strategies can support skills called Executive Functions. You can learn more about how CBT works here. Our coaches are experts in ADD and ADHD, so they understand that all sessions—regardless of approach—must acknowledge the brain’s need to have tasks broken down systematically. Our coaches also understand that ADD or ADHD can easily sway a teen from work—no matter how strong the intentions to follow through on goals may be. Our coaches will consider your teen’s personal preferences for sessions, too. For children and teens, doodling and visual notetaking are a big part of our Coaching Program for those who like drawing. For teens who would rather talk about strategies—rather than draw them—this option is available, too. Regardless of approach, the coach will speak with your teen about goals and expectations, discuss steps and strategies for work completion, consider challenges and distractions that are likely to get in your teen’s way, and talk about how your teen can manage obstacles when they arise.

Doodle! Do! Done! is a unique program created by our experts in developmental psychology and clinical neuroscience at the Possibilities Clinic. Research shows that doodling can help the brain grasp concepts, remember information, and engage focus. Individuals with ADHD typically describe doodling positively; doodling helps the brain hone in on key ideas and stay connected to information as it’s presented. Children, teens and adults who love to doodle are welcome to take part in ADHD Coaching using the Doodle! Do! Done! format. Goals are visualized and sketched, and steps and strategies are drawn sequentially during the coaching sessions in a blank comic book or journal. At home, the steps your child has drawn in a graphic novel format become the guideposts for working through tasks and deadlines, and meeting agreed-upon goals. 

Research studies show that ADHD Coaching is an effective therapy for children, teens, and adults, so our coaches work with individuals across these age groups. The approaches and strategies we use in our Possibilities Coaching Program are adjusted in ways that are appropriate for clients of different ages. Individuals with ADHD who struggle to stay organized and meet expectations can benefit. What these struggles look like can look different in different people. Some teens with ADHD leave school work until the last minute, or miss deadlines completely, either forgetting or ignoring them. Others work incredibly hard to meet deadlines but have little time for other activities, like spending time with family and friends. Working with a coach can help teens who struggle with ADHD in all kinds of ways to approach goals and meet expectations more predictably and efficiently.  

In ADHD Coaching, your teen will work with a coach in the first session to identify personal strengths, and review challenges that keep getting in the way of successful problem-solving. The coach will discuss some myths and facts about ADHD, too—to ensure your teen has the most up-to-date information about ADHD and how it may have been holding your teen back. Next, your teen will begin working collaboratively with the coach to craft goals and actions for achieving them.

Generally, here’s what your teen will do with a coach in our Teen ADHD Coaching Program:

  • Identify 3 to 4 meaningful goals that your teen wants to work towards
  • Identify smaller steps to be taken over a specific period of time—usually a week or two—to accomplish specific goals
  • Learn how to write small, easy-to-follow weekly goals or objectives
  • Explore organizational tools to help stay on track with goals
  • Use critical problem-solving skills to overcome obstacles that get in the way of accomplishments
  • Identify effective strategies that can be applied to all areas of life

Our coaches recognize that parents can be great partners in ADHD Coaching for children and teens. When you know what goals are being targeted—and what steps and strategies your teen has discussed with the coach—you can better understand how to support your child between coaching sessions. Older teens may wish to assume more responsibility for task completion—relying more on their coach than their parents—which can be an important step in building independence. Our coaches will work with you and your family to determine what strategies, plans, and level and nature of parent involvement will work best for helping your teen reach goals with greater independence.

No, not entirely. Setting goals that are meaningful to you—and that you can achieve with support—is a big part of any ADHD Coaching program. But when goals become reality, you can begin to revise the stories you tell yourself about who you are, and what you’re able to accomplish. Maybe your stories have started with the words, “I can’t” or “I’ll never be able to…” When you start making goals happen, you can begin to see yourself as a person capable of achieving great things. The same change in thinking can occur for your child or teen, too, when success starts to happen more consistently and more often. So no, coaching isn’t just about getting tasks done. It’s about changing self-perceptions. It’s about giving discouragement, defeat and disappointment a much smaller role in crafting the stories you tell about who you are, or who your child or teen is. Coaching is about encouraging through success, and growing confidence and esteem along the way.

At Possibilities, coaching is offered in 6-session blocks. Each session builds on the previous one, starting with a check-in on progress over the previous week. Your teen and coach will discuss what worked well, what challenges arose, and what changes can be made going forward. The 6-session block provides a well-defined time-line for your teen to pick specific goals and complete them under the direction of the coach.

Of course! On your sixth coaching session, you and your coach will discuss next steps. You have the option of continuing another 6-Week Coaching Program or adding on individual Booster Sessions (e.g., 1 to 2 appointments per month) for maintenance and check-ins.

Coaching sessions typically happen once, every one to two weeks. More than two weeks between sessions will make it difficult to determine which weekly goals were met, and which ones need to be revised. A one-to-two week pace also means your teen will see change fast when it comes to accomplishing specific goals.

The goals covered in coaching depend on what is meaningful for each client. Typically, teens have goals that relate to school and tasks you have for them at home. For all clients, some “right now” expectations are identified and tackled as “school” and “home” goals. Some time is spent on “you” goals, too. These can be big, starry dream goals your teen has always wanted to accomplish, or something more immediate like getting better at art or a specific sport. At Possibilities, ADHD Coaching is about more than improving daily functioning. It’s about creating exciting possibilities for your teen’s future, too!

In ADHD Coaching, we work collaboratively with clients to increase their chances of reaching meaningful goals successfully. We work hard to tailor goals, and the strategies needed to get there, in ways that maximize the chances of success, keeping in mind personal strengths that can be leveraged, and anticipating challenges your teen is likely to face along the way. If well-crafted steps are followed, work gets done, and goals are met, then that’s success. And when your teen learns through coaching how to approach new goals systematically, then that’s success, too! Many teens we see require ongoing support during the school year, when deadlines are fast and furious. This decision marks success, too. It takes great insight to know when you’ll get swamped and what you’ll need to thrive. If corporate executives can use coaching services—ongoing—to support their success, then why can’t children and teens, too?

Yes!  We offer coaching services remotely through secure video sessions. Clients enjoy the convenience of this option, rather than travelling frequently to our Toronto office. We’ve expanded our reach, too. Our coaches now work with clients across Ontario—made possible by offering coaching services through secure video appointments. You must be physically present in Ontario during your video coaching sessions.

Coaching at Possibilities is provided by non-medical health professionals such as psychologists, psychotherapists, occupational therapists, and social workers. As such, these services are not covered by OHIP. Your private insurance plan may cover ADHD Coaching as a psychotherapy service.

Yes! You do not need a doctor’s referral to start working with one of our coaches.

The cost of each coaching session ranges from $180 to $255, depending on the clinician providing the service.

For more information about the Possibilities Coaching Program, please contact us at info@possibilitiesclinic.com or call 1-833-482-5558. You can also get started right away by completing our Child and Adolescent Intake Form. Once this form is received, our Care Coordinator will review your needs, match you to an appropriate clinician, and get back to you with booking options.

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