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Navigating Your ADHD with An ADHD Coach

We started with meds. Last week, we followed up with therapy. This week, we’re wrapping up our trio of treatment episodes with a conversation on ADHD coaching, and how the coaching process can help you integrate your life with your ADHD.

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This week, we’re wrapping up our trio of treatment episodes with a conversation on coaching, and how the coaching process can help you integrate your life with your ADHD. Whether or not you have decided to pursue the perfect prescription, or trace a treatment through therapy, a relationship with an ADHD coach can help you turn your awareness, acceptance, and new strategies into action.

This week on the show we talk about what an ADHD coach will do for you. We help identify the key differences between therapy and coaching. And we discuss the gray areas that might call for either a therapist or a coach. Most important, we talk about what it means to be ready for change and to know if managing your ADHD with the help of a trained and certified coach is right for you.


Episode Transcript

Brought to you by The ADHD Podcast Community on Patreon

Pete Wright: Hello everybody. And welcome to Taking Control: The ADHD podcast on TruStory FM. I’m Pete Wright, and that there is Nikki Kinzer.

Nikki Kinzer: Hello everyone. Hello, Pete Wright.

Pete Wright: I was trying to do that in such a way that I would toss to you while you were still drinking.

Nikki Kinzer: I’m too fast.

Pete Wright: I was hoping for a spit take. I was shooting for a spit take. And I didn’t get it.

Nikki Kinzer: Not going to happen.

Pete Wright: How are you? This is the last episode that we are recording of this year.

Nikki Kinzer: It is.

Pete Wright: This fine, fine year of 2021, 2021. How do you feel as we wrap up the year? Did you do everything you wanted to do?

Nikki Kinzer: No. Did anybody? 2021 was an extension of 2020. A little bit better, but-

Pete Wright: Marginally better.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: Marginally better.

Nikki Kinzer: … but not great. But yeah, I mean it is what it is.

Pete Wright: It is what it is, but it’s been a great year for the show and thank you everybody for hanging with us as we wrap up season 23 and move into the glorious year of season 24. Holy smokes.

Nikki Kinzer: Right?

Pete Wright: We are going to be talking… We’re continuing our ADHD treatment trajectory. We started two weeks ago. We talked about meds with Bill Dodson, who’s fantastic. And we should say, we just, just this morning, got a quote, come to Jesus comment about that episode, which is very exciting to hear.

Nikki Kinzer: I got a lot of great feedback about that episode, so.

Pete Wright: Yeah. There was some really great feedback about that episode. Last week, Sharon Saline talked about what you expect when you’re in therapy, so meds to therapy and what would possibly fill the gaping hole that exists in your ADHD treatment efforts other than coaching. So now we’re going to talk about coaching. Nikki is going to teach us a little bit about coaching. If you’ve never explored coaching yourself and you’re listening to this show, that surprises us. This might be what you’re looking for. So, here you go. Before we dig into that, head over to takecontroladhd.com, get to know us a little bit better. You can listen to the show there on the website or subscribe to the mailing list and we will send you an email each time a new episode is released. You can connect with us on Twitter or Facebook @TakeControlADHD. And if this show has ever touched you and you think to yourself, "I wonder what Pete and Nikki would like for Christmas?" We have an idea head over to patreon.com/theadhdpodcast and become a Patreon, become a paying supporter of this show. Your duckets, every month duckets, pounds, crowns, stones, whatever currency you happen to use. Stones, I think is a measure of weight. Don’t pay in stone-

Nikki Kinzer: And I don’t want any stones thrown at me.

Pete Wright: If anybody asked you to pay in stones-

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: We’re not interested.

Nikki Kinzer: No.

Pete Wright: You can join for a few bucks a month. You can support the show. You can get access to super secret Discord channels. If you subscribe at the supreme level, you get access to an additional monthly workshop every month and you get all kinds of great stuff and you get to join us on the live streams of this fair show. So you can watch us of foul up the place with mistakes and-

Nikki Kinzer: And today, I have my coaching hat on.

Pete Wright: And you got a coaching hat on.

Nikki Kinzer: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Like really, a real hat. Although, you thought-

Pete Wright: It is a hat.

Nikki Kinzer: … you thought, like really. Like, you really wear that when you coach? Like, no, no, no, no.

Pete Wright: It is a cute hat. It doesn’t feel particularly-

Nikki Kinzer: Coachy.

Pete Wright: … athletic or coachy. Yeah, no. It is definitely a fashion statement. It’s much more a Carrie Bradshaw I think, than maybe coach, so.

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: Anyhow. Yeah, if you head over there, patreon.com/theadhdpodcast, it’s listener-supported podcasting and we sure appreciate it. Growing this community has been one of the great delights of what we do. And in fact, it’s how we pay for our shoes, is you helping us to grow this community. So thank you very much for contributing to that process and helping us to contribute to our livelihood. And thank you to Electra Allentown and Captain Zemblanity and Angela Woods this week for becoming new members. Captain Zemblanity.

Nikki Kinzer: I love it.

Pete Wright: That’s one I want to take on. I was thinking Electra Allentown is one of the great names that we’ve had, because I’ve just always been a fan of the name Electra. I think that is such a great, great name. And it’s just unfortunate that right after Electra joined, Captain Zemblanity joins. Because now all I can think of is Captain Zemblanity.

Nikki Kinzer: Oh, that’s fantastic.

Pete Wright: Which I almost feel like should be kind of a… Maybe that is the name of the ADHD podcast spirit animal. Like, maybe the ADHD squirrel’s name is Captain Zemblanity.

Nikki Kinzer: It could because it has a little cape.

Pete Wright: It’s got a little cape. Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah. That’s right.

Pete Wright: So anyhow, that’s where it is. Patreon.com/theadhdpodcast to learn more. Thanks everybody. And now we have announcements, but not 18 minutes of them.

Nikki Kinzer: No, I really tried to tighten this up. However, I am excited about what’s happening in 2022. So I want to share. The organizing challenge, so this begins January 1st. We’re playing the purging game in brief, like a very brief summary. Day one is one item, but on day 15 you let go of 15 items and Pete did the math. So by day 31, it’s like 496 items that you get rid of. Pretty darn cool.

Pete Wright: Yeah. It’s those last four items that really I struggle with. We have to get to 500 everybody.

Nikki Kinzer: I know, right?

Pete Wright: Just know that you need four bonus items at some point.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah. I agree. We’re going for 500. The organizing challenge includes two organizing study halls over the weekend, two hours on Saturday, two hours on Sunday. We’re going to have weekly office hours where you can ask me anything, specifically around organizing would be nice. But Hey, if you have another question, I’m happy to answer it. Tuesdays and Fridays at-

Pete Wright: Pineapple on pizza. Yes or no?

Nikki Kinzer: Yes, for me. But my daughter would say no.

Pete Wright: There you go.

Nikki Kinzer: So yeah.

Pete Wright: You never knew.

Nikki Kinzer: But there’s going to be office hours, Tuesdays and Fridays in the morning. And we have a wonderful Discord channel that we are going to share publicly. So whether you want to be part of the actual official challenge, we still want to invite you to the Discord channel as well. So it’s going to be $75 for January, if you want to join the organizing sessions and office hours. And you know what? Clear the clutter, Pete, and start the new year off with more space and less stress. That’s my commercial for the day.

Pete Wright: Perfect.

Nikki Kinzer: GPS, guided planning sessions. Two days a week, we are giving time and space to plan for the week. You get guidance from myself, you are getting guidance from other people, you’re planning in this workshop. It’s a great thing. All the information that you need to know is online at my website. Enrollment date deadline is January 5th, and the next session will begin on Monday, January 10th. So I hope to see you in GPS. Quickly, because this is not happening until February 2022, I am going to have an accountability plus coaching monthly membership. Now, so this was a little bit different because when I explained it last week, it wasn’t a membership, but this is going to be brand new. So I don’t want to bore you right now. I’ll talk about it in January, but I just want you guys to know that this is something new and exciting and it’s coming.

Pete Wright: Is that it?

Nikki Kinzer: That’s it.

Pete Wright: That’s all the news? That was like three minutes.

Nikki Kinzer: Good.

Pete Wright: You did great.

Nikki Kinzer: I was really trying to make it quick, because-

Pete Wright: Yeah. All right. That means that we get to turn our attention to coach.

Nikki Kinzer: Coach Nikki, with my coaching hat.

Pete Wright: Coach Nikki. Although I have to say, all credit to Melissa in the chat room for making the Carrie Bradshaw versus Terry Bradshaw joke-

Nikki Kinzer: Thank you.

Pete Wright: … which I told totally missed. And I hang my head in shame that I did not effectively deliver that joke. It would’ve been more timely.

Nikki Kinzer: I’m not Terry.

Pete Wright: Melissa nailed it.

Nikki Kinzer: Awesome.

Pete Wright: Okay.

Nikki Kinzer: All right. So, to get started.

Pete Wright: So here we go. Yeah. We’re wrapping this up. We’re wrapping up our little trio of conversations on treatment and integrating ADHD into your life. And so this week we are talking about coaching-

Nikki Kinzer: About coaching.

Pete Wright: Where do start.

Nikki Kinzer: All right. Well, so this was really fun for me to put this outline together because we talk about coaching a lot in the show throughout our conversations. There’s a lot of times where I’ll talk about clients or experiences or things that I have seen in coaching. I don’t ever remember a very specific, at least as specific as this is going to be about coaching and how it is part of the treatment for ADHD. So I’m really excited to talk about this. And I’m going to share with the audience some of the more common questions that I get about coaching and how it works, and is it something that might work for you. Before we get started though, I do want to let you guys know that I am following up this podcast with a workshop up in our supreme level of our Patreon membership. And that workshop is going to go into greater detail about what to look for in an ADHD coach, what questions to ask and how to decide if it’s a good fit for you. So I’m not going to talk about that in the show today, but we will have a workshop available for supreme members of Patreon.

Pete Wright: All right.

Nikki Kinzer: First question, what is ADHD coaching? What is ADHD coaching?

Pete Wright: Yeah, I think that’s actually a really good question because I think if you’ve never had either therapy or coaching, you might confuse the two with each other.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes. And I will definitely talk about the differences.

Pete Wright: Okay.

Nikki Kinzer: And something that I have found in my career is people ask me, "Well, Nikki, what do you do? What do you do for a living?" You’re at a party or whatever. And when I say, "Oh, I’m a ADHD coach." I just get this like blank stare. So usually what I’ll do now is I’ll say, "I work with adults in college students who have ADHD." "Oh, okay, well what does that mean?" "Oh, I help them navigate life with their ADHD." "Okay." So, I start off really quite general. I don’t really talk a lot about coaching unless they really care and want to ask me questions. And if they do care and I go into it, for me, and this is… What I’m talking to you today is from my perspective, right? It’s about my coaching and how I do it, but it doesn’t mean that that’s how everybody does it. Every coach is different. And so I just want to keep that in mind that I’m not talking generally, I’m really talking specifically about how I do it. For me, there’s three points to coaching that I think are important for people to know. And this is not a linear system. It’s not like you get to do one, two and three. You might start at three and do two and one and one and two and three and three and two and one, it is going to be all over the place. And these points get factored into every conversation that I have in a coaching session. The first one is awareness. So part of coaching is really being aware of how ADHD affects you. So what I’m doing is I’m listening to what the person has to say, and I’m helping the client recognize, that’s ADHD. That makes sense that we’re doing that.

Pete Wright: I was just going to say that. Yeah. Like the number of times we’ve had these conversations where there’s something that I’ve integrated into my life and have no idea until it’s pointed out that, oh right. That’s because ADHD.

Nikki Kinzer: Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, and it’s important that we understand that to an extent. I mean, sometimes we’ll never know, is this ADHD? Or is this just part of my personality? But it is important to understand what characteristics are ADHD so it does make more sense to you, because I think a lot of times what people will do is they’ll go to the opposite side and just say, "Oh, I’m being lazy," or, "I don’t care," or, "Something’s wrong with me." So it’s giving them that explanation of, no, this is why this is happening. And I think it’s important that the client can and see where that fits in. And again, it’s not always a clear answer, but it’s very helpful to understand. Like, for example, time blindness. A lot of times people will start talking about how I just don’t understand time and they take it like it’s their fault. And then when I say, "Well, no, actually I would say 100% of people have time blindness when it comes to ADHD." "Oh, okay. So this isn’t something I’m doing on purpose?" It really is hard. The second point, and again, this one really goes around all over the place is acceptance. So we have the awareness of ADHD to help understand ourselves, but my hope as a coach is to help the client also understand that they’re not broken. ADHD is not something you fix and it’s not something you fight. You’ll lose if you keep trying to fight it. So you begin to understand why you do certain things and then accepting that, "Okay, this is part of my ADHD. This is going to happen. It’s going to be okay. I’m going to get through it." And I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. There isn’t a symptom of ADHD that is worth damaging your self-esteem or feeling that you’re worthy.

Pete Wright: Your ADHD does not need help damaging you. It’s working hard to do that already.

Nikki Kinzer: Well, and it’s not worth it. That’s my point too, is that there isn’t a symptom that I think you could say is, "Oh, well this is bad enough. This is so bad that I should think that I’m not as worthy as somebody else because of the symptom." There isn’t anything there that’s like that. And that’s kind of what we have to remember. But the acceptance piece is hard and it comes and goes. And I think that, just to put it in very simple terms, there was a gal that I worked with and one of her ideas was that she wasn’t going to need to have an alarm to remind her to go pick up her kids. And I’m like, "No, you’re going to always have to have that alarm."

Pete Wright: Oh, as if like that’s some aspirational state down the road, you’ll get good enough at managing these things and that you’ll be able to fix that part.

Nikki Kinzer: That you’ll be able to fix it. Like I will just get into the habit of knowing when 2:15 is. And I’m like, "That’s not going to happen." Because of the ADHD, you are probably going to get distracted or you’ll see that it’s 2:10, and then you’ll find out it’s 2:30 because you missed it. There’s too many things that could happen that could go wrong. So part of the acceptance is saying, "I need to have this alarm at 2:15 to remind me to go pick up my kids." And that’s okay.

Pete Wright: It reminds me of something Bill Dodson said, which strikes me right now as really important as a way to tweak the way I think about accommodations in general, whether it’s alarms or meds, why would I want to not have an alarm set? Why would I want to live in a world with any just single little tiny dose of uncertainty that I might miss that 2:15? Do you know what I mean? Like, why would I want to? I enjoy being alerted that it’s for me to do things because then I do the things-

Nikki Kinzer: And then you do it, right.

Pete Wright: Why would I want to live in that space? So we get that.

Nikki Kinzer: And you don’t have to have the stress of relying on your memory. Right. Absolutely.

Pete Wright: Right. Right.

Nikki Kinzer: And then I would say the third component is strategies. And that’s really where people come to me is to talk about strategies. So they want the systems, they want the tools, the strategies. They come into coaching thinking that these are going to fix them in some way. So again, I need to remind them that it’s not just about fixing them and I don’t go straight into strategies. I want to go deeper into the conversation to figure out how much they know about their ADHD. How do they think about their ADHD? What are they doing right now to focus on managing it? Like, we need to do more work than just go straight to, "Oh, here’s your time system," because that’s just a bandaid. And if we don’t really talk about how you think about time or what the purpose is for your task manager system and we don’t ask those kinds of questions, then we’re really not helping you. That’s not going to help. You’re going to get something and then you’re going to leave. And then in six months, you’re going to feel like you have to start over again. So we have to address mindset, limiting beliefs, and other roadblocks that have been getting in your way.

Pete Wright: At what point does somebody join you who hasn’t gone down the path at of these three points to coaching; awareness, acceptance, and strategies? Like, nobody comes to you who’s completely green, right?

Nikki Kinzer: It happens. I mean, somebody that is just diagnosed and they don’t know much about ADHD. Yeah. It happens.

Pete Wright: Very low degree of awareness, maybe a lower degree of acceptance and probably no strategies yet.

Nikki Kinzer: Right. They just know that something’s not quite right. They’ve got this diagnosis. They don’t really know what to do with it. Doctors don’t really help you process it very much, right? College students, I would say definitely we wrap a lot of… In college students, there’s a lot of conversation around awareness of ADHD. Because they, I mean, let’s just be honest. I mean, kids that are 19, 20 years old, they think they know everything. So they’re, "Oh, well I can do that." I’ve had ADHD since I was eight, but when you’re eight, it looks a lot different than when you’re a college student on your own for the first time trying to figure out school. So there’s different areas around that. It has been a very rare occasion. And I want to just say that I only did this because I felt comfortable enough with the client that I thought, "Okay, this is the only thing that he really needs." And that was a task manager system. He just wanted me to help him narrow one down and help him set it up. He had gone through therapy, he had gone through coaching, he really was just at a point that this is what he wanted. And he was very clear about it. And I felt good enough that, okay, I’m going to make that exception. But I can tell you 99% of the time, that’s not the case. We can’t just go straight into strategies. They’ll happen. They’ll come. We’ll talk about them. But there’s still a lot of other things that have to be addressed.

Pete Wright: Well, and so much of it goes into what we were talking about with Sharon last week, which is this idea that at some point you reach that level of awareness, acceptance, and willingness and readiness to change.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: And I have to imagine that that transformation, that like moment is the moment you’re willing to start adapting to new strategies through coaching.

Nikki Kinzer: Absolutely. Well, and that’s why, if you’re in a deep depression, you’re not going to be ready for coaching. Because coaching is about action. And if you can’t act on something because it’s really difficult for you to do anything right now, it’s not the right time for coaching. And I think every client is an individual experience. And so we have to, as coaches meet you where you are at the time. And ethically, we need to make sure that we’re not doing something that we shouldn’t be doing because we are not trained therapists. And if we’re not sure if we should take this new client on as a client, then ask if you can talk to their psychiatrist or their therapist to see what they think. Would it help them? Would it not help them? Like, don’t just assume that because the client says, "Yes, I want you," but you’re getting something that doesn’t feel quite right. Like, you have to be ethical about it and do the right thing for the client. Now-

Pete Wright: So, let’s talk about the therapy question. Can we?

Nikki Kinzer: Absolutely.

Pete Wright: So what’s the difference between, like fundamentally, what do you do that a therapist doesn’t and vice versa?

Nikki Kinzer: Absolutely. So I want to reference back to our conversation with Dr. Sharon Saline. Therapy helps you in ways that a coach cannot, right? We were just kind of talking about the ethical pieces of it, because what she was saying is that it’s not just the ADHD, they’re also working with the depression, the anxiety and things like that. Coaching works in ways that most therapists do not. So most therapists that I know of, unless they’re also a coach are not checking in with you during the week. They don’t have an accountability plan. They don’t have necessarily an action plan. They’re not necessarily keeping track of goals, right? I mean, so they’re doing things that we can’t do, and they could do those things, but they would also be a coach along with being a therapist. Therapy supports you with the ADHD. But again, with of the other conditions that come with ADHD, as she said, it’s not usually just an ADHD-focused relationship, they will talk about your past experiences, trauma that you’ve endured, emotions. It’s not just focused on the past as she says, but it’s connecting your past with your future and what you want to now. Now, ADHD coaching is really focused on how ADHD is affecting you and-

Pete Wright: Right now.

Nikki Kinzer: Right now, and what you want in the future. So I’m not saying that we don’t look in the past, but I don’t spend a lot of time on it either. Because to me, the only way that’s going to help us is if we can look at it in a growth mindset, where we can say, "Okay, what have we learned about this? What did actually work, so we can move forward?" But we’re not going into the emotions that, how you felt with how you grew up or what your parents, how they treated you or your teachers. Like, that’s not my place. That’s a therapeutic question. And so I think that we ask a lot of questions. Coaches ask a lot of questions. We’re curious. We want to learn more about you. We want to know the challenges. We want to know the strengths. We’re also noticing things that we want to bring to your attention that maybe you haven’t noticed, which are the patterns or behavior, the habits that maybe you’re doing, your mindset. I catch a lot of people with mindset, "Well, wait to a minute, you just said I can’t, what do you mean by that?" Or they use words and they’re not really sure what they mean, and so I’m asking them to define it. Like, "Can you define that more, so that we can dig in just a little bit deeper?" I would say that just like therapy, ADHD coaches, we offer a very safe, non-judgmental place for you to talk about your ADHD. You don’t have to explain it to me. I get it. It’s giving you time to process out loud without having to explain. It gives you time to think. A lot of ADHDers are verbal processors and they need to be able to talk about it and have those questions probe to them so that they can really think a little bit deeper. But many of them will come up with their own ideas. Like I’ll maybe say, "Okay, well, what do you think about this strategy? What if we tweak it?" Like, I’ll give them guidance and suggestions, but a lot of times they already know, they just need to work it through.

Pete Wright: Yeah. Right, right. Well, and you can feel it when it feels like home, and only you know how you live in your space, only you know what your existing tools are that you have to work with. So you figure out the strategies and then you get to massage the actual implementation. A therapist isn’t going to do that for you.

Nikki Kinzer: Right. And I remember somebody, we had just had a session. We were talking about her time planning, like her calendar and everything, and the planner. And she’s like, "I don’t think I could ever have a conversation about my planner with anybody else but you."

Pete Wright: I’m curious. Why is that? Why is that distinction for you?

Nikki Kinzer: Because I think there’s some embarrassment like, oh, I should just have this like figured out, but I do don’t. And so who am I going to ask to help me without having to explain why it’s hard? I think that partners maybe don’t want to sit down and work with you on how to use your planner or how to look at your calendar, so when you can have somebody that isn’t putting judgment on you and totally gets it and understands it and help you, that’s a really valuable thing. That’s where coaching can really make a big difference for people, is they get to talk about things that they can’t talk about. And a therapist isn’t necessarily going to walk you through how to look at your calendar. They may say, "Oh, go share your calendar, because that might help." I mean, they may give you little ideas and stuff, but they’re not going to necessarily sit down and really dig into it.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: I would say that there are some great areas when it comes to therapy and coaching because I do talk about limiting beliefs, I do talk about ADHD shame, we talk about RSD, we talk about relationships. However, I will say there’s a line. So I can talk about RSD and tell you what it is and how it was explained to us and what some of the things are that people are doing, but I’m not going to be the therapist that’s going to really help you work through that in a way that’s cognitive behavior therapy, that CBT. It’s like it’s different. With relationships, I’m pretty clear that I’m not a marriage therapist and I don’t want to be one. And so I’ll help a little bit on the surface, but I’ll tell you most of the time I recommend that they see Melissa Orlov. Like, go to her, she’s got that niche, I don’t. So, as coaches, we need to know what we’re comfortable with and what we’re not.

Pete Wright: Well, and as a client, I need to expect that. Like, there is a certain amount of adaptability, flexibility that I need to come to the whole experience with, that I may present a case that my coach isn’t equipped to handle. And that’s got to be okay too, because that can be hard. I know just from my own identity, like I can get fixed in a relationship pretty easily. And so, it can be hard. I am definitely a… I can be a throw in the towel guy. Like, if something that I run into headlong and I don’t, like if I don’t preset my expectations that things could change, I can be like, "Okay, well, this is one thing doesn’t work. I guess I’m done. I’m done. I wash my hands of you." Pete says, referencing his now infamous therapist who likes to whiteboard a lot. Like that would-

Nikki Kinzer: That was a little not okay. Yeah.

Pete Wright: That was too much.

Nikki Kinzer: That was too much.

Pete Wright: It was not okay. It was too much. You crossed a line with the whiteboard and the dry erase, man. I don’t care for it. So like you just don’t know. And so I think it can be a conscious act of high calorie burned will to be flexible. And that’s okay. Like it’s okay for that to be challenging.

Nikki Kinzer: Absolutely.

Pete Wright: And I just want to present that because if there’s any question, if I’m ready to change and you present something to me that challenges my ideological sort of change worldview, I need to be preset.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah. Absolutely. Well, and just one last note about therapy and coaching, and we said in the last episode too. It’s a great group of people to have treating you. So if you can have a therapist and a coach and they’re communicating and can talk to each other, I mean, that is like ideal support. And so I think it’s great when therapists are like, "Oh yes. Get a coach." Like, they recommend to coaching as part of it, I think is really awesome, so.

Pete Wright: Right.

Nikki Kinzer: So how do I know if I’m ready for coaching? This is a question that gets asked a lot too. And I would say that couple things, are you in a place in your life right now that you’re tired of being in? We have talked about tolerations in the past, and this is that biggest toleration of, I’m not happy. I’m stressed. I’m not getting joy out of my life. Something has to change. And you may not know what it is and you may come to coaching thinking it’s about fixing your calendar when it’s really, probably not. But you don’t know, but you’re willing to figure it out. You’re willing to try something new. So if you’re feeling like you want to do something different, you’re ready to take that action, the best coaching experiences I have are people that are coming and they’re excited and they want to hear what I have to say and what we can work on together, and they’re going to try. That’s huge. I want that phone inquiry. If that person has chosen to work with me, I want them to be excited about it. I want them to be looking forward to that first coaching session. Because they see the opportunity and they’re really willing to do something different and see things from a different perspective. But you have to be willing to do the work. You told me this a long time ago, Pete, and you probably don’t even remember this, but I was really upset about a client that wasn’t doing well. And she ended up getting fired from her job. And I totally felt like, "Oh my God, this is my fault. How did I let this happen?" And you said to me, you said, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink." And I actually really will refer to that again, because as a coach, all I want to do is help you. All I want to do is be a resource for you and to be somebody positive. And then when you get something like that, it just feels like such a-

Pete Wright: Oh it’s a blow.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah. And so that’s where you also have to say, "Okay, you have to do the work." And this is another example, if you and I have worked on a strategy that you’re going to try and you’ve got the all or nothing thinking, and you say, "Okay, well, I tried it on Monday, but it didn’t work. So I’m not going to try it again." You’re not as open-minded as you probably think you are, and you’re not willing to do the work, because you’re just assuming that it doesn’t work because it didn’t work one time, but you never tried to do anything the rest of the time. So you really didn’t try. And so that’s the thing, is that you’ve got-

Pete Wright: It’s like that one time I tried to ride a bike, but I fell off-

Nikki Kinzer: So I’m not going to do it again.

Pete Wright: … so bikes are therefore not rideable by at me.

Nikki Kinzer: Right, right.

Pete Wright: That is absurd. I don’t know anybody who would say that-

Nikki Kinzer: But that’s a really good example’s.

Pete Wright: … like that’s absurd.

Nikki Kinzer: Right, right.

Pete Wright: Yeah. Right.

Nikki Kinzer: And then if you aren’t, and this is where coaching can be more successful for people, if you’re not willing to go to your coach and just say that like, "Okay, this is how I’m seeing it." Like, "I’m all or nothing thinking." I mean, like, I just… You have to be open for me to say, "Okay, what made you think that it was done after one day?" And you’ll eventually come to the conclusion yourself that that probably wasn’t the most logical way of looking at it. And you’ll come up-

Pete Wright: It’d be like, if you had a robot bike that said, "No, wait, get back on and try again."

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah, Yeah.

Pete Wright: That’s what we all need is a robot bike.

Nikki Kinzer: We do.

Pete Wright: That’s what an ADHD coach is. ADHD coach equals robot bike. You’re welcome.

Nikki Kinzer: Totally. Yeah.

Pete Wright: Fixed it. Yep.

Nikki Kinzer: The other, we fixed it, but I’m going to keep moving on.

Pete Wright: Plowing right through, [Feetstub Jeff 00:34:15], that’s fine. That’s all right. It’s good.

Nikki Kinzer: The other thing I would say is, are you ready to treat yourself with grace, acceptance and not hold yourself to the standard that is so ridiculous that all you’re going to do is feel disappointment? So this really, again goes back to what you’re saying. We have to review your mindset. How do you see the world? How do you see yourself and how do you see your ADHD, and how are all of those connected? And that’s what we have to look at, right? And coaching again, I can’t say it enough. It’s not a passive process. It is an action-oriented journey, but I want people to know it’s okay if you’re not ready to do a whole new strategy and all you really want to talk of about right now is just how ADHD sucks. I mean, that’s okay. Like, we are there to meet you where you need to be met. And so it, even though I say it’s action-packed, it doesn’t mean that you’re doing something every single day just for coaching, or just for yourself. And that’s the piece that I want to go back to real quick. It’s not just for coaching. People will feel like, "Well, I can’t tell you the truth because I feel bad that I didn’t do what I said I was going to do." They feel bad to me. I’m like, "I’m the last person that you should feel bad about." Like, I really don’t care what the end result is. I just want to know how you’re feeling and what you’re doing right now to get there. If you didn’t actually get there, that’s okay. You’re not doing it for me. So there’s that distinction too. And you have to be willing to try and fail. I tell all of my clients that failing is not to be feared. This is not a bad word. We want to try something and have it not work because then we know it doesn’t work, or we know we need to tweak it. Okay. So yeah, if you’re not honest with your coach are not ready for a coach. That’s one thing I wrote here. The other thing I want to say is if you are somehow guilted or forced into coaching, it will not work. So unless you’re doing it for yourself and you want it, coaching won’t work. If your partner tells you you need to do coaching, it’s not going to work.

Pete Wright: Well, let me ask you, you work with a bunch of college students. And I know in the past, we’ve talked about college students who are referred to you by their parents.

Nikki Kinzer: Absolutely. Almost all the time.

Pete Wright: Yeah. Like, that seems to be an example that is set up for challenge.

Nikki Kinzer: It is. And I tell them that right out of the gate. If you-

Pete Wright: Your kids are old enough that they’re not going to want to do it just because you say they should and even because you’re paying for it, right? You know that, right?

Nikki Kinzer: Right. And I do, I set that up. I’ll say, "If you’re guilting them, if you’re telling them they have to do this, it’s not going to work. And it’s certainly not going to work the way that you would like it to work. They have to be invested, they need to talk to me. They need to ask questions. They need to want this. They need to be curious about it, but if they’re just doing it for you, it’s not going to work." And what I’ll tell people is that, especially with college students, if it starts to look like, okay, well this might work because yeah maybe the student is pretty open to it and it seems like it might be a… Let’s try it. But if I notice quickly that the person is coming to the sessions, "How was the week?" "It was fine." "Okay. How-

Pete Wright: You know it’s not. It wasn’t fine.

Nikki Kinzer: .. how did that homework assignment go?" "Oh it’s fine. I turned it in." Okay. It’s not working. And so I’ll give it a chance, I’ll start talking to the student and see how it’s working, but I will also tell the client that or I mean, the parent, "I don’t want to waste my time, I don’t want to waste your time or his or her time, and I don’t want to waste your money. It’s not working." So, they know from the very beginning that I’m pretty upfront about that.

Pete Wright: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. Okay. Do you offer both individual coaching and group coaching? And for those who don’t, I mean, we talked with Sharon about group therapy versus individual therapy and the benefits and differences of working with a group. And I think it’s probably important to talk about that. What do you get out of a group ADHD coaching environment?

Nikki Kinzer: Absolutely. And I do get asked this question a lot because they’ll see that I have groups and then they’ll see that I have individual coaching. And what really is the difference? Group coaching is obviously with a group of people. So I’m holding different coaching groups around specific things. What’s great about groups is that it’s this community of ADHD folks that again, you don’t have to explain anything. You don’t have to tell them why something’s happening. You’ll just explain like, this is my situation. And everybody’s nodding their head. Like, "Yeah, I get that. I totally hear you." And so there’s this connection that the group actually really brings to each other, and that’s really important. It’s also awesome because you can learn not only from your coach, but you’re also learning from other people and different perspectives around the table, which is huge. Group coaching is less expensive than individual coaching. And it’s because you’re sharing the coach with the group. You’re not getting that individual time. The topics can range and some topics you may not care about. And so that’s something too, that a conversation could happen in a group that you don’t care about, but you’re in the group and that’s just sort of the way that it has folded. I try as a leader to be careful of that, but it can happen. And there isn’t a customization of systems or strategies necessarily in the groups. Were you going to have a question?

Pete Wright: Well, yeah. I mean, in spite of the lack of just sort of customization of what you get it’s not like bespoke for you, the flip side of that is, it’s probably more accessible, right?

Nikki Kinzer: Oh, yeah.

Pete Wright: Like you might be waiting in line for a long time to get an individual coaching relationship with somebody good. And I know you have a wait list right now that you’re working through slowly but surely, but groups, if you’re willing to take on a group, you can get support. Maybe immediately.

Nikki Kinzer: Absolutely.

Pete Wright: Depending on when the next group launches. That is a real benefit. It’s, if you need help, that’s one thing to consider. What are you willing to give up in your expectations of your relationship in favor of getting it soon?

Nikki Kinzer: Well, and that’s a really a good point and I’m glad you say that because in all of my groups, I am available to the group. So we’ll communicate in between sessions whether it’s Slack or Discord or however the group is communicating. They can ask me questions and I’m going to get back to them. We can bring up certain topics in the coaching group because you brought it up and I know other people care about it too. So I mean, there is a lot of, it’s not individual attention necessarily, but you still could get stuff answered that you need-

Pete Wright: Influence.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah, influence. Absolutely.

Pete Wright: Yeah, for sure.

Nikki Kinzer: And I have had people who have started with me individually to go to coaching groups, and I’ve had it reverse. I’ve had different people that will go to the coaching group and then say, "No, I need something a little bit more individual." And of course the individual coaching, it’s all about you, it’s customized to you, the conversations are always centered on what you need, what you want, I have no agenda. You get the coach’s full attention and support, text messages, check-ins, these things happen with the individual clients. And that’s why it’s more expensive, is it is definitely more time-consuming in a lot of ways than coaching groups. And so, there is a difference. I think there’s a place for… I can see the pros and cons for anyone. It’s just a matter of figuring out what they need.

Pete Wright: Well, it’s been a great exploration of what the coaching environment is. If you’ve never considered coaching, at least now you have some options. And we’re even going to follow up. We’ve got a blog post that’s going to be live, I think by the time this show goes out-

Nikki Kinzer: Yes. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Pete Wright: We’ll have a blog post that will sort of continue the conversation and help you understand what you can expect when coaching is working. How do you know? What are the things, the insights that you’ll experience as a result of your coaching relationship? And that’s a little bit of a longer conversation, but perfect for a blog post follow-up.

Nikki Kinzer: Absolutely.

Pete Wright: What do you think?

Nikki Kinzer: I love it. So I want to close it down because I know there was a lot of talking. In the last few weeks, we have been talking about treatment for ADHD as a whole and it’s like a puzzle. There’s so many pieces to it. And I know we’ve talked about medication, therapy and coaching, but I also have to say, you have to also look at your self-care, your overall self-care. How much exercise are you getting? This is so important to ADHD. Nothing to do with losing weight. It’s all about the dopamine that you’re filling your mind with. It can help you focus. It helps you feel better about yourself. I mean, exercise is really important. Nutrition. If you’re eating donuts and sugar food all the time or fast food, it’s not going to help your ADHD. Sleep. Huge factor. If you’re not getting a good night’s sleep, that’s going to affect your ADHD the next day. Stress manage management. How do you handle your stress? That’s all going to make a difference. Balance. We don’t want to just always be working. I always tell people the to-do list is not like, you’re going to be okay if not everything gets done on the to-do list. Like, let’s put things in perspective balance. So, I just want to be clear that none of these factors should be forgotten. They’re all part of the whole ADHD treatment.

Pete Wright: Well, and look at how they relate to one another too, everybody. This is so important. If your life is out of balance, if you don’t have strategies for managing your stress, you’re not going to sleep well. And if you don’t sleep well, you’re going to start making poor decisions around your nutrition. You’re going to make the easy decisions around the food that you put in your body. And if you’re making those decisions, you’re going to feel more lethargic and more apathetic around exercise. Like, all of these things work together and they’re directly connected to your ability to be long-term sustainably successful in integrating ADHD into your life as the way that’s positive and not, as you opened the conversation, something that you’re constantly fighting against.

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: So good.

Nikki Kinzer: All right.

Pete Wright: Thank you, Nikki Kinzer. Thanks for being an able teacher today.

Nikki Kinzer: Thank you.

Pete Wright: And thank you everybody for downloading and listening to this show. I hope you all have taken the time to go get your Nikki Kinzer matching coaching hats, so that you could look like either Carrie Bradshaw or Terry Bradshaw, your choice. We appreciate your time and attention. Don’t forget if you have something to contribute to this conversation, head over to the show talk channel in Discord. That’s where we’re going to be, and you can join us there by becoming a supporting member at the deluxe level. On behalf of Nikki Kinzer, I’m Pete Wright. Happy holidays, happy new year. And we will see you next year.

Nikki Kinzer: Next year. Isn’t that crazy?

Pete Wright: Right here. Crazy.

Nikki Kinzer: Wow.

Pete Wright: From Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast.

Through Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast, Nikki Kinzer and Pete Wright strive to help listeners with support, life management strategies, and time and technology tips, dedicated to anyone looking to take control of their lives in the face ADHD.