By Thom Hartmann

As in so many other areas of medicine, a revolution is happening in the treatment of ADHD. Both professionals in the field, and children and adults diagnosed with ADHD, are agreeing with genetic scientists that this is not a disease, pathology, defect, or disorder. Instead, ADHD is a genetic difference that would ideally suit a person to life in a hunting/gathering world, while those without the ADHD trait are better suited to a life of cautious, methodical agriculture.

Along with this reframing of ADHD itself has come a redefinition of thebest ways to help people who find that their Hunter skills don't alway serve them optimally in this Farmer's world. Coaching, it turns out, is one of the most powerful and effective ways for people with ADHD to achieve success.

Coaching, both for children, teenagers, and adults, offers a number of advantages. Consider these:

coaching builds self-esteem

Self-esteem is grounded in the two areas of self-concept and performance. Coaching starts out with the assumption that a person already has the ability to succeed, and that we'reall born with a set of core competencies and strengths. Instead of assuming that people are diseased or broken, a coach starts out assuming that her clients are capable of success in the world. The job of the coach is to help his clients find their areas of capability, and experience proves thisis often easily done.

when the person you're working with believes in you, you begin to believe in yourself

This draws people into their strengths, and then they begin to find and focus on successes. Even the smallest successes are inspiring and form the foundation for larger successes. In the process, self-concept becomes positive and performance improves. Soon, the psychologically destructive ideas of deficit and disorder are left behind as the personbuilds success on success to reinvent their life in a positive manner.

coaching builds self-reliance

When a person discovers areas of their life where they can succeed, they want more. Success is addictive,and creates a desire for more success. Additional successes confirm that success is possible, and a person begins to believe in themselves again. They discover what theyre good at, and how to work around what they're not good at, with the constant focus being success achieving your goals! This is the essence of self-reliance.

coaching works to strengths

Unlike failure-model systems that focus on deficits and thus can destroy a person's self-esteem, a coach looks for strengths and helps bring them out. Everybody has strengths. Sometimes they're buried or concealed for example, an "oppositional" child is actually expressing the powerful strength of power of will, but expressingit in a less-than-useful way; but strengths can always be redirected toward success.

coaching fills in the empty spots

There are some areas wherepeople have not yet learned or developed a skill. In the area of ADHD, this commonly includes such things as meeting deadlines, tracking details, or maintaining relationships; all skills important both in personal life and in business. Over the short term, a coach can help fill in some of these areas, teaching her client new skills and helping him to model them. Over the long term, these then become new learnings and habits, and the coaching client develops entirely new skill sets and competencies.

coaching is generative, ultimately teaching the person to be their own coach

The goal of a good coach is to make himself unnecessary. This is one of the reasons we used the term "shadow" to describe our coaching model and system: a coach should work in the shadow of the individual, always working toward the day when the client no longer needs the coach but has filled in and taken on his or her own shadow.

Coaching works this way because of its focus on strengths, skills, and success. All of these build self-reliance, strengthen self-esteem, and provide the foundation for a successful life. As you become more and more successful, you discover how to get greater and greater success in life, and you shift your "coach" from an outside person to an inner dialogue and skill set.

Copyright 2000 by Mythical Intelligence, Inc.

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Thom Hartmann is an award-winning, bestselling author, international lecturer, teacher and psychotherapist. He's the creator of the "Hunter in a Farmer's World" metaphor to describe the experience of children and adults with ADHD, and the first to propose that ADHD is a neurological difference which may have adaptive value.

His books have been written about in Time magazine, he's been on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and been a guest on numerous radio and TV Shows, including NPR's All Things Considered, CNN and BBC.

His book The Prophet's Way led to an invitation to a private audience with Pope John Paul II in 1998. His book The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight led to a September, 1999 invitation to spend a week with His Holiness The Dalai Lama at his home in Dharamsala, India.

A former journalist, editor and executive director of a residential treatment facility for severely disturbed and abused children, he lives in Vermont with his wife Louise, who is a Shadow Coach.

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