ADHD Coaches | Take a Bow

coach tomThere is no Job in the world for which I have more respect, love and admiration for, than that of an ADHD Coach. It is a great and terrible thing to be an ADHD Coach, and while the rewards can be unmatched so can the sadness involved. It must be a Hell of a thing getting to know the struggles of an ADHD child or adult. I have many friends and I suppose colleagues in the ADHD community who I have come to know. They are in my opinion, heroes. I publically acknowledge and thank you all for the difference you are making.

I was asked by a coach who I know fairly well a few weeks ago if I was an ADHD coach? After I was finished laughing, I politely explained I was not. I was flattered someone who read me could think I have my shit together enough to be a person who could do such an incredible task.

There are two kinds of coaches and I will choose my words carefully. There are the “Legitimate Coaches” and there are those I like to call “Half-Ass Coaches” okay well not too carefully.

Legitimate coaches are ADHD coaches I referred to in the aforementioned paragraphs. They are those who are in a position to help people. They have a plan or a system in place to guide or encourage their clients. They are those who can see the strengths in their clients and use those strengths to help them develop a personal plan that works for them. The majority of them are certified which whether or not this helped them, certainly shows a commitment on there part to be the best they can be.

Now ADHD coaches cannot say this but I am Tom Nardone so I can say any damn thing I want. The Half-Ass Coaches are the scourge of the ADHD community.  Let me explain why. While they are not bad people, and while their intentions are good for the most part, many of them suffer from what I like to call The Head-up-ass syndrome.

headupusThe Head-up-ass [hed-up-us] syndrome is a new condition the medical staff, here at ADHD People, have discovered. This is a condition is a one which limits a person’s ability to help ADHD People. Our research shows these people to have a unified belief. They believe what worked for one person or two people will work for everyone. These are people who do not have their own shit together, but have given advice to 2 or more others, and got positive feedback. Then all of a sudden, they see what they believe to be a revelation.

They then think “Hey! I must be qualified to be an ADHD Coach.” Let me hit you people with some truth. You’re Not Qualified!  You have Headupass Syndrome and the only know cure is education.

I know many people who have helped others through tough times. I am grateful for their wisdom. They did it to be a friend or to be supportive; not under the banner of ADHD Coach. The Half-Ass Coaches dirty the whole ADHD Coaching profession. This is where the trouble begins.

When it fails as it often does, the client is left feeling as though coaching did not work for them when the truth his they have not yet been coached. This does a disservice to them and all the other coaches who could have helped them. Just because you like to eat pizza, doesn’t qualify you to make the dough.

The following don’t necessarily qualify you to be an ADHD Coach.

  • Being a good listener
  • Street smarts
  • Being and admin for a large Facebook Group or Page
  • Having 20k followers on Twitter
  • Have a really fantastic head-shot as a profile pic.

I am not suggesting these things disqualify you either.

I realize how great it feels to help someone with ADHD and I think that is fantastic when people take their time to offer an opinion. When people ask me about my own struggle I share my opinion. I am not qualified to offer coaching services. If you read my blog much you know I am not interested in that level of responsibility.

In Facebook groups of pages, there is no shortage of support, but when a person is affected by ADHD, to the point they or their family shells out money to fix the problem, it becomes a very big responsibility. They are people in pain and chances are coaching is their last resort. Nothing they have tried has worked and now they are depending on YOU for results.

I would have loved to have had an ADHD coach as a child. The pain I went through was at the time unbearable. It was serious and I could have benefitted from such a thing tremendously. I am so pleased to hear the success stories. I love hearing of where people are, and from where they came as a result of a loving coach who tirelessly made time for their client.

It boggles my mind how anyone with ADHD can take on the responsibilities of everyday life as they do and in addition, help others who have the same problems. I can barely manage my own life. I would feel very sorry for the person saying, “Tom, can you tell me how I can better manage the cleanliness of my house and stay organized?”

Thanks coaches all of you.

I am Tom Nardone and you are welcome.


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About Tom Nardone

I write about everything that I can find humor in. I don't write about politics because I don't care what group of people are chosen to destroy this country. There are enough people doing that anyway.
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24 Responses to ADHD Coaches | Take a Bow

  1. While there are so many wonderful coaches out there that are qualified to be so, I swear there are many, many MORE of the other type..out there running amok with people’s lives. Scary stuff.

  2. ksbeth says:

    i love this tomnardone, you are such the professor type and i would take coaching from you any day, as i sure would many others – ps – how can i listen to your podcast?

  3. JM says:

    Hmm, so many thoughts about the topic you raise. I had an ADHD coach once, for less than a year; she changed my life (at the time)! Then I had to deal with “professionals” who were supposedly experts in dealing with people with disabilities (ADHD was listed as one of their expertise). They were terrible and didn’t understand a thing about ADHD except for what they learned in half-day workshops. This is terrible because their “expertise” is offered free, courtesy of gov’t community programming. I don’t want to think of the lives they’ve done harm to.

  4. JM says:

    Nope, never did get the help. It’s very frustrating because I am often questioned as to whether or not I have ADHD because, “you are smart, you seem like an intelligent woman.” As if people with ADHD can’t be smart or intelligent.

    • JM i am sorry to here this. Are you on any medication or getting any treatment at all.

      • JM says:

        Hi, yes, I’m on “partial” medication. I’m in the midst of a medication break right now. I take medication breaks about 2x a year because the meds don’t work as well as they used to. The doctor said he didn’t want to increase the dosage because of concerns with it raising my anxiety levels.

        I am not getting “treatment”. Where I live, treatment for ADHD is not covered by provincial health care for adults, it only covers visits to a psychiatrist for prescriptions for ADHD. One would have to have private health insurance and even then some counsellors or registered psychologists won’t help with ADHD because they can’t bill for it. It’s a frustrating cycle of looking for help.
        Your blog is awesome. I don’t always agree with everything, but I feel you have provided a voice of reason, relief, and humour for those of us with ADHD.
        p.s. sorry for the long responses 😦

  5. Tom, your open honesty is flipping awesome. You can say things the rest of us think but dare not say because You Are Tom Nardone. Thank you!

  6. Cassandra Jatko says:

    I love reading your blog Tom ☺. And well, I’m not sure we even have such a thing as adhd coaches here in Sweden.. Never heard of it anyway. But I wouldn’t think you had your shit together at all, that’s for sure. I must say though that you did pretty much of a change in my life when I stumbled across your blog.. First you made me laugh, then there has been some real good advices on how to deal with things. Glad I found you and I will continue my “stalking” of you on Facebook, Google your blogs and those radioshow.

    • Tom Nardone says:

      Thank you Cassandra. I am happy you found me too. I am glad you have been helped and please I encourage you to stalk me as long as you wish my dear. Thanks so much

  7. tarra says:

    hello tom…….i have ADHD and am medicated. up on reading your story and heading down a path myself of becoming a mentor for people like us(teens and young adults) in my community i was wondering if one needs to be educated in this field or is a life time of experience enough to do this? you see i wrote a letter to our adhd society here explaining what i have always wanted to do…..heres is the letter…….

    Dear Human Resources

    My name is Tarra and I would like to coach/mentor adolescence (mid-late teens) and young adults who have had a rough start in life or have a high functioning learning disorder. Yes, I know full well one needs an education for what work you do, however; not all disabilities are by the book and ADHD is not one of them. I have most of the spectrum of ADHD and trust me it’s taken me years to get where I am today as I had help threw means of PDD funding, Aish, and vocational programs that were geared to my needs. Now days that is not the case and here in Alberta one has to be severely disabled before you can get help and even then one waits several years before one gets the help they need to survive. What I offer is hope, self- worth, dignity, understanding, life skills, and organisational skills. Knowing that it is okay to be different and most of all have your own independence.

    What I hope to teach these people is that ADHD is just a part of them and that it is not who they are or what they are. I hope to help them find their talents and encourage them to use those talents, as that is what could make them an income in the future. ADHD is not an excuse; it is a label to describe something a person has in the cognitive disorder sense. It doesn’t mean they are inept. It means that they think differently. This brings me to my motto and belief, A DISABILITY IS AN ABILITY NOT YET DISCOVERED.

    The people who helped me made me realize I was more then what many said I would never be, are the people who said I would never succeed in life. At the present time, I am on my own, engaged, working, driving and running my own business. They also said I would never finish school. The irony is I am too stubborn to let some label and medical professional take me down. I also work as a caregiver for people’s pets. I clean houses. And finally, I work for physically/mentally challenged people in their homes.

    In May, 2015 I will be finishing up my HCA (health care aid program) or hopefully next year. Yes, I have a lot going on but I love doing it and want to continue doing it unless some of it would interfere with a position with your company.

    What I would like to do is bring a teen with me to my client’s job(house cleaning and animal care only) and show them how to do the work as a form of experience and in turn boost their self- esteem. I would show them how to get these jobs if not find companies that hire to do things like what I do. I would also be there as a sounding board for them to talk to me.

    Granted I have never been homeless, but that don’t mean I didn’t have a hard life. I, too, came from a rough past. Some of which was neglect, ignorance, molestation, being bullied, not being excepted. I had two abusive husbands, and dealt with sexual harassment. I have seen drug/alcohol abuse with my grandma and ex- husbands. The list goes on. However; I have never let my past bother me, no matter what. It does have lasting life-long effects that one never truly gets over. Trust is one such effect.

    All I want to do is make a difference in someone’s life as others did for me so long ago. That is the gift I want to give to these young people and to show them that they are more than what others said they are and deserve something better in life other then what they are facing right now.

    now so far the response has been good however because there is nothing out there for kids like us who need the help i often wonder if this is the way to go? sure as adults some of us are still a work in progress (such as i am) i still feel there is something i can contribute…..

    my whole idea is to open up a place where adhd/add and other high function disorders go as teens and get mentored by adult adhd/add people (adults) who have lived a life and have experience working with people with learning disorders . i believe in my heart that in theory this could work. i would like to know your thoughts on this…..

    thank you


    • Tom Nardone says:

      Tarra I am not suggesting that no one can be a coach unless they have been certified. I am sure there are plenty of certified coaches who also suck at helping people with ADHD. You may very well be more than equipped to be a fine coach. If you do want to get certified you can do so online.
      I dont know how things are in Sweden. As far as if it could work or not. I suppose it could, You have overcome many obstacles with you adhd and that is fantastic, but your ADHD differs from that of others. I believe a lifetime of working and helping other people with ADHD would be a reasonable qualification to venture out and help others.
      My advice is to talk to an ADHD proffessional. There are many of them on facebook. I do hope this helps

  8. In the middle of a mess right now, Tom – but want you to know I saw this. Will have to come back to read and reply more carefully.

    As field-founder, of COURSE this is of interest to me. Simply swamped at present. “Spitting” on brushfires.

    **Quickie to Tarra:** For what it’s worth, in over 25 years as a coach NO ONE has *ever* asked me about my credentials. Which is not to say that coach training is not useful – as the founder of the ADD Coach Training field, obviously I believe it is *extremely* useful. Don’t agree, however, that it is *essential* — at odds with many in the field on this, btw.

    As for importance of certification – it depends on who’s certifying and how much they know about *ADD* coaching (vs “vanilla,”) IMHO – and I’ve taught both kinds for YEARS so know the differences well.

    Altho’ I hold them, I do NOT believe that a “vanilla” certification says doodley-squat about whether or not you are qualified to coach ADDers. Also at odds with many in the field on this, btw – ESPECIALLY this.

  9. Tom – I think when we’re looking for help it really helps to find someone who knows what they’re doing.
    I would certainly recommend certified, but as noted in the comments, that in itself is no guarantee.
    Thanks for the post

  10. Danielle says:


    You know it’s bad when I delete my comment like 6 times because *I* think it’s too long. Those comments that are longer than your original posts are always the short version. Thanks for the word I wish I read this before my day started today. It’s not just coaching, this thing runs rampant all over the medical community it’s disgusting. It pisses me off. Out of everything I wrote and deleted, I can actually sum it up pretty well. If I want to put letters after my name based on my college degree it’s B.S. and my major was photo but it’s not a B.A. because it’s a technical degree but what the BS after my name would mean is I won’t take any BS from you and I don’t care how many letters you have after your name or what they are. I am the world’s biggest idiot and I do a lot of stupid things. I treat everyone with the same level of courtesy and respect unless they show they deserve otherwise and I’m nice to the housekeeping staff because they know things none of the doctors or nurses do and get treated like shit all the time so they deserve a little extra kindness for putting up with other people’s shit. I was dealt a lot of shit cards in my hand. But I will fight for what I believe in and don’t you dare make the mistake of thinking I’m stupid and you can fuck with me because you’ll find out very quickly that I AM smarter than you, I am a fucking genius and the arrogant side of me I hide so well really comes out when I’m mad and I only get help from the best. And let me tell you there is some great ADHD coaching to be found at the top of the food chain at THE place to get treatment for TBI around here… How did I get so lucky? I AM AWESOME.

    And Tom Nardone totally loves me back 🙂

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