Beyond ADHD, students and coaches

Once and a while it’s useful to dust off the mission statement and give it an airing. Edge Foundation’s primary mission is to provide students with ADHD access to qualified, professional coaches. However, we often are approached by people who fall outside of our primary service target.  And do we serve them? Absolutely.

Students. ADHD. Coaches.

Students:  people just like you.

Edge coaches know that the same approach doesn’t work for everyone.  As the old saying goes, if the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t blame the foot!  Edge ADHD coaches work with people just like you, every day, and help them find solutions that work for their lives – not for their parents, neighbors or friends.  Yes, our core clients are high school and college students with ADHD, but we also work with:

  • Middle school students – we have coaches who are qualified to work with middle school-aged students.  Give our match coordinator a call (1-888- -718-8886) to help you get started.
  • Adult learnersAny student is eligible for a coach. Edge coaches work with graduate students, doctoral candidates, technical college learners, returning students, adult learners, working students  — you get the picture.
  • Non-students – sometimes a young person has decided to take a “gap year” or is considering vocational school.  Do we work with them?  Of course.  You don’t have to be going to school to benefit from coaching.   Coaching has proven to be an effective means for dealing with ADHD symptoms and can give a young person the edge necessary to achieve his or her full potential in all life pursuits.

ADHD:  And what if you don’t have ADHD?

Research has show than executive functioning is an important part of academic success. Experts agree that successful students usually have four qualities that help them achieve their goals:

  1. Sticking with things even when the going gets tough (perseverance),
  2. Ability to delay gratification and focus on the big picture,
  3. Time management and organizational skills, and
  4. Striking the right balance between fun and work.

ADHD coaches help clients learn skills that boost executive functioning. People with ADHD usually have executive function deficits in attention, planning and organization, prioritization, impulse control, memory, time management, and higher-order conceptual thinking.  But you don’t have to have ADHD to be struggling with one or more of those executive functions.

Do any of these things sound familiar?

  • Do you do your homework but forget to hand it in?
  • When finally clean out your backpack or room, do you find things you’ve “lost”?
  • Do you have trouble getting to sleep on time?
  • Are you often late and just can’t seem to get out the door on time?
  • Do have trouble staying focused on the things you know you “should” be doing?
  • Do you get bored in class?
  • Do you procrastinate then swear to yourself you won’t do it next time — only to find yourself doing it all at the last minute, again?
  • When faced with a task, do you know what to do first and what to do next?  And can you get yourself to do it?  And finish it?
  • Do you do well on one test and practically flunk the next?
  • Have your grades tanked?
  • Are you overwhelmed?  Discouraged?  Behind?

While these are all hallmarks of ADHD, not everyone who has these issues has ADHD.  Yet all of those issues are ones that Edge coaches are trained to help you with. You don’t need to have an ADHD diagnosis to start working with a coach on these issues.

Coaches:  How does an ADHD coach help?

A coach is your advocate. He or she gets to know you and finds ways to help you succeed in your life.  You and your coach talk regularly and check in about how your life is going. Your coach can help you find strategies to stay organized and remember important things. Your coach can help remind you to take care of yourself and show you ways to stay focused. Your coach can also help you improve your relationships with friends, classmates, teachers, and family members. Your coach is there to talk to, strategize with, and advocate for you as long as you want.

Have you had your friends or family say to you, “If you’re so smart, why can’t you just do x?”  Do you feel you are not living up to your potential?  An Edge coach can help you.

You challenge lies not in trying hard enough.  After all you are probably already trying pretty hard, that’s why you’re here.  And it’s not that you aren’t smart enough either!

The problem lies in having a brain that just works differently, and so needs a different approach to managing these every day responsibilities?  An Edge coach can teach you a fresh perspective.

So, are you ready to learn more? Help us fulfill our vision of all people with ADHD reaching their full potential.  Sign-up today and take the first step to getting your life under your control, and find your edge!

Can an ADHD coach help for vocational college?

Dear Edge Coach,

Can you use an ADHD coach if you are attending vocational school instead of college?


Julia, Future Dental Assistant

Dear Julia,

Absolutely!  ADHD coaches can help you reach your dreams whatever the program you are attending — technical school, vocational training, trade apprenticeship programs, undergraduate degree, community college, or a university doctoral or master’s degree program.

Coaching offers strategies to help with seven areas that can hold a student back from success:

  1. scheduling,
  2. goal setting,
  3. confidence building,
  4. organizing,
  5. focusing,
  6. prioritizing, and
  7. persisting at tasks.

Although we talk a lot about ADHD and college at the Edge Foundation, we don’t care much about what school you are attending or even if you’ve been diagnosed with ADHD for that matter!  If these are the things you struggle with, an Edge Coach can make a big difference in your life.

Was this post helpful?  If so you might be interested in these other answers in our Ask the Coach series.  Or ask your own question in the comments, and we’ll do our best to answer it!

Download our Free College Survival Guide or get monthly news you can use from Edge’s newsletter.

Selecting your Edge Coach

So you’ve seen the video and read the research that demonstrates that ADHD coaching helps students be more successful in school – and now you’re ready to take the plunge and get a coach. You’re probably wondering how we find a coach that’s matched to your needs.

First and foremost, it is all about the connection you make with your coach.  It’s up to you – not your parents – to make the final decision about whether a coach feels right for you. And it all starts with the “Coach Match” process.

You already know that the Edge Foundation has recruited and trained some of the best coaches in the profession. If you choose an Edge Coach you know you are getting a seasoned life coach who is specially trained in working with teens and young adults with ADHD, someone who has been trained and mentored in this unique coaching specialty.

The Edge Foundation ADHD Coach Match Maker

Start by completing the Sign Up form. Don’t worry if the form looks intimidating or asks you questions you aren’t ready to answer.  You can always give Denise, our Coach Match Maker, a call to get your questions answered.

We ask you questions because we want to find out as much as we can about your specific needs.  Many people with ADHD, for example, have other issues they need addressed – like dyslexia, anxiety or depression.  The more information you provide us about your specific background and needs, the better the match Denise will be able to make.

Don’t worry, all the information you provide to us is confidential and won’t be shared with anyone without your permission.

If your parents are involved, we’ll also talk to them – with your permission of course – because they probably know you better than anyone else than you.

An ADHD coach suited to your needs and situation

After Denise has gathered all of the available information about what you are looking for, she’ll make a Coach Match.  She’ll send you background information about a coach picked specially for you. You’ll also be provided her contact information.  Before you agree to working with a coach, you’ll have an opportunity to interview with him.  You’ll have a chance to get to know the person a bit and see if he feels comfortable.  If you think the match is a good fit,  you’re done.  If you want to interview other coaches, Denise will help you with that.

We want to make it as painless as possible

Denise knows each one of our coaches well and strives to make it easy for you by making a good match for you the first time.

Some people are overwhelmed by the idea of interviewing coaches and ask us to pick someone for them. We can do that.  Other people want to interview several coaches to get a better feel for the differences between them.  We can do that too.

Bottom line, we have dozens of talented, well-trained, and experienced coaches for you to work with.  We are commited to finding a coach suited to your need and confident that you’ll find a good match at Edge.

Other resources:

Can coaching help people who don’t have ADHD?

Dear Edge Coach,

I don’t have ADHD, but I could really use some help getting on top of my school deadlines.  Could I sign up for an Edge coach even though I don’t have ADHD?

Signed, Robin M.

Dear Robin,


People all over the world recognize the benefits of life coaching in their pursuit of career and life goals. Many CEOs and top business executives use coaches to help them manage successfully and effectively when the stakes are very high.

If a coaching gives CEOs their edge for success, then the same strategies can be employed to help students successfully manage their lives and reach their full potential too.

Coaching offers strategies to help with seven areas that can hold a student back from success:

  1. scheduling,
  2. goal setting,
  3. confidence building,
  4. organizing,
  5. focusing,
  6. prioritizing, and
  7. persisting at tasks.

Although we talk a lot about ADD and ADHD at the Edge Foundation, we don’t care much about labels and diagnoses. If these are the things you struggle with, an Edge Coach can make a big difference in your life.

Was this post helpful?  If so you might be interested in these other answers in our Ask the Coach series.  Or ask your own question in the comments, and we’ll do our best to answer it!

Download our Free College Survival Guide or get monthly news you can use from Edge’s newsletter.

How You Can Help A Student With ADHD Succeed?

Dear Friend of the Edge Foundation:

We are taking this opportunity to thank you for the interest and support you have provided to the Edge Foundation in past years.  At this time of year when many of us are deciding about making end of year contributions, we hope you will choose to support the academic success of high school and college students with ADHD, many of whom are struggling to stay in school and complete their education.  Edge supports these young adults through our research-proven intervention of personal coaching.  Your continued support will help us provide that critical support to every student who needs it.

Edge’s year in 2010 was highlighted by the completion and release of the results of a two year, groundbreaking scientific study on the efficacy of coaching for college students with ADHD.  The study, which involved students on 10 college campuses across the U.S., showed conclusively that Edge Foundation coaching has a very significant impact on the ability of college students with ADHD to regulate their own behavior and meet the challenges of living with the disorder.  As a result of the excitement already generated by these results in the ADHD support community, CNN is taping a segment featuring our study, which will air in January 2011.

As powerful as the study results are, they alone cannot help us make this intervention accessible to all students without the necessary funding. Your tax deductible gift will help the Edge Foundation educate the public about this highly effective intervention and will enable us to help students, who would not otherwise be able to afford coaching on their own, to develop the structure, support and accountability that is crucial to students with ADHD.  With your continuing support, we will succeed at our mission of helping students with ADHD achieve their full academic, professional and social potential.

To make your donation to Edge, please click on this link which will bring you to the support page on our website.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Happy Holiday!

Neil Peterson                                                                          Robert Tudisco
Founder & CEO                                                                       Executive Director

P.S.  As a thank you for your contribution of $100 or more, we would like to send you a copy of Embracing the Edge, written by Edge Foundation founder and CEO Neil Peterson.

Why is ADHD coaching done over the phone?

Dear Edge Coach,

I hear ADHD coaching is done over the phone.  How can you do a good job when we’ve never met in person?


Julie M.

Dear Julie,

For many people the idea of working on the phone, instead of meeting in an office, is just strange. Although there is no prohibition against meeting in person, all of our coaches are trained to work on the phone. We do this for several reasons:

  • Using the phone takes transportation issues right out of the equation. You can get to your appointment just by picking up the phone – it’s a lot easier to be on time for your appointments!
  • There are just not that many ADD/ADHD Coaches. By working on the phone, you still have access to coaching, even if there isn’t a coach in your community. And, you can “take your coach with you” where ever you go.
  • A 30-minute appointment takes exactly 30 minutes. No commuting to and from the appointment, or waiting in the waiting room. Coaching appointments are therefore easy to fit into a busy schedule.
  • A coach and client can stay in much closer touch through the phone and email than they can if they only connected in an office. It is this extra contact that very often makes the difference in being able to stay on task and follow through.

You can also meet with your ADHD coach on Skype!

If you have more questions about coaching, please feel free to contact us. Click on the “Get More Info!” button at the top of the page and fill in the form. Someone will get back to you by the end of the next working day.

Do you have a question you’d like to ask our coach?  Please leave it in the comments.

You might also be interested in these other questions the Edge Coach has answered:

How to select an ADHD coach

Dear Edge Coach,

I’ve decided that an ADHD coach sounds right for me. What do I look for when selecting a coach?

Signed, Ready to work

Dear Ready,

Coaching is a contract in which you and your coach define your goals and plan how to achieve those goals. You provide the goals, the coach provides structure, support and accountability. When selecting a coach look for someone who :

  • Is certified through a reputable program that involves ADHD coach training geared toward students.
  • Understands the unique challenges you face with your ADHD in a school environment and in your life.
  • Is flexible and one you feel comfortable with (this is not a decision for your parents to make – the coach is working with you!).
  • Offers the option of working by phone/Skype or in person if necessary.
  • Is comfortable working, as needed, in coordination with your therapist, tutor, faculty advisor or other professionals for your best interest.

A good coach will help you identify and gravitate towards your strengths, while navigating around your weaknesses. Working with the right coach you soon find you’re stronger at advocating for yourself and your stress is dramatically reduced because you are on track and following a plan. Good luck!

What makes Edge coaches stand out above the crowd?

Dear Edge Coach,

What makes your coaches different from the other coaches out there?

Signed,  Shopping around

Dear Shopping,

It’s great that you are exploring what makes one coach better than another before you sign up.  When you work with an Edge-approved coach, you can be sure that the individual is an experienced coach who has taken additional steps to learn about the specific needs and concerns of teens and young adults with ADHD.  Our coaches meet some of the most rigorous standards in the field.

All of the coaches who go through Edge’s training program are well-trained life coaches who have a minimum of two years experience as a coach.  The Edge Training Team brings over 25 years of experience working with youth and 15 years focused on coaching youth with ADHD.  Our coach training program is designed to ensure consistent use of  the Edge coaching model and to provide coaches with the necessary skills and tools to coach teens and young adults with ADHD.  All of our coaches also receive follow up supervision and support once they complete the program.

If you’d like more information about what coaching is like, we hope visit our sign up page and watch a quick video.  While you are there, feel free to sign up for a coach or just get more information.  You can also call us at 888-718-8886.  Leave a message and we’ll get back to you within the next business day.  There’s no obligation.  We are happy to answer your questions and support your efforts to find the best coach for you or your child.  We want you to feel comfortable that when you choose to work with an Edge Coach, you’ll know your be in good hands.

Once you sign up to get a coach, you will have the opportunity to interview the coach to find out if you “click”.  If not, let us know and we will match you with a different coach before you start the actual coaching process.

We hope you’ll decide that Edge is the last stop you’ll need to make in your research efforts.

Do you have a question for the Edge Coach.  Feel free to leave it in the comments, below.

Ask the coach: Can a class replace an ADHD coach?

Dear Edge,

I see you have another training class for coaches running.  Why shouldn’t I just sign up for that instead of hiring a coach for my son?

Sincerely,  Sandy L.

Dear Sandy,

We’ve heard that some parents believe that they should sign up for ADHD coach training instead of hiring an ADHD coach because it’s so much less expensive.  We of course disagree.

Yes, understanding how coaching works can be helpful to you, but it doesn’t replace the value of getting coaching in real life for your student.  Why?

• High school and college students do not want to hear anything from their parents about anything – it’s their job to break away and be independent
• The student, not the parent, sets the ADHD coaching agenda – it can be difficult to detach from your personal agenda as a parent and critical for your student to be empowered to direct her own life path.
• Just because you’ve taken the class doesn’t mean you have the experience our coaches bring to the table.  Sure you know your child, but we know dozens – and that gives us perspective on many different approaches that work, or don’t work, for different people.
• Edge coaches have received previous life coaching training and have at least two years of experience.  ADHD coaching is an advanced coaching skill that takes practice.  That’s why our coaches receive mentoring after they complete the class.  They also have access to the expertise and wisdom of the Edge coaching bench – when they find a problem they haven’t encountered for, they can bounce ideas and strategies off the team for input.

If you want to learn more about the coaching process, Edge Foundation coach training provider, Jodi Sleeper-Triplett has a great book at the printers on the topic that you can preorder here:   Empowering Youth with ADHD: Your Guide to Coaching Adolescents and Young Adults for Coaches, Parents, and Professionals

What’s your opinion, do you think the outside perspective of a coach can accomplish more than a parent’s influence?  Sound off in the comments, or join the conversation on Facebook.

My son doesn’t want an ADHD coach!

Dear Coach:

I know that my son would really benefit from a coach. (He certainly doesn’t want to hear me carping at him anymore!) Yet when I bring up the subject, he completely shuts down. How can I get him to agree to working with a coach?

Sincerely,  Denise W.

Dear Denise,

As you are well aware, parenting teens and young adults is a tough balancing act between providing support and letting your child succeed (or fail) on their own. We strongly encourage the student to be involved with all conversations with our coaches from the beginning. The more you, as parent, speak with the coach without the student involved, the less your child will want to talk to the coach. That’s why most coaches require that parents and their kids meet together with the coach during the first conference call so the student doesn’t feel railroaded into the idea of coaching.

It’s also helpful for the student (and you) to understand what an ADHD coach does. Often students think an ADHD coach is just one more person that will nag them about school, their room, etc. This is far from the case. A coach address whatever the student (not you) thinks is important. This could mean making friends or getting on a sports team are priorities for your son, where your priority is getting his grade up. In this example, we’d be working on helping him with his priorities: friends and sports. And, of course, as a student builds trust with his coach, other life issues – like grades – will inevitably come up and be addressed.

And, of course, everything that a coach talks about with your child will be confidential. It can be hard to let go as a parent, but it can really help your son relax about getting coaching to know that he sets the agenda and sessions are private.

Of course, there are always kids that just don’t want any help. In those situations you will need to determine what influence you have over your child’s behavior. Are they still living at home? Are you paying for their education? If you believe coaching is the best course of action for your child, you can set a clear expectation that he needs to participate. AND outline clear consequences if he doesn’t. Dr. Phil may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but his article on Parenting with Purpose may give you a good starting place for thinking about setting expectations for your child.

You can always set up a no-obligation introductory conversation between Edge and your son. Just fill out the contact form using the link below and we’ll get right back to you. Good luck!

Yes! Send me more information about working with an Edge ADHD coach!

Do you have a question for the Edge coach? Leave it in the comments or send it in an email to