Less than 10 minutes into my first meeting with (one of) my ADHD coach(es), Xenia, I knew my life would be transformed.
In this blog post, I’m going to jump straight into it—show you the power of just my 3 first coaching sessions with Coach Xenia: I’m going to go into detail into what happened, how I felt, what value I derived, and what the outcomes were. The goal of this blog is to give you a real life peek into what actually happens in these sessions.
Before my first session, I:
For context, I have gone through the onboarding experience of over 10 other ADHD coaches. If you haven’t yet, it generally involves a series of Google Docs, PDFs, emails, and Google Form questionnaires (I lose most of them…), and I am always left super overwhelmed. Shimmer’s onboarding was hands down the most intuitive, lightweight, fun, and empowering experience.
Personally, the part I liked the most was the forcing function of self-awareness. Pausing and taking the time to reflect on the different parts of my life that were impacted by ADHD and how I wanted to change them was a big value in itself. It got me excited for our first session and just antsy to get started.
Disclaimer: Of course, I’m a little biased because I helped design it.
During our first session:
I walked away from this session feeling the most hopeful I’ve felt in a long time. I went straight to my partner to rave about how excited I was for my coaching journey. I chalked this up to a mix of 2 main things: (1) Xenia’s keen ability to ask powerful questions and notice patterns in my answers and (2) the visualization exercise itself that brought me out of my day-to-day problems and set my vision on the future horizon.
I want to take a moment to talk about this visualization exercise, an exercise I’ve been led through multiple times in my life before but it always felt a bit cheesy and never hit home in this way. This question can be asked in many ways (e.g. the Miracle Question, The Eulogy Question…) and essentially asks you to put yourself in the future and fully paint the image of what life would look like. I described a vision where I could properly use my “working hours” and move our company forward, such that I wasn’t working late into the night unnecessarily. Then Xenia kept asking deeper questions to uncover what were the motivations behind my wanting this, what would change for me, what impact that would have in my life, and the life of those next to me, etc. This conversation was so incredibly energizing and brought so much hope & excitement into my whole body. After that, we talked about what specifically was in the way of me getting there—by laying everything out so clearly, this in itself surfaced many goals I didn’t realize were necessary to get to my vision.
After the visualization exercise, we picked out one concrete challenge that was in my way: fitting strategic thinking into my week at the right times. There’s a lot to unpack in that sentence that I didn’t realize at the time—e.g. what are my most energized times? What gets in the way of me getting this done? How do we control those things? How do I measure success? These are all things we explored in the coming weeks.
Following the session, Xenia sent me a PDF resource by Cal Newport about the concept of “time blocking”, and asked me a series of reflection questions about the exercise. I had to get this to her by the next time we met. The moment she sent it to me, I dove right in.
For those not familiar with Cal Newport or time blocking:
The time-blocking concept, as popularized by productivity author Cal Newport, involves scheduling out specific chunks of time in your day for focused work on a particular task or project. By blocking off a dedicated period of time for focused work, you can eliminate distractions and increase your productivity and concentration. This allows you to be intentional with your time and energy throughout the day.
During our second session:
I was already excited about time blocking before the session even started, so I didn’t think it was possible to be more… yet, here we are. What really got me this session is the level of specificity we got to about how to help me form this habit, and being a psychology nerd, knowing this was based on the latest science. In short, Xenia explained that many people try and fail with their habits but it’s not a lost cause! There are 6 psychological tools that you can use to make sure habits stick. Here are the 6 tools and the questions we talked through:
In the end, we decided I would aim for 3x/week deep work blocks at 3h each, I’d start it with a coffee, ritualize it with a scented candle, end it with some sun splashed on my face, plan around a few contingencies around things that could pop up during those times, and we put them on my calendar during the session. We agreed to check in next week.
During our third session:
After a week of time blocking, I had experienced the value and benefits of it, but I was still facing some challenges in sticking to them. In this session, Xenia helped me explore the reasons behind the times I was not able to properly execute. We took the time to brainstorm solutions to these challenges. This process, now while writing it, sounds intuitive and simple. However, in the past, before I had Xenia in my life, I would simply just “try harder” each week, and feel bad about the times when I missed it. Just having Xenia ask the questions she asked, I hope that in the future if I even ask myself half of those questions effectively, I am confident I’ll be in a way better place.
Another aspect I really liked about our solutions brainstorming is that she challenged me to think about solutions that weren’t just in my own head—it was opposite to the brute force approach. She challenged me to involve other people on my team, delegate, and use other team members to keep me accountable. As someone who generally tries to stomach the burden of my ADHD alone, this felt equally empowering and scary (but in a good way).
I get asked a lot, what exactly is the value of ADHD coaching? And the answers, previously swirling around in my head, are summarized below with examples from the above 3 sessions:
My ADHD coach:
Since starting Shimmer ADHD Coaching, I can confidently say my quality of life, self-awareness, and confidence are consistently improving. I’ve fallen in love with this reflection cycle and the benefits are trickling into all corners of my life.
If any of the benefits I’ve talked about sound exciting to you, I highly recommend considering ADHD coaching (at Shimmer or elsewhere!).
Check out our testimonials to hear from other Shimmer members!