ADHD Coaches (and Their Training) Are Not Created Equal - Accreditation Matters

ADHD Education | Coach Training

Distinguishing Between Certification, Credentialing, and Accreditation

The following is a multi-part article that addresses a vital need in both the ADHD community of adults, and the life coaching profession: what do we do with an industry that doesn’t regulate its coaches, where anyone can call themselves a “certified” ADHD coach regardless of whether they have actually received training from a credible, established, accredited program? 

How are adults—especially those who’ve only discovered their ADHD diagnoses in recent years—supposed to find a qualified coach with highly specialized training in adult ADHD? 

For that matter, why should an adult take advantage of all the support a coach can offer when anyone is allowed to call themselves an ADHD coach?



Those questions, and more, are critical to not only furthering the coaching profession, but to helping adult ADHD thinkers find the strategies and supports that can help them be their most successful selves.

It’s hard enough for individuals with ADHD to recognize that they even need an ADHD coach, but it can be even harder to find a qualified one. Not all ADHD coaches are equally qualified, and not all coach training programs meet the highest standards established for ADHD coach training. Unfortunately, it’s easy to find coaches who claim to be ADHD or certified coaches, yet who may not have gone through an accredited coach training program, let alone an ADHD-specific coach training program.

Since there are coach training programs which misleadingly claim to offer “certifications” that are not reviewed by an independent accreditation body, it is imperative that coaches, and those seeking a qualified ADHD coach, be aware of the importance of accreditation, certification, and credentialing.

Of the approximately 53,300 coaches worldwide, we suspect that there are fewer than 1,000 coaches who work with ADHD clients, so it is no surprise that an ADHD adult would find it difficult to find a well-trained ADHD coach with whom to work. Then we have the issue of how well-trained any given ADHD coach might be. ADHD coaches may claim to be trained or certified, but may not have gone through an ADHD-specific coach training program that meets the highest standards in the ADHD coaching profession.

Unfortunately, the coaching profession is not regulated at present, so anyone can put themselves out there as a coach, and self-proclaimed coaches may have very little coach training at all. In fact, 44% of the professional coaches who responded to the 2016 ICF Global Coaching Study identified untrained individuals as the largest obstacle for the coaching profession, ahead of needing to increase awareness of the benefits of coaching. It’s even more concerning for coaches who work with ADHD clients.

As a result, a prospective ADHD client finds himself facing the daunting task when trying to identify a qualified, competent ADHD coach. At the same time, prospective coaches need the same guidance in finding a quality ADHD coach training program from among a plethora of options.

Understanding the difference between certification, credentialing and accreditation will help prospective clients and future ADHD coaches alike to find help in navigating the confusing array of options out there.

The second article in this series will help you clearly understand the difference between, certification, credentialing and accreditation.


Part 1    –   Part 2   –   Part 3   –   Part 4 (coming soon)