The Importance of Certification for Life and ADHD Coaches - Accreditation Matters

In our previous articles, we talked about a significant issue in the coaching profession: anyone can call themselves an ADHD coach, regardless of whether they have actually received any training. We also discussed the preeminent governing bodies in the coaching profession and how they help identify quality, well-trained coaches.

Now we’re going to talk more specifically about certification as it relates to Life and ADHD coaches.


Think of an ICF certification as the designation of a general life coach; and think of a PAAC certification as the coach’s specialty certification, above and beyond their general coach competency.

Sadly, there are individuals calling themselves ADHD coaches who have had no general life coach training, let alone specific ADHD coach training. Some professionals from the mental health and education fields have presumed that their training qualifies them to be ADHD coaches, without actual ADHD coach-specific training.

This is like an attorney claiming he or she is a tax attorney, without having successfully completed their CPA exam. Would you put yourself in that person’s hands, knowing they have no special training in your particular need?

Unfortunately, many people with ADHD have worked with an untrained coach or someone claiming to be an ADHD coach (but without any training or certification). Those ADHD individuals have often come away from the experience thinking that coaching can’t help them, or that they are not coachable. That is a travesty that ICF and PAAC seek to prevent.

Sometimes even an ICF general life coach will claim to be an ADHD coach, yet does not have ADHD coach specific training. Even though that coach may be a good general coach, that does not assure he or she will be a competent ADHD coach. If a coach does not understand the unique brain wiring of an individual impacted by ADHD, then he may inadvertently cause the ADHD individual to feel worse rather than empowered. That’s why ADHD is considered a specialty that requires ADHD-specific training beyond life coach training.

This is a big reason why more and more coaches are choosing to complete an ICF/PAAC accredited coach training program to become a certified coach. This chosen path establishes the veracity of their professional credentials.

Coach certification is a globally recognized and respected testament to the knowledge and competency of the coach. It indicates that the coach has been assessed by an Accredited Coach Training Program, and that he or she has the recognized skills and expertise required to practice as a credentialed coach. This is why the ADD Coach Academy (ADDCA) saw the significance and value in becoming accredited by both the ICF and PAAC.

The ADD Coach Academy (addca.com) is the only comprehensive ADHD-coach training program that is accredited by both ICF and PAAC. Someone completing the Advanced ADDCA training will be well-versed in the ethics and competencies of general life coaching as well as those of the ADHD coaching specialty.

Unless a program has met the stringent criteria of an external, independent accrediting organization like ICF or PAAC, that program may not be training to well-established professional coaching standards. That’s why it is so important to educate the ADHD community about the importance of accreditation, certification, and credentialing.

In the final article in our series, (coming soon), we will talk in more detail about the different types of ICF and PAAC certification.


Part 1   –   Part 2   –   Part 3   –   Part 4