Coaching Students: What Research Says

“How do I know if ADHD coaching will work for my son?” the mother of a college student recently asked me. 
I told this mother that it’s difficult to predict exact outcomes of coaching for a specific student. Outcomes are, at least in part, the result of an individual client’s interest, motivation, goals, and effort. None-the-less, I was able to reassure this mother that, even though coaching specifically for students with ADD and ADHD is a relatively new field, several research studies have already documented a range of positive effects.

Benefits, both personal and academic, demonstrated to date by studies of ADHD Coaching for students include the following:

  • increased motivation
  • enhanced resilience and hope
  • improved self-esteem
  • reduced levels of stress
  • support for emerging autonomy
  • self regulation
  • improved confidence about future success
  • the ability to create structure and implement change
  • improved study skills and use of study aids
  • improved learning strategies
  • improved time management
  • improved executive functioning skills
  • more realistic goal formulation
  • increased persistence with challenging tasks
  • increased satisfaction with school and work
Here are the studies:
  • In 2001, Zwart and Kallemeyn demonstrated that students engaged in peer “coaching” experienced increased motivation and reduced levels of stress as compared to peers not receiving coaching (Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 15, 1–15). Subsequently a 2007 study by Spence and Grant found that professional coaches are more effective than peer coaches (Journal of Positive Psychology, 2(3), 185-194).
  • A 2005 study by Swartz, Prevatt and Proctor demonstrated that coaching can help individuals with ADHD to create structure and implement change by identifying strategies that work around their typical executive functioning challenges. In particular, they showed improvement in time management, study skills and use of study aids (Psychology in the Schools, Vol 42(6), 647-656).   
  • In 2007, Green, Grant and Rynsaardt reported that life coaching enhanced both resilience and hope in high school students (International Coaching Psychology Review, 2(1), 24-32).  
  • Boutelle and Parker studied coaching for college students with ADD and LD, finding that coaching can support a student’s emerging autonomy, help them with self-regulation, and promote their confidence about future success (Association for Higher Education and Disability Preconference, July 21, 2009). 
  • Maitland and colleagues reported results of a small pilot study examining coaching for college students, finding positive effects (Association on Higher Education and Disability Conference, July 14, 2010). 
  • A 2011 study by Parker, Hoffman, Sawilowsky and Rolands demonstrated that ADHD coaching supports substantial gains for college students with ADD in the ability to organize, direct and manage cognitive activities, emotional responses and overt behaviors. Students receiving coaching were able to formulate goals more realistically and consistently work toward achieving them, manage their time more effectively, and stick with tasks even when they found them challenging (Journal of Attention Disorders, 17(3), 215-32).
  •  Prevatt and Yelland’s 2013 e-publication reported that an 8-week coaching program for college students led to significant improvement in ten areas of study and learning strategies, on self-esteem, and on measures of symptom distress and satisfaction with school and work (Journal of Attention Disorders, e-pub ahead of print, March 18, 2013).

Wondering if coaching would be helpful to you or your child? Contact me for a free half-hour consultation. I work in-person as well as by phone and Skype, so location is no limitation.

Posted in ADD, ADHD, coaching, college, high school, research, student

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