ADD, ADHD and Executive Functioning Coaching Moment…Setting Realistic Expectations

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I cannot stress enough the importance of setting realistic expectations for individuals with ADD, ADHD and Executive Functioning concerns. Setting the bar too high or unrealistic expectations automatically will result in failure. Being motivated and realistic are keys to improving performance.

When I advise parents and clients, I want them to certainly not work towards the status quo, but I want goals to be achievable. For example, I don’t think it is fair to ask a student to get straight As when his or her grade point average is in the C range. A more realistic goal would be to get a C+ average. This is a fair and achievable goal that doesn’t put too much pressure on the child. At the same time, it allows for some achievable success and can be the start of bigger and better things. If you tell a student to get straight As, anything short of that will be failure. But a small increase in grades is a win/win situation for everyone involved in the process.

How does this apply to adults? Instead of asking the adult to clean out the garage, create a task list of completing different sections at a time. Clean the left part first, then the right part and then the back. That sounds a lot better than…clean out the garage.  It is breaking the task into manageable pieces and not setting up the individuals for failure. While cleaning the garage isn’t fun, it is a lot more digestible if it is broken up into smaller pieces.

Think of this another way…you order a steak at a restaurant. Do you try and swallow the whole thing or do you cut it up into smaller pieces? That is how this process should work…do not ask the person to eat the whole darn steak at once but cut it up and make it easier to eat.

Parents of school aged students feel the pressure of getting their son or daughter into the right college. However, just because  a college is the choice of parents doesn’t mean it is the right choice of the client. I had one family that wanted their son to attend an Ivy League School. While the son was a smart kid, he wasn’t interested in becoming an Ivy League Student. It created huge divisions in the family. Instead of allowing the young man to pick his own course, the parents tried to force their agenda. In the end, the young man went to a college he picked and he’s very successful. It took a lot of work with the parents for them to see the bigger picture.

As you begin down this process, do not be fooled by people that promise you unbelievable results. As the saying goes…if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true. It is unfair to you and a cheap sales pitch by the provider. Seek out someone that is realistic in his or her expectations. Anyone promising you the moon will not deliver, and it will set the process backwards. Good providers are interested in helping a client perform better and not in making the process impossible.

For more information on my ADD, ADHD and Executive Functioning coaching, please visit In addition to working with clients in-person, I also work with clients all over the United States and World online, please visit for more information. To learn more about my other services, please visit & I can be found on Twitter at ADHDGuru. You can also find me on Facebook, Google Plus and Tumblr. Feel free to email me at [email protected] or call 877.398.ADHD (2343) with any additional questions.

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