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What’s in an ADHD Coaching Credential?

by addrc on August 3, 2012

in Coaching

Anyone can hang out a shingle and call himself an ADHD coach. While training in ADHD coaching doesn’t guarantee life-changing results for the client, it is one clue that the coach is qualified to work with clients who have the condition. Consumers need to understand what constitutes training, says coach Nancy Ratey.

“A coach receives a certificate that says they’ve completed training from an accredited institution,” she explains. “The certificate doesn’t tell you how long they’ve been coaching or how competent they are.” With those caveats in mind, below are three top-rated institutions that offer training for ADHD coaches:

Sort Through the Alphabet Soup

Many coaches list credentials and degrees after their names: L.C.S.W. (licensed clinical social worker) and M.S.W. (master in social work), for instance, might seem impressive to consumers, but they have nothing to do with coaching or ADD. “A client should always ask a prospective coach if he has been trained to work with ADHD clients, and, if so, for how long,” says Nancy Ratey.

Here are some credentials and affiliations you will come across when searching for an ADHD coach, what they stand for, and what it took to earn them.

C.A.C. (Certified ADHD Coach) –  granted by the IAAC

To earn this certification, a coach must be actively engaged in ADHD coaching at the time of application and meet the following requirements: two years of ADHD coaching experience; 500 hours of ADHD-related client coaching (15 clients minimum and 50 hours maximum of pro bono coaching); 65 hours minimum of ADHD coach training, as well as 60 hours minimum of general personal and professional coach training.

In addition, the applicant must pass written and oral exams demonstrating the use and knowledge of IAAC Core Competencies. These include ethics and conduct, knowledge of ADHD and ADD, and the ability to ask questions that move the client toward his goals.

S.C.A.C. (Senior Certified ADHD Coach) –  granted by the IAAC

For this certification, a professional must be actively engaged in ADHD coaching at the time of application and meet the following requirements: five years of ADHD coaching experience; 1,500 hours of ADHD-related client coaching (40 clients minimum, 150 hours maximum of pro bono coaching); 65 hours minimum of ADHD coach training, as well as 60 hours minimum of general personal and professional coach training.

As with the C.A.C. credential, the applicant must take written and oral exams demonstrating the use and knowledge of IAAC Core Competencies (see Certified ADHD Coach).

A.C.C. (Associate Certified Coach) –  granted by the IAAC

This certification is granted by the International Coach Federation (ICF) for life coaches. It doesn’t indicate a specialty or training in ADHD. A.C.C. requirements include 10 hours of training with a qualified mentor coach, a minimum of 100 hours of coaching, and a minimum of eight clients. Ask whether a coach has training in ADHD and has experience working with clients who have the condition.

P.C.C. (Professional Certified Coach) –  granted by the ICF

These coaches, certified by the ICF, have coached a minimum of 750 hours and have worked with at least 25 clients. Ask whether they have training in ADHD and have experience working with clients who have the condition.

M.C.C. (Master Certified Coach) –  granted by the ICF

These coaches, certified by the ICF, have a minimum of 2,500 coaching hours and have worked with at least 35 clients. Ask about their training in ADHD and their experience working with clients who have the condition.

ACO (ADHD Coaches Organization) – ACO isn’t a credential

The ACO is a professional membership organization for ADHD coaches. ACO promotes coach-specific training in ADHD. To qualify as a member, a coach must have the following experience: evidence of an active coaching practice, and either a minimum of 72 hours of ADHD coach-specific training, taught by an M.C.C. or P.C.C., or a minimum of 60 hours of coach-specific training provided by a school approved by the ICF PLUS an additional 12 hours of training in ADHD and/or ADHD coaching, provided by a master’s or Ph.D.-level expert, an M.C.C. or P.C.C., or by a specific source recognized by the ACO.


Fine Print

ADD and ADHD are used interchangeably for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

Any information or suggestions in this article are solely the opinion of the author(s) and should not replace the advice of appropriate medical, legal, therapeutic, financial or other professionals. We do not test or endorse any product, link, author, individual or service listed within.


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