ADHD and Organization - What Kind of Coach Might Help?

Does it make sense for you to use a coach to get more organized?  If so, how do you find the right coach?  Certified Organizer Coach®, Sue West, has written a guest blog post to help you understand the different types of organization coaches, and where you might go to find one who fits your needs.

Organize your thoughts; organize your things; organize your time and schedule – which comes first? And where can you find the expertise you need?
Where do you start to figure out how to break the cycle, cut through the overwhelm, deal with the impact of AD/HD in your household, and generally organize your life to fit you?  

Even more difficult? Dealing with all of this plus major life changes: empty nest, divorce, relationship struggles over stuff, a new adult ADHD diagnosis, marriage, or a parent or spouse who has passed away.

Life’s big changes put most of us in a fog, even the “most organized.” But there are “fog-lifters” (organizers & organizer coaches) who specialize in collaborating with you to move on, gently but surely, in the direction you’d like to head. Or even to assist you in figuring out what’s next. Organize your thoughts. Regain perspective. Declutter – stuff, schedules, even thinking that’s not helping you.

There are a number of different types of organizing coaches, here's what each does:

Are you in need of someone to:

  • Give you new ideas and perspectives on organizing a space?
  • Assist you with deciding how to let go of things with no regrets?
  • Choose products with you to reorganize your things.
  • Assist with physical decluttering and reorganizing.
  • Work with you, side-by-side?

This is a Certified Professional Organizer. “Certified,” we hope, gives you peace of mind that we’ve met industry standards. This means that effectively we’re doing this full-time, so we are required keep up with education. We have a certain level of experience so we’ve seen a lot and are creative collaborators. So, a CPO comes to you with work hours, education and experience standards to help you with the types of problems listed above.

Another choice is the Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization. A CPO-CD® has special training to work with specific sub-groups with issues that can lead to chronic disorganization, for example the elderly, those with ADHD, those with specific learning disabilities and the like.  This is not coaching training on top of organization training, but mental health training with organization training.  A rigorous training program leads to certification.

The CPO-CD works with situations where disorganization is chronic, a lifelong struggle. If you’re not sure if yours is a chronic issue, please visit this site: Institute for Challenging Disorganization. The link is to a series of free fact sheets and questionnaires.  A CPO-CD is a great choice if you need someone to:

  • Work with you in non-traditional, creative ways to organize your life, belongings, or space.
  • Well-educated in emotional organizing, situational disorganization, chronic disorganization, hoarding, AD/HD, life transitions, working with the elderly and so forth.
  • The Institute wins our national organizers’ award consistently for best educational resource. Organizers and professionals from the mental health and coaching arenas provide our experts’ education.

Next is a Certified Organizer Coach®. To sustain the organizational change, the developers of this coaching program realized that something more was needed, beyond the side-by-side organizing sessions. Change can’t happen for anyone “overnight.” We are trained and certified as organizers and as coaches. The coaching and certification take about 1 ½ years and adhere to the leading coaching organization standards.

The COC® is for you if:

  • You know what to do but you don’t do it. Don’t know how to proceed and move ahead.
  • Need a sounding board, outside perspective, brainstorming, and different ways to think about the same issue that keeps cropping up.
  • Need coaching around how your AD/HD affects your life organization and what to do about it – skills, techniques, coaching.
  • Are in need of breaking through, getting unstuck, or moving on.
  • Struggle with time management.
  • Have difficulty instilling new habits…
  • Or of keeping up with the organization especially in times of transition or change.

So, your best best next steps are:

  1. Make a commitment to yourself. What will not get solved if you don’t reach out? How long has it been? How long will you let it go? What level of frustration is this causing you; is it enough yet?
  2. On the Institute site, read the fact sheet about readiness for change. I also write about this topic often on my blog. So if you need to take some time to be ready, do that. List your questions and list your criteria for selecting a professional. What do you want and what do you need?
  3. Ask friends and colleagues for a recommendation and/or search the websites listed below to find specific coaches you might work with.
  4. Find out if you can talk for 20 minutes or so, to interview the person by phone.
  5. Make your decision and schedule a first meeting.

Try one meeting and see how it goes. We all offer ways to figure out the right fit. Please do it, when you’re ready.  Your changes will last far longer with 101% commitment and readiness.

Because you deserve it. You really do.



To find a CPO-CD, go to the referral service page here.  Look under resources.
To find a COC either go to any individual coach’s page or to this link
To find a CPO, go to the National Association of Professional Organizers site.

Sue West is a COC® can be found at