What sets Mind Coach NOLA apart from other ADHD or life coaches based out of New Orleans? There's my years as a high school language teacher, and my experience coaching executives, which means I approach coaching from the perspective of "teaching and inspiring," rather than the perspective of a social worker or licensed therapist. But there's also my Dutch experience!
I lived in the Netherlands for about 8 years. Now, I know there are exceptions to every rule, and diversity in every group, so bear with me while I make some generalizations about a group of people I adore (heck, I even married one!). While I lived in the Netherlands, most of my experience was in international corporate coaching. At one point, my Dutch boss took me aside and actually had to teach me, the American newbie, time management skills. Nobody had ever taught me that before: certainly not my crazy Cuban family (15 minutes late = on time), not anyone in New Orleans (showing up = hooray!), not even in Boston (early is better) or France or Spain (Latin to the soul). It turns out Amsterdam was an ideal training ground for an ADHD coach.
You see, planning is part of Dutch culture. A Dutch person without a personal agenda is unheard of. All Dutch people check their agendas and make appointments for everything. The American casual (and vague), “Let’s meet for coffee sometime,” or, “We should go out to lunch,” or, “Let’s get the kids together later,” just doesn’t happen. If the Dutch suggest an idea, it is genuine and it will happen. They get out their agendas (nowadays, they whip out their cell phones) and put it in there. It’s a date. It might be in three weeks or even next month, but it will happen. They are obsessed with making lists and prioritizing. And because the country is so small and densely populated, they are concerned for the greater good of the community. This sense of community means there is an inherent accountability system built into the culture. The idea is, “I must uphold my end of the deal because it will affect those around me and impact my relationships.” Because everything is so small and tight in a land of many (some quite tall) people, all objects have their proper place and everything from paper files to digital files is perfectly organized.
Moreover, the Dutch are extremely punctual. It's impractical to be late or to waste another person’s time or your own, so it’s simply not done. There is no hanging around the water cooler or socializing in the hallway. The Dutch value their time, so work is done efficiently during work hours, and at 5:00, they are out the door, after an intensely productive day. Then it’s time for family, friends, hobbies and sports. Impulsive decisions, rash actions and emotional outbursts are far and few between. Like in many Nordic countries, the stereotypical Dutch are able to reasonably and rationally think about the facts and weigh the pros and cons of any decision, often holding a meeting to get everyone’s opinion and buy in. This method of ensuring agreement for the greater good also works as accountability, since everyone is on board with the idea and the plan of action to make it a reality.
To function in Dutch society means you have structures in place to help your executive function skills. It means you know how to organize, plan, and prioritize, and you have mastered time management and emotional control. It means you value the importance of other people who can hold you accountable to your actions. It means you work towards your own goals that are in alignment with your vision and a global vision.
So what happens when a Dutch person has ADHD? Meet my husband! But that’s another story. Above all, having ADHD is a cognitive difference, not a cultural one. The skills I coach are the executive function skills I learned while living in the Netherlands. They are skills that can be taught; I know because I learned them! In my ADHD and life coaching, I'm eager to help share these skills and techniques with clients of all ages who want to become more organized, productive, efficient, and successful.