ADHD10 Week 10 Self-Esteem Case Study

ADHD10 Week 10_Self Esteem Case Study

January 28, 2015

Jack is a 53 year old, male. He was not been formally diagnosed but has recently self-diagnosed, accepted his challenges with ADHD and may be seeking medical assistance in the near future.

Jack works for a high-tech manufacturer and is responsible for a number of patents and innovative designs to address the threat of roadside bombs to our troops in combat areas. He is quite intelligent, accomplished and could not imagine he may be affected by the challenges of ADHD until recent self-discovery during executive coaching.

I was contracted to provide executive coaching to Jack to help him and, by extension, his work team reconcile their brilliant, innovative and life-saving work with the fact that the entire team struggled with Jack’s “drama queen” outbursts.

We initially approached the presenting challenges of continual conflict by conducting psychometric assessment using the Harrison Assessments. [Full disclosure, I and a master distributor and international trainer for this assessment.] Key findings from the assessment confirmed the Jack’s natural innovative/inventive nature, high level decision-making, critical thinking and strategic acumen. Jack also showed a high need for recognition and a very strong desire (need) to be rewarded for his work. These preferences were confirmed by Jack and his team.

Surprising to Jack and his team, this assessment also identified low self-acceptance & a high preference for self-improvement. That combination of traits tends to lead to a self-critical nature. This tendency was exaggerated by low certainty/confidence of his own opinions. The primary, revealing discoveries from the assessment feedback was that Jack was compensating for his self-critical nature by acting out in a defensive and dogmatic manner. The ‘flip” or shadow behavior (disassociated self) was the core issue revealed. Essentially, the assessment revealed a hidden self-esteem challenge.

After completing a series of group and individual feedback sessions with Jack and his team, Jack was able to realize his challenges and his behaviors and, in a very bold move, candidly discuss his challenges with his team for the first time in anyone’s recollection. During this sharing, one of Jack’s team, whose teenage son is managing ADHD, suggested that Jack may also be challenged by ADHD. Jack was predictably defensive but committed to explore both his new found clarity from both the psychometric assessment and identification of ADHD.

I began co-developing a self-study, learning and individual development plan with Jack. He is at heart a very curious and innovative thinker. So, for the first time in his life, because of his investigative and inventive manner, Jack was able to look beyond his cerebral approach to all of his relationship and self-esteem challenges and address both the internal self-esteem and social challenges he had struggled with.

We are still in the coaching relationship and beginning to focus on the impact of ADHD.



  1. Jack’s ADHD has been revealed by and to his team. In this rigid, engineering based high-tech company culture, the ADHD stigma may become an issue.
  2. Jack is still self-diagnosed and for the cultural reasons mentioned above is delaying working with appropriate medical professionals especially because he is “required” to declare use of any controlled substances.
  3. We are still trying to sort out which challenges are ADHD versus personality preferences (or both). Any suggestions?
  4. The traditional self-esteem support activities such as self-affirmations, success journals, gratitude visits, etc. do not seem to resonate with Jack. Looking for creative, innovative alternatives. (By the way, I have tasked Jack and his team’s creative collective minds to find alternatives, also.)