Can This ADDer Be Saved? – Part 2
Sunday, January 22, 2012 14 Comments
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Katy Hires an ADD Coach
by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
*”Katy,” “Barb,” “Donna” and the details of this story are a composite of the process and progress of several ADDers working with the author, to honor the confidentiality of the client/coach alignment and to better illustrate a sense of the ADD Coaching process.
You GO Girl!
After that fateful day when Katy finally “hit the wall,” she did something that is still rather unusual in the ADD world: she began looking for an ADD Coach immediately.
She had already learned a lot about ADD listening to her best friend Barb’s process since her diagnosis, and could really see the difference since Barb started working with her Coach.
Katy knew right away that she, too, wanted help identifying and prioritizing each of the inevitable next steps. She didn’t have time to agonize over how to proceed without upsetting the tenuous control she exerted over the responsibilities she was already juggling.
But which coach?
Although she liked Barb’s Coach Donna immediately, felt she could trust her, and could tell that Donna had a lot of information about ADD, she was initially concerned that the sessions would take place over the telephone.
Katy was also dubious that she needed a Coach and a therapist, and more than a little ambivalent about the possibility of medication — even though she was ready to embrace any diagnosis that would offer an explanation for her feeling that she was always “swimming against the current, swept backwards every time she missed a single stroke!”
Katy’s intial call with ADDCoach Donna
Donna acknowledged Katy’s concerns, endorsed her for having the courage to confront them from the very beginning, and gave her the names of some other ADD Coaches to interview who worked in different formats. She advised Katy to attend the very next CH.A.D.D. meeting to ask people she met there for the names of their ADD doctors and therapists, and gave her a web address with some pointers on what questions to ask to find professionals who were a good “fit”.
Donna explained that finding the right doctor, therapist, or ADD Coach depended on many things besides information, education and skill level.
She compared the process to the one Katy used deciding to marry Paul: in reality, there’d been nothing seriously wrong with her other boyfriends, yet Paul just seemed a much better match for Katy’s personality, communication style, and interests. He just fit.
“Coaching and therapy are two different tools,” Donna went on to say. ”While not everyone finds they need both, it is probable that identifying and managing your ADD diagnosis will bring up a lot of psychological issues to untangle — issues that developed as a result of undiagnosed ADD, but aren’t ADD issues, per se.” She went on to explain that:
- Together, Katy and her ADD Coach would focus on action, expand her knowledge of her particular “flavor” of ADD, develop a blueprint for accomplishment, and step through it weekly.
- Katy’s therapist would support further exploration of the issues themselves, help her to develop a new world-view that incorporated her ADD, and help her work through any family-of-origin issues, especially since her ADD was not discovered in childhood.
“You don’t have to be an emotional train wreck to benefit from therapy,” Donna reminded Katy. She also suggested Katy call her boss to discuss the possibility of extending her report deadline the moment she hung up the phone.
KATY GETS INTO ACTION
Katy was unusual in another way — she took the coaching! She began taking action steps immediately. Her boss surprised her by being extremely reasonable about extending the deadline until the following Monday. She actually commended Katy’s professionalism in giving her sufficient time to reschedule her own priorities and action-items.
By the end of the day, Katy had interviewed another coach who worked over the phone, emailed a “CyberCoach” who did coaching by email, scheduled an appointment to meet a Coach who worked face-to-face, and set up an appointment with Barb’s doctor to check out the possibility that she, too, might warrant an ADD diagnosis. (She did, of course, or that would be the end of our story!)
She told Paul to plan to take care of the kids so that she could attend the upcoming CH.A.D.D. meeting, and found time to begin a rough draft of her report, even with little Mary’s constant requests for attention.
Katy was a woman on fire!
By the end of the weekend she had the names of several other doctors and therapists, and had decided to hire Donna. She was surprised to realize that, once she felt the gun was out of her back, she actually enjoyed the process of putting together the report she delivered on Monday.
THE EARLY STEPS
Since Katy preferred her longhand journal to anything she had to type, she quickly ruled out the CyberCoach. Work email was about all she wanted to handle anyway.
Of the Coaches she interviewed, Katy felt that Donna was the best match for her own personality and communication style. ”Fit,” Donna called it. She and Donna had a similar sense of humor, seemed to understand each other without a lot of explanation, and Katy felt comfortable opening up to her.
She took a deep breath, dialed Donna’s number, and told her she had decided follow her instincts, even though it entailed a weekly long-distance call. The elimination of travel time was a plus, and she felt confident that Donna’s processing tips would make phone coaching workable for her.
She might have gone on interviewing coaches forever, she realized, which probably would make the process of choosing one to work with more difficult. Anyway, she reasoned, she much preferred to spend that time gettin’ ON with it!
Katy learned a lot about ADD in the six weeks it took her to create her preliminary action plan. During that time she was a dervish.
She started a Coaching Notebook immediately, and set it up as Donna suggested, purchasing a 3 ring binder, 3 sets of tabbed dividers and a pack of her favorite kind of 3-hole paper with lines (NO hole punching!)
She was religious about keeping everything related to their Coaching sessions in her Notebook and havng it in front of her for every call.
While Katy didn’t completely understand everything Donna was telling her about modalities and ADD processing at first, she noticed that more things made sense every week. She began to hear a voice in her head that sounded a lot like Donna’s, reminding her to remember to breathe whenever she felt the return of her frazzled pre-coaching self. She was beginning to feel more in control every week too – less reactve to Boggle-Bait, as Donna called it. And she was finding new uses for her Coaching Notebook all the time.
. . . More to come in Katy and Barb’s story, so stay tuned!
Since this article is long (an update of something designed for another format some years ago), it has
been serialized. New sections have been scheduled to post every morning, to give me time to edit
during this time when I am practically living at the hospital as one of the primary care partners for
“Lazy, Stupid, Crazy” co-author Kate Kelly.
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Can this ADDer be Saved?
(Entire coaching story, illustrating how coaching works in narrative format)
- Can This ADDer be Saved – Part 1
- Can This ADDer be Saved – Part 2
- Can This ADDer be Saved – Part 3
- Can This ADDer be Saved – Part 4
- Different Kinds of ADHD, Different Kinds of Coaches (psychologytoday.com)
- Teens turn to life coaches to cope with pressures (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
Related Articles on this site:
Assorted articles about ADD and ADDCoach Concepts:
- ABOUT Boggle
- ADD Overview 101 (#1 of 5)
- A Bunch of Words about FIT – Part 1 of 4
- Coaching vs. Therapy
- Top Ten Question to ask to find a Grrr-e-a-t! ADD Doc
A few Articles in the Attention series:
- A Little ADD Lens™ Background
- The Link between Attention and Action
- The Dynamics of Attending
- Symptoms of Attentional Struggles
- Distinguishing Distractibility
More from the ADD Coaching series:
- The ADD-ADHD Coachability Index™
- What to Talk About in Your Coaching Call
- Until they believe they can, they can’t
- ADD-flavored Coaching
- Key Tasks for ADD Coaching
- 10 Essential ADD Coaching Concepts
- Ten Basic Coaching Skills used most often with ADDers
- 10-Step ADD Coaching
- Brain-based Coaching Paradigms