Listening for Time Troubles

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Illustration of the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland - RUSHINGStruggles with Time
and Follow-Through

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part of ADD Coaching Skills Series

Most ADD/EFDers have trouble with T-I-M-E.  We run out of it, we are continually surprised by it, and we sometimes seem to be completely unaware of it.

All ADD Coaches worthy of the term must remain aware that Listening For your client’s awareness of time and their relationship to time (yes, they do have one!) almost always involves some serious sleuthing on the part of the coach!.

The Following Exercise is designed to help ADD Coaches sharpen their Listening FROM Skills

Not a coach?  That’s OK – answer the questions below for yourself.  The information will be useful to you in a Peer Coaching relationship [click HERE if you don’t have one of those].  Your functioning insights will be valuable even without an outside observer, but it might be difficult to sherlock in real time or to actuate changes.  Do it anyway.

Following is a 5-item list of probable sources of “Time” Troubles.

If you were to print this article, you would place the number of the probable Time-Trouble source in the space next to the list of manifestations (symptoms) that comes next.

HOWEVER you do it, make your best guess as to the source of the struggle from the list above BEFORE you scroll down for the answers.

Don’t cheat.  You must determine your answers before you continue with the article if you expect to get the benefit.

Scroll SLOWLY – line by line – or you will inadvertently see the answers before you have thought about it yourself.

— Common underpinnings of Time-Troubles

  1. Underestimating the amount of time necessary.
  2. Overestimating the amount of time available.
  3. Focus trouble: inability to utilize adequate time supply due to distractions
  4. Hyperfocus trouble:  stuck in an activity with no awareness of time
  5. Transition trouble:  struggles changing horses in the middle of the stream

SITUATIONS— Common Manifestations of Time-Troubles
ivory aces her (“symptoms” to sherlock)

INSTRUCTIONS: For each of the items below, determine which of the probable sources
above is at the root of the “Follow Through and/or Time” challenges you are sherlocking.

___  Client always late for calls.

___  Client must be reminded several times to pay you every month.

___  Client repeatedly amazed it’s a non-coaching week when calling for appointment.

___  Client’s Daily To-Do List is HUGE.

___  Client forgets to pay bills.

___  Client misses deadlines at work.

___  Client forgets birthdays and anniversaries.

___  Client waits until the last minute to begin tasks.

___  Client has trouble getting away from work to get home for dinner.

___  Client thinks bedtime is whenever s/he can no longer function at all.

___  Client has trouble doing time estimates for multi-stepped tasks.


Have you decided what you think is the problem?
Don’t keep scrolling unless you have.

Check Your Answers Below


Depending on the “ADD-flavor” of your particular client,
any one of them could be caused by 1-2-3-4 or 5!

(Guess where you have to be hyper-vigilant with your listening from?)

Your task is listening for the 1-2-3-4-5 clues that apply to each of your clients for each and every difficulty they report.  It could ALSO be complicated by more than a few things that aren’t even on the list of the five most common sources.


How come?

Because the SOURCE of the struggle determines what you have to DO to turn can’t into can!

Attempting to “fix” a problem using the wrong tool will rarely work and will often backfire.  As frustrating as it can be for the coach, it’s demoralizing for the client.

As I said in an earlier article:
until they believe they can, they can’t!!

How many times can a person keep “trying” until they decide it’s impossible? 

Don’t stack the deck

  • As an ADD COACH, you are the “externalized Prefrontal Cortex”
    for clients who come to you with Executive Functioning challenges
  • It is your  job to help your ADD/EFD client focus
    for as long as it takes them to internalize focusing techniques.
  • That does NOT include sending them off to tilt at windmills.
    You absolutely must DETERMINE THE CAUSE before you begin to work on solutions.

How much sense does THAT make!!

The content above is excerpted from the ADD-301, the Listening Module of the original ADD Coach Training I developed and delivered for The Optimal Functioning Institute.™ In this particular iteration of OFI’s ADD Coach Training, l covered how to systematize many of the struggles above in ADD-401, the Systems Module and ADD-501 the S-Module.  

I will be posting some of that content here on the ADD-and-so-much-more blogsite in the future. So stay tuned.

SCROLL DOWN for links to related articles available NOW.

As always, if you want notification of new articles (in this particular Series or any new posts on this blog), give your email address to the nice form on the top of the skinny column to the right. (You only have to do this once, so if you’ve already asked for notification about a prior series, you’re covered for this one too). STRICT No Spam Policy

IN ANY CASE, stay tuned.
There’s a lot to know, a lot here already, and a lot more to come – in this Series and in others.
Get it here while it’s still free for the taking.

Want to work directly with me? If you’d like some coaching help (one-on-one,couples or group) with anything that came up while you were reading this article, click HERE for Brain-based Coaching with mgh, with a contact form at its end, or click the E-me link on the menubar at the top of every page. Fill out the form, submit, and an email SOS is on its way to me; we’ll schedule a call to talk about what you need. I’ll get back to you ASAP (accent on the “P”ossible!)

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About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

4 Responses to Listening for Time Troubles

  1. Pingback: Executive Functioning Systems | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  2. Pingback: EF Management Tips and Tricks | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  3. Pingback: TIME to think about Group Coaching | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  4. Pingback: My Wrinkle in Time: HOW does time fly? | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

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