Until they believe they can, they can’t

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

An ADD Coach’s single most important task is
the facilitation of THE most essential client shift:

 from “Expectations of Failure”
TO “Expectations of SUCCESS”


Don’t you ever doubt it!

Everything else you do is secondary.  Throw your “tough love” in the garbage where it belongs.

As the coach, your most important shift is from
DOING “good coaching” to BEING a good coach.
It’s not about YOU, it’s about THEM!

Any ADD Coach worthy of the name must be prepared to move as slowly as they must to allow their ADDers to experience success — ENOUGH “evidence of success” to counteract years of “evidence of failure.”

That means baby steps to begin with, not “challenges.”

  • It makes no difference how little an ADD client accomplishes, or
  • How little they seem to be able to articulate their thoughts when you inadvertently
    shut down their pre-frontal cortex (each time you put them on the spot with one of
    those “powerful questions” of the flavor that most vanilla coaches have been trained to use) . . .
  • No matter how slowly they progress at the beginning, you must be prepared to move as slowly as you must for as long as you must for your ADD clients to amass enough experience of success to feel successful
  • ENOUGH “evidence of success” to counteract years of “evidence of failure.”

The name of the game

Any coach’s job the name of the game – with ANY type of client is to make sure those clients have what they need for ongoing accomplishment — NOT to insist that they do their homework, call on time, or stay on track without help.  

Those last tasks have a name in the coaching world: in order to’s.  Not good, right?

  • While follow-through and time management are important steps along the path to goals actuation, skills that can be – and need to be – acquired, those tasks are more than a simple a matter of motivation with ADD clients (“wanting to badly enough” or understanding the importance).
  • BELIEVE ME, they already know it’s important! They are frustrated beyond belief that they can’t “get it together.”
  • Coach “lectures” are considered inappropriate with ANY client, but with an ADD client, they’re deadly.
  • Unless you are a comprehensively trained, brain-based ADD COACH, you probably don’t even consider what you say “lecturing.”  (Your ADD clients, however, DO.  And it’s harmful – it shuts them down, whether you intend harm or not — don’t ask them, you won’t get the truth from most of them because they won’t want to hurt your feelings!)
  • Your ADD clients may NEVER be able to do the “stay on track to completion” dance without a bit of outside assistance: NOT because they don’t want to, but because the area of the brain in charge of focus and follow-through is part of what isn’t working well in the ADD BRAIN.
EF deficits DEFINE ADD!

ADDers need their coaches to help them compensate for kludgy executive functioning.
THAT’s why they hired you, whether either of you are aware of it consciously or not.blank line



A Coach’s job with any ADD Client is to:

a) provide focusing assistance during the session

b) to make sure their client knows how to get focusing assistance
once the coaching relationship ends

c) and to make sure their clients fully understand what will happen
if they don’t reach out for it   [ADD Coaching Hint: not much!]

Repeating the words imprinted on the graphic that began this article:

Lacking power impairs thinking

Writing in Psychological Science, Smith et. al. (2008) report that when randomly assigned participants are made to feel powerless they become worse at keeping on top of changing information, filtering out irrelevant stuff and planning ahead to get the task done.

If you’d like some one-on-one (or group) coaching help with anything that came up while you were reading this article (either for your own life, that of a loved one, or as coaching skills development), click the E-me link  <—here (or on the menubar at the top of every page) and I’ll get back to you ASAP (accent on the “P”ossible!)

Related Articles on THIS site
(will open in a new window/tab – close THAT window/tab to come back here)

Check out my article on Brain-based coaching on Dr. Charles Parker’s CorePsych blog
Coaching, out where the ADHD rubber meets the road of reality

Related articles around the web
(will open in new window/tab)

BY THE WAY: I revisit all my content periodically to update links — when you link back, like, follow or comment, you STAY on the page. When you do not, you run a high risk of getting replaced by a site with a more generous come-from.

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!"

30 Responses to Until they believe they can, they can’t

  1. Pingback: Climbing your Mountains YOUR way | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  2. Pingback: D.G. Kaye on growing self-esteem | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  3. Pingback: Putting things on autopilot gets more DONE | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  4. Pingback: A Shih Tzu’s take on Brain-based Coaching | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  5. Pingback: Sherlocking for Task Completion | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  6. Pingback: ADD/ADHD and TIME: will ANYthing work? | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  7. Pingback: Expectations Mismatches & Moon Men | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  8. Pingback: Predicting Time to Manage Tasks | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  9. Pingback: You don’t HAVE to lose it as you age | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  10. Pingback: Accountability & Systems on Auto-Pilot | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  11. Pingback: Vision, Mission & Purpose – anchors in an uncertain world | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  12. ericb85 says:

    Hmmm, didn’t find links [plural], only one to ‘Avoiding holes in the road’ (prob first post of yours I read, in like, 2009). Following up w/ Activation Series now.


  13. ericb85 says:

    Hi, Madelyn- hope life’s staying put-together in one peaceful piece!

    I think the following will be pretty relevant. Recently, a coach I’d been working with since November abruptly declared she would take leave from all calls until April – without one word of explanation or apology for the interruption in our work. Could you imagine a coach doing this? I couldn’t, and it’s still boggles the mind.

    What I now have to show for about four month’s work is a life narrative, a primary skills list, a personal vision statement, other intention statements, esp in multiple life ‘areas’ (like home environment, self-care, & c). A decent mind-map, overall.

    BTW, the leave was announced to me after I asserted I needed substantial support for taking action on my newly-clarified intentions.

    What do _you_ think about all of this?


    • Thanks Eric, I’m doing better than I was, but still struggling to come back from the events of the last two years.

      What do I think about YOUR situation? I think that sounds painful for you, and I’m so sorry to hear that you feel adrift and unsupported.

      It also sounds like you did a great deal of important work together – although I don’t see any ADD basics in that list. Did you hire a comprehensively trained, brain-based ADD coach? Various types of coaches were trained to work from various skillsets and modalities. As you know, with the neuro-atypical, I am firmly in the *begin* with ADD/EFD compensatory strategies and strengthening EF skills camp – understand what’s in the way first – and build from there, focusing on client strengths.

      I won’t pass judgment on your coach’s actions, however. When you find yourself feeling upset, try to remember that she’s just one human being who has attempted to make a difference for others.

      Neither of us know what’s going on with her that she felt she had to suddenly pull back (and she may have felt that it would not have been appropriate to share it with you). I’ve been there. She could be seriously ill, for example, or in the middle of a nasty divorce that requires all her resources. She could have a child in serious trouble. I could go on. She may also simply need some time OFF to restore her own energies and recenter. Everybody is entitled to time OFF, right?

      I know this will be tough to read, but it will help you more to accept that there might have been good reasons why she might have been required to focus on her own life than on why she “abandoned” you when you needed her. The truth is that nobody “needs” coaching – or a particular coach. Therapy works with those who *need* help – coaching does not. [check out Some of the Differences between Coaching and Therapy]

      I can tell you from personal experience, that spending minutes and hours of your own life, week after month after year after decade, doing your best to help others, exacts a high price – brutally so, at times – with very little personal return on investment, working to continue to overcome our own ADD/EFD challenges at the same time.

      There are too many times when the most caring of us haven’t even gotten paid for our time – or paid very little, or paid late (which means we ended up paying late fees few of us pass on to clients) – and, in my experience, it’s rare even to receive appreciation for our efforts if we can’t “fix” everything that is “wrong” – while, at the same time, clients are lax with their own efforts.

      Along with an unusually high sense of commitment to making a difference for others (who take our services for granted), it takes a reasonably balanced personal life to keep on keeping on regardless. When one’s own life takes a few serious hits, the kindest, bravest thing to do is to stop coaching until you are in a place where you can give others your best.

      The most powerful place for YOU to stand is in your own power. The success of YOUR life can’t depend on whether another particular person is available to walk you through it. Somewhere in there you do know that – focus there and keep working.

      Use your former coaching/list-making time to read through the articles on the this blog – take the time to follow the links I take hours of MY time to provide, and actually DO the exercises suggested. Enroll a body double or a peer coach to keep you at it.

      BY THE WAY, nobody has paid ME for the great deal of time over the five years now it has taken me to compile and parse over 400 info-dense articles for this no-charge blog, respond to comments (or almost 30 years of research underlying the information I share) — and perhaps you may have noticed how few take the time even to leave a comment or a like — or to follow or share with others to help this blog rise in search engines rankings so that the information can get out there to actually make the difference I was hoping it would. It’s been extremely depressing – but still I keep on as I am able.

      And I’m sure there are those who would judge ME for having to pull back to keep a roof over my head and to keep my own health in place. I prefer not to join a “mean girls in the bathroom” party.

      You can DO this, Eric.



      • ericb85 says:

        OK, yes, I _can_ do many things — but the most important of them will take too long and exact too high a personal cost absent some form of HELP! (and, just so you know, that was NOT a demand on you personally, although if you have space on your schedule…).

        Can you perhaps affirm that I as a client may rightfully expect, as a matter of sheer professional courtesy, at least an acknowledgment of the inconvenience, to say the least, of a coach withdrawing services abruptly for 4 straight weeks?? I am not OK with this as a part of a coaching relationship – would you be? Forgiveness is one thing, trust is another, trust that basic respect for my needs will be there. It’s my job, I believe, to be _somewhat_ selfish, so that I am served by a process that actually yields tangible progress.

        I fully admit, I’m still working through what I feel is legitimate anger about this situation – if for no other reason than here’s another abrupt pothole in my road. I don’t insist on playing victim/martyr long-term, OK, but I ask the freedom to say WTAF?! – and maybe have a soupcon of validation for my perspective & pain.. reasonable? unreasonable? pointless?

        I am in fact weary as #$%% of only waiting for a life that WORKS, instead of gaining traction to move into it. I do not demand perfect service right this second, but I am sending out a cry for compassionate help. I cannot do it all entirely by myself – I am not and will never be 110% sufficient unto myself (who is??).

        Now I can (I imagine) get over some things until April Fool’s without keeling over or losing my mind. I do fervently hope & pray I can get some well-qualified brain-based help prior to then.

        How would you suggest I might improve my self-advocacy?


        • ericb85 says:

          Update: coach thought she had told me she would be spending March doing volunteer work. OK, so miscommunication, pure and simple – accept that. Nope, can’t eliminate misunderstanding, even by speaking as plainly as know how – still may not be heard for any number of reasons. Just a case of really bad timing. Yes, the Stones’ song was right: ‘You can’t always get what you want…‘ even if it DOES feel like some life-or-death necessity.

          I admit to being sensitive and prone to snap misperceptions – anybody relate to that? I’m just freaking desperate for some kind of CHANGE – can’t we relate to that??


        • I was hoping you would come back to respond to my comment, Eric. Appropriate response – good for you. You sound like you are moving through your anger as rapidly as could be expected, given the circumstances and a recent, sudden shift in expectations.

          It also sounds like, since the trust bond has been broken in your mind, that your work with your former coach will probably not be be the best situation for you. That doesn’t mean that work with a different coach wouldn’t be effective – but only if you are ready, willing and able to extend trust again, AND take full responsibility for the changes you are eager to see in your life.

          I promise you that I really do understand your feelings of urgency – I feel them too (still, and always). I’ve never met an ADD/EFDer who isn’t beyond tired of living a limp-along life, eager to stop stepping into holes and moving to a much higher level of functionality.

          The truth is that real change happens over TIME. It takes a lot of dedication to do the work that is required – and the process slows down every week a client comes without attention to homework (so that we have the data to work with). That happens more than a few times with ADD, btw, to be expected as part of the process – but still it slows things down.

          In my entire career, I have only had ONE client who took the coaching every single time and never had even one week where that client came unprepared to work . Our coaching relationship lasted quite a bit longer than six months, yet you would truly be impressed with what and how well that client is doing now – with a highly supportive spouse who attended some of our sessions and also did a lot of work to understand & distinguish ADD-affect.

          That’s the reason I won’t work with anyone in a coaching relationship who isn’t ready, willing and able to commit to a solid six months, with the understanding that it will take at least that long to build a strong foundation for growth and change. That’s not to say that incremental changes won’t happen meanwhile, but it takes most clients a good six months to begin to see them in their lives.

          MOST of us find it incredibly difficult to soldier on alone – and we don’t do very well without it. NONE of us are “self-sufficient” in that respect. If, after reading this, you are seriously interested in a coaching relationship with me, take The ADD Coachability Index (downloadable pdf) – then we can discuss the possibility of working together.



          • ericb85 says:

            I think I wanna hug you – and bawl! Already done a fair amount of the latter, feeling broken down, out of it, angry, scared, and alone… yet, as my favorite Sondheim song reminds me: no one is alone (go watch that last scene, when the Baker’s Wife comes back, and try holding it together, I dare ya).

            I am (obviously) highly prone to anxiety, especially about the inertia effects of my ADD. Thank you sooooo very much for showing me your deep understanding of it. As you well can imagine, that all by itself is HUGE. If I could give TEN thumbs up, I would.

            Job 1 right now is getting spiritually re-centered, by all available means. That will include releasing pent-up worry to confidants and to paper, and daily physical and spiritual relaxation practice. As a wise mentor said, “A tension-filled mind cannot receive useful energy, it can only expend energy, uselessly.”

            Again, THANK YOU for hearing me and where I am, and for taking precious time to offer oh-so-needed understanding. You’re a difference-maker par excellence, Madelyn!


            • So glad to hear you are doing better – I truly appreciate your acknowledgment and thanks. It makes more than a bit of difference to how I feel about the time I spend here. (Many days I feel like I am sending out messages in bottles that nobody reads.)

              We ALL like to hear that our efforts make a positive difference – so thanks for letting me know that I made one with you.

              I still hope you will take the time to follow the links I left for you. The ACTIVATION series would probably be a timely read as well.



            • ericb85 says:

              Checking those links v soon to access the articles – add them to my small collection!

              And I don’t understand the lack of engagement here either. Reminds me of a podcast site for moms that happened to feature a beautiful interview with singer-songwriter Sara Groves – zero comments to that podcast or any other, that I saw.

              Are you getting a good flow of clicks? Are you still featured on Core Psych? Dunno, maybe some other search promotion or listing could help. Your articles always make me think and ask questions, even if I’m not right here asking.

              NOTE: E’d you – let me know when we could chat or what I might send you, and figure out compatible scheduling + other details.



            • Just found this comment, Eric – sorry for the delay in approval and response. I will give you a call to discuss coach/client fit and whether you are ready, willing and able to be among those I assist one-to-one.

              I’m about to answer your questions with more information than I’m sure you were seeking – a sort-of self-coaching format to help me externalize my own thinking and perhaps lift my increasing malaise. It is my hope that a model of my own exploration might be of some use to you as you explore upcoming changes in your own life.

              I greatly appreciate your empathy with my frustration over the lack of ROI for the great deal of time I have spent on this blog and in the creation of the ADD Coaching field to begin with – impressive follow-through for someone with ADD/EFD, yes? But it seems I have written an epic that languishes, in the main, unread.

              To illuminate my “lack of ROI” statement just a bit: I already have attracted over a thousand Pinterest followers in a little over a year (with far less than a fourth of the investment of time, week to week) – contrasted with about a third of that number of followers here after almost five years of A GREAT DEAL of time practically every day, for most of those years. While I am getting more clicks to follow up on what the articles have to SAY from pinning my graphics, it’s not really an effective number, SEO-wise (of clicks OR followers – and practically NONE from Facebook).

              More to the point, I find the time I spend on the shallow explorations of Social Media beyond tedious, so what does that tell you? Anything lukewarm is a LOUSY fit for an ADDer – and spending still more time in those endeavors would be a total toleration.

              While I sincerely appreciate those who “like” articles here – thank god for the people who take the time to leave them – I write/train/coach to be helpful and to midwife changed lives, not to become a social media star who can attract advertisers that will line my pockets as they distract those I claim to want to help.

              It seems to me that more than a few people treat blogs the same way many treat FaceBook – click like and move on, collecting “friends” who really aren’t, similar to the way that young boys collect and count trading cards — especially the folks who “like” my home page. (I mean, really? That page is an early intro-the-fledgling-blog offering with little to NO helpful coaching info that has been in need of more than incremental edits for some time now, seriously too long for me to believe that anybody has EVER actually read it. Nor am I inspired to throw good time after bad to redo it. )

              As I used to say to my students, “I can’t care more about your training than YOU do. You have to take the actions and do the work.” Adapted to my feelings about this blog – I am becoming increasingly less willing to continue to care more about the functioning of others than THEY do – and the lack of feedback leads me to believe that IS what it indicates. More and more it seems, except for comments like yours, that I am wasting my time. (note that the article linked to those words is almost two years old)

              When the coaching field began, we pioneers donated more time than made sense economically, excited, engaged, and eager to make the HUGE difference we truly believed creating this new field could make. Integrity was a core concept/value – a vision I hold still, although I’m sure it makes me sound more than naive in the business world, and is probably not so much a mission after several decades.

              As a result of a great deal of time spent exploring the neuroscience field, it is clear to me that I MUCH prefer both their vision and their values (source crediting and attribution chief among them) – and the contrast to the coaching field is dauntingly dramatic.

              Actually, I intensely dislike the direction the coaching field seems to be heading – “million dollar coach” seminars, etc. While I like money as much as the next guy, I have never been a capitalist at heart and have no interest in adapting their policies and procedures – especially what I consider their “marketing” over-focus. I have always said to my coaches, “If you want to be a salesman, sell cars, not lives.”

              The ADD coaching field has become competitive vs. cooperative, dramatically more so each year, in fact. Some of the field infighting in the past few years turns my stomach, quite frankly. ADD/EFD is a h-u-g-e pie, and coach/client FIT used to be accepted as one of the most important core concepts. “Capture more pieces of client pie” makes NO sense in that context!

              Not only that, ADD coaching becomes less and less distinguishable from what I call “vanilla” coaching every year, so what’s the point? As a pioneer of THAT field, I could have stayed there quite successfully if I hadn’t believed so strongly that clients with Executive Functioning challenges needed a different approach (developed from neurological, NOT psychological or traditional “self-help” approaches). I am beyond weary of “pushing a rope” – lots of side to side movement, but no forward progress unless, as much of the field seems to embrace, I need to do what I can only see as selling out.

              After spending the majority of my adult life creating a great many of the memes of a field I no longer admire (or agree with), I have been looking for a more enlivening way to spend my time. Only half kidding, taking a job as some sort of “Walmart greeter” sounds like it would be more fun and more helpful – two of my core values that seem to have been missing for a while now.

              My flow of energy has become quite blocked as a result of the lack of feedback, engagement. and collegial support – and the increasing need for more and more attention to admin leaves me weary. I still have much to share that I know could make a significant difference, but less and less desire to spend the remaining minutes of my life sending out messages in bottles, found by others who grab them up and publish them in one format or another, without so much as an “inspired by” credit.

              I actually found one of my pirated Inventories that I spent over two solid months creating being sold on eBay, sans notice, much less permission, with my copyright notice CLEARLY readable in the posted picture – and came across content from my Coach Training Manual published in a magazine, using my terms and slightly relanguaged, author credit to another coach (and I’m quite sure that chasing the perpetrators legally would be a disastrous waste of time that would vilify my actions out of sympathy for their “insignificant mistake,” even once I prevailed in what would be an expensive lawsuit.)

              Not too many years ago now I sat in a ADD coaching seminar session where I heard the speaker tout a modality being sold as a unique way of working by one of my students. When my ADD mouth blurted aloud, “That’s MY work,” the entire room turned to look at me as if the transgression were mine!

              If I could clone myself, my coach clone would clearly tell my client clone to give it up and move on to ANYthing different.

              While I do enjoy the writing process, there has to be a better way to use my energies than spending them on what I have been doing here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com. Writing BOOKS would be something I would enjoy that might also be helpful, but since I have always given away more than I have sold, my next endeavor must be something that will keep a roof over my head and food on my table as I age. There is little money in writing and publishing unless you are a superstar – and it takes a great deal of admin time to attract and keep the attention of publishers. Not my interest and not my strength.

              Loosely quoting something a friend told me her psychiatrist said to her, “Everybody wants things to be different, but few people are willing to change.” I’m actively seeking change – especially to change how I invest my time – even though change is more than a daunting task after a great deal of my life spent in the coaching field. It was never my intention to become some kind of Mother Theresa of ADD coaching – not my style. I don’t want to spend the next 30 years doing something else I will ultimately regret.

              I will continue to respond to comments for a while yet, and accept a small number of clients who find their way here and express interest – and perhaps I will decide to explore offering another few teleclasses while I seek “my next new thing” (as the late Dr. Francena Hancock used to say). I still LOVE that part of the coaching “business.”

              As I said at the top of this over-long exploration, I will be giving you a call to discuss whether you are ready, willing and able to be among those I assist one-to-one.

              Thanks again for your empathy and concern – and my apologies for the length as well as the focus on my own situation.



            • ericb85 says:

              Madelyn, where do I even start? How about here: if I could write a ‘script’ for you just now, it would be ‘she had become a sought-after master mentor to the newer generation of ADD coaches, celebrated for helping others change the whole ADD game of life for their clients.’ Now THAT sounds right to me.

              I am quite dismayed/disgusted by the shifts you describe in the coaching field – the infection of corporate-think and resulting obsession with numerical growth and ‘scale’ instead of actually making a substantial _difference_ in the lives of people with ADD/EFD. Why coach at all if THAT is not THE priority and meaning? Why not sell used cars or cell phones instead?? Voila human moral decrepitude and deadness of heart and soul, worse than any problem with executive function. As they sometimes quip in AA, good luck with that & let me know how it works out for you! That’s the path to a living lie, a soul-sickening swindle with a negative ROI in human terms.

              As a side note, I surely hope Dave Giwerc’s ADDCA avoids much of this illness – he at least doesn’t sound like some corporate shill.

              This is troubling stuff, no doubt. It sounds as though the competitive mindset has made finding an excellent ADD coach as hard as finding an excellent therapist (& my luck there is nothing to write home about). I can only hope for pockets of resistance to the ‘biz’ model, where making the difference in our lives is the overriding goal, not wealth accumulation. I mean, if you want quick money, there’s always CEO-level business coaching, or real estate. ADD AIN’T A @#@$*/ PROFIT-CENTER!!! (breathe…breathe… breathe…)

              My own notion is that this ponzi-ish crapola is so unsustainable, it will burn out practitioners in droves, before (I trust) much damage results. How long could a human being directly B.S. other human beings about their own lives without either getting sick or becoming an obvious psychopath? Am I missing anything here??

              At this rate, we’ll all need quasi-therapy groups, with and without ADD. M. Scott Peck wrote about this (genuine community), as the primary hope and means of healing. I’m just crazy enough to believe in the possibility.

              Maybe a bunch of you from the founding generation (you, Peggy & Kate, plus John Ratey and Ned Hallowell, others?) should form a posse, and hold some webinars to call out the hypocrisy that corrodes the coaching field. I’d love to see that!

              Shalom, and talk soon, I hope!


            • How supportive of you – thank you. As I said, my primary objective was to externalize my thinking, but your validation was lovely to read and lifted my mood quite a bit. Perhaps some [re]reading of books by Peck-like authors might be just what the doctor ordered – so thanks for that reminder as well.

              I hope you are correct in that the field will eventually right itself, but until it does I’m not inclined to actively engage with the community beyond client or class focus on my own. My main thrust is to find something ELSE to do to “pull me forward” — a new purpose, if you will, or another community that needs what I have to offer. I have already spent far too much of my life “rallying the ADD troops,” even if others in the old guard could be rallied, so I’m not likely to want to form – or join – your posse. Nor would it be in integrity with my view of the way the field needs to behave to “call out the hypocrisy” in a webinar.

              As for David, I couldn’t say. His first brochure looked like my training with different words, but I have no idea how it has developed since. Although I coached/trained/mentored him, he has barely spoken to me since he quite suddenly resigned as OFI’s President (my coaching company) to open his own version of what he learned with me, despite my promise to give him half of OFI and run it in partnership.

              I am quite sure that it didn’t happen fast enough for him, but I simply could not afford to split the revenue until the proceeds from my own coaching clients were no longer keeping OFI afloat, since there was no agreement that he would buy in. (Yes, not only did I take no salary, I PAID to train my so-called “competition” for many years – beyond naive and actually quite stupid in retrospect, but the need was so great and the coaches doing anything similar to what I was doing so few.)

              I mentored David from “I think I have OCD” through his ADD diagnosis, to training, and up through my company and can say that, at the time, I believed I knew him well enough to say he was a good man whose behavior seemed consistent with his values. With his marketing degree and the fact that he started charging fees commensurate with the cost of OFI’s training from ADDCA’s start (no need to slowly build to that figure), it was impossible for me to out-market him, despite the fact that I had already been training coaches for 8 years when ADDCA began.

              So all I can and will say is that I know longer know him or what he is doing, beyond his close association with ICF, the “vanilla” coach credentialing body. It would appear that we no longer agree about the need for ADD Coaching to be, as a I put it, “more than ADD icing on a vanilla cake.” – That “to be effective, it must be ADD-specific through and through.”

              The linked article (directly above) is from my last stand (2013 here) to put forward that point of view (published in the 2012 Conference binder first). It describes my reasoning clearly and scientifically (concluding with my “CALL to Coaches”). It would seem that, to foster growth, the field has decided it might be expedient to go another way, which makes me very sad, but I am tired, Eric, of “spitting” in the wind.

              Thanks again for your empathy and support.


            • ericb85 says:

              I get it – can’t have a fruitful conversation with people unwilling to listen. It’s perplexing, to say the least, that the field of ADD-specific coaching could tacitly agree to ignore or disfavor relevant advances in brain science in favor of purely psychological approaches that work outside ‘the tribe’ – maybe a question of using a hammer because that’s all you, or rather they, understand?

              Charles Parker, as far as I see, is still working to enlighten practitioners and patients alike – I certainly hope he’s being respected for his persistent efforts.

              BTW, I thought the 2013 post was very well-argued — the wider community ignores these points at our peril, frankly. Doing what doesn’t work for us won’t gain coaches anything in the longer term – truth will out, and it won’t be pretty. I rebel against whatever doesn’t take my unique brain type seriously, period.


            • Bless you, Eric – and thanks for reading the linked post as well as my previous long comment.

              When I began training ADD Coaches, my biggest dilemma was how to reach the client base without trashing the services of “vanilla” coaches who were not trained to work with them. I wanted a clear distinction so that clients could understand that all coaches were essentially NOT the same.

              As one of the pioneer coaches who spent considerable [non-billable] time moving ICF from its first mention (heard directly from Thomas Leonard’s lips, btw) to its establishment, I subsequently spent quite a bit MORE [non-billable] time with ICF trying to distinguish ADD from a client type they referred to as “restorative” – and to explain WHY many of their beliefs about coaching would not be effective with ADDers.

              I included first-hand stories, including one where considerable tho’ inadvertent harm HAD been done by a well-known, “well-placed” ICF business coach using “standard” ICF techniques. I had to bite my tongue to keep from naming names, hoping the coach would “out” himself and speak out in support once he heard the story – but neither ever happened. My FIRST loss of respect for someone in leadership of an organization so many of us worked so hard to create.

              (btw – this was an early client of David’s during his mentor years with me. I suggested many of the actions and was aware of the details as we undid the damage and put his life and business back together. Both of us knew the name of the coach who “fired” him as “uncoachable” after shutting him down almost completely using ICF standard techniques).

              My proposal was turned down in committee as an official ICF ruling. Imagine my shock and dismay when I later was told directly by the then-current ICF President, another of the pioneers of the coaching field I had known since the beginning, that it was the first she’d heard of the matter. It never even made it out of committee! I expected reprisals and another look at the issues, but that never happened either. (The second and third hit of loss of respect for ICF.)

              The shabby way ICF treated Thomas Leonard breaks my heart still – and that so few railed against it. They actually expected the founder of the entire coaching field to TRAIN with another organization (using the techniques he developed) in order to have enough hours to be certified – led me to conclude that the field was clearly positioning itself in the competition and client gathering camp, all the way to the top. (I am still of the opinion that if T. had not died there would BE no ICF, since he was developing a competing organization and had considerably greater reach.)

              I was not allowed to count any of my hours *creating* and teaching the training modules that my students used for certification either, by the way – but I got my own start with T. so I had the “vanilla” hours. I did move forward to be certified with the first of the coaches for the sake of OFI and the future success of my students, who eventually could not be ICF certified unless I were (or could hire another trainer for the majority of the modules).

              As I said in a volley of “don’t kill the messenger” emails to ICF, I had no wish to cause divisiveness in such a young field but, as one who trains ADD coaches, I had to be able to offer my students a “non-vanilla” certification path that did NOT work against the stated purpose of the coaching field overall, so I would be attempting to create an ADD-specific certification – which became IAAC. I was not stopped, neither did we receive their support.

              An even greater disappointment with the field overall came with what happened “behind closed doors” of the IAAC founding committee, which eventually kicked me out with specious charges practically immediately after I blocked consensus about ICF front-end training requirements for ADD Coaches. They “allowed me to resign” only after I sent an email with the suggestion that it might be best for me to post all of the IAAC correspondence and notes on the web to allow the rest of the field to decide for themselves what had happened, since we obviously disagreed. Then and now, I believe they set me up to appear “difficult to work with” and still have the email trail that might make that clear to more than a few others, were I willing to spend even more time on a lost battle.

              BTW, I was the only coach on the committee who argued FOR more transparency vs. total secrecy – but I did not want to begin our talks by blocking consensus. Nor did I want to slow down progress with the great deal of additional time it would take to answer community questions and arguments, point by point — so there was agreement on my part, in any case. I worked in private to build trust with my own coaches and certain members of the budding ACO community who were suspicious of that decision [still MORE unbillable time] – remember that we all had to retain time to earn an income while we donated much of our time to building the field.

              The acting President (who stepped into that role only because “we need to have positions filled in to submit the incorporation papers”) responded to my “What Happens Now” email on behalf of the other IAAC “ladies” [how she addressed us, btw] with the news that, essentially, they had agreed to “accept” my resignation, accompanied by the caveat that I would tell no one what happened – a gag order, in other words.

              I was subsequently included in error on another email that disclosed that said President was, at the time, in discussions with ICF about getting their “rubber stamp” approval for her own training, which simplified the certification for her coaches considerably. It would have been appropriate for her to recuse herself from the “ICF front-end” vote – at the very least to DISCLOSE it – yet she did neither. To be fair, she ultimately did not receive a listing among the “ICF approved” trainings at that time, and I have no idea why not.

              NEXT, all traces of my many [again, non-billable] hours of involvement in the creation of IAAC disappeared from their website. The then-webmaster of the site was shocked to hear that I myself had not requested that action, when we discussed why she resigned from that responsibility eventually. While I had my confidants, at the time and since, I held my tongue in public for “the greater good” of a barely established new way of coaching – which I have since regretted many times. (This is the first public disclosure I have made – I truly despise politics and politicking — especially ALL attempts at rewriting history to line one’s own pockets.)

              I was bitterly disappointed with the field once again when IAAC folded because the leaders simply could not continue to spend the number of hours required to keep it going without the support of the rest of the ADD Coaches – which was not forthcoming in any meaningful manner. “Too busy” doncha’ know.

              Eric, I could go on and on and on with examples,
              tempted to call people out by name, but I’m sure you have read MORE than enough about this to agree that I have fought the good fight – to the considerable detriment of my own life.

              I actually regret trying, given my situation now. I can no longer AFFORD to continue, and I’m simply beyond tired of trying, Eric. I also have no wish to be in the company of those who put profits before people, and I cannot see “it’s only business” ANY other way.

              I have been forced to conclude that this charge is no longer mine to lead – and that I was probably foolish to ever take it on to begin with.

              Let’s close the book on this topic. For years I replied simply, “I’ll stand on my record” – but my “colleagues” and students seem to have been successful in sweeping that record under the rug. Again, thanks for helping me get my feelings clarified but there’s really nothing to be gained by continuing to enumerate old wounds in, perhaps, a formerly unconscious attempt to defend my right to – finally – give up the good fight.


  14. Pingback: Getting up and Getting Going | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  15. Pingback: If the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t blame the foot! | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  16. Pingback: The Procrastination Puzzle & the ADD Brain-style | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

Leave a Reply to ericb85 Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: