Shopper’s Syndrome and FIT – Part 2 of a Series

Fit-based Coaching 

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
The 2nd article in the 5-part Coaching Fit Series

Finding the RIGHT Coach for you

Dear Madelyn,

There is a lot of talk right now about how
important finding the right coach can be
to an ADDer’s overall success. 

How will I know what to look for?

And how will I be able to tell when
I’ve found the right coach?


 J.R. (Cleveland)

Dear J.R.,

How wonderful to see that ADD Coaching is no longer at the stage where the questions we receive are, “What is ADD Coaching?”  and beyond, even,
“How can ADD Coaching help ME?”

Questions about finding the right coach and how to work best within the coaching arrangement are EXACTLY the ones that need to be answered!

First of all, there is more than one “right” coach for everyone.

Most comprehensively-schooled coaches have been trained to listen for FIT in the initial interview, and to refer clients who would be better served by another style. You aren’t in any real danger of ending up with the “wrong” coach, as long as you make sure the one you are considering has substantially more than a weekend’s worth of training.

However, your comfort with the interview process is important for your development within the coaching process, so it’s a great question for that reason alone.

The short answer:  The “right” coach is any comprehensively trained coach who is a good match with YOUR communication style, values and vision.**


Shoppers Syndrome

Before I continue with a more detailed answer to your question, I want to make sure you know about a comorbid disorder rampant in the ADD population: Shopper’s Syndrome, sometimes referred to as SSD: “Shopper’s Syndrome Disorder”

  • It is an expression of the ADD brain style that makes decisions of any kind complicated in ways non-ADDers will never be able to understand.
  • Primary symptoms include all actions coming from a fear that, until you have researched every *POSSIBLE* option, you need to continue the research.
  • Even if one with SSD appears to reach a decision, s/he continues to second guess the choice, on continual lookout for evidence that s/he has not made the “best” one.
  • ALL comments about any area impacted by the choice, positive or negative, reactivate the symptoms.  All discrepancies between expectation and experience set off a new shopping frenzy.

A sufferer of SSD lacks an ability to recognize any indication of any glimmer
of an inner awareness that s/he can and does make good choices

(opinions of others notwithstanding.)

Even when a SSDer finds a coach who seems knowledgeable and easy to talk to — one who has a fairly good handle on the items that could benefit from focus and rethinking on the part of the SSDer —  hearing anything “new and different” re-stimulates an SSDer’s initial fears that s/he will somehow make the wrong choice.  (Believe it or not, those without SSD would feel relief in the same situation!)

No Cure for SSD

It is a frightening disorder because it sets the sufferer up for a situation where, no matter how well s/he progresses or how successful the outcome, s/he will never, EVER be able to win.

While there is no cure for Shoppers Disorder, and no 12-step support group, sufferers have reported relief when they repeat the following words aloud when the temptation to SHOP-ON! rears its ugly head:

  • Perfection is a pipe-dream. 
  • Reasonable people have reasonable expectations
    and take reasonable steps to achieve reasonable goals.
  • The scales used to measure accomplishment must be balanced.

(Are you *grinning* in recognition, or shaking your head sadly!?)

Do YOU suffer from Shopper’s Syndrome?

If YOU are someone who buys items thinking you “can always return them,” or have more than a few unused belongings in your possession that you “meant to” return, there is some advice especially for you at the end of this article. Those of you who don’t feel the temptation to continue to shop until all your options are EXHAUSTED can skip it, moving right along to Part 3 in the Fit Series.

**NOW, to answer your question more accurately, J.R.: 

The right coach for YOU is one where the “FIT” is right, and
YOU are the only one who can know that.

The next article in the Fit Series, Coaches, Dentists, and FIT – Part 3 will give you some advice that will guide you through the interview process.

As always, client or colleague, if you want notification of new articles in this 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

If you’d like some one-on-one (or group) coaching help with anything that came up while you were reading this Series (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!)

You can also click on the Brain-Based Coaching and Mentor Coaching links (here or below). You’ll find a list of articles you might find helpful, and a contact form at the bottom of each one.

Related articles on ADDandSoMuchMore:

From the Coaching FIT series:

Exploring Coaching with me:

A few related Coaching Articles:

MORE ADVICE for those with Shoppers Syndrome

In concrete terms, go through the steps outlined in the next article with this advice firmly in mind:

  1. Quickly scan some of the information of no more than eight candidates
    (five is even better!).
  2. Go with your gut to narrow them down to THREE that you will interview,
  3. With the expectation that ONE of the three will be a wonderful first coach for YOU.

Try to remember that that:

  1. The first steps will be slow-going and much the same with *any* good ADD Coach;
  2. You will know so much more about what you need and want in a coach after you do some initial work; and
  3. That the biggest difference comes once the basics are in place anyway!

Start suspecting Shoppers Syndrome if you feel the tiniest twinge to go on to interview a fourth.

*Promise* yourself that you will make EVERY effort to make a choice you can commit to for six months before you allow yourself to interview a fifth.

If you feel any urge to start all over after selecting your additional one or two interview candidates:

  1. Take a deep breath; admit to yourself that you are probably over-thinking the situation
  2. Allow yourself to browse the information for ONLY ten additional minutes (set an alarm),
    after which you will write down the names of no more than three additional candidates;
  3. Make additional interview appointments with ONE or TWO only (flip a coin!)
  4. Allow yourself to reconsider everyone you’ve spoken with so far, and
    give yourself permission to hire whichever coach feels right (even if it’s #1)
  5. Don’t beat yourself up for your process
  6. ‘Fess up!  — tell your choice that you are a “Shoppers Syndrome” sufferer
    (they may not know the term, but WILL know the syndrome)
  7. Request that the coach you choose help you hold to your initial commitment whenever you start to waiver.

THEN, to the extent you can, FORGET ABOUT IT until the sixth month!
You will have different criteria for “perfect” by that time anyway!

© 2001, Madelyn Griffith-Haynie — all rights reserved

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!"

And what do YOU think? I'm interested.

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