SPARE me your surveys


“Squares and triangles agree: circles are pointless.”
~ source unknown

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


At the risk of being accused of bobbing while the rest of the coaching universe weaves, zigging while they zag, I have to ask: is anybody else confounded by the plethora of coaching field “opinion” surveys popping up?

What is it, exactly, they are trying to prove or disprove?   And why?

Perhaps THAT is the question!  

In any case, I find it disturbing.

More than a little dismayed, I’ve been watching the linear take-over of the coaching field for over a decade now — sharing my disdain with only the closest of friends and colleagues until this blog post. But when survey results are announced attached to a name like Harvard, I’m more than a little afraid.

I’ve always thought I could count on the Ivy League to turn out thinkers.

No general disrespect to Harvard intended — or to any of the other organizations undertaking these surveys — but it simply astounds me whenever anyone proceeds as if there might be some discoverable “formula” for anything as person-specific as personal and professional coaching.

Clients come to coaching desiring wild success
“outside” the box,
NOT to learn how to climb inside it.

Formulaic technique rarely yields much to tempt the grown-up palate.  And yet, humankind seems driven to make the holographic linear through quantification.

It matters not to me whether those “formulas” are framed as guidelines, competencies, or laws — or how much “data” has been collected in an attempt to “prove” the point of view of the authors — they have meaning ONLY as jumping-off points for discussions of why nobody follows them as written.

At least, in my opinion, nobody who delivers a quality coaching product attempts to follow them as written.  I tend to side with Solomon.

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TaskMaster – Getting Things DONE!


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by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part One of the TaskMaster™ Series

Taming Training 101

You are about to learn to become your own Task Master.

Nooooo – I don’t mean standing with a chair and a whip, caging the beast that is YOU.

The TASKS must be trained.  They need to be tamed so they’ll work the way YOU need them to work.

Task taming is a multi-stepped process:

•  Tasks must be trained initially, then
•  Revisited and re-trained every time you learn something new about what you really need.

Let me guess . . . at this point, ALL you know about what you really need is that whatever others tell you to do doesn’t seem to work for YOU, right?

I’m about to let you in on an important ADD secret that many of us had to learn about the hard way. Shhhhhhhh!

At least 80% of what others have been telling you wasn’t designed to work for you!

  • It was actually intended to chastise you for not ALREADY knowing how to make it work, and
  • to get you to stop looking to others for help (especially them!)

Really! And I’ll bet it worked just as designed.

Think about it. Didn’t you feel thoroughly chastised, tongue-tied about what to say next, and reluctant to ask for help the next time?

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Surviving Beloved’s ADD


Ten Tips when the ADD/EFD is Beloved’s

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

As you read the article below, don’t get hung up on the use of “ADD” as the diagnostic handle. I use it to refer to the ATTENTIONAL struggles common among all of the Executive Functioning Disorders.  The article will also be helpful if your Beloved’s “handle” is TBI, EFD, OCD, or any of what I refer to as the Alphabet Disorders.

As I mentioned in the first article of the Beloved Series, I get a lot of differently phrased questions from spouses that, essentially, all boil down to the same thing:

How do I deal with ADD
when it’s not my ADD?

Great question!  Relationships are tough enough without additional complications.

Throw in a little ADD for-better-or-for-worse, and it starts looking like a promise you might just have to break.

Toward the end of When Beloved Has ADD, I encouraged you to believe that  ALL the relationship goodies are beyond that “wall” of “I can’t deal with this another minute!” – as is your own inner healing, the need for which is bringing everything to the surface in this manner.

That’s cold comfort when somebody else’s ADD repeatedly complicates your dream of riding off into the sunset together, happily ever after.

The relationship you dreamed of is still there – behind that wall of pain, rejection & reaction. As awful as it feels, there is a shiny silver lining to this blackest of clouds, whether you work it out with this Beloved or not.

MEANWHILE, this section will give you Ten Tips designed to help immediately. Don’t worry – your needs won’t get overlooked, and CAN’T get overlooked, but I can’t do much to help there in ten quick suggestions.

If you want some immediate relief to avoid damaging your relationship beyond repair while we’re working on how to change dynamics on the home-front, try one or all of the tips below.

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When Beloved Has ADD


HOW COME I’m the only grown-up
in this relationship?

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

Another adorable Phillip Martin graphic.

I get a lot of differently phrased questions from spouses and partners that, essentially, all boil down to the a similar frustration:

How do I deal with ADD
when it’s not my ADD?

Their words are different, their issues are slightly different, and their frustration levels can be anywhere from hopelessness, to exasperation, to panic, to RAGE.

When posted on one of the ADD bulletin boards I try to support, there is usually embarrassment tinged with a light sprinkling of shame in the tone of their posts – as if they should be able to figure it all out without help or information.  So THAT’s a good place to start here.

Your FIRST task is to stop being so hard on yourself –– for your frustrations OR for posting them on “ADD sites.”  I promise you that those sites are are frequented by a lot of other spouses desperate for information before they commit Hari Kari – or worse!

Most people, myself included, admire your willingness to use that safety valve and the honesty with which you post your frustrations.  It IS frustrating to be “forced” to deal with an Executive Functioning Disorder as confusing as ADD/EFD, especially when it isn’t even your own!

One of the things I always need to remind the ADD half in couples coaching is that the non-ADDers deserve extra credit for sticking around rather than running away screaming!  Being pre-frontal cortex backup is NOT an appropriate part of the “standard” deal.

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Can This ADDer Be Saved? – Part 4


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Finding the Right ADD Coach for YOU
— Ten Points from Katy 

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

*”Katy,” “Barb,” 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.
————————————————————————————————————–

 Click HERE to read PART 3 :” Katy’s Coaching Notebook
(links to ALL below)

Hyper-organized, list-makin’ Katy suggests you make SURE you can answer yes to each of the following ten points as you interview coaches to work with your own precious life.

(“Life is where you find it” Barb says, “Interview, schminterview, go with your gut!”).

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Finishing what you Start


Linears and  Holographics

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

ALL Kinds of Minds

  • Tortoises and Hares
  • Detailers and Concepters
  • Prioritize First vs. Do it NOW
  • DECIDE and Do vs. Go with the Flow

WHY won’t they LISTEN?

We humans are funny critters.  We want everybody to do everything OUR way.

Secretly, we sincerely believe that whatever we have figured out effectively for our own lives would transfer to anyone else’s — if they’d only DO IT RIGHT!

THEIR problems would magically disappear with OUR solution,
IF ONLY they’d:

  • try hard enough
  • give it enough time to become habitual
  • “want to” badly enough
  • stop resisting
  • or procrastinating

 — or really wanted a solution and not simply a chance to complain!

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ABOUT Boggle


The Boggle Book: How to STOP 
screaming at your spouse, kicking the dog,
and losing your cool, 
finally and forever!

© by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
© all rights reserved

Sacks on Shutdown

Oliver Sacks, a scientist fascinated with neurological differences who was brought to public attention when Robin Williams portrayed him in the screenplay Awakenings, has noted that:

“Brain systems in all animals may respond to overwhelming stimulation, or stimulation past a critical point, with a sudden shutdown.  Such reactions have nothing to do with the individual or his motives.  They are purely local and physiological and can occur even in isolated slices of [the] cerebral cortex: they are a biological defense [against] neural overload.”

p. 136, An Anthropologist on Mars, Oliver Sacks, Knopf, 1995

Overload

Anyone who has ever been labeled “emotionally volatile” experiences times when they get so distracted, so overwhelmed, so UN-focused that they simply, literally, cannot get it together to function at all!  This is what some of the experts working with the Attention Deficit Disorder population refer to as “pre-frontal cortex shutdown in response to stress.”

It’s what I call Boggle.

Although ADDers tend to experience it a lot more often, Boggle is not confined to the ADD population.

You are probably already familiar with Boggle.  I’ll bet you’ve been there: those times when you t-totally lose it!

Some of us scream and yell, some of us throw things, some stomp around slamming doors and cursing, some cry, some say terribly mean things even if we know at the time we will be mortified once we come back to ourselves, and some seem to be OK from the outside  — OK, that is, for a person who just landed on a brand new planet!

The focus of my book is to explain why it happens, and to teach you how to set it up so you never need to go there again.

The techniques I developed to work with the term I coined will work for anyone.  They work for me.  They work for my clients and students.  They will also work for you, ADD or not.

Don’t miss this series.

Until publication, I will edit foundational excerpts to get you started, right here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com.  Depending on the rules of the eventual publishing format, I may have to take them down, so get ’em while you can.

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Can This ADDer Be Saved? – Part 3


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Keeping Track to Focus Energy

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.
——————————————————————————

As you learned in Part-2, Katy did something that is still rather unusual in the ADD world:

She called an ADD Coach immediately.

Katy had already learned a lot about ADD listening to her best friend Barb’s process since her diagnosis.  She just never imagined that any of her own struggles might be ADD-related.

She and Barb were so different.  SHE had always been so in-control and competent! Barb had always been the maverick — a free-wheeling spirit who never seemed to get it all together.

Still, the more Barb talked, that fateful day in the kitchen, the more she could see how similar differences might have different presentations.

Besides, Katy was sick and tired of being sick and tired, and was desperate for explanations, even though she was half afraid she would discover there were no answers.

If it worked for Barb . . .

Katy could really see the difference in Barb since she started working with her ADD Coach Donna.  Not only had Barb learned a great deal more about ADD, she was finally doing something other than dreaming about becoming a professional photographer – something Katy knew had been Barb’s dream goal since the two best-friends first met.

Donna helped Barb figure out what it would take, and then coached her through each of the steps on her road.

Barb hadn’t found her dream job yet, and she certainly isn’t pulling in a six-figure salary, but some of her photos were beginning to show up in print somewhere besides her basement studio.

Katy wanted the kind of focused guidance Barb had received prioritizing her inevitable next steps, without upsetting the tenuous control she exerted over the responsibilities she was juggling already.

Tracking in her Coaching Notebook

Donna, Katy’s ADD Coach (as well as Barb’s), requests that each of her clients immediately set up a coaching notebook: a three ringed binder with tabbed dividers, where they can securely “file” everything coaching-related in one easy-to-locate, easy-to-update, easy-to-grab location.

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Can This ADDer Be Saved? – Part 2


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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.
———————————————————————————————

 Click HERE to read PART 1 of this story

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 since her best friend Barb’s diagnosis, listening to her process her growth as well as her frustrations.  She 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!”

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Can This ADDer be Saved?


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A Coaching Story – Part 1

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Another article in the The ADD Coaching Series

*”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.
—————————————————————————————- 

Like many of us, Katy Nolan was a full time homemaker with a full-time job.

She adored her husband Paul, a terrific father — but not really much help around the house: not really much help with anything having anything to DO with running a household, actually.

Sometimes she joked that she had three kids — Mary, her second-grader, Tom her big fourth-grader, and Paul, the baby! Fortunately, Katy was one of the most organized women anyone knew, so she managed somehow to keep the homefires burning along with the demands of  a high-stress job.

Most days she felt on top of things, but she went to bed exhausted every night and woke up every morning dreading the day.  She loved her job, her kids, her marriage, and their newly remodeled home — but deep in her heart she hated her life.

“What’s wrong with me?” she often wondered.

THE DAY THE WORLD CHANGED

The words that started Katy’s day were about the worst she could possibly imagine, “Mommy, I don’t feel very good!”

“Not today!” she complained under her breath, feeling guilty for the thought.
“Please let her be well enough to go to school today and I promise I’ll be Florence Nightingale tomorrow!”

Her upcoming week was booked solid with urgent work to-dos and a million errands related to the upcoming Easter holiday. She had taken the day off to work on an important report due Friday — without the distractions of the office.

For some reason, she just couldn’t manage to get her thoughts on paper with the constant ringing of the telephone and chatting of her office-mates, along with the frequent interruptions of her new boss, the micro-manager’s micro-manager. Her recent memo about the “slippage” of the quality of Katy’s reports was scathing.

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Homage to Kate Kelly


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

A bit of background on the article below Saturday, January 21, 2012 – 2 AM

UPDATE Sunday-2/19/12

For anyone who hasn’t already heard, dear friend, ADD Coaching colleague, and Interfaith Minister Kate Kelly was in Christ Hospital in Cincinnati when I wrote the article below. She is now recuperating at home, between rounds of chemo for what turned out to be renal shutdown due to a mass in her bladder, which turned out to be cancer.

After a very scary couple of weeks in January, we’re as certain as man is allowed to be about these things that she will ultimately be fine, but her body’s got a bumpy road ahead to carry her to glowing health once again. (This all serves as background for the insight which was the reason for this post – be patient, or scroll down for Small Blessings).

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Even if you think you don’t know Kate, you probably know OF her. I’ll bet you’ve read the ADD classic Kate and co-author Peggy Ramundo wrote.

Cover of "You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid o... Do yourself a favor and beg, borrow or buy a copy now if you haven’t already read it – this is one you will definitely want in your ADD library.

If you already have one in your library, and can afford it, buy a brand-new copy as a gift for a friend or to donate to your public library or local Youth Group.

Not only will you be saving somebody’s quality of life, you will be offering support to Kate in a very practical fashion. Cancer-care is EXPENSIVE, and book royalties will probably be her primary source of income for some time to come. Any published author will tell you that the authors see VERY little of the price of each book sold. So let’s put it on the Best Seller’s List together.

Peggy Ramundo is another dear friend, with whom I am working on the ADD in the Spirit Coach Training. Peggy and I have already been dervishes in the past month, setting aside nearly everything else to get materials fluffed by deadline for our presention at the upcoming March ACO Conference in Atlanta. Our session together expands upon the importance of spiritual coaching concepts in a field as pragmatics-focused as ADD Coaching.

Before we had time to refocus on day-to-day work objectives, Kate took a sudden turn for the worse. We have practically lived at the hospital since Kate was taken by ambulance to the Christ Hospital’s Emergency Room,  over a week ago. If you missed me, that’s where I’ve been!

So, in 2012, I’ve barely had time to edit drafts of older content to post here, much less time to write anything new!  Since it’s likely to be another week or so before I am able to resume anything resembling my “normal” schedule — and then comes catch-up I believe I’ve come up with a novel way to fit it all in: blogging about my hospital insights (very big grin).

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Sis-Boom-Bah!


We Need a Pep Rally

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

I’ve been working my tail off over the holidays, putting together binder materials to support a couple of presentations for the upcoming ACO conference in Atlanta this March (The ADHD Coaches Association).

The presentation that started me thinking about a much needed pep rally is entitled Making the Connection: Brain-based Coaching.

In addition to ADD research, I’ve always kept a watchful eye on the comorbid and “overlapping” fields. Before I put together anything with statistics, I make the rounds one last time – just to see if perhaps they’ve published something relatively new that we haven’t picked up on yet.

As I hopped from website to blog, each developed to support those various other communities (from Autism to Traumatic Brain Injury to Affective Disorders of all types), I kept having the same nagging thought — over and over again, like a broken record:

THEY are supporting their disorders better than we are.

By “supporting,” I mean that they are united in calling for more research, education, and political support as they share information on how to obtain the services that are available, along with general information and anecdotal support.

I don’t think it’s UNRELATED that ADD is the butt of jokes
that would never be tolerated
if made about any other disability.

I’m not talking about dinner table humor, here! While I have noticed that making fun of ADD at home is often a thinly-veiled cover for unacknowledged anger or frustration, that’s not what I mean in this instance.

I’m talking about pot shots taken by the press, in magazines, on talk shows, and even in presentations sponsored by supposedly credible and uplifting organizations like TED.

(See my post taking Sir Ken Richardson to task for making fun of ADD
in his “educational” presentation by clicking HERE)

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