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!”

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 encouraged her to investigate some other ADD Coaches, especially those who worked in a different format.  

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, coaches and therapists.

She 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 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.


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! (see links to the next articles below)

As always, if you want notification of new articles in the Coaching 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 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!)

Can this ADDer be Saved?
(Entire coaching story, illustrating how coaching works in narrative format)

Related Articles on

Assorted articles about ADD and ADDCoach Concepts:

A few Articles in the Attention series:

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!"

15 Responses to Can This ADDer Be Saved? – Part 2

  1. Pingback: Flashback: Can This ADDer be Saved? | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  2. Erich says:

    Thank you, thank you! And sorry for any excess drama- if my brain were a car, it would be up on blocks, motor revving, but going nowhere fast (at my age, a perfectly wretched sensation). Greatly appreciate your patience and understanding.


    • No apologies necessary. I GET it – more than you know.

      I have been dealing with my own dx long enough that my frustration rarely seeps out to others unless they intrude on my process in MY space – but I recently sent a scathing complaint to Apple when their most recent iTunes update tossed the musical salad on MY computer!

      I’m guessing you are one with a late-life dx (mine came at 38, late enough!) – which would add to the urgency of “fixing” what’s “wrong” considerably.

      I feel the same way many times, even though I know that there is nothing “wrong” as much as there is something “different.”

      Coaching helps understanding, predicting and working around more than almost anything, btw. I hope you WILL take advantage of my offer to answer a few questions “live.”



      • Erich says:

        I believe you- thank God you get it. To extend this metaphor, it”s not the engine but the transmission, suspension,, the connection to the GROUND that doesn’t f###*#g work right (‘scuse me while I bleep myself! 😉 )

        Yes, I feel like I could unload on a heavy bag an hour a day – maybe should! Insult to injury, I blindly sucker-punched a dear friend last year via email, ending the sole intimate connection I had to another person- way to go, huh? Time I made a few good choices in a row, I guess.

        And yes, I’ll take you up on that phone call, soon!


        • REAL soon! Things can be better. MEANWHILE, don’t be mean to you.

          If you’ve got it in you to read at all, start with the GRIEF post – you will recognize yourself, I’m sure.

          CLICK HERE to go RIGHT to the first article in the series!!


        • Erich says:

          I have just E’d you again- hope it got through the system. Look forward to hearing back. 🙂 BTW, the random avatars on comments, boy do they all look perturbed!


          • Sheesh! GOOD that you let me know here – this part of WordPress works pretty reliably (re: notifying me that I need to go do something). e-Me Forms, not so much.

            Makes me look flakey – but there you have it. My own ADD challenges mean that I must rely on technology “reminders” and “handlers” to be able to do what I do.

            Life sure would get simpler if the computers of ALL spammers suddenly stopped working, so the rest of us could stop having to work AROUND them, huh?

            Anyway – I’m searching NOW, so watch your email for a reply (or come back here for further “instructions” if we don’t connect in some form TODAY – Fri. 1/25/13

            (LOL re: random avatars)


        • Erich says:

          BTW, the grief article series is helpful- I am learning to find content through the list on right side, which has zero visual detours to throw my ADDled head off-track! Side note to web guru: the notify boxes below come up zoomed and overlapped when they display on my NOOK tablet.


          • Thanks for the info — UNFORTUNATELY, I am a one-man universe, currently – there IS no “tech guru” on the blog and seriously limits what I can do (no plug-ins allowed, CSS over-rides abound, etc.)

            Glad you are finding “grief” helpful.

            When we speak, if you can have your computer in front of you with ADDasmm up, I’ll give you a tour that will help you find things more easily.

            Meanwhile, NOW you know why I list the 60 most recent articles on the right sidebar :-D!!



        • Erich says:

          Spammers, spam it up your @##, THANK you!! Toooo much free time, some people!


          • TODAY alone there are almost 1,000 new spam comments in the blog’s spam folder – 36 PAGES to check to see if one or two of them are actually valid (so I usually don’t!). My blog spam filter (Akismet) has already caught close to 50,000 individual blog comments in the LESS than two years I’ve had it running, and every day more spammers find me.

            IMAGINE if all of those landed in my personal email or ended up as texts on my phone. They’d force me out of business (probably out of my mind!) The CAN Spam Act has no idea how much time getting OFF those lists would take.

            So, I have to hide behind a kludgy form, and make the process just complex enough that only those truly interested in ADD info will be desperate enough to jump through the hoops to get to me ::grin:: OTHERWISE, I’d be so overwhelmed I wouldn’t be able to help *anyone* – and would probably end up in a locked ward or under a bridge.

            ONLY Narcissists (and “Network Marketing Affiliates”) SPAM. We’ll never stop the former, and the ONLY way we’ll ever stop the latter is to, en masse, REFUSE to click their links OR buy whatever they’re pushing. (yeah, like THAT’s likely to happen!)

            GRRRRRR – *my* rant for the day. 😉

            Click on PLEASE DO NOT BUY for an article re: same


  3. Erich says:

    I think I didn’t expect to find a coach’s blog behind the ‘private coaching’ button… isn’t the whole site mostly devoted to just such articles? Very confusing to get blog essays when what I’m wanting is the straight dope on how this coaching project works.


    • Sorry for your frustration, Erich.

      As you discovered, this is not a “quick hit and go” kind of site — most of my ideal clients are readers. When you take the time to explore, you will discover a wealth of information for absolutely free.

      Even though I do make my living “selling” my time, knowledge and services as a coach, trainer of coaches, and consultant to other ADD professionals, is an information-dense ADD (and spectrum) non-membership site — NOT, as it seems you were expecting, a billboard for my personal practice.

      Nor is it a “what I observe going about my ADD day” kind of blog.

      The founder of the ADD Coaching field, I run various trainings for various segments of the ADD population (coaches, parents, partners, ADDults and ADD professionals), and offer private, couples and group coaching as well.

      This site is designed to provide information to serve ALL of them, as well as those who will never hire ME or any coach, who are merely trying to get a handle on what’s going on with ADD in a particular area (sleep struggles, comorbidities, diagnosis, memory, symptomology, medication, etc.)

      The menus are designed to help visitors navigate by *category* to locate particular kinds of content.

      With the exception of a few stand-alone pages (like What’s in a Name?), what comes up from the menu is a “blogroll” of excerpts of articles that are “filed” under the particular category you choose. Each includes enough of a snippet of each post for you to note if it is information you want to know more about. They are arranged in chronological order by category, oldest at the bottom. Articles are cross-filed, so may also appear in another category.

      At the bottom of each individual article (not the “blogroll” preview, but what you see once you “click through” to “read more”), you will find links to similar content and/or the articles in the same Series.

      THIS article on which you commented is the second of Series of articles that describes a coaching relationship as it evolves over time, in fictionalized story format to protect the confidentiality of the clients I have worked with.

      If you scroll DOWN the “blogroll,” you will find articles describing who (and how) I coach and what coaching with me is like — at least, as well as a situation where every client is unique and is coached uniquely CAN be described.

      The e-me link (on the menu) will take you to a form where you can let me know if you are interested in working with me. The next step would be a brief conversation to determine “fit.”

      Hope this helps.


      • Erich says:

        This way of delivering info *so* does not work for me- leaves this ADD brain melting straight down to overwhelm! I’m sure it’s all brilliant and great, but i can’t hardly know how to eat, much less digest the huge buffett platter. Given my limitations, what do you suggest?


        • #1 – GOOD FOR YOU! You know how you process and what does NOT work for you – that’s step ONE

          #2 – search for AUDIO content, not stuff you have to read. Once you get a few foundational concepts arranged in your brain, you may find the written stuff more approachable.

          Ari Tuckman’s “More Attention, Less Deficit” podcast is GREAT! 15 minute bites of info – I subscribed on iTunes (free, btw)

          #3 If you are interested in 1-1 coaching, click the e-me link (always available from the TOP, darker menubar – far right) – fill in your name, email & phone and I’ll send you mine (sorry necessary due to spammers).

          I can gift you 15-30 minutes to DIALOGUE about it over the phone. Make a list of some questions so you don’t shut down when we speak – it will jumpstart your brain.

          I’m EASTERN time zone – not available until after 2pm E (until about 11 at night most weekdays).

          Hope this helps.


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