Endings and New Beginnings

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Graduation for Another Class of
ADD Coaches

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

From 8:30 P.M. until a bit after 10:00 Wednesday night, January 9, 2013, Peggy Ramundo and I had another opportunity to witness Life Purpose in Action, as we attended the final class session of the 2012 Class of the ADD in the Spirit Coach Training.

The small class of individuals about to graduate delivered the content for us.

As always, we came away renewed, inspired, and grateful for the opportunity to be in a position to touch the lives of so many amazing human beings — and to step with them through the journey of training themselves to be of service in a field that didn’t even exist thirty years ago.

It is always fascinating to me to see how many different experiences result from the same training, additional examples of my firm assertion that “There ain’t no IS about ADD!”

Climbing up the Mountain, taking time to look DOWN

In addition to a group exam, one of the final assignments is a Personal Reflection Paper, where each student looks back along their training journey to see how far they’ve come, to attempt to determine what had been of particular value to them.

Wednesday night, they shared their papers with each other and with us.

Each has grown during the year they spent with us, each in his or her own individual fashion, and some in ways they were surprised to discover.

  • An individual whose pre-ASCT life had been focused more on pragmatics (who enrolled here in spite of  the spiritual focus of this particular ADD Coach Training) became fascinated by meditation and Tapping [EFT], now a regular part of life;
  • Another individual, with a background of spiritual training who came because of it, will be using skills learned here in the corporate arena in a traditionally non-spiritual field!

Why they came

In addition to a few auditors (students who had graduated from prior trainings), the personal backgrounds of the students and their reasons for signing themselves up for a year of weekly focus on learning about ADD (background to learning about the specialized tweaks to Coaching required to be effective with individuals dealing with ADD issues) is as varied as the students themselves.

Some of the 2012 group came to learn more about their own ADD, and some came with considerable ADD information already, wanting to learn about ADD Coaching (one whose ADD diagnosis had come in only in the second half-century of life!).

  • One came to tease out “the ADD pieces” from  a more complex diagnostic profile;
  • One came to understand the underlying parameters of an ADD/EFD marriage;
  • One was there to learn more about her son’s ADD;
  • One came to understand the interplay between her own ADD and her young daughter’s, and
  • One relatively recently received a formal ADD diagnosis during the training itself!

MOST expressed surprise at learning how very much there IS to know about ADD.  My favorite comment was that it was “like drinking from the fire hydrant”

ALL had considerable life experience in other arenas.  

Their educational backgrounds were varied, both in their length of time in formal education and in the areas studied.

  • At least one had little formalized higher education
  • Several had augmented formal education with specialty trainings in a number of formats and fields
  • One student had recently completed a Masters in Psychology
  • One completed a degree while the training was in process, and
  • One is thinking about going back to formal education for an advanced degree never deemed possible before the information learned here.

The few students who were not able to continue with the 2012 class hope to be able to return in March, planning to graduate the 2013 Training Class.

Their  work backgrounds were as varied as nursing, ministry, addictions recovery, small business entrepreneurship, sales, education – and more – and each coached (and was coached) by everyone else in their class.  Some reported difficulty keeping up with their weekly Peer Coaching, a few wished there had been MORE opportunity to do so, and some worked with professional coaches during their training.

Who They Were

Some were parents (most of young adults, both with ADD and without), some were childless, and a few were (or are about to become) grandparents!

Some came with a background of working on themselves with a therapist or counselor, some did not.

About half had participated in “transformational” trainings before, and for some, this was their first introduction to the possibilities of working on one’s Self in a safe, no make-wrong community (which most of the students agreed was a significant part of the experience for them).

One graduating student said this was the first group of ADDults encountered since diagnosis!

While some students were already familiar with Virtual Training, for some, this was their first experience of training by TeleClass.

  • Some took to it relatively easily
  • Others never felt completely at home until the end was near, and
  • One said that this would probably be the first and last experience with a format that wasn’t “live and in person.”  (Even that grad, however, is looking forward to taking advantage of the opportunity to audit this training in the 2013 session and its future incarnations.)

Who they are Becoming

Some of the students have already have begun working with clients through the ASCT Intern Program (and some will continue to be available in that program post-graduation, while they build their practices).

  • Some have chosen to remain in the practice development phase a while longer
  • One is currently in a job with an organization where the ADD Coaching skills learned here will probably be utilized first
  • Several are in the planning stages for classes and programs they are developing to serve the communities in which they plan to work, and
  • At least one is already in the process of building a web presence.

Neither Peggy or I sensed any notes of competition or self-flaggelation in their sharing of their Personal Reflection Papers or their announcements of their future plans.  Each student seemed content with the appropriateness of his or her own particular pathway to professional coaching, proud of his or her own accomplishements, and happy to hear (and support) those of their classmates.  They are exploring ways of staying connected after graduation.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell followers of this blog,
(especially those who have read About Values and The Goose Story),
that I am THRILLED with that observation!

The class will have ONE more Coaching Lab before they say goodbye to their status as students and step into their status as fledgling professionals whom I will be pleased to stand next to as colleagues.

CONGRATULATIONS ALL.  I am so proud of you!

What’s NEXT?

As Peggy and I take advantage of a bit of “free” time to ready ourselves for our upcoming presentation at the ACO Conference in Atlanta (this coming April — info links below), we will also focus, as we do every year at about this time, on interviewing the group that will begin this year’s process at the end of March.

If you are interested in exploring that option, to schedule an interview, click the e-Me link in the menubar at the top of every page and mark the box that indicates training interest. Links to information about the ADD in the Spirit Coach Training are below, should you like to read more about it first.

Meanwhile, I am hoping that some of the grads will be willing to share their Reflection Papers with you, that others will add to this post in the comments section** – and that ALL of them will keep us in the loop as they move forward with their practices and their lives.

**Update:  Some of them HAVE — keep scrolling DOWN to see their comments and my responses.

As always,
 if you want notification of new articles – in a this Series, or any new posts on this blog – give your name and email 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 ever like some one-on-one (or group) coaching help with anything that came up while you were reading any of my articles (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 here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com

(All links below turn RED on mousover)

INFORMATION about the ADD in the Spirit Coach Training

To schedule an interview, please use the e-me (contact) form,
always available from the menu at the top of every page.

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!"

12 Responses to Endings and New Beginnings

  1. beyondadhd says:

    Hi Madelyn,

    Like Jeanie Guthrie Smith and Ann Miller below, I too am a very proud and enthusiastic Grad from your most recent ADD in the Spirit Coach Training class.

    I also will be happy to talk to anyone who would like to discuss any aspect of the class. Overall, I found it:

    * More informative, detailed, and comprehensive than I imagined it could have been. Frankly, there was so much content that I seriously doubt any other course, from any school, could compare.

    * But that makes sense since you, Madelyn, according to the ACO (ADHD Coaches Organization) in a survey I received from them February 20, 2013, are responsible for the Optimal Functioning Institute’s training program. This means you personally are responsible for the formation or continuation of 2 of the 6 ADHD coach training schools … EVER! That is very impressive.

    * Helping us practice the art and science of brain-based coaching through:

    ** Lab coaching training, practice, and evaluations,

    ** Peer coaching sessions, and especially,

    ** The Mentored Internship program. The Internship program was incredibly useful in that it gave us an opportunity to use our developing skill set to work with those in the ADHD community in much need of our services.

    For me personally:

    It helped me understand my particular flavor of ADHD and a few other people in my life. As I began adding clients to my ADHD Coaching practice (BeyondADHD.com), our ongoing education continued to add clarity and understanding for me, and new and better strategies I used to support my clients.

    Today I have a number of clients. Most happen to be business clients where I have supported them through recreating a marketing process, or working through overwhelm, or places they need to delegate in a smart way, or organize and track their activities better, or creating personalized strategies to stay on track better and then getting back on track when not on track.

    Madelyn, I appreciate your personal commitment to the ADD, ADHD community and to us, those carrying the torch behind you. Its pioneers like you, Peggy, and Kate, that help create an industry and a pave the way for those of us who also want to do great things.

    Thank you,

    Steve Kohlenberger, MA Psych, BS CIS, PMP, AITS, ADHD Success Coach
    Where Brain-Based Science, ADHD Coaching, and You Meet
    Using Telephone conversations, Skype, and Google Chat.


    • WOW, Steve – you took the training and RAN with it! (we told you guys we expected great things from you, but you’ve surpassed even our expectations in the speed with which your class is jumping in as pros).

      Congrats on getting your practice up and running so quickly – but don’t be a stranger (on the blog or checking in on the 2013 class from time to time – early coaching labs, especially. Remember how you felt in the first couple of months — only one short year ago!)

      I am in the middle of moving (a BUNCH of stuff to storage, but it’s still pack & move and rearrange what’s left) So, you’ve got a week before I’ll have time to investigate your new website – I’m taking a quick break, then its back to the boxes.

      For anyone else reading, Steve’s comment about the content he learned in the training is REALLY a rave, because he was not a total newbie when he signed up — he came in with a psychology MA behind him, among other impressive credentials. (Don’t let that scare you, however, his classmates who did NOT have his background did fine)

      I really appreciate the fact that you took the time to ring in, Steve – I’m sure it will help anyone considering ASCT feel more secure about their own training path.

      Onward and upward!



      • beyondadhd says:


        Thank you for the compliment.

        And you are right, a student does not need my background to do well in this course. They mostly need the desire to learn about ADD/ADHD, want to be more self-aware and to become a coach to support themselves (both in their own ADD/ADHD and financially) and others.

        It is also very helpful, as you have said, to be both forgiving, and patient with ourselves and our clients. With ADD/ADHD, we probably make more than our fair share of oopses. Unfortunately, the world reminds us of our mistakes a lot.

        Learning to not hold one’s self in a place of harshness, or judgement, or guilt, or wrongness, is so helpful. The better we can do that for ourselves, the better we can do that for our ADHD clients. It is a gift we can give them as coaches. It helps relieve pain we hold and that our clients may also hold that at its roots is caused by a biological brain condition, but that serves no real positive value any longer.

        My web site is still evolving. So I’m actually glad you don’t have time to look yet. 😉

        (same stuff as above)


        • @Steve: You’re very welcome. While it is complimentary in tone, it’s really an acknowledgment – simply stating what’s SO (as I see it).

          RE: “Unfortunately, the world reminds us of our mistakes a lot.”

          Yup! Big SHOULD there – which makes things so much harder in ways others don’t realize. btw: My higher self hopes those who judge get to live on in ignorance; my reactionary brain wishes them even a single year of what we deal with through-out a lifetime!!!! (click “should” for link to article)

          I want to underscore this statement in your comment- it is foundational: “Learning to not hold one’s self in a place of harshness, or judgement, or guilt, or wrongness, is so helpful. “

          Use my “week” as wind beneath your wings, NOT as a gun in your back. Given my own ADD challenges, it could be longer. 😉



          • beyondadhd says:


            Take as much time as you need of course. I just got the basics up and running a few hours ago.

            I have the framework of a membership function in place (but you can’t see it yet). Eventually, I can have a prospective client create a username, and I can authorize access to a set of forms and agreements. When they become clients, I can raise their access level and open a portal for securely sharing documents like Client Prep Forms, and other metrics.

            The same framework provides for Paypal and other forms of payment and direct connections to MailChimp or Aweber and other emailing programs so if/when I have other services/products to sell, it should be easy to plug in.

            Almost all of it is free. I’m putting in my WordPress hours. Hooked up with some of the best SEO folks out here. Got lots to do. My wife and I are planning some classes to put on.

            Best wishes on your next class.

            WE NEED A BIG ALUMNI GROUP OF GRADS (from all of your collective trainings). Where did that list go to that Peggy said she would be putting together from Kate’s records? How are we going to help each other move forward if we all lose touch?

            Warm Regards,


            • Your new site sounds great, Steve, and here, HERE! about the ASCT alums working together as a force for change (and keeping in touch).

              I will pass your nudge to Peggy, even though I KNOW that she is overwhelmed with current events, not forgetful.

              Meanwhile, start with YOUR class. I would love to have some help “herding” those particular “cats” — ( 😀 – can you spell ADD?) and you can reach ALL of them by email RIGHT NOW, via your class list.

              I am flat worn out from over 20 years attempting to fly point and/or function as a communications point player.

              If every single student I have trained since 1994 (including all the OFI Alums from that much longer and larger training) would spend EVEN 15 minutes a WEEK on community communication and support, it gives me goosebumps about what we could accomplish together.

              I have personally spend more than that EVERY SINGLE DAY since 1994, simply trying to herd a community of cats who rarely respond, individually – and when they do it is with a suggestion that I do MORE! Help?!



  2. Jeanie Guthrie Smith says:

    I guess that one easy way to share how significant ADD Coaching in the Spirit was for me is to tell your readers that I have encouraged several friends to consider taking the course in 2013! It is a phenomenal class that has reshaped my whole outlook on myself and on ADD. Though I appreciated the spiritual component, I think I personally gained as much or more from the brain-based approach to all things ADD.

    I am the one you mentioned who took the class to (among other things) better understand the impact of ADD on marriage, learning the neurological basis for the struggles that ADD/EFDers have has been a huge benefit for me and my husband!

    Although at this point, I am not planning to become a full time coach, I do look forward to any opportunities that I will have to share what I have learned about the perks and pitfalls of ADD/EFD in marriage. Since I work for an organization whose purpose it is to strengthen marriages, I am hoping there will be ways to share what I have learned with our staff and beyond. I would love to coach someday and feel especially drawn to working with couples, we’ll see what happens!

    It has been very helpful to learn that good ADD coaching is not just life coaching with some ADD tweeks. It is a very targeted approach to coaching that uses methods tailored to the brain function issues that ADDers deal with. However, the interesting caveat is that while ”vanilla coaching” (as you call it Madelyn) doesn’t work for ADDers, all of the techniques we learned about ADD coaching would work for neuro-typical clients.

    I am so thankful for all that you and Peggy (And Kate… though I never had the privilege of knowing her I know her fingerprints are all over this class.) have done to educate, prepare and encourage us for ADD coaching and just living with ADD. I am thankful for my classmates and the extra dimensions that were added to the class by their contributions.

    I would be delighted to talk with any of your prospective students about my experiences with the class.


    Jeanie Guthrie Smith

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a generous offer, Jeanie – reflecting the generousity of Spirit I have always been able to count on from you. Thank you SO much for taking minutes of your life to reach out to those behind you on the mountain we climb, representing life’s pathway.

      I espeially appreciate your “outing” yourself as one of the student situations mentioned in the article. I edited carefully before posting, removing even pronoun references to respect the confidentiality of those who come for coaching and training — yet I worried that it might read to prospective students like those long pages of testimonials identified only by “B.S. in Boise” or “Alice from Wonderland”.

      Understanding may well be the booby prize, as mentor Thomas J. Leonard was fond of saying, but it is foundational. Until we understand the elements that underlie our choices to date, we are powerless to make NEW choices.

      I hope you won’t mind that I share this about you: Jeanie has long lived her life from a Spiritual perspective, so the spiritual elements underlying this particular training were not only NOT new to her way of looking at living, they were “arithmetic to the math adept.”

      Some of the brain-based content helped to quantify and explain ADD/EFD behavior (and suggest ways to work with and around). Since that WAS, for the most part, new information, it is no surprise that she found that particular content more valuable.

      I know you won’t be a stranger, Jeanie, and I have NO DOUBT that you will find a place to become a professional coach within the organization that is currently fortunate to have the benefit of your energies.

      God bless you and ALL of your endeavors!


  3. Congratulations to the graduating class! As these people begin ADD coaching we’ll have many others helped and educated in the ADD community and beyond!

    Thank you Madelyn and Peggy for your commitment, dedication, time and patience to teach others ADD coaching. Some day ADD will literally be “add” to society’s acceptance of differences. I don’t know if I’ll be around when that day happens, but it will!

    Congratulations to both Madelyn and Peggy and all your graduating classes of ADD coaching! Your work is much appreciated. Take care and stay safe. Edie


    • Edie, you are one of the most generous Spirits I have EVER met! It is an ongoing pleasure getting to know you (LOVED our phone chat, btw).

      During periods in my life when life has been particularly difficult, I couldn’t help but note that those who had the least to give gave the most. What is it about the climb to ease and success that makes people small and selfish as they ascend? (maybe they never got the sharing lesson in kindergarten and need remediation?)

      Conversely, what is it inside the human spirit that fosters the instinct to make things easier for others despite (or perhaps because of) the difficulties experienced personally? Maybe science needs to study THAT!

      In any case, anyone who’s been to your blog to read your story will learn that your life has been a struggle beyond imagining and that BOTH of the above observations apply to you: you continue to reach out with love and support despite the meanness and make-wrong that has come your way from those around you.

      You continue to give freely of your time and energy to support others, despite the fact that your personal arsenal of time and energy has been seriously reduced by TBI as the result of an assault and the aftermath of real neglect from the treatment professionals surrounding you for almost two decades.

      I continue to be in awe of what you are able to accomplish, and am HONORED to regard you as a colleague and a friend.

      Thank you for taking the time to mark this important step for the graduating coaches, and for acknowledging Peggy & my contributions to the effort.

      YOUR work is much appreciated too, btw.



  4. anntmiller says:

    Madelyn, Thank you for acknowledging us. This class has been a wonderful experience for me. In addition to getting my practice going for coaching high school and college students with ADD, I booked a workshop locally next month to work with parents of high schoolers of all “flavors” about getting ready NOW for the college transition. I am so ready to share my passion with the world and that’s because you gave me the confidence, knowledge, and support to do so.

    What I have also found gratifying is how this class is already building it’s own networking presence. I actually received a referral from one of my classmates yesterday. And because of that, I am tentatively planning on going to ACO! Thanks to you, Peggy, and the entire class–what an awesome experience this has been. Feel free to have any prospective students contact me at any time.

    Love ya,

    Ann Miller, BSN, MBA, ADD Coach

    Liked by 1 person

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