Why Accountability Leads to Follow-through

Keepin’ on Keepin’ ON
Accountability check-ins for follow-through

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

Structures for Accountability

Have you ever gone on a weight loss diet?  Even if you are one of the few people in America who have no personal experience with that particular follow-though struggle, I’ll bet you are familiar with somebody else’s on again/off again attempts at “losing a few pounds and getting into shape.”

Psychologist Dan Ariely, author, professor and Duke University’s founder of The Center for Advanced Hindsight has made a comprehensive study of self-regulation abilities.

He’s noted that people can promise themselves they will stick to a plan (as with a weight-loss diet), and have all the motivation in the world (like a serious health concern, for example) but, without external controls, most people are unlikely to follow through on their commitments to themselves.

Why else do you think so many people trying to lose weight turn to Weight Watchers and other organizations that use an accountability/motivational check-in format?

Related Post: Productivity, Focus & Follow-through

Without support and check-in structures in place, having the self-discipline to follow through for as long as it takes is rare.

  • Haven’t you noticed that you have a better shot at staying on task when someone is watching?
  • Didn’t you study more diligently when you knew a test was coming up?
  • When your follow-through energy begins to flag and you start to get discouraged, doesn’t having somebody in your corner who reminds you of how well you’ve been doing make a difference?
  • When your will-power wilts, doesn’t it help to have a champion in your corner?

It’s not that we’re lazy or lack motivation — it’s that we don’t realize that no matter how strong our initial commitment, will-power requires cognitive bandwidth that is limited in supply.

Just like a a muscle, it can only be exercised for so long – and handle so much – before it gives out.  We need a little wind beneath our wings to help us keep on keepin’ on.

Related Post: Can This ADDer be Saved?

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Enter Coaching

The professional coaching field was founded on the realization that most people needed support to be able to follow through consistently enough to achieve success.

Examining the sports-coaching model, it became clear that, no matter what sport you looked at for models of success, winners didn’t win simply because they wanted to win or expected to win, or even because they decided to win!

Winning teams and winning teammates had coaches, whose entire reason for being was to partner with the players to help them develop and keep them on track through practice after practice.

  • Preparation, practice and a positive mental attitude would have been vital, of course, but even those would not have been enough to turn the average Joe/Jo Athlete into a winner.
  • Sure, helping to identify stoppers and back-filling missing skills will always be an important part of any professional coach’s job, but the most fundamental coaching techniques are focused on success through follow-through: staying in ACTION.
  • It’s not necessary to be a professional to champion action, as long as you understand what helps and what hurts.

Different strokes for different folks

When it comes to training, professional athletes train differently to play the same sport, no matter what sport they play.  That’s where professional coaching pays dividends: understanding what each individual player needs to strengthen, based on who they are as players and what they bring to the field, requires some specialized knowledge on the part of the coach.

Related Post: Sherlocking ADD Challenges: Investigating Winners

When coaching a member of Alphabet City, the specialized knowledge required is brain-based: neurological more than psychological.  That’s a concept that seems to make fairly good sense once it’s brought to consciousness: you can’t explain to others what you don’t know yourself.

Related Post: Brain-based Coaching Paradigms

When a professional coach doesn’t have the comprehensive brain-based training to recognize and work with the implications of Executive Functioning Disorders, it’s not difficult to imagine that s/he might lead the neuro-diverse client down more than a few paths that won’t get them where they want to go.

That’s also true where motivating follow-through is concerned, which is why it is important to choose a coach – or a peer coach – carefully, with a keen listening for how familiar they are with what’s behind the kind of challenges you experience.

Related Post: The Nine Biggest Challenges to Effective Functioning:
What ARE they?

Although you don’t need to have a peer coach with the information base of a professional coach, attempting to partner with any kind of coach who doesn’t understand your particular stoppers and struggles isn’t going to help a great deal. It might even hold you back, or leave you so discouraged that you give up altogether.

Since professional coaching and training professional coaches is primarily what I do for a living, obviously I am going to be of the opinion that, budget-concerns aside, hiring a comprehensively trained, brain-based professional coach is the most effective way to move from where you are now to where you want to be.

But . . .

It makes sense that struggles with one or more of life’s foundational elements would probably be accompanied by financial difficulties that might possibly result in a pretty tight budget.

Which is where Peer Coaching and Peer Coaching Basic Training enters the picture.

Why Peer Coaching?

  • It would be a shame for any ADD/EFDer struggling with what I refer to as intentional attending to be adrift without benefit of one of the best coping techniques available because they can’t afford professional coaching fees.
  • As long as they have the same understanding of how they are going to support each other, when two people with similar struggles support each other in a structured manner, I have seen that both move further and faster than either would alone.
  • Who better to accompany them on the day-by-day road to success than a companion who knows what they are going through at a cellular level?

Why Peer Coaching Basic Training?

  • It would be a shame for any ADD/EFDer struggling with what I refer to as intentional attending to be adrift without benefit of one of the best coping techniques available because they can’t afford professional coaching fees.
  • As I said in Support for Peer Coaching, while I pioneered the concept of “learning about swimming in the pool,” I have come to believe that a guided introduction to some “basic strokes” will make peer coaches more effective, and certainly more comfortable, greatly increasing the value of the work they do together.
  • Fumbling around without a bit of up-front brain-based guidance, most peers fall into strategies based on psychological models (conflicts, blocks, resistance), which is not usually what’s needed to move ADD/EFD lives forward.

Related Post: If the Shoe Doesn’t Fit, Don’t Blame the FOOT!

Differences: subtle and significant

While professional coaching follows a business/sports training model, peer coaching comes out of a self-help, twelve-step, support group model. Peers work together to identify, sequence, implement, and work through the steps of the choices made by each of them. In other words, peer coaching helps both of them get specific with goals, appropriate steps & next actions, with a focus on scheduling and follow-through glitches.

Since no fees are exchanged, peers are able to work together as often as they desire and have time for.  If they are moving in directions known to work, whether neurotypical or neurodiverse, life gets better.  If they are moving together in “typical” directions extolled by people who don’t understand brain-based differences, frustration can mount with every session.

And THAT’s why I put together Basic Training for Peer Coaches

Because I believe so strongly in the value of effective coaching, I took the fundamentals from my introductory coaching manual for my professional coach training and customized them, taking into account the comments of my students as they peer coached each other during their training, a requirement for graduation.

Next I added peer-specific detail to help peer coaches work more effectively from their very first sessions, as well as exposing them to some skills and concepts that work to keep relationship boundaries intact, among other things.

Ironing out the Wrinkles

Since most people peer with people they care about, another important thing to understand is how to make sure the original relationship survives intact, especially when the peer coaching relationship ends for one reason or another.

Other details are equally important, like how to keep the relationship balanced when one peer progresses faster than another, or when one peer inadvertently crosses boundaries originally set up.

A little bit of up-front information and training can help both halves of the partnership better understand one another and the peer dynamic. It will also set things on the pathway to help heal any potential disagreements before they turn into rifts, simply as a result of Executive Functioning struggles.

Related Post: Executive Functioning Disorders – not just kid stuff

Although I am not able to offer it for free, as I do the information I share on ADDandSoMuchMore.com, I’m hoping that it is priced within the reach of most of my readers, even those for whom hiring my professional services would be more of a stretch than their budgets can accommodate.

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Sign up for Peer Coaching Basic Training, an inexpensive way to learn the techniques of effective fee-free Peer Coaching.

It will also help you sort through a great many “functional issues” so that you can design an action plan guaranteed to be more effective than what most of you are currently attempting to do.

Classes are a much cheaper alternative to hiring my personal coaching services (and the FIRST time I offer a new class is always your least expensive option by far).

As always, class size will be small to allow for personal attention, so don’t miss the announcement if you want to make sure you sign up before the first class fills.

If you already know that this is something you are going to want to be part of, let me know in a comment below and I’ll make sure you have notice before the class is full (don’t forget to fill in your name and email on the comment form or I won’t be able to contact you).

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Want to work privately with me? If you’d like some private coaching help with anything that came up while you were reading this Series (one-on-one couples or group), I have a few openings in my practice. Click HERE for Brain-based Coaching with mgh, with a contact form at its end (or click the E-me link on the menubar at the top of every page). Fill out the form, submit, and an email SOS is on its way to me; we’ll schedule a call to talk about what you need. I’ll get back to you ASAP (accent on the “P”ossible!)

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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!"

7 Responses to Why Accountability Leads to Follow-through

  1. Pingback: 10 Simple Coaching Questions to Consider | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  2. Pingback: Emotional Mastery to help us move forward | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  3. Pingback: Productivity: Paying Attention on Purpose | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

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