Learning to Work Around “Spacing Out”


Honey, you’re not listening
ADDvanced Listening & Languaging

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Memory & Coaching Skills Series

Spacing out – when attention wanders

We’ve all had times when our mind goes off on a short walk-about as someone seems to go on and on and on.

But that’s not the only arena where attention wanders off on its own.

Have you ever gone into another room only to wonder what you went there to do?

I’ll bet you have little to no awareness of where your attention went during your short trip to the other room, but if you’re like me (or most of my clients and students), you’ve sometimes wondered if doorways are embedded with some kind of Star Trekkian technology that wipes our minds clean on pass-through.

Awareness is a factor of ATTENTION

Has your mate ever said “Honey, I TOLD you I would be home late on Tuesday nights!” — when you honestly couldn’t remember ever hearing it before that very moment, or only dimly remember the conversation for the first time when it comes up again?

Most of the time, when that happens, we are so lost in our own thoughts, we have little to no awareness that we spaced out while someone was speaking to us.

What do you do DO on those occasions where you suddenly realize that you have been hearing but not really listening?

Don’t you tend to attempt to fill in the gaps, silently praying that anything important will be repeated? I know I do.

It is a rare individual who has the guts to say, “I’m so sorry, I got distracted.  Could you repeat every single word you just said?” 

And how likely are you to ask for clarification once you are listening once more?

  • If you’re like most people, you probably assume that the reason you are slow to understand is because you missed the explanatory words during your “brain blip.”
  • If the conversation concludes with, “Call me if you have any problems,” I’ll bet you don’t reply, “With what?!”

That’s what the person with attending deficits or an exceptionally busy brain goes through in almost every single interchange, unless they learn how to attend or the person speaking learns how to talk so people listen.

Read more of this post

Downloadable ADD-ADHD/EFD Coachablity Index™


ABOUT ADD/EFD Coachability

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

In early 1994, to better suit the needs and reflect the brain-based realities of individuals with Attention Deficit Disorders, Madelyn Griffith-Haynie requested and received permission from Thomas J. Leonard to adapt the Coachability Index© that he developed for Coach-U.

The language of The ADDCoach Coachability Index™ reflects the impact of the challenges of Executive Functioning Disorders on learning and accomplishment: brain-based struggles with short-term memory deficits, focus & decision-making, planning & follow-through, sequencing & prioritizing; activation & motivation, mood lability, time-sense & transition-facility chief among them.

© Don’t forget: Adaptions and/or duplication must credit both parties

How Coachable are YOU?

Although it’s been referred to as “ADD Coaching” since I developed and delivered the world’s first ADD-specific coaching curriculum several decades ago, it’s much broader in scope.

This is a particular type of brain-based coaching that works best for anyone dealing with Executive Functioning challenges and attentional difficulties: TBI, ABI, EFD, PTSD, OCD, ODD, SPD, ASD, PDA, PDD, MDD, MS, APD, and MORE.

While the magic of ADD/EFD Coaching is a product of the coaching relationship and it’s ability to compensate for unreliable executive functioning, it only works if and when clients are ready, willing and able.

Are you READY and WILLING:

  • to take the actions that will be necessary?
  • to make the changes that will be necessary?
  • to step, with power and ownership, into the life you were destined to live?

Heck yeah! Seriously, who says no to that?
Certainly not those of us who are struggling!
We’re always ready (for that last one, anyway)

It’s that “able” part that’s the kicker!

Read more of this post

ABOUT Distinctions & Definitions


Defining our Terms
Learning when and why they’re useful

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

Introducing the Distinctions & Definitions Series

click image for source - in a new window/tab

click image for source – in a new window/tab

Through the years I’ve become known for my love affair with words and, to my clients and students, for my facility with definitions and distinctions.  I truly love the specificity of the English language — and I like to share.

ADDandSoMuchMore.com regulars have probably noticed that more than a few of my articles offer, in addition to the content of the articles themselves, a definition of a term or two that I’m not sure all of you will find familiar.

I also tend to explain terms that I have coined — especially those that have become part of the ADD Coaching lexicon. These include words and terms we coaches use in a manner that is slightly unfamiliar, inviting consciousness to the conversation.

Occasionally I offer a definition of a word or a term I have coined that has not been adopted by the ADD Coaching field in general — those that I use in my writings, or in the coach trainings and other groups and classes that I offer from time to time.

For example:

Alphabet City — Note the slightly lighter color of that term, by the way – more dark grey than the black of the text that follows.  That’s because it is a link, in this case to the article that explains the “Alphabet Disorders” concept.

Unless you choose to focus there, it remains quietly out of the way of your thoughts as you follow mine.

Place your cursor over the link (but don’t click) and watch what happens. 

Did you hover long enough to see a little box pop up with a bit of information about what to expect when you click?

THAT’s how the links work on this site, for those of you who haven’t read the explanation on the skinny sidebar, always there to remind you  ====>

Most links on ADDandSoMuchMore.com open in windows or tabs of their own, so that what you were reading before you clicked awaits your return exactly where you left it. No need to search for some glimmer of recall that might remain frustratingly illusive.

Anyway . . .  some of you may dimly remember seeing, at the top or bottom of a particular definition, something like the text below:

© From my upcoming ADD Coaching Glossary

I’ll bet you’re waiting for my definition of “upcoming”

UNTIL my dominant hand was smashed in a mugging, leaving hand and forearm cast-immobilized and my ability to type or do much of anything at all dead in the water for almost three months, I was on-schedule to announce a publication date this year

Life kept dishing it out, and I am now well over EIGHT months behind on everything.  To maintain what’s left of my sanity I have decided I must push this particular project down on my to-list, postponing publication targets until late 2015.

So I want to tell you how I’m going to handle sharing definitions and distinctions meanwhile.

Read more of this post

Requests That Get You What You Want


requestSignRequesting-101:
Surprisingly easy to Ace — even easier to flunk

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Self-Advocacy Series
in support of the Coaching Skills Series

Please Read This Article Now

The heading above is a clear and clean example of a request — there’s nuthin’ fuzzy about it!

  1. It’s short
  2. It asks directly for what it wants
  3. It’s respectful — and includes the magic word
    (“please” – for those of you who didn’t have that kind of upbringing)
  4. And it is clear about the time-frame expectation.

It is truly a request, not a manipulation attempt.

In no way is it:

  • nagging or pleading
  • shaming or complaining
  • explaining or justifying
  • intimidating or threatening

Nor is it gift-wrapped in emotional subtext

There is no:

  • anger
  • frustration
  • disappointment
  • pouting
  • or any other emotional technique most of us tend to pull out when we are hoping to get what we want

As a result, it does not automatically activate emotional reactions like:

  • hurt feelings and defensiveness
  • pleas for exceptions or understanding
  • resistance or opposition
  • angry retorts or the urge to argue

It also makes itself ridiculously easy for the person on the responding end to consider, because it is it clear what’s expected if s/he responds affirmatively.

Responding to a request

There are only three ways a person can respond to a request:

  1. YES – in which case the expectation is that they will do it
  2. NO – we all know the pros and cons of that one
  3. MAYBE/IF – renegotiating the task or the time-frame

What seems to trip people up emotionally is the lack of the realization or acceptance of the First Codicil of Requesting.

Requesting: First Codicil

If any one of the three potential responses
is not an acceptable possibility,
you are making a
DEMANDNOT making a request —
(no matter how sweet your tone of voice)

The rest of this article will continue to expand on the request process — in a lot more words with a lot more examples — and will make a strong link between messing up the request process and all kinds of life struggles and relationship troubles.

Read more of this post

Of Bribery and Labels


Remember – links on this site are dark grey to reduce distraction potential
while you’re reading. They turn red on mouseover.

Reframing the Bribery Label

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

If you’ve been reading this blog for very long, you know how much I sincerely dislike labeling of any kind — especially those labels that come from personal opinion (the kind that seem to squeak right under our conscious “judgment” radar the moment a label slips into common usage).

The labeling category is where the term “bribery” falls for me, and this article is my attempt to reframe it before it slides across the line into the make-wrong category.

Make-wrong is a term used in the coaching community to refer to judgments that might as well be saying, “Anybody sane knows there is a right and a wrong way to do life, and this communication identifies an item on THE unacceptable list” (in contrast to one’s personal unacceptable list).

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ADD/ADHD and TIME: will ANYthing work?


Time Management Tips and Tricks

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
PART ONE of two: In support of The Challenges Inventory™ Series

Like I said in an older article, “Listening for Time Troubles – struggles with time and follow through,” a great many ADDers have trouble with T-I-M-E.

• We run out of it
• We are continually surprised by it, and
• More than a few times we seem to be completely unaware of it.

All ADD Coaches worthy of the term must remain aware that Listening For and Languaging to your clients’ awareness of time, and their relationship to time (oh yes, my friends, they most certainly DO have one) almost always involves some serious sleuthing on the part of the coach!

However . . .

Lest I be accused of keeping all the good stuff for the carriage trade (remaining mindful of the need to avoid joining the “Ten Time Tips that will Pay your Mortgage and put hair on your grandfather’s chest” crowd), I’m going to share five underlying principles that I listen for and try to language to my clients and students.

I’ll even tell YOU what I tell them 5 System Basics – but few clients ever really hear me the first couple dozen times, so don’t be too surprised when some of these basics float right past you too.

Let ’em simmer in your brain’s slow-cooker — as long as you don’t actively resist, fighting the ideas or ruminating over the thoughts that yet ANOTHER person simply doesn’t get it, you will be one step closer to getting a handle on this time thing.

Even when you’re desperate, change is just flat-out HARD!

ADD

Remember – links on this site are dark grey to reduce distraction potential
while you’re reading. They turn red on mouseover.

ADD/EFD ain’t EASY!

If you read more than a few articles here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com, you will begin suspect that I’m not particularly fond of tips and tricks — and you’ll be absolutely right about that.

Why not?

For the most part, they don’t work.

The neurotypical advice almost always scratches where it doesn’t itch. The reasons they don’t do things are seldom the reasons we don’t.

And then they fire the “resistance” salvo our way — and we fight the urge to do something that will send us to prison for life as they sing another rousing chorus of the “you’re-not-really-trying” hymn of the republic.

Even most of the ADD/EFD-flavored tips and tricks miss as many flavors of ADD/EFD as they catch. It is simply impossible for anybody to write a book that handles all situations for all people – at least not a book anyone could lift. I know. I’ve tried. (Why do you think my articles are so darned long, linked to so many others to cover each individual point in yet another long post?)

So, for the most part, most of the tips and tricks books don’t really work for a great many of us.

WHEN they don’t work, it shuts us down.

We self-flagellate (then ruminate endlessly)

  • Didn’t I do this right, or am I missing a key point — AGAIN?
  • Everybody thinks I just don’t want to succeed, and that’s just not true!
  • Will I ever get a clue?
  • What’s wrong with me?
  • NOW what am I going to do?

We get defensive (then go on the offensive)

  • This book got great reviews, how was I supposed to know it was crap?
  • I work a full-time job and have primary responsibility for 3 kids: meals, laundry, school activities, sick days — how am I supposed to squeeze all these lists and things into my day? Who is this written for – ladies who lunch?
  • Yada, yada, yada, YADA!

Ultimately, we come back to where we started, concluding that “fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants” management is the most we can ever hope for – until the next time, that is, that things get SO unmanageable that we fall prey to yet another tips and tricks ploy.

Can you tell I’ve been there?

I finally figured out WHY all those tips and tricks didn’t work for me: they weren’t written for ME,
they were a
compilation of items that worked for the author (who was, very likely, NOTHING like me!).  [See Why Tips and Tricks Fail for more]

Once I learned that the root of my chronic disorganization had a NAME, and began to look at everything through The ADD Lens things began, ever so slowly, to come under my control. Simply having a diagnosis shifted my shifted my expectations.

As I said in an earlier article: until we believe we can, we can’t!! 

“How many times can we keep trying until we decide it’s impossible?

It’s a coach’s job to avoid sending their ADD/EFDers off to tilt at windmills. That means, you absolutely must DETERMINE THE CAUSE before you begin to work on solutions.

How much sense does THAT make!!”

But what do you do if you don’t HAVE a coach?

Do whatever you can to remedy that sad situation.  You simply must.

Dr. Edward Hallowell has been quoted many times saying that, “[ADD] Coaching is the single most effective tool for ADD self-management” FOR A REASON!

Coaching may well be “optional” for many, but those of us with “alphabet disorders” (ADD, EFT, TBI, PTSD, OCD, etc.) need the externalization of our prefrontal cortex activities as much as a sailboat needs ballast to keep it from tipping over in the first substantial gust of wind.

And not just any coach – a comprehensively trained, brain-based ADD coach — a coach who has been trained to listen for EFD issues, and understands how to coach them!

Don’t “cheap out” on yourSelf
(and don’t let money be a stopper)

  • If you can’t afford the fees that professional coaches charge, ask about the possibility of a reduced rate. Many of us maintain a few sliding-scale slots, simply because we KNOW how important that external PFC support can be.
  • If you can’t afford even the low rates that many of us slide to, apply for coaching with a student, mentored through an coaching intern program — or go for Group Coaching.
  • If even that is beyond your budget, check out, sign up or get on the waiting list for my next really-low-fee PEER Coaching Basic Training. (click here for information)  Start looking around for a buddy who’s in the same situation — the two of you can trade accountability coaching forevermore. (You don’t even need to take the class, by the way, but it does help increase the effectiveness of what you do together quite a bit).

MEANWHILE . . .

Coming up are some essential concepts that need to be in place before you stand a prayer of a chance — really!  

Don’t beat yourself up about that reality, use it as a lever to adjust your expectations appropriately, and to help you to figure out where you need to concentrate your
time and effort ASAP (accent on the “P”ossible).

Trying to systematize a life without the basics is like trying to
to start a car that’s out of gas.

  • Agonizing isn’t going to make a bit of difference.
  • Neither will “voting” – you may not like the idea, they may not like the idea. Sorry Charlie, it is simply what’s so
  • Hearing what a doofus you’ve been for not focusing on that little gas detail (especially hearing it internally) will shut you down and delay you further.
  • Go for the gas.

Like a mantra: essential concepts need to be accepted – with systems and work-arounds in place – before you stand a prayer of a chance.

Working effectively within the boundaries of time is an exercise in systematizing.

  • There are a lot of pieces to that systematizing concept.
  • “Pieces” require juggling, cognitively.
  • Cognitive juggling is highly PFC intensive [prefrontal cortex]
  • Guess where the ADD/EFD/TBI/PTSD
  • brain is most impaired?  YOU GOT IT – the PFC.
  • Don’t make it harder than it is already – make friends with the upcoming concepts.

UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS WARNING:

The upcoming five concepts that will begin to put some gas in your car are simply that: FUEL.

Until you make sure your “car” has fuel, you can’t do much about checking to see if the starter needs fixing.  You may also learn you need to adjust the steering mechanism.  Oh yeah, and you certainly won’t get very far on lousy tires.

  • You don’t expect your car to magically transform with a little gas, do you?
  • How about a whole tank full of gas?
  • How about gas and four new tires?

Yeah, right!

Try to remember that the next time the beatings begin, as well as when you feel defensive and become offensive.

You can’t eat an elephant in a day — EVEN if you take tiny bites.

In Part Two of this article, we’ll talk details about those Five Systems Basics.  Scroll down for other related articles here and elsewhere.

——-
Graphics gratitude:  Stopwatch Guy & Gas Pump from free-clipart.net
 ADD Coach Success Systems: Marty Crouch: Webvalance Internet Partners
Convertable/bad exhaust from webweaver

As always, if you want notification of new articles – in a particular series or category, 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 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!)

Related Content on ADDandSoMuchMore.com

You might also be interested in some of the following Coaching Skills and Practical Application articles

For links to still more: run your cursor over the article above and the dark grey links (subtle, so they don’t distract you) will turn dark red; AND check out the links to Related Content in each of the articles below

Related articles around the ‘net

Distinguishing-101


Remember – links on this site are dark grey to reduce distraction potential
while you’re reading. They turn red on mouseover.

Distinguishing “Distinction”

Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC   ©1995, 2012
Another article in the ADD Coaching Skills Series

Thanks to artist Phillip Martin!

Coaches are in the Wisdom business. It is our job to share with clients the language and awarenesses they need to get what they want. One of the ways to share wisdom is to do something called “drawing distinctions.”

Distinctions are just a fancy way of saying that we give the client the proper language for what they really want to say, be or do.
~ Thomas J. Leonard

Shifting your come-from

The primary goal of any kind of Coaching is to facilitate client “shifts” in attitude and awareness that will allow them to avoid what Einstein (or Narcotics Anonymous) referred to as insanity: repeating the same thing, expecting a different result. 

Nowhere is shifting a more important concept than in coaching relationships with clients who struggle with atypical Executive Functioning.

What’s a Shift?

A shift — sometimes referred to as a paradigm shift — is a reframe, a change in perspective that expands thinking. It is an instantaneous “get out of the box free” card that changes how you view all areas of your life impacted by the shift.

By virtue of your new vantage point, your relationship to whatever problems or challenges you are currently facing is suddenly redesigned.

Read more of this post

Distinguishing Distractibility


Distractions!
What are they anyway?

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from The Challenges Series


A distraction is an involuntary diversion of attention in response to a stimulus — beyond our control.

Distractions have a negative impact on our ability to focus on an intended object and sustain that focus – in other words, a distraction is an intrusion into our attempt to concentrate on the task at hand.

Distractions can be external (nagging at any one of our five senses), or internal (“interruptions” from our own brain wiring or emotional states).

They can be subtle or overt, compelling or mildy irritating, important or trivial, but they ALL pull us off task, despite our best intentions.

ADD or not, ALL distractions reduce our ability to place our full attention where WE choose to concentrate.

• Can you fully concentrate on calculating your tax liability with repeated visits from your young daughter pleading with you to come outside to watch her ride her brand new bicycle?

• Are you able to take complicated directions over the phone while your spouse attempts to impart, in your other ear, something s/he deems important for you to hear RIGHT NOW?

• Are you able to drive through a blinding rain while your young children squabble in the back seat and your young teen blares the latest “Listen, this is so cool!” rap song?

Not really, right? ALL distractions have a negative impact on our ability to focus on the intended stimulus, and sustain the focus, the first two of the three Dynamics of Attending.

Read more of this post

The ADD-ADHD Coachablity Index™


ADD Coachability

Click HERE for an updated version of this post,
including a download link to a printable pdf of the Inventory.

In early 1994, to better suit the needs and reflect the brain-based realities of individuals with Attention Deficit Disorder, Madelyn Griffith-Haynie requested and received permission from Thomas J. Leonard to adapt the Coachability Index© that he developed for Coach-U.

The language of The ADD Coachability Index™ reflects the impact of the challenges of Executive Functioning Disorders on learning and accomplishment: brain-based struggles with short-term memory deficits, focus & decision-making, planning & follow-through, sequencing & prioritizing; activation & motivation, mood lability, time-sense & transition-facility chief among them.

©Adaptions and/or duplication must credit both parties

How Coachable are YOU?

Although the magic of ADD Coaching is a product of the
coaching relationship and it’s ability to compensate for
unreliable executive functioning, it only works if and when
clients are ready, willing and able.

Are you READY and WILLING:

  • to take the actions that will be necessary?
  • to make the changes that will be necessary?
  • to step,  with power and ownership, into the life you were destined to live?

Heck yea!  Seriously, who says no to that?
Certainly not an ADDer! We’re always ready (for that last one, anyway)

Read more of this post

Reframing


 Remember – links on this site are dark grey to reduce distraction potential
while you’re reading. They turn red on mouseover.

Stuff series: Part 3

Escaping the Frame Changes the View

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

*attribution below

Changing the context

Framing (adding perspective)
Reframing (changing perspective)

Reframing is  a well-worn tool in a number of helping professions.  The fields that seem to advocate it most are Neuro-Linguistic Programming [NLP], therapy, and Coaching (especially ADD Coaching).

Reframing is on the Optimal Functioning Institute™ list as one of the Ten Basic Coaching Skills used Most Often with ADDers.  

Including Reframing on this particular list underscores the importance of the two most important ADD Coaching skills, normalizing (ADD affect) and endorsing (client actions, perspectives and talents).

But what IS Reframing?

In the coaching field, reframing is one of the Languaging skills that refers to a particular manner of speaking that allows an individual to escape black and white thinking boundaries so that a different conclusion can be drawn from the same set of facts.

That, in turn, changes the way the situation “seems,” in a manner similar to the way that reframing a picture impacts the look of the picture itself.

In other words, changing the context puts a statement or point of view into a different frame of reference; a “seeding” skill that fosters a shift, (paradigm shift, in some fields).
Read more of this post

Change Requests & SuperSensitives


Bradshaw’s Change Model and Hypersensitivity
Guest blogger: Glen Hogard

Hypersensitivity: Anything from not being able to tolerate tight clothing or labels in clothing that irritate our skin, to light, temperature, or sound sensitivity, to heightened emotional sensitivity, we often have to find ways to cut down on our reaction or “over reaction” to a stimulus.

While heightened sensitivity can be a valuable benefit in certain areas of life as in jobs such as EMS technician, doctor, fireman, and even a writer, when it is extra emotional sensitivity it can make interpersonal relationships, especially intimate relationships, difficult if not balanced with ways to sooth our hypersensitive emotions.

While it’s easy to see how it affects us, it’s not so easy to temper.

In the 1980’s, before I knew about ADD/ADHD, I was taught a tool by John Bradshaw, a famous family systems therapist, while working with his first satellite center outside of his California facility in Miami. I worked then, as I have done for ADDA, as the volunteer coordinator for his then yearly or semi-yearly seminars hosted by a great therapist Joan E. Childs.

I’m sure there are other variations of this method in practice, but this is how it was taught to me. So here it is: The Change Model

Read more of this post

ABOUT Values & The Goose Story


What’s with the Geese?

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

An early logo for my first company, The Optimal Functioning Institute™ - with the company name inside a "V" formed by geese flying in formation

The graphic above these words is a very early logo put together by WebValence webmaster Marty Crouch for a coach curriculum I had spent several years developing and was about to debut: the first ADD-specific coach training program in the world (and the only one for many years.)

I founded The Optimal Functioning Institute™ on the principles that Dr. Harry Clarke Noyes articulates in The Goose Story, a free-verse poem about the importance of community.  In The Goose Story, Noyes compares and contrasts human behaviors to those of a flock of geese, starting with an impressive explanation as to why you always see them flying in V-formation.

The reason I was so taken with this story is a story of its own: how I became aware of the importance of a strong personal foundation and of values-based goals. This post attempts to give you a little bit of background.

Read more of this post

The Goose Story


Click HERE for Part One: ABOUT Values and the Goose Story

The Goose Story
by Dr. Harry Clarke Noyes

Next fall,
when you see Geese
heading South for the Winter,
flying along in V formation,
you might consider
what science has discovered
as to why they fly that way:

Read more of this post

Come-From


Shifting Your Come-From

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
An ADD Coaching Basic Skill

Come-From?

Photo of a keyboard on which the shift key has been doctored to read "paradigm shift"

Clever photo courtesy of askpang via Flickr

In the Coaching world, the term “come-from” is used to refer to and describe the point of view and basic assumptions underlying any particular individual’s language or behavior — his or her world view, you might say.

Come-from is one of the most important underlying concepts in coaching.

Why?  Because where you stand to view the scenery determines what you are ABLE to see.

We humans seem to like to keep score, collecting “evidence” to validate our core beliefs.

  • It isn’t just that we see what we look for.
  • Come-from alters perception.
  • We interpret what we see based on our come-from — what psychologists call “confirmation bias.”

Shifting

The term “shift,” or “paradigm shift,” as languaged by Stephen Covey in Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, refers to a change in perspective.

A shift involves a change in context that alters how you perceive events, communications, and behaviors.

It also alters your feelings, behavior, and language in the process.

Shifting relies on language, and lies within the province of language, but it would be a big mistake to view it as merely a trick of language.

Read more of this post

Zebras, hoof-beats and Dr. House: Differential Diagnosis


Differential Diagnosis: WHAT is it?

and WHY do I care?

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie,
CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
#1 of a 2-parter in the Comorbities Series

(To find out how the Zebras relate, read the article!!) 

differential diagnosis is one which examines all of the possible reasons for a set of symptoms in order to arrive at an identification of the cause (or combination of causes) of a presenting problem.

It’s a fairly simple process of elimination that can become unblievably complex in an eye-blink, “simply” because so many diseases and disorders present with similar symptoms,

Although the term “differential diagnosis” initially referred to issues of physical health, today many doctors in the mental health field also use this system of diagnosis.

Diagnosticians specialize in differential diagnosis.

Everybody’s favorite Diagnostician

And who would that be?

Why, House, of course!

Read more of this post

Key Tasks for ADD Coaching


Old headshot of Madelyn (a.k.a. MGH) long familiar from the webADD-Specific Coaching Skills

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

Ten Key Areas That Need Time & Attention

A Therapist or Doctor may or may not have the time to work with any of these areas.

A “vanilla coach”** may not find these skills important, agree that they are useful — or even understand why they might be an appropriate part of a coaching relationship.

An ADD Coach, however, must be prepared to include a certain amount of work in each of the following arenas — understanding how to use EACH of the ten skills below.  It’s a coach’s job to work with clients to remove “what’s in the way” of shining success.

Back-filling basic skills — insufficient, underdeveloped, or missing as the result of kludgy Executive Functioning –is the most likely suspect in the ADD population, rather than lack of motivation, resolve, ambition or many of the other things-in-the-way that are more common among vanilla clients.
———————
**vanilla = unflavored by ADD – a “vanilla coach” means the coach doesn’t work with ADD/ADHD/EFD clients and/or has not been trained in an ADD/ADHD/EFD-specific, brain-based coach training, regardless of whether they fall on the Attentional Spectrum personally or not.

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ADD-flavored Coaching


Never forget that YOU are “the temp in charge” of
your ADD client’s Executive Functioning Clubhouse!

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part of the Coaching Skills Series

Drawing of the human brain with the prefrontal cortex highlighted (the seat of the executive functions)Failure in this arena is the biggest mistake I see in otherwise excellent Coaches, and it turns pretty darn good Coaching into absolutely lousy ADD Coaching in a heartbeat.

An ADD coach must identify and presence the “Name of the Game” whenever they coach any ADD client. No matter how high functioning,

ADD clients hire coaches for help in an area where they are struggling – and the source of the struggle is usually in the area of activation and follow-through to completion.

The main reason we ADDers struggle with activation and follow-through is because in our pre-frontal cortex [PFC], the Executive Functioning Clubhouse, the receptionist seems to take frequent breaks — and we get distracted and wander away before she returns with some necessary piece of our process!  If we could stay on track without your assistance, we wouldn’t have hired you in the first place.

Erratic Executive Functioning is the one thing that never changes with ADD, no matter how much ADDers know about ADD work-arounds or how well they understand themselves.

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Listening for Time Troubles


 Remember – links on this site are dark grey to reduce distraction potential
while you’re reading. They turn red on mouseover.

Illustration of the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland - RUSHINGStruggles with Time
and Follow-Through

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part of ADD Coaching Skills Series

Most ADD/EFDers have trouble with T-I-M-E.  We run out of it, we are continually surprised by it, and we sometimes seem to be completely unaware of it.

All ADD Coaches worthy of the term must remain aware that Listening For your client’s awareness of time and their relationship to time (yes, they do have one!) almost always involves some serious sleuthing on the part of the coach!.

The Following Exercise is designed to help ADD Coaches sharpen their Listening FROM Skills

Not a coach?  That’s OK – answer the questions below for yourself.  The information will be useful to you in a Peer Coaching relationship [click HERE if you don’t have one of those].  Your functioning insights will be valuable even without an outside observer, but it might be difficult to sherlock in real time or to actuate changes.  Do it anyway.

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10 Essential ADD Coaching Concepts


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

Graphic of a man with a map, sandles & a sword about to enter a maze - in the center we see the top of a brown, furry head, with hornsMore than any other client type, the ADD client knows more about what’s going on with their functioning than their coach ever will!

The trouble is:

1 – they don’t trust what they know,
2 – they don’t know how to explain their experience, and
3 – they can’t figure out (in a vacuum) what they need to DO to become intentional with attending.

As difficult as it may be to sort things out without an executive functioning crutch (that’s you!), the last thing they need is a coach who tries to coach them “by the book” – especially if that book was written by the ADD clue-free.**

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HOW to Listen from Belief


Drawing of two smiling figures standing behind a question mark; thought bubbles over their heads: a red X, and a green checkmark

Beneficial Assumptions

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
See Listening from Belief for background & introduction

I’m not big on listening through assumptions of any kind,
generally, but I think you’ll find that filtering your listening
through the following Four Assumptions will help you
greatly, especially if you are viewing life through The ADD Lens™.

 . . . . Remember . . . . Remember . . . . Remember . . . .

1.  Solutions are individual – and relationship – specific.

•  No two ADDers have the same “flavor” of ADD
•  FLAVOR shapes what an individual ADDer can and cannot do personally

2.  Distinctions help bring unreasonable assumptions to consciousness.

•  Take the time to distinguish the terms you find yourself using.
•  Remember to distinguish “can’t” from “won’t”

3.   Real questions have real answers

•  Ask real questions — not indictments ending with question marks
•  Emulate Sherlock Holmes, not Perry Mason
•  Practice Sherlocking until it becomes second nature

4.  The most powerful way to listen to is to listen from belief.

•  Don’t “should” on each other.
 If the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t blame the foot!*

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*mgh’s motto for The Optimal Functioning Institute™

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The Art and Science of the ADD Question


Don’t ask, DO tell

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

nicubunu_Broken_heartMy heart breaks when a client whose brain-style is NOT neurotypical tells me about past coaching relationships that haven’t worked out.  

I wish I could tell you that it is rare for me to hear about that sad reality, but that would not be truthful.

As I have continued to say since 1994, the truth of the matter is that coaches who don’t truly understand how to work with the ADD/EFD brain-style – even those who are well known for being highly effective with other types of clients – tend to do more harm than good with clients who have Attentional Spectrum challenges.

While I have empathy for any coach who wonders why they couldn’t be effective with any particular client, my heart shatters when I hear from clients with executive function struggles whose coaches don’t seem to wonder about their own contribution to their client’s struggles.

White cake with white icing (and a cherry on top!)ADD Coaching is not simply ADD icing on a “vanilla” cake!  

No matter how comprehensive your “vanilla” coach training, to coach ADD/EFDers (or ANY client with one of what I refer to as one of the Alphabet Disorders) you simply must Rewrite your Coaching Manual™ with an understanding of how the brain “normally” works, what’s going on when it works differently, and what’s needed to work with clients for whom that is the case.

Line drawing of a person throwing a piece of paper and a huge question mark into a trash can.What you will discover when you do is that there are standard coaching basics that won’t work AT ALL with the neurodiverse.

Never.  Nada!  No way, no how!

No matter what you’ve learned – or how well your vanilla skills work with how many bazillions of non-ADD/EFD clients . . .
you simply MUST throw them out when your client has ADD/EFD/TBI/PTSD – or any OTHER Attentional-spectrum, neuro-diverse component to their make-up.

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The only valid way to LISTEN



Remember
– links on this site are dark grey to reduce distraction potential
while you’re reading. They turn
red on mouseover.

Listening from Belief

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Another post in the Walking A Mile in Another’s Shoes Series

graphic: take-off of the "smileys" emoticon - hand to ear, strong emotion on face that could be disbelief or skepticismI’ve said before and I’ll say it again:
ADD/EFDers have had people trying to “fix” them
all their lives.
(including ALL of the citizens of Alphabet City)

And most of those “fixers” think their own experience of life is valid and useful, and that their ADD buddy merely has to adopt their perspective to be able to function differently — and well!

• You’re running your victim racket again . . .
• Everyone gets distracted, just TELL yourself you CAN pay attention . . .
• It’s all that coffee (sugar, lack of sleep – ANYTHING besides ADD itself)
• You are at the effect of an inaccurate BELIEF

Those comments may well come from a loving intention – most of us understand intellectually that those who claim to love us wish us well and are “only trying to help” – but do you realize how UNloving those comments are in execution?

They’re invalidating. They’re shaming and should-ing all over the place!

What’s worse, they don’t even work:
they produce exactly the opposite of what the person who says them says they want!

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Ten Basic Coaching Skills used most often with ADDers


— Updated legacy post -orig. 11/15/95- by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC
LINKS within post are
dark gray to reduce distraction potential; they turn red on mouseover

ADDers have had people trying to “fix” them all their lives: 

Source: behance.net

If you’d listen to your father . . .
“If you’d just get organized . . .”
“If you’d only try . . .”

While those suggestions usually come from a loving intention, they are actually UNloving in execution, most frequently because they collapse won’t with can’t.

At the heart of those ever-so-well-meaning “should-s” is the assumption that all ADDers have to do is make a commitment to willingness and their worlds will shift.

In other words, the underlying belief is that the ADDer could
“if they really wanted to,” and that “all” that is missing is

a high enough degree of “wanting to.”

BALDERDASH!

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