Brain Injured from Birth?


Never “normal” —
and never understanding
why you can’t do what others CAN

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

Sort of, but not really

As awful as it is to lose functionality as a result of head injury, stroke, or some of the short-term memory deficits that cause “senior moments,” what if you had NEVER experienced the functionality you are mourning?

Those of us with Attentional Spectrum Disorders and Executive Functioning Deficits have been struggling with “TBI problems” and “senior moments” our entire lives, to undeserved and unkind public ridicule and general disbelief that what we report is a legitimate problem.

In an earlier article, Lessons from the TBI Community, developed initially for a brain-based talk to a professional conference for ADD Coaches, I attempted to compare the problems faced by individuals with challenges due to Traumatic Brain Injury to the struggles of the rest of us here in Alphabet City.

Broken Brains

I doubt that anyone who reads or watches television is unaware of the behavioral and cognitive changes that accompany dementias, strokes, and brain injuries due to accidents of one sort or another.

Most sensible individuals readily accept that those changes are a direct result of brain damage, leaving areas of the brain incapable of performing their role in the neural relay race, or doing so inefficiently or incompletely.

WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT TO BELIEVE that that someone might be be born with parts of the brain that function inefficiently, or that brain development might not proceed in that so-called neurotypical fashion in a subset of individuals — and that there might be similar behavioral and cognitive differences as a result?

AFTER ALL, anyone who has had any reason to take a look at education in the last forty years surely must be aware of the meaning of the term “learning disorder” or “learning disability.”

If they’ve looked beyond the headlines, they may also be aware that the term does not refer to an intelligence-delimited inability to learn, but to a difference in the manner and speed in which the information must be presented for learning to take place.

Unrealistic Expectations

TBI advocates and sufferers frequently write about how painful and difficult it is for them that those around them expect that their functioning will mirror their appearance.

During the period where they look “banged up” in some fashion, loved ones and friends encourage them to be patient and take it easy. Once they look “okay,” the understanding that they are still healing seems to run out.

  • They are expected to BE okay as soon as they LOOK okay —
    to rapidly return to the “self” they were before their accident.
  • There seems to be little to no understanding that they are being asked, metaphorically, to walk on a broken leg with severed nerves.

Although the unrealistic expectations of others are maddening – and tough on the sufferer’s self-esteem – there is usually some awareness in his or her heart of the reason that they aren’t able to do what is expected of them.

They realize only too well that parts of their brain aren’t functioning “normally” yet, even though the underlying reason is “invisible” to others, so tough for them to believe.

What if they had NEVER experienced anything different? 

What if not being able to live up to expectations WAS “normal,” as far as they knew?  Then what?  How would that affect their view of themselves?

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Does the Fee FIT? – Part 5


Do you REALLY “get what you pay for?”

© By Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC
The final article in the 5-part Coaching Fit Series

Courtesy of Phillip Martin - artist/educator

Courtesy of Phillip Martin – artist/educator

Figuring out the fee

It’s finally time to wrap up the articles about determining coaching “fit.”  I saved the best for last – the question on everybody’s lips.

How much can you expect to pay for ADD Coaching?

Well, that’s a bit like asking how much you might expect to pay for a car.  It depends on what’s available, as well as what you’re looking for.  But I’ll do my best.

As in any other field, fees tend to correlate with the experience of the service provider. Brand new graduates generally charge the least, and the coaches with the most experience generally charge at the top of the range.

Fees also depend on how much time you spend with your coach — once a week, two or three times a month, monthly check-in coaching?  How long is each session? Services will be priced to compensate the coach for his or her time as well as his or her expertise.

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Trusting YOUR Instincts about FIT – Part 4


You CAN Trust Your Instincts

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
The fourth article in the 5-part Coaching Fit Series

Listen with an Open Heart and an Open Mind

Listen to the coaches you interview with an open mind.  Expect them each to have certain procedures and standards you will be requested  to agree to follow if you coach with them.

A coach for whom “anything goes” will probably not be the best coach for you in the long run.  Listen to why they feel their procedures are important and what they are designed to accomplish.

THEN listen to your heart and instincts. 

Although NO relationship with another will ever be “perfect,” keep looking until you find a situation you can relax into, *especially* if you get the sense that you are being talked into something you’re not sure you want.

Don’t forget that you don’t have to be *right* about your instincts to keep looking. 

It’s enough that you don’t *feel* right.  Part of the process of coaching involves getting in touch with the truth of the fact that you CAN trust your instincts and that you CAN trust another to listen to some of the “dumb” things you do without making you feel, well, DUMB.

Nowhere is trusting your instincts more important than in the process of selecting a coach you will be trusting with your LIFE! 

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Coaches, Dentists, and FIT – Part 3


Coaches, Dentists, and FIT

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
The third article in the 5-part Coaching Fit Series

Every Coach is Unique

No two coaches will work in exactly the same way —

just as each dentist goes about things
a bit differently from the rest of his colleagues,

and just as there are specializations
within the field of dentistry.

For example:

  • Not all dentists are qualified to do root canals.
  • Some don’t specialize in them, so haven’t performed
    very many as a result.
  • For some, root canals are a practice focus.
  • Still others do root canals for other dentists.

I know which ones I’d interview about doing MY root canal!

What does THAT have to do with ADD Coaching?

ADD Coaching is a specialized skill requiring a LOT of knowledge beyond the basic coaching skill set.

If you are dealing with ADD, make *sure* any coach you hire is an ADD COACH, not just “a coach who knows about ADD” —

and certainly not a coach who knows little to NOTHING about ADD! 

  • The difference between an ADD Coach and any other kind is specialized training in Attentional Spectrum issues.
  • There IS no FIT if your coach knows little more about ADD than YOU do!

THEN you want to find the “right” ADD Coach.  You’ll check out their training, knowledge, and experience of course, but the main thing that will make a particular coach right for YOU is what we call “fit” in the coaching world.

The right fit will make all the difference.

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Brain-based Coaching Paradigms


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while you’re reading. They turn red on mouseover
Hover before clicking for more info

Underlying Assumptions Keeping us Stuck

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

Each Professional Coach has a way of looking at life and at coaching that shapes his or her particular approach and determines the way they coach.

I personally believe that it is impossible
to make lasting changes
that are nothing more than reactions to shame
.

Shame is a lousy “motivator” that we’ve somehow come to believe will keep the “lawless” on the straight and narrow.

MAYBE – if “on the straight and narrow” means “behind the eight ball!”

Shame’s Genesis

After almost 25 years of coaching people with ADD, EFD and comorbid disorders, I have observed that shame is actually the internalization of  repeated “evidence of failure” after years of struggling to incorporate the diagnostic implications with the well-meaning “support” of people who didn’t really understand the pragmatics of Executive Functioning dysregulation: what moves things forward and what makes things worse.

Whatever the rationale behind saying them, variations of comments like the ones below not only make it more difficult to live up to expectations, they encourage a black and white belief that we are fundamentally inadequate and always will be.

  • You HAVE to get organized — why don’t you write things down!?
  • Anyone with your intelligence should be doing better! 
  • You could if you wanted to badly enough and put the effort in.
  • You don’t listen! You aren’t really trying. 
  • You MUST take responsibility for your own life!

Our “helpers” need to understand that attempts to MOTIVATE us to make better choices in any fashion will never work – because 90% of our chronic oopses are not the result of a “failure of WILL.”  They aren’t even “choices” at all, unless you want to use the term “choice” to hold us accountable for unconscious assumptions underlying our actions.

We don’t need to be motivated to make better choices, we need to be coached and mentored to learn how to MAKE and ACTUATE choices at all.  And that absolutely must begin with an examination of The User’s Manual for the ADD/EFD Brain!

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What to Talk About in Your Coaching Call


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

Does your mind go blank . . .

the minute you call for coaching?

Part of the magic of The Client Prep Form is that, in addition to serving  as a session roadmap for you and your coach, it is startle insurance for YOU!

Since ADDers tend to have a hair-trigger startle response that shuts down thinking momentarily, I can’t encourage you strongly enough to develop the habit of USING the Client Prep Form for that reason as much as any other..

To help jumpstart your thinking process for those times you “ADD-out” – including the time it will take to make using the Prep Form a habit – print a copy of the following list and keep it in the front of your coaching notebook.

BY THE WAY . . .

Coaching forms are useful for Peer Coaching relationships too – that’s why I will be making many of them available here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com.

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tell the nice form on the skinny column to your right where to notify you.
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Is this YOU? How are you like my former clients?


Recognize yourself

among my former clients?

abstract drawing of a group of cartoon humans in various non-human colors

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

As I said in the first part of this post
(which you can read if you click HERE)

. . . regardless of “niche,” when you take the time to look closely, most coaches tend to attract clients in “categories” focused around similar types of challenges.


In addition to the challenge profiles I described in Part One of this article, here are a few more of the “categories” that my clients have had in common over the past couple of decades.

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MGH clients . . .


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


I Coach Clients Who . . .

cartoon drawing of woman in coach hat, sunglasses and t-shirt with "mghcoach" on it

     Like every other coach on the planet:

“I work well with people in transition,
both in personal and professional settings.”

Well, duh!  Who doesn’t that include?  

There’s not a soul with breath to fog a mirror who isn’t
experiencing some sort of transition, right?

Yet, when you take the time to think about it more specifically, most coaches tend to attract clients in “categories” clustered around similar types of transitions, which means they are likely to be working on similar types of challenges.

Even though we coaches redefine our “ideal client profile” relatively frequently, even in brand new niches there remains an essential core of familiarity.  It’s fascinating to look back over a decade (oh, alright, several) to attempt to determine what my clients had in common.  It’s an exercise well worth doing annually for any private practitioner.

So, maybe you will recognize yourself among some of the “transition categories” my clients have had in common over the past couple of decades. 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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How I Coach


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

My Coach Approach

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

I want every one of my clients to enjoy their coaching time, and I firmly believe that only happens in an unconditionally constructive atmosphere.  

Like all coaches, I’ll always encourage your very best efforts. My come-from, however, is that we ALL do the best we can at all times, especially during those times when it could easily look otherwise.

  • I know that on days when my own functional temperature is low, I’m working twice as hard, not half as hard, even if I have little to show for my efforts.
  • I need a coach who will remind me not to beat myself up, not one who will initiate the beatings!

To my mind, anyone who does well with a “tough love” approach is doing so in spite of the approach, not because of it.  I want my clients to develop healthy motivational strategies.

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If the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t blame the foot!


ADDvice Gone Bad

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

How come nobody asks US?

Isn’t it amazing how many times we’ve been urged to TRY HARDER, to do life better-faster-slower-different – before anyone has really listened to what WE have to say about why it isn’t getting done in an expected fashion?

We wouldn’t dream of asking a child with poor vision to squint her way into focus, yet many of the things asked of us (and that, by extension, we expect ourselves to be able to do) are equally, ridiculously impossible.

As we work together to develop ways to help you get things done,
let’s start by distinguishing can’t from won’t.

REGARDLESS of what you hear – or have heard – from the ADD/EFD-clue-free:

As you begin working your way through this site, unless you have a solid sense of a block that is keeping a won’t in place, it will be MUCH more effective to assume that the things you say you want to accomplish but aren’t getting done are can’ts.  

If we start THERE, we can turn those can’ts into CANs.

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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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