10-Step ADD Coaching


Ten Things to think about that can give you a Brand New LIFE!
© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Another article in the ADD Coaching Series


ŒBegin with a pen, pencil
(or crayon!) and a pad of your favorite paper — or your favorite software on your computer (whatever works best for YOU).

Find a comfortable place to perch while you run through the ten items below.

Plan on spending 30-45 minutes – whatever you can spare, but don’t try to squeeze it in between activities and interruptions.

Make SURE you are comfortable

Identify any tight places in your body:

  • Roll your shoulders.
  • Let your head drop to one side, then the other.
  • Wiggle your toes or spread your fingers.

Adjust your clothing, if you need to.  Unfasten anything that needs to be looser. Kick off your shoes if you feel like it.  Squirm around until you feel comfortable in your own skin.

Take several d-e-e-p breaths, exhaling slowly, while you think about your life as it is RIGHT NOW, before you work your way through the list below.

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Brain-based Coaching Paradigms


Remember – links on this site are dark grey to reduce distraction potential
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.

Stay in the Loop: Check back often -or- if you want email notification of new content,
tell the nice form on the skinny column to your right where to notify you.
[Stringent NO SPAM Policy.]

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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.

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Distinguishing Can’t from Won’t


CAN’T vs WON’T

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

A fundamental concept underlying the manner in which I coach individuals with attentional spectrum deficits is a result of the distinction between “can’t” and “won’t.”

Distinguishing articulates the differences between words as they apply functionally

When we distinguish one word from another, we bring to conscious awareness the reality that, while the denotation of two words – the surface, dictionary meaning – might be effectively equivalent, the connotations are quite different.

Connotation – subtext and common usage within sub-groups – always rides along with the denotative (dictionary) meaning of a word, whether or not we intend the emotional “spin,” or whether or not we are aware of it consciously.

A Distinction, as it applies to the coaching relationship,  is a psycho-spiritual subtlety of language, used consciously for the express purpose of facilitating psychological and spiritual growth.

Distinguishing hones functioning as well as thinking.

  • It sharpens listening, language and coaching skills.
  • It helps to form vital neurological connections, ” brain-links” in a way that expands your knowledge base exponentially — rather than in the linear fashion in which we are accustomed to learning.
  • It’s a brain-game that helps build positive-minded neural-net — weakening the bonds of “old tapes” so that we can shape new futures.

My goal, whenever I select a distinction and let my brain loose to blog about it, is “to seed a shift in come-from” — to illuminate cherished opinions and unconscious habits of thought, hoping to inspire a reframing of underlying assumptions. 

Can’t vs. Won’t

I want to shine a light on the necessity of accepting the behavioral characteristics of ADD/EFDers as part of the ADD/EFD diagnosis.  

For far too long, neurological ADD/EFD challenges have been assigned to the provinces of behavior or psycho-analysis. The distinction between can’t and won’t lies totally within the province of volition.

Accepting the idea that a person could sincerely try and fail due to dynamics completely divorced from underlying psychological conflicts is fundamental: as long as we look for blocks or conflicts, our view of behavior is indelibly skewed in a way that predisposes us to find them.

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

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ADD Partners – When Good Love Goes Bad


Drawing of a man and a woman sitting back to back, arms crossed, and clearly not communicating.He said, She said

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

Marriage therapists say there are three sides to every story:  his side, her side, and what happened.

Misunderstandings abound, even in relationships
where neither partner is struggling with one of the Alphabet Disorders.

But I’d be tempted to argue for a fourth side with ADD/EFD in the picture — especially when it has been recently diagnosed or (holy moly!) undiagnosed, maybe barely suspected.

It seems to make no difference if the participants are intelligent, psychologically savvy individuals — without the knowledge of the impact of kludgy Executive Functioning on perception and pragmatics, the curve ball injected when ADD/EFD is part of the dynamic can set up situations that defy analysis.

In fact, psychological models often muddy the waters, aiming terms like “resistance,” “struggles for control,” passive-aggressive behavior,” and “ambivalence” at situations where ADD/EFD is clearly the one and only culprit — but only to the EFD knowledgeable who remember to look for it there first.

Help that didn’t

I spent almost a year in therapy working on my “feelings of ambivalence” toward my sister — “repressed,” of course.  The presenting evidence?  I was chronically late to any activity we planned together, often because I was unable to find my keys so I could lock the door behind me when I left my Manhattan apartment.

I knew that my sister interpreted my lateness as a sign that I didn’t want to spend time with her or that I didn’t  care about her feelings.  Every shared event began with a tense half-hour at the very least, if only because I was so frazzled from my attempts to make it on time.

“You could at least call!   Why don’t you do that?”  hung in the air,
even on those occasions when she didn’t actually say it.

The answer????? 

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Mentor Coaching – How Come?


LINKS — See also: Mentor Coaching and Football? for context, and How I Mentor Coaches for specifics —

Why MENTOR Coaching?

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC
ADDCoach Trainer & Certified Mentor Coach

An older female helping a younger one put a puzzle together

All coaching
targets your functioning,
wherever the application.

MENTOR Coaching targets
your development as a Coach,
first and foremost.

Hiring a Mentor Coach to coach you through the practice development phase helps you put the practice puzzle together:  it straightens out your learning curve and gives you guidance and encouragement as you define and build your career.

Clients ready for a Mentor Coach:

  • have already done a lot of Foundation work, either through a formalized training or from the school of life
  • feel confident that they are ready to work with others in this regard (and may be practicing coaches who have been “flying solo” for some time)
  • have already acquired a great many coaching skills, and may well feel they have been coaching all their lives while making a living at something else
  • hire a Mentor Coach primarily for acquiring additional skills and for practice development coaching. 

They look to their Mentor Coach to help them:

  1. deepen their personal growth
  2. hone and expand their coaching skill set, and
  3. strategize steps toward a professional coaching practice
    that is personally and financially rewarding.

By definition, coaches are on the fast track with personal growth. Mentor Coaching puts them on the fast track with practice growth.

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Top Ten Reasons WHY Most Successful Coaches Work with Mentor Coaches


Updated legacy post -orig. 6/21/95- from Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC —
With a tip ‘o the hat to Carson, who always counted DOWN
—————————————————————————————

Top Ten Reason Number TEN:

Illustration of a gray smiley in profile talking to a smaller, bright pink smiley in profile (with a musical note coming from its mouth to suggest her or his positive mood and the tone of his or her responses.As my first coaching mentor
(founder of the personal and professional coaching field,
and both CoachVille and the original Coach University – now a division of CoachInc),

the late Thomas J. Leonard, often said:

“Coaches who have coaches get up and running up to
4 times faster
than those who use
“the lone ranger” approach.”

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Mentor Coaching and Football?


A Successful Coaching Practice
Blackl & white graphic of a football player running for a touchdown 
and a
Winning Football Team – not that different

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

Developing a rewarding and lucrative coaching practice is similar to winning a football game: you must score to win!

And touchdowns are only ONE way to score!

Football games are rarely won with a single touchdown, nor are most touchdowns accomplished in a single attempt. The majority of scores happen as a result of a series of first downs. Those hard won ten yards are captured in multiple plays that gain a few yards at a time – and every change in strategy includes a huddle!

But NO points can be won unless the team is in possession of the ball!

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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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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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How I Mentor Coaches


Old headshot of Madelyn (a.k.a. MGH) long familiar from the web

Mentor Coaching with Me

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

I want all of my clients to enjoy their coaching time.

I firmly believe that it is impossible to enjoy
ANYTHING much, unless it happens in
an unconditionally constructive atmosphere. 

As important as that is with any client, it is essential with clients who support clients of their own.

In my experience, coaches need immense support to be able to develop to the point where all of the skills they need are as natural as walking and talking.

(Remembering to deliver charge-neutral communications and stay unconditionally constructive will take a lot more focus than it will once it becomes second nature to do so, for example.)

Coaches often feel a drain on their energies they can’t always identify and can rarely explain as a result.  A huge part of a Mentor coach’s job is to restore those energy balances!

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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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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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The ADD MasterCoach Profile™


— Updated legacy post – original 04/29/98

drawing of graph paper with a jagged line representing up and down values plotted on a graphMeasurements of Mastery

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

The ADD MasterCoach Profileis rigorous – daunting, even – but you won’t believe the impact on your practice. 

When you score above 85 on The MasterCoach Profile™, not only will your practice be sustainably full, you will be one of the leaders in the ADD Coaching field and a model for every single coach in the industry.

While there are no real guarantees in this business, working The ADD MasterCoach Profile™ is the closest thing to a guarantee you will find in the coaching field.

There is simply no way you can score well on this Program and not be at the top of the field by any standard you would care to measure.

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The ADDCoach JumpStart™ Program


— Updated legacy post – original 04/25/98 —

The ADDCoach JumpStart™ Program

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

silhouette of a man jumping

ADDCoach JumpStart™  identifies and tracks 100 key factors that combine to promote rapid practice building in a manner that is consistent with developing and maintaining a full, rewarding and profitable ADD Coaching practice.

It  gives you a way to quantify your efforts.

JumpStart™ is the initial program of the two practice building programs I developed to support the OFI Associates, the ADD coaches trained through The Optimal Functioning Institute™ during the course of the flagship ADD-specific coach training.

The ADD MasterCoach Profile was designed to take those coaches to the next level.

I also make both Programs available to my private mentor clients and currently use them to help  structure and motivate my Mentor Groups.

Modeled after the brilliant programs developed by one of my first coaching mentors, coaching field founder Thomas J. Leonard for CoachU (now a division ofCoach Inc.), the two programs together are designed to take you from your current coaching level, whatever that is, to ADD Coaching mastery.

Everyone begins with Jumpstart™, moving up to The ADD MasterCoach Profile only when your Jumpstart™ score lets us both know you are ready for it.

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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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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 belief or 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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