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!

— Updated legacy post -orig. 11/15/95- from Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC —

I Ask REAL Questions

Most of us are familiar with the other kind: indictments with question marks at the end.

  • Why are you late? (meaning “Don’t BE late!”)
  • Where did you get that idea? (meaning “Boy are you off-base!”)

Those are the questions that prompt small children to answer, “I don’t know.” Most of us automatically respond with some version of “clueless” until we un-learn the habit formed to protect us from the shaming behavior of early questioners who seldom asked us REAL questions.

REAL questions have real answers.

Until we find out WHY something’s going on, we are powerless to change the outcome in the future.  So when I ask a question, I mean it as a real question, no matter how “obvious” the answer may seem (or how you have learned to interpret certain tones of voice), and I’m really looking for the real answer, no matter how “silly” it may seem to provide it.

If I sense that you are about to go clueless, I might add the words, “Really.  As a real question,” to remind you that, no matter what the answer turns out to be, making it conscious is the first step toward making new choices.

If some of your early programming leaves you wondering about my intent, ask me.  Some of my clients say, “Is that a real question?” until they become more comfortable saying something that reveals how they hear me (For example, “I feel judged,” or “I know what my father meant when he asked that, but what do you mean?”)

Neither one of us wants to leave you in a state of shut-down or rumination over something said in one of our sessions, so let me know as soon as you realize something feels “off” to you.

YOUR Life, your choice!

I don’t automatically assume that you will want to make new choices, even when the ones you are making currently don’t seem to serve you.

  • People change when they are ready, and not one instant sooner! 
  • I will, however, point out discrepancies between what you do and what you have said you want, so that you can bring it into the light for a close examination, either with me, with a good friend, or alone.
  • I have learned that the process of discussion alone often seeds new shifts in perception that result in desirable changes, all by itself.

A good metaphor is a client on a diet.  If I happen upon him or her eating a pint of Double Fudge Ripple Brownie Delight and ask, “Why are you eating that?” I would be looking for the real reason.

Possible answers might include: “I feel deprived and have been craving this all week.  Right now, losing weight seems more likely if I indulge myself now and go back to eating the way I have been as soon as this container is empty!”

Nobody could really argue with that approach, or hold it “out of integrity” with the client’s goal — not even the client!

My goal is simply to make the process conscious.  We’ll find out soon enough if this is a behavior that is repeated more often than is compatible with “weight loss;” a client is much more likely to notice the frequency as a result of answering the question truthfully. S/he will probably ask him or herself the same question in the future, eventually deciding whether the goal is important enough to change some behaviors.

THEN we have the option of redefining or reframing the goal:

  • keeping the goal but changing the timing to include some of what s/he craves, or
  • developing some system for avoiding favorite treats so that weight loss continues as quickly as possible.

I Expect MORE from Coaches & Pros

All clients take about a month to “find their way” with a new coach, so our first month may seem to meander a bit while we get a feel for one another.

With most clients, there is also an initial period of apparent inactivity while they :

  • get clear on values and needs,
  • unlearn a few decades of shaming and “should-ing,” and
  • strengthen their Personal Foundation™

When I agree to mentor another Coach (different from coaching another Coach), the stakes are higher.  The fact that you have identified Coaching as a good fit for you and have hired me to coach you through a practice development phase means that you have probably done a lot of Foundation work already feeling confident enough to work with others in this regard.

So, by definition, Coaches are on the fast track.

Mentoring Coaching takes a slightly different form from coaching any other client.  In many ways it is similar to tutoring — still unconditionally constructive, but with an expectation that you master the material.

I’ll ask you to have your values, needs, standards, boundaries, and SASSes in place (identified, quantified and systems working) within our first two to four months.

This will mean spending at least two and a half an hours a week* working on yourSelf, some of my Welcome Packet  programs and forms, and the assignments that we come up with together.

We can slow down the pace in the months to follow, if you choose, but until these systems are in place and working effortlessly, the work that we will be doing on your practice will be ineffective.

*That breaks down to a measly 30 minutes/day, 5 days/week – don’cha think you’re worth it?

Successful Coaches KEEP Learning

We will also be “fast-tracking it” through all of the additional areas of focus that apply to your coaching practice.

If you are enrolled in a training where your path to graduation has some flexibility of form and timing (as with CoachU, for example), one of the first things we will do is to look over your curriculum to determine your optimum path.

With any training, we will go over the program and timing with an eye toward adapting your coaching to include or piggy-back off those areas of focus.

We will take into consideration your strengths, your other time commitments, homework requirements for the classes, and your basic practice goals to come up with a preliminary plan that will allow you to move through your training at the right pace for you with the highest degree of effectiveness.

If you are NOT currently in a coach training situation, we will talk about what might be appropriate or develop a self-study plan based on books and articles that center on your practice goals.

Successful Coaches PLAN to work at the top of the field

Next we start to work on the various components of your business plan.  In working with my practice and the practices of many of the Coaches I come in contact with leading TeleClasses, I have come up with some programs, forms and assignments that make this process, if not actually fun (our goal), at least something that you can look forward to doing.

As a graduate of Coach U, I am also licensed to work with their programs and assessments with my clients, as you will be licensed to work with mine.  If I sense that one would be useful, I will send it to you separately, if you do not already have it.

We will start with the JumpStart™ Program.  Your scores will tell us when it is time to move to MasterCoach, which is when much of the planning work will come to fruition. I wrote both of these programs to support the OFI Associates in their practice building efforts.  of these programs come straight out of the Practice Management section of the 600 page course manual for the ADD Coach Training I developed for The Optimal Functioning Institute.™  Mentoring with me is the only way to

Part of business plan development includes getting specific about your Ideal Practice.  You will determine your ideal client profile, your ideal work-week and your income targets, and develop a plan to get you there.

Elements we will consider will include:

  • Marketing materials, and a marketing PLAN,
  • Intake materials 
  • Welcome Packet forms
  • Your web strategy and planning 

and every additional area of expertise YOU can use to build your reputation and practice (public speaking, public relations, networking, etc.)

The conventional wisdom is that it takes from one to three years to fill a practice so that it is sustainable.  Working with me can bring you in on the lean side of that projection (if you choose), or assist you in feeling comfortable about your choice to take a little longer to reach your targets.

I will coach you to make sure you do, indeed, determine your targets so that you can HIT them!


Articles in the Mentor Coaching series:

Articles in the ADD Coaching series:

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!"

And what do YOU think? I'm interested.

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