Brain-based Coaching Paradigms

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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!

Fertilizing Change

Changes become possible only after we are able to understand why many of the beliefs we have held to this point are false assumptions, NOT lousy “choices” that say something negative about our intrinsic worth as a human beings.

Once we incorporate the elements we need to understand to be able to be able to make real choices — aligned with our abilities and desires — positive change is inevitable.

HOWEVER, to begin the process at all
we need to ask ourselves the right questions.
Any version of “WHAT’s WRONG WITH ME!?”
needs to be replaced by a question that is useful:

“What’s different about me that I’m not taking into account appropriately?”

Beginning at the Beginning

I believe effective ADD Coaching must begin by making sure that each client understands the underlying brain-based differences that determine the diagnosis of ADD/EFD (or any associated comorbid disorders). That’s where we start. 

  • The next step is to make sure you understand every nuance of your own unique “flavor” of whatever is going on with you, so that you can begin to develop systems based on knowledge rather than assumptions.
  • Your “Challenges Profile” must be taken into account to EVER expect to be able to make bona-fide choices or to have any hope of lasting success.
  • Then we design custom-tailored systems that will allow you to give up trying to swim upstream – cognitive and practical “work-arounds” that allow you to swim WITH the current, so that you have the energy to turn your life around.
  • FINALLY, we work on the hardest part – developing new habits.

As your ADD Coach, it NOW becomes my job to be your guide, your mirror, and your champion while you practice each of the new systems pieces, put them together in a neat little “routine” that you will rehearse until it becomes much more “natural” than the valiant efforts that never got you anywhere you wanted to be.

Wanna’ explore coaching with ME?  Click HERE to send me a message

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About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

8 Responses to Brain-based Coaching Paradigms

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  7. “Changes become possible only after we are able to understand why many of the beliefs we have held to this point are false assumptions, NOT lousy “choices” that say something negative about our intrinsic worth as a human beings.”

    What a wonderful, wonderful statement. This is a great distinction! Yes, false assumptions, not “lousy choices” drive the behaviors that don’t serve us.

    Liked by 1 person

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