Running Your Practice so it Doesn’t Run YOU

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by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part 1 in the Practice Management Series

FIRST, Get a Mentor Coach —

Flying coachless is doing it the hard way

Coaches who get professionally mentored get up and running faster than those who use the “lone ranger” approach — up to 4 times faster. (According to Thomas Leonard, founder of Coach U – which trains non-ADD coaches).  

They make more money, attract and keep more clients, and have more satisfaction with their practices.

No Kidding!

Even though I refer to Thomas’ statement quite a lot NOW, I wasn’t sure if I believed it when I first read it in the early ’90s

I wasn’t totally convinced when I mentored with him, when I heard the words come out of his very own mouth in his typical “just what’s so” charge-neutral fashion — but I certainly embrace it whole-heartedly now!

It not only turns out to be true with “vanilla” coaches, it seems especially true in the ADD Coaching field.

  • The added accountability certainly helps us follow-through, so days don’t turn into weeks, months or years of “meant to but never did.”
  • The “externalized pre-frontal cortex” dynamic, to keep rumination at bay is essential.
  • And nobody could fail to appreciate the “Sherpa” component — unless the only way they can learn is through repeated recovery from mistakes that could have been avoided.
  • The primary value of Mentor Coaching, however, seems to be its “Challenging” feature: on our own, we seem to set smaller goals to keep from overwhelming ourselves with “over-the-top” inhumanly unrealistic ones.

Cookies ‘n Cream vs Vanilla

“Vanilla” is like ice cream before the “mix-ins.” Vanilla coaches may or may not have ADD personally — the term refers to their training. Coaches who aspire to work with clients with Attentional Spectrum Challenges need to fully understand the coaching implications of Attentional Spectrum Challenges.


Because of the sheer diversity of affect (There ain’t no IS about ADD™), Attentional Spectrum literacy requires quite a bit of specialized training — not only in addition to vanilla skills acquisition, but sometimes replacing a few sacred cows.

In the best case scanario, those cows simply don’t moo in harmony with ADD and Spectrum clients

Worst case scenario, the discordant racket makes things worse!

ADD Coaches for ADD Coaches

If you plan to work as an ADD Coach, make sure you work with a comprehensively trained, brain-based ADD Coach, not simply a “life” coach “who knows about ADD”and certainly not with a coach who knows little to nothing about ADD. 

It will be difficult to grasp the difference between ADD coaching and vanilla coaching if you are mentored by someone who doesn’t understand the difference either.

And, as you will discover for yourself as you learn more, there really is quite a difference between the two! At least, there is if the ADD Coach is a good one.

Justifying the fee

I know first-hand the temptations of the idea of flying solo. It was initially difficult for me to embrace the value of hiring a coach immediately after paying $2,495 to take Coach U’s training, especially considering how much bigger that tuition seemed several decades ago.

I quickly decided that it was short-sighted of me NOT to hire a coach for myself,
since I’d just paid $2,495 to train to become one. I had to get creative with my
budget to come up with the funds, but I’ve never regretted it.

I firmly believe it made THE difference in the time it took to fill my practice while
other coaches who started when I did were still in the practice building stage
(and many dropped out of the field altogether).

I only wish an ADD Mentor Coach had been availaible at the time, but since I was the very first to put together an ADD-specific Coach Training, the field was a few years away from that possibility.

Finding a Coach if Money is Tight

If you believe you simply cannot afford to hire a mentor until you start receiving some coaching income to help you pay for it, there are some other options available.

Private Coaching

If you want to coach privately with a particular coach and don’t have the cash reserves to pay full-fee, contact the coach you would like to hire and ask if they are willing to take you on under a special agreement.

  • Do you have a skill they might otherwise pay for that you could barter for some or all of your coaching fee?
  • Would they be willing to spread full-fee payments over a longer period of time with the promise that you will start paying more as you are able? As long as you take the coaching, you will get to the place where you can afford mentor coaching fees much faster with a professional mentor coach.

Remember that coaches must balance their own books, so not all coaches will be able to barter for even part of their services — and the coaches who are able to do so probably won’t be able to do it for more than one or two mentees at a time. (Except for returning clients, who always get “first dibs,” or a whiz-bang WordPress CSS expert, my own Special Agreement slots are full at the time I write this)

If your first-choice coach is unable to do it, how about your second choice – or perhaps a coach mentored or trained by your first-choice coach?

  • The universe really is perfect, you know, and if a coach cannot accept you into his or her practice at the time you reach out to them, there’s always a good reason!
  • Perhaps it makes some sense to get the basics from one coach, and check back with your first choice once you can afford their fees.
  • You might even discover that you and your “second choice” coach grow together perfectly, and that you wouldn’t dream of switching.

Group Coaching

For those of you who know that you do well in a group setting, group coaching is an affordable option that sometimes works even better than private mentoring. Some of us do especially well in the synergy of a group environment.  If you know that you do well in a group setting, group coaching is an option that can save more than a little bit of money.

While slightly different from private, one-to-one coaching, group coaching does increase your velocity in a unique way — you are practicing your skills with “an audience” from the very beginning so it is a smaller jump from training to coaching.

There are also shifts and “growing edges” that are easier to see in someone else’s life — most, in fact!

MY Mentor Groups

Because I feel so strongly about the value of coaching during coach training and for the Practice Building years, I am preparing to launch several different modes of [virtual] Group Coaching, at slightly over $100 a month — a fee that is less than a quarter of what most coaches charge for private mentor coaching (and almost 1/6th less than my fees for Private Mentor Coaching)

Stay tuned for the announcement (or sign up for notification on the “Keep Me In the Loop” form near the top of the skinny column to your right).

Group size will be extremely small, and I have no idea how quickly “seats” will fill, but once they ARE full, that’s it! Until a space opens up, all I will be able to offer you will be a waitlist number.

If you want to grab that number NOW, use the e-Me form to let me know – click the words at the top of this and every page, on the top, darker, menubar. I will give you a “head start” by emailing you BEFORE I launch officially.


If any payment at all is simply impossible once you’ve paid tuition for your training, and your impulsivity is under sufficient control so you can count on yourself and your co-coach to stay intentional, trade services with one of the coaches in your class.

Agree to work with each other as “standard” clients along standard guidelines, meeting twice each week and switching roles so you both receive the benefit of undiluted focus as the client.

Although you lose the advantage of having someone at least a few steps ahead of you on the path, you receive all the other benefits of coaching. Agree to coach each other to build your practices to the point where you can both hire your dream mentor at full fee.  Then go for it!

You will do this in addition to, not instead of any peer coaching requirements of your
training organization. Switching co-coaches as often as you switch peer coaches is not
the best way to go.

Those of us who have been in the field for a long time almost always have at least one person at our level with whom we co-coach, regardless of whether we pay another coach or not. It does make more sense once you both know what you are doing, but even two novices can find extreme value in co-coaching, and it is far superior to going it alone because you don’t think you can afford your own coach.

Materials and Motivation

While you work with your co-coach, use the coaching materials available here on

  • Print each of the articles in the related links below, file them in a Coaching Notebook, and read and discuss them with each other for motivation and a bit of a game-plan.
  • Keep your eyes open for the next article in the Brain Transplant Series, where I will scare up all the Coaching Skills links and post them in that article so you can do the same with each of those resources.
  • Then scour the internet for other free resources while you work together.

As the Practice Management Series unfolds, I’ll do what I can to make sure I post at least one additional resource a month – so stay tuned!

SOME of the topics we will cover together in this series will include the following:

  • Brain-based Coaching Fundamentals – the backbone of your practice
  • Practice Management Fundamentals
  • Client Management Tips & Tools
  • IDEALS: Planning to Soar
  • Materials & Marketing Overview
  • Practice Management Tips & Tools
  • Money Matters
  • Keeping Score: tracking practice measureables
  • Keeping Balanced: values-based focus on all of the areas of your life that support you.

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

Remember, if you’d like my private (or group) coaching/mentor coaching help with anything that comes up while you are reading this material (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!)

Graphics gratitude
: Mentor Coach, Books & Globe:  Phillip Martin
Cows & Notebook: openclipart-2.0-full

Related Articles in the Mentor Coaching series:

A bit about coaching with ME:

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!"

2 Responses to Running Your Practice so it Doesn’t Run YOU

  1. DeShawn says:

    I am very interested in the group coaching. I will be sure to kepp my eyes open for the opportunity!!! I am also saving up for the January Coaching class! Take care…


    • Save those pennies! Peggy tells me the two of you had a lovely conversation, and she was hoping you would decide you wanted to join us, so she’ll be glad to hear this too.

      MEANWHILE, I’ll put you on the “Group Coaching pre-launch” email list. Until Kate’s Memorial is behind us and I’ve had some private time to slow down enough to grieve, I’m not doing ANYTHING that isn’t already ON my overfull plate ::sigh::

      And then of course, once things begin to settle down, here comes Thanksgiving, my birthday (and Dad’s & sis-in-laws), Christmas and New Years. lol – no rest for the weary, huh?

      SO- you’re not in any danger of missing anything anytime soon. Thanks for your comment.


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