A Shih Tzu’s take on Brain-based Coaching

April is Counseling Awareness Month!
and I can tell you all about how great coaching works

Guest blogger: TinkerToy

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Coaching Series

People coaches and dog coaches have a lot in common

And so do their clients! We all like treats and fun and attaboys — and we all hate the nasty voice!

Some coaches do that tough-love thing, but Mom doesn’t believe that the nasty voice ever works.  It just makes us too scared to keep trying.  She doesn’t even do the nasty voice when she tells me no.

And we all LOVE it when we can suddenly do something we never could before — it’s just that the things that 4-legses and 2-legses figure out how to do are different.

Mom coaches over the phone and I hang out in her office and listen in. She says the only reason I’m allowed to stay around and eavesdrop is because I can’t tell anybody except other dogs.  They don’t care anyway – they don’t even know these 2-legses.

But I’ve learned a LOT about 2-legs coaching that way, and Mom decided to let me tell you some of her coaching secrets (besides fun and laughing – there’s always a lot of that when she coaches).

FIRST you have to be ready, willing and able

Even the coaches who don’t know the first thing about how the brain works say that, but I don’t know why any coaches put it that way – kinda’ dumb if you ask me. What makes more sense is able first, then ready, and willing last of all!

When I was hardly bigger than my mom’s two fists I wasn’t able to do a lot of things I can do now easy-peasey.

Even once I got a little bigger, my tiny brain was still learning about things like eating crunchy food and running.

It took a while for my brain to be ready before it could even think about being willing to learn to do more – like where it was okay to go to the bathroom, and tricks for treats.

Not that babies are looking for coaching – that would be silly – but when grown up two-legses are sick, or in the middle of something they don’t need help with, or recovering from an operation, they might not be ABLE to add coaching to what they have to manage right then.

My Mom wants me to be sure to add that anybody who’s an active addict will never be able until they are clean and sober for at least a year and working a program. 

She says that first they have to be available for change, with a mind that’s not cloudy or thinking about drugs and stuff.

Next you have to be ready

The time has to be right and you have to make room in your days.

  • I’m never ready when I’m really sleepy, for example, not even to play some of my favorite games.
  • I’m not ready when other dogs are around either.  We all  have to have private time with our coach to be able concentrate on what were up to.
  • And I’m never ever gonna’ to be ready to cut back on my time with my fans at my Cheers bar (where everybody knows my name), even for all the best treats in the world!

Some of my mom’s earliest clients didn’t seem to be ready to make room in their schedules at all — not even for all of their appointments over the phone.

They kept missing them over and over – or calling to say that something had come up, like it was the very first time instead of mostly.

They kept themselves too busy to have time to even think about coaching tricks during the week, or do even the simplest coaching homework – like making a list of their challenges or something – and they weren’t ready to say no to something old  to make room for something new.

They just weren’t ready period, no matter how much they said they wanted their lives to be easier and better.

Poor Mom had to tell them to come back when they were ready. Even when she first started out and really needed the money, she never kept coaching anybody she couldn’t help.

Like CATS, for example – most cats don’t want to be ready.
They practically dare you to try to make a difference with them.

Different Rates

Mom does whatever she can to make coaching affordable for most anybody who really wants it, but she gives me the family discount (meaning free, since I don’t have any way to get money anyhow I barter with kisses).

But sometimes 2-legses haven’t made room in their budgets for their coaching fees – or else they spent the money they set aside on something they suddenly decided they simply had to have.

That meant they couldn’t keep coaching long enough for things to turn around in their lives (even for group coaching, which doesn’t cost as much as coaching with Mom privately).

That’s another way you have to be ready – for about six months for most 2-legses, according to Mom – which sounds long but really isn’t when you consider that your whole life can be more fun after you pick up a few new tricks.

Anyway, you can keep coaching for as long as you want once you know the basic tricks – even years for some of her clients.  There’s always more to learn, and she really helps 2-legses get things done from week to week, so life moves forward easier and faster.

Last but not least you have to be willing

Mom says that mostly means it has to be your own idea.  It won’t work if you’re doing it because somebody else decided it would be good for you, for example – or threatened you into it.  You probably wouldn’t let it work – like those cats.

Dog clients don’t have to worry about the next part, but 2 legses also have to be willing to tell the truth to their coach, even if that means they have to be willing to feel a little embarrassed sometimes (like when I get caught tearing up paper, for example – whenever it tempts me the room is covered in confetti before I can stop myself).

And you have to be willing to keep getting back on the horse – even though I don’t know if you have to actually be able to ride a horse to be able to get a coach.

I don’t think so, but I’m not really sure about that part.  You can ask my mom before you sign up for it, anyway.

The fun starts once you decide you are able, ready and willing!

Remember that you can always check out the sidebar
for a reminder of how links work on this site, they’re subtle ==>

HOVER before clicking – often a box will appear to tell you what to expect

THEN you have to understand

I’m pretty smart, so it didn’t take me long to learn what I needed to do when she said stuff like sit up and high-five and shake hands and fetch.

And that turned out to be the only way to get what I wanted: in my case, treats!

But before I could actually do what would work, I was stopped by not understanding what the words meant — and then I had to learn HOW to do what I was supposed to do.

So Mom always makes sure that clients understand how their brains work and what’s stopping them before she coaches them to change and do something different. Then she helps them figure out what they need to change to make things work better for them.

Learning stuff that’s different from what you’ve always heard, changing what you do and making the new stuff a habit is the only way for you to get what YOU want too, you know – whether it’s treats or most anything else that you 2-legses might want more.

Mom’s always been big on the attaboys – underscoring evidence of success
because if you can’t believe you can do it, why would you even try?

Step by Step

When you’re trying to change your whole life, you have to patient with yourself, and take each little bit pretty much one at a time. If you don’t you’ll get confused or totally lose interest.

And there’s a LOT to know – more even than Mom writes about on our blog.  Plus, not only is it tailored to fit, you get out of having to read all about it and figure out how it applies by yourself (hoo-hah!).

Coaches like Mom always make sure one piece is in firmly in place before you add the next one. Even if you sometimes drop it out when you’re learning a new trick it comes right back when you pay attention to it again.

  • That’s why it’s so important to think about your tricks between coaching sessions, and to practice as much as you can.
  • The harder you work, the faster it goes – and the faster it goes, the sooner your life starts to get to the place where you stop spinning around — and get what you want.

If YOU want some help getting what you want out of life, make an appointment to talk to Mom about brain-based coaching with her – she knows a whole lot more than I do and can tell you a whole lot more about it.

And don’t forget to check out the Related Content —
There’s a ton of links to free help, and
I want you to meet some more of my pals

(Still more to come! Go say hi, and be sure to tell them Tink sent you.)

© 2017, all rights reserved
Check bottom of Home/New to find out the “sharing rules”
(reblogs always okay, and much appreciated)

As always, if you want notification of new articles in this Series – or any new posts on this blog – give your email address 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

IN ANY CASE, do stay tuned.
There’s a lot to know, a lot here already, and a lot more to come – in this Series and in others.
Get it here while it’s still free for the taking.

Want to work directly with Mom? If you’d like some coaching help with anything that came up while you were reading (one-on-one couples or group), click HERE for Brain-based Coaching with mgh, with a contact form at its end (or click the E-me link on the menubar at the top of every page). Fill out the form, submit, and an email SOS is on its way to her; she’ll schedule a call to talk about what you need. She’ll get back to you ASAP (accent on the “P”ossible!)

You might also be interested in some of the following articles
available right now – on this site and elsewhere.

For links in context: run your cursor over the article above and the dark grey links will turn dark red;
(subtle, so they don’t pull focus while you read, but you can find them to click when you’re ready for them)
— and check out the links to other Related Content in each of the articles themselves —

Related articles right here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com
(in case you missed them above or below)

A Few Other LinkLists by Category (to articles here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com)

Related Articles ’round the net
My blogging buds – more to come. Go say hi (and be sure to tell ’em Tink sent you!)

A FEW more links from my PARTY guests!

And only the first few from buds who came to see me in Bacon’s SpotLight

BY THE WAY: Since ADDandSoMuchMore.com is an Evergreen site, Mom revisits her content periodically to update links — when you link back, like, follow or comment, you STAY on the page. When you do not, she tells me you run a high risk of getting replaced by a site with a more generous come-from.

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!"

71 Responses to A Shih Tzu’s take on Brain-based Coaching

  1. Pingback: August 26th is National Dog Day | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  2. Pingback: Overcoming Bad: Get To The GOOD – The Militant Negro™

  3. Pingback: Overcoming the bad to get to the GOOD | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  4. Pingback: TinkerToy’s Trip to the Woods | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  5. Pingback: April 2017: Mental Health Awareness | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  6. Hi Tink,

    Nice article. BUT … you call it coaching, I call it training. Let me tell you how my training went.

    When Andrew and I first hooked up, he took outside and threw a tennis ball across the yard and then said, “Fetch, boy.” I just there and looked up at him. He shrugged and walked across the yard and picked up the ball. He came back and again threw the ball, but this time he said, “Go get it, boy.”

    First of all, who is this boy? My name is Danny. Needless to say, I did not go after said ball. So Andrew retrieved it like a good “boy” and threw it again. And again … I stayed where I was and innocently looked up at him.

    The next time he threw the ball, I asked him, “If you want the ball so badly, why do you keep throwing it away?”

    After two more attempts to get me to act like dog, Andrew gave up. That was my first training (or coaching) session with the big galoot. Now after all these years, I have him pretty well trained. Or, if you will … coached.

    Your pal,


    Liked by 1 person

    • Go Danny! But you have to admit that you are a very unusual dog and dealing with Andrew is an unusual situation. (As Mom says, desperate times call for desperate measures!)

      Personally, I like that fetch game, but only when *I* am in the mood to play it. I mean, just because she’s ready to stop staring at that computer doesn’t mean I’m done with my nap, right?


  7. Great post. I think children are exactly like dogs when it comes to coaching. I must say that I tried everything with my son to try and help him control the OCD – treats certainly didn’t do a thing! Talk about mind over matter. It did help with potty training though [smile]! Have a wonderful Easter, Madelyn.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on Kate McClelland and commented:
    Well done Tink! That was a lot of words for a small doggie like your honourable self, but you got through it all.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. dgkaye says:

    Okay, just a clever and precious post, mom. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks for featuring Sylvester in your Links. He sends Meows and Purs of Gratitude.


  11. It’s quite a life long process and you outline it so well Madelyn. It is so nice when one knows there is a life line out there when the bottom falls out.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. -Eugenia says:

    Great post by Tink, and thank you for sharing, Madelyn.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. jodie says:

    What a great way to look at it, Madelyn. Because we all need training—and it really never ends. I remember when I first heard about life coaches, back about 14 years ago—and I was confused. But the more I live, the more I realize that almost everyone could benefit from it!


    • My first exposure to the coaching concept was in a project-based human growth seminar – before professional coaching had been “invented.” Every four participants had a coach, every 4 coaches had a senior coach, etc. I then became one of their coaches, and one of my fellow coaches told me about “a new idea” — Thomas Leonard’s introductory seminar in NYC.

      Funny story about how my friends reacted when I told them I was excited about attending – confused like you were, and wary as a result. I was in the room for about 5 minutes before I knew I was going to sign up for his modular training – and became the second grad of his program (CoachU – then Coach University). I was invited to join the trainer team T was building, and remained a Senior Trainer on his faculty for 7 years as I built my practice and developed my own program to work in a more brain-based fashion with the neurodiverse as well as what I call “vanilla” brains (no mix-ins) The rest is history. It’s a very useful modality.

      Liked by 1 person

      • robjodiefilogomo says:

        What a great story!!
        I also wanted to check in about my posts–I know our emails sometimes gets lost, and I was wondering if you got my 2 separate emails with the posts in them??


        • Thanks Jodi. I wanted to present something a bit more fun than a “standard” coaching article for Counseling Awareness Month — so I turned it over to Tink.

          Yep – got ’em – simply waaaay behind and catch up has been slower than expected for a number of reasons I couldn’t/didn’t predict (and my eyelids are already drooping at 8PM E)

          Not to worry – you are ON my list (and nearing the top!) Remember, much of my content is already penned – so there is not as much to do as it might seem.

          Liked by 1 person

  14. Lucy Brazier says:

    Tink! What a clever little puppy you are! Your mom has taught you well and now here you are, teaching us! I had never thought much about the phrase ‘ready, willing and able’ before – but now it really does make no sense in that order! That alone is a gem of information that makes things seem so much simpler. Thanks for sharing this with us, and be sure to pass on puppy kisses from me to your mom!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I totally agree… and I’m glad that you see it this way too…. I once got a major rocket as I mentioned the similarities… how can I compare people with dogs…

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Sue Vincent says:

    hey Tink! Great article, and thank you for the mention 🙂 much love, Ani xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Great write up as always Madelyn and yes dogs too require a lot of coaching. We have a golden retriever so she is coached but not much. Such an inspiring and informative post.

    Liked by 1 person

And what do YOU think? I'm interested.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: