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Executive Function Coaching – A Confusing Choice

Executive function (EF) coaching

This is a process in which a student and coach co-create a plan that identifies areas of EF strength and weakness. Together they put together action steps and strategies to support the student in strengthening their lagging EF skills, while improving and maintaining a lifestyle that promotes health and well-being. During this coaching process, students have shown an increase in skill, will and self-regulation resulting in improved success and self-determination, both in life and academics. EF and self-regulation skills are the mental processes that enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions and juggle multiple tasks successfully. So, in order to improve these EF skills, it makes sense to consider engaging an executive function coach.

Finding an EF coach

This is where it gets complicated.  When searching for “executive function coach” on Google, the results vary from the type of coaching described above to coaching that focuses solely on teaching EF skills. The latter can result in driving academic achievements, but doesn’t consider the issues that impact social skills, personal goals and achievement or life satisfaction. In my opinion, hiring a coach who views you and your child as creative, resourceful and whole, with the big picture in mind, is the way to go.  Why settle for anything less or for a service that isolates academics from the rest of life? As a business owner, when I hire a coach for myself, I typically focus on my business issues. However, if I am not sleeping, practicing self-care or taking breaks from my daily work routine, my business will suffer.  Therefore, my coach knows to include all areas of my life into the coaching process.

As a consumer, one needs to know what service is necessary and where to search for a professional who provides that service.  The term “coach” is used too frequently by service providers who know that it’s the buzz word of the day. It will inevitably draw your attention to their services – regardless of whether they are a trained, certified coach. This is not to say that a tutoring/teaching approach to building skills is not valuable for some students. It is just not coaching. I have spent many hours talking with parents about their child, often recommending a tutor, an educational specialist or a therapist instead of a coach.  Be mindful of the differences and take time to compare the results.

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