What is Executive Function (EF)?
Executive function skills allow us to focus on goals, manage ourselves, and get things done. They’re brain-based functions through which we access information, think about solutions, and implement ideas. Without even realizing we’re doing it.
There’s an impressive list of areas that executive functioning has an impact on and most people do these things without thinking about them.
- Working memory and recall (holding facts in mind while manipulating information; accessing facts stored in long-term memory; includes an impaired sense of time)
- Activation, arousal, and effort (getting started; paying attention; finishing work)
- Controlling emotions (ability to tolerate frustration; thinking before acting or speaking)
- Internalizing language (using “self-talk” to control one’s behavior and direct future actions)
- Complex problem solving (Taking an issue apart, analyzing the pieces, reconstituting and organizing it into new ideas)
- Shifting, inhibiting (changing activities, stopping existing activity, stopping and thinking before acting or speaking)
- Organizing/planning ahead (organizing time, projects, materials, and possessions)
- Monitoring (self-monitoring and prompting)
Why Do Some People Need Executive Functioning Coaching?
A wide variety of people struggle with executive function issues. Some of them have no diagnosable disorder. Others may have:
- Learning differences
- Other conditions
For people trying to function independently in society, a lack of executive functioning abilities can lead to struggles around:
- Creating a schedule or routine in one’s life
- Managing a school or work schedule
- Paying attention and remembering details
- Acting appropriately in certain social situations
- Emotional regulation.
- Learning from one’s mistakes or successes in the past
What Are the Goals of Executive Function Coaching?
At Collegiate Coaching Services we often see clients who, while intelligent and academically capable, present with some level of an executive functioning deficit. We have a strong focus on life skills and we often work with young adults who need help structuring their day, managing their class schedule and responsibilities, managing their employment responsibilities, and interacting appropriately with their peers, parents, and others in their lives, as well as improving their ability to advocate for their needs and wants.
Executive functioning coaching clients are learning to cope with and/or overcome:
- Performance and/or social anxiety
- Challenges with organizing, planning, preparing, and prioritization
- A lack of internal motivation to follow through with important life skills and academic requirements
- Low confidence in the area of academics and social interaction
- Mild autism/Asperger’s disorder
- Learning challenges
- Self-advocating with professors, advisors, and others
How Does Executive Function Coaching Work?
An executive function coach works collaboratively with you to develop and implement strategies and tools to get you on track academically. They are your accountability person, someone who provides no judgment, is empathetic, warm, and fun, yet won’t let you stray too far away from your goals and objectives. Your CCS coach will support you to access community and campus resources, including academic advisors. Then they’ll help you integrate the information you learn from support persons into your daily life.
Our executive function coaches utilize the following techniques to help each client set goals, identify the steps necessary to complete those goals, and establish a system of accountability that empowers them.
- Teach clients to reflect and evaluate past decisions and outcomes in order to make well-informed future decisions.
- Help organize class syllabi to assist clients in setting a plan for completing assignments, reading, and preparing for exams.
- Utilize a shared calendar to help clients stay accountable for due dates and other life obligations.
- Assist clients in managing free time, while also finding time for studying, doing chores, exercising, sleeping, and developing healthy eating habits.
- Create a client-centered system for remembering appointments, assignments, and other daily-life tasks.
Who Do We Offer Executive Function Coaching Services to?
Our Coaching Services aren’t a one-size-fits-all at CCS. We try to support our clients with the flexibility of providing both in-person coaching services and virtual coaching services.
- High school students and graduates, 14 and older, who are seeking pre-college prep support.
- College students enrolled at:
- Young adults
- Young adults preparing to return to higher education
- Young adults who struggle with executive functioning and life management skills
- This may include finding and maintaining management, as well as prioritizing, planning, and following through with tasks and a schedule.
Virtual coaching services:
For those students who do not live locally in Boulder or Boston, we offer virtual coaching services to students & parents around the globe.
Contact us about our summer programs for executive functioning.
Is an Executive Function Coach Right for Me?
The young people we work with are motivated and willing to receive the support and guidance we provide. They typically meet one or more of the following descriptors.
- Are neurodiverse
- Entering college in need of support and accountability.
- Struggling to adjust to campus life.
- Want a college degree.
- Experience difficulty connecting with peers and social activities.
- Preparing to graduate or have a college degree and are preparing to take the next big step towards finding their career passion and financial independence.
- Studying or living abroad and seeking executive function coaching support.
- Have executive functioning limitations and challenges.
- Struggle with time management and organization.
- Are academically capable.
- Are willing to engage with their coach to identify goals and be successful.
- Have learning differences.
- Need ADHD coaching and are seeking tools to be a successful student.
- Have parents that are willing to work with us and that welcome the support and guidance of the coach when needed.
Contact us about our summer programs for executive function skills.
Benefits of Executive Functioning Coaching
Improved control over one’s executive functioning can transform the lives of individuals seeking to optimize their performance in both personal and professional realms.
Through our tailored and strategic approach, our coaching is designed to equip our clients with the tools and techniques with many benefits:
- Provides clients an opportunity to talk about their experience in college, in and out of the classroom.
- Offers client-centered education and strategies that also incorporate policies and options on each academic campus.
- Supports the client to develop a study schedule and routine, and coaches provide accountability to the client to support their follow through.
- Increases social connections and support with the option of participating in CCS wellness groups
- Explores feelings around academic confidence, anxiety, and/or fear.
- Provides understanding of limitations and what can be done to accommodate and improve academic and life management skills.
- Assesses strengths and creates an academic and life management plan based on this information.
- Sharpens skills for learning or life management, including:
- Time management
- Managing freedom, especially for first year students
- Goal setting
- Establishing a study plan
- Emotional regulation
- Focus and concentration
- Test preparation and test taking strategies
- Improves motivation and feelings of empowerment.
- Investigates questions about academic policies and options and supports the client in finding the answers.
- Helps navigate clients through college bureaucracy by guiding and accompanying them to important departments on campus, such as disability services, academic services, counseling services, etc.
- Applies for and receives academic accommodations through the disability services, when appropriate.
For Students and Teens ages 16 and above, our pre-college summer program is designed for those who want better academic performance improving:
- Executive function skills
- Study strategies
- Learning skills
- Habit training
Armed with these new skillsets, students will be able to better advocate for themselves, to utilize their college resources, and to collaborate 1-on-1 with professors and other college officials. Our pre-college summer programs covers the following:
- College-level Psych 101 course, taught by a trained developmental cognitive psychologist
- Teaching assistant for added support
- Writing lab with tutor
Executive Function Coaching
- 1-on-1 coaching 2 hours per week
- Covers a range of skills timed to coordinate with classroom activities.
- 1-on-1 individual parent coaching sessions
- 4 informational sessions to help parents support students with their college and mental health journey
Contact us about our summer programs for college prep.