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Executive Functioning Coaching

EF coaching helps youth and adults develop strategies and skills to achieve their full potential at school and at work.

Online learning has been particularly difficult for children with EF difficulties.  Just a few sessions can help a child begin to feel more confident and be more successful in school. However, creating substantial change requires learning new mindsets, habits, and skills over time. Thus, EF coaching requires commitment and persistence from both the student and parent.

Executive Functioning: List









Approach to EF Coaching

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Executive Functioning: Image

Frequently Asked Questions about Executive Functioning Coaching

What are Executive Functioning (EF) skills?

Executive functioning (EF) skills are required for humans to effectively perform (or execute) tasks and solve problems. It is the “executive” part of our brain that kicks in when students are assigned a project at school and allows them to plan the project, start working on it with enough of time, anticipate and resolve problems, stay organized, and submit the project fully completed and on time.

How are EF coaching and tutoring different?

Tutoring focuses on helping students learn the specific content for a particular class. EF coaching develops the student’s skills that are required to be successful in all classes and work.

How do I know if my child will benefit from EF?

Generally, students benefit from EF coaching when parents, teachers, or themselves notice a gap between their potential and their current performance that is not due to challenges with content. For example, the child is generally able to understand the academic material, but their time management, planning, organization, or study skills impact their ability to display their potential and be successful.

When will I start to see results?

EF coaching is not quick or easy. Although changes can be seen in the first few sessions, it requires commitment from the student and parent.

My goal is to help students create substantial changes so they can be successful and happy in school and beyond. To do so, students not only need to learn new mindsets, systems and skills, but they also need to develop new habits and routines, which require patience and persistence.

When is the best time to work with an EF coach?

EF deficits can impact children’s self-esteem, motivation, and even increase family conflict. Thus, the best time to start EF coaching is as soon as a challenge is identified. However, generally, it is recommended that students begin EF coaching when they are beginning a transition to set up systems and strategies that will help them be successful during the transition.

Particularly challenging transitions for some students include virtual-learning due to COVID-19, new school year, starting college, and juggling a demanding new extracurricular or college applications.

Adolescence is an ideal age for EF coaching. During this period, the brain undergoes significant growth and change largely centered in areas that support EF skills. At the same time, students are dealing with more rigorous coursework and extracurricular activities that require well developed EF skills. As we get older, our brain eliminates the neurological connections we are not using, making it important to develop good habits in adolescence. If positive habits are established during this time, students can utilize them well into adulthood.

Does my child need a diagnosis for EF coaching?

No. Although some diagnoses are sometimes associated with EF challenges (such as depression, anxiety, and ADHD), many children who face EF challenges do not have a diagnosis.

Although children with learning disabilities don’t always have problems with executive functioning, it is not uncommon for children with dyslexia or dyscalculia to also have difficulties with EF skills.

What is Dr. Mercedes’ philosophy?

Each of our brains looks a little different, with distinctive strengths and areas of weakness. Just like a muscle, the brain can grow through exercise and hard work. It is important for students to be aware of how their own brains work, learn how to train it to work more efficiently, increase their self-confidence, and recognize how to effectively use external supports. By building a strong relationship and getting to know each student’s skills and needs, I am able to help students develop their awareness, increase their self-confidence, and increase their EF skills.

Are parents involved in EF coaching?

Yes! Strong communication with parents is key to student success. Although parents do not always participate in the coaching sessions, I check in routinely with parents to help them know:

  1. How to best support their child’s progress at home

  2. Assess what is working, and what may need to be tweaked or reworked

  3. Identify areas of growth and areas of need

What causes EF difficulties?

There has been a lot of research into possible causes of EF difficulties. Although there is no simple answer, researchers have identified two main factors:

1.     Differences in brain development. Certain parts of the brain develop more slowly or differently in people who struggle with executive skills.

2.     Genes and hereditary. Students who struggle with executive functioning skills often have other family members who do as well.

What can parents do to help develop their child’s EF skills?

There are many things parents can do to support their child’s EF skills. However, what will be helpful for a particular child depends on many factors. Once I begin EF coaching and have been able to assess the child, I provide parents with specific strategies to implement at home. That said, there are a few things that are generally helpful:

  1. Celebrate success: Meet your child where they are at right now. Look for all small successes and build upon them. Make goals reachable and celebrate the wins!

  2. Ownership: Help your child understand how their brain may be a little different and the importance of helping it “exercise.” Your child’s ownership and buy­-in are critical for the strategies to work.

  3. Timers: Timers can be very helpful to develop time management skills.

  4. Plan: Model for them how to make a plan, and talk aloud how you are thinking about it

  5. Routines: Develop routines that are effective and predictable, as well as adaptable as needs change.

What are your fees?

Coaching services are not considered therapeutic services and are thus not covered by insurance. Executive Function Coaching fees are pre-established and available by request.

Executive Functioning: FAQ
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