What are Executive Function Skills and what is Executive Function Coaching ("EF Coaching")?

Executive function skills are essential for goal-directed behavior and self-regulation.  They are a complex set of thinking skills that enable us to set goals, prioritize tasks and activities, concentrate and follow through on tasks, and organize our thoughts and environment to help achieve those goals.  EF Skills are controlled by the pre-frontal cortex, which is the part of the brain that develops rapidly during adolescence and young adulthood.  This is why executive function skills coaching is considered to be an evidence-based treatment for people with ADHD and other conditions that impact the pre-frontal cortex and make it hard for them to effectively implement day-to-day executive function skills.

What sets Mind Blossom Center EF Coaching apart?

At MBC, our EF coaching takes on a unique approach that incorporates principles from various psychological theories and practices.  Within the positive psychology framework, self-determination theory asserts that all individuals need a sense of autonomy, competence, and relatedness in order to achieve a sense of well-being and success.  The MBC EF Coaching approach explicitly teaches skills that are needed for better organization, planning, and time management.  However, we believe the most important factor for effectiveness is helping the individual realize their unique set of strengths, set goals that are intrinsically motivating  and valuable, and develop a sense of self-competence.  This method not only helps develop necessary EF skills to get through a semester or phase of life, but also gives the individual a long-term sense of motivation, confidence, and overall sense of self. 

What does EF Coaching look like and how do I get started?

Prior to the initial intake appointment, the student and in some cases also the parent(s) will complete a standardized questionnaire that will be sent electronically.   This will help us understand the specific areas of EF strengths and needs and also provide baseline data from which to track progress.

During the initial 1-hour intake appointment, the EF coach will meet with the parent(s) and student to explain the coaching purpose and process and to review the results from the EF questionnaire.  By the end of the session, the student and EF coach will have collaboratively set SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-based) that will be the focus of subsequent sessions.  

The EF coach and student typically meet one-on-one on a weekly basis for 45-minute sessions.  During this time, they review progress toward both weekly and long-term goals, problem solve any issues or barriers, and set new weekly goals based on progress.  Throughout each session, the EF coach focuses on building a sense of success, empowerment, grit, and intrinsic motivation to reset from any perceived failures or set-backs.  Coaching sessions translate very nicely to telehealth, but students who live locally can choose to meet either in-person or online. 

For middle school students, parent check-ins will be discussed and scheduled as a regular part of the EF coaching process.  For older students, parent involvement is usually less frequent, but will be included as needed for the student's success and overall effectiveness of services. 

In order to objectively measure response to the services, the EF coach will re-administer the questionnaire that was completed prior to the intake appointment at various intervals.  This will help the EF coach, parent(s), and student get a sense of the progress being made and reset goals as needed.