What is Executive Functioning Coaching?


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An Executive Functioning Coach is an expert whose job is three-fold.  

First, your EF Coach helps you gain an awareness of your current Executive Functioning.  They help you learn how you work and why you’ve been struggling with some things and succeeding with others.

Second, your EF Coach helps you gain an awareness of what is required to accomplish the things you want to accomplish and they help you develop the systems, structures, and supports you need in order to bridge the gap between what you are capable of naturally and what it is that you are trying to do.

Third, your EF Coach helps you develop your Executive Functioning.  Your ability to choose and control your own behavior will grow over time as you strengthen your cognitive Executive Functioning skills.  As you grow, it’ll take less time, energy, and support to accomplish the things you want to accomplish.

Because you are developing your skills and your strategies, sooner or later your Executive Functioning will be strong enough that it will no longer be worth your time, energy, and money to keep working with your EF Coach.

Your EF Coach’s job is to work themselves out of a job.

Unlike a tutor or a personal assistant or a body double, we are not here to give you fish.  We are here to teach you to fish.

Let’s use a concrete metaphor:

There’s a 200-lb weight sitting in the middle of your floor. You’ve been wanting to move it forever, but you haven’t yet been able to.  Sometimes you try and nothing happens, sometimes you get it to budge a bit, sometimes you hurt yourself trying too hard, but mostly you’ve trained yourself to ignore it, distract yourself from it, or work around it.  It’s inconvenient and you want it gone, but you start to accept that you’ll never be rid of it.  This is just how your life is.

In this metaphor, your EF coach would start by helping you to understand why you’ve been struggling.  You’ll learn that it’s not about desire or drive or motivation.  You’ll learn that repeatedly trying to move the weight using the same tactics that have already failed is, as the famous quote says, madness.  Maybe you’ll learn that the truth is that you are just not capable of lifting that 200-lb weight on your own, no matter how much you want to.

That’s a start.  And then you’ll keep going.  Your EF Coach will help you to learn more specifically why you can’t move the weight.  Maybe your arms and legs and back are strong enough to lift that amount of weight, which is why you thought you could do it.  You’ve lifted heavier things, after all.  But it turns out your grip is not strong enough to hold something shaped the way this weight is shaped.  You never even considered that.

It’s been so frustrating to look at a weight you know you should be able to lift–or at least that’s what you’ve believed–and fail over and over.  Now that you understand why you’ve been failing, the frustration disappears and turns into energy you can apply toward fixing the problem.

And now your EF coach helps you figure out what it is you need to do with that energy.  Maybe you need to hire a professional or ask a friend for a favor.  Maybe you can get the right tools-a dolly and a lever-and do it yourself.  Maybe you realize you don’t actually need to move it, you decide to affix a glass tabletop to it and turn it into the unique coffee table you’ve always wanted.

Your EF coach helps you bridge the gap between what you are able to do naturally and what you are trying to accomplish.

At the same time, your EF Coach would be working with you on your grip strength and your lifting technique, so that the next time you come across a 200-lb weight and want to move it, you’ll be able to do so without going through the extra steps or getting the extra support you needed this time.

That’s it.  

You get the support you need to get it done this time and you get stronger so that next time you won’t need as much support.

We all have a 200-lb weight.  

Maybe yours is something broad like learning how to balance your job, your marriage, and your art.  Or learning how to work in a way that doesn’t make you feel like you can either get the grades you want or enjoy your life, but never both.  

Maybe it’s narrower, like learning to get yourself to follow through on your exercise and diet plan or how to keep your house clean or how to make sure you make your 2000-word-a-day writing goal.

Whatever it is, your EF Coach can help.  And it’s important to know that you choose what you work on with your EF Coach.  Your EF Coach can help you get clarity on what it is you want, but they will never weigh in on whether you should or shouldn’t want what you do.

An Executive Functioning Coach’s goal is to help you make your life as close to the way you want it to be as possible.

It’s important to note that because Executive Functioning plays a role in everything you do, it is not uncommon for things to come up through the EF Coaching process that are outside the scope of your EF Coach’s expertise.  When that happens, your EF Coach’s job is to help you figure out how to get the support you need from an expert who can provide it.

An Executive Functioning Coach is NOT a tutor.

An Executive Functioning Coach is NOT a therapist.

An Executive Functioning Coach is NOT a life coach.

For more specific examples of how your EF Coach might help you, please visit our FAQ.  Executive Functioning Coaching at Effective Artistry is a highly individualized process.  One of our mantras is “Specific Problems, Specific Solutions”.  The more we know about what you are looking for, the better we can answer your questions.  If you have specific questions that are not addressed in our FAQ, please schedule a free consult here.

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