Frequently Asked Questions about Executive Function Coaching
What are Executive Function skills, and how do they relate to academic and professional success?
Executive Function skills are self-management abilities that help people achieve goals. In order to effectively meet the challenges of ever-increasing school, work, and life demands, people must be able to manage their emotions and attention, organize and plan their work and time, and reflect upon and revise their tactics as circumstances change. Our goal is for individuals to become more effective by teaching them skills that apply well beyond the current challenges they face. Coaches use real life situations from school or work as vehicles to build these Executive Function skills.
What does it mean that you are coaching clients instead of tutoring them?
As coaches, we teach the skills that allow one to become effective and independent. We use their current challenges - a night of homework, preparing for a test or presentation, writing a research paper or report, as a springboard to teach clients how to approach the next challenge. We apply a gradual release approach where we begin with considerable support and then focus on their acquisition of tools and strategies so that our clients become more capable of doing the work on their own. As they see success, they become more confident, more willing to invest greater effort, and more capable of working independently. In addition to the school/work-specific skills that this sort of coaching provides, the Executive Function lens allows us to build broader skills, such as time management, organization, sustained attention and self-awareness, that generalize far beyond school to success in life.
Who benefits from coaching?
We work with many students and adults who are struggling to manage their demands, due to ADHD, diagnosed Executive Function deficits, or other learning differences. We also coach many individuals who do not have formal diagnoses. These students and adults are often frustrated and discouraged, especially when their challenges are perceived as laziness. Most of the clients we work with are very bright but haven’t been taught the tools and strategies required to achieve success. Our coaches provide the encouragement, strategies, and insight they need to become more effective and more confident in life.
Clients themselves aren’t the only ones reaping the benefits of coaching. Parents and partners often tell us that household friction is reduced with coaching in place. Teachers also note positive shifts in students who receive our coaching.
How long does the coaching process typically take?
The coaching process is transformative and takes time. For many students and adults, we’re teaching entirely different ways of viewing themselves and helping them to find motivation, often for the first time. Beyond the skill-building, we’re helping them to take responsibility for their life's direction. For work at this level, coaching typically lasts about six months to a year, depending on a one’s readiness for change and the scope of a their needs. Progress is dependent on several variables such as how motivated the individual is, how self-aware they are, how narrow or broad the goals are, and how long the challenges have been present. A highly motivated but disorganized person may need just a couple of months to learn, practice and internalize a new plan for managing their daily life. By contrast, a person who is easily frustrated, struggles with attentional challenges, and doesn’t know how to get work done on time, might need more than a year to learn the specific skills they will need and to apply them independently. Our goal is to help one achieve confidence, competence, and independence as quickly as possible. Our reputation is built on that premise.
How frequent and how long are coaching sessions?
For students up until 8th grade, we recommend an hour-long session every week. Depending on a student’s needs, some parents choose longer sessions and/or more frequent meetings. In addition to the coaching time spent with clients, coaches typically connect with them briefly a couple of times in between sessions by phone, text, or email to see how the week is going and to check in around the client's weekly commitments they set for themselves during sessions. Those check-ins are brief but important and are not charged.
How much does it cost?
Coaching is an investment. Usually, it takes about 6-12 months of weekly sessions, and the average total is in the $3000-$5000 range.
Do I need to pay to get started?
Yes, there is a payment of $300 that sets up an online intake or a payment of $500 that sets up an in-person intake. Our intake process ensures that effective coaching begins immediately. Before this initial meeting, we review all relevant paperwork, including neuropsychological reports and school records if applicable, as well as our own forms, to gain a better understanding of which areas and Executive Function skills that are causing issues.
Where do the sessions typically take place?
Coaching sessions are held via Skype from wherever will be the most conducive to a coaching session. Where available, in-person coaching sessions are typically held at a client's home.
Why do coaching online?
A growing number of our clients prefer to receive coaching online as the work involves shared Google docs, and the online format provides greater flexibility for scheduling. We also can have shorter sessions, which makes coaching both more economical and allows for additional checkins between sessions.
What days/hours are sessions offered?
Coaching sessions can be conducted any time: during school or work hours or evenings. Depending on the coach, they may be available to meet during the weekend.
What are the backgrounds of the coaches?
Our coaches have Master’s degrees or higher and are also usually teaching or otherwise working full-time in a school or have taught for many years. Most are certified special education teachers, speech and language pathologists, school psychologists, and administrators. All of them have experience working one-to-one with students. They are trained by Beyond BookSmart in Executive Function coaching. Coaches also receive ongoing supervision on a regular basis from supervisors and receive ongoing professional development through Beyond BookSmart’s Research and Professional Development Team.
How will you measure progress?
Beyond BookSmart has developed a secure, online portal that provides access to view priorities, tools, and strategies addressed in coaching sessions. Coaches also include assessments in two areas: client mindset and mastery of a particular skill. We track progress along both of these lines. Clients see updates regarding mindset in a particular area as they begin to move through the Stages of Change model that we base our coaching on (James Prochaska’s Transtheoretical Model of Change). Mastery of tools is shown in both notes and a drop-down menu.
How do we get started?
Our first job is to get to know your Executive Function challenges during a free phone consultation. We describe the Executive Function coaching services we provide to make sure they’re a good match for your needs. Our thorough intake process ensures that effective coaching begins immediately. Before the intake meeting, we review all relevant paperwork, including the neuropsychological report if applicable, our own forms, and school records to get a better understanding of which Executive Function skills and/or academic areas are of concern. We conduct intakes online or in-person at your home. During the intake meeting, we speak with the client and family members to learn more about what challenges they face as well as their mindset toward making changes. The Intake Coordinator will discuss expectations for coaching, explain how we measure progress, determine coaching priorities, and answer any questions you might have about coaching. After reviewing the data gathered during the intake process, we carefully select the coach who is the best match for a client's specific needs. Prior to the first coaching session, the coach reviews all of the enrollment materials, confers with the Intake Coordinator, and is then ready to begin addressing their client's unique needs.
Find out more about how Executive Function coaching can help.