How Coaching Works

Frequently Asked Questions about Executive Function Coaching


What are Executive Function skills, and how do they relate to academic success?

Executive Function is the set of self-management skills 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 to help individuals become more effective by teaching  skills that apply well beyond the current challenges faced. Coaches use real life situations from school or work as vehicles to build these Executive Function skills.

What do you mean when you say that your work is to “coach” instead of to tutor clients?

As coaches, we teach the skills that allow one to become effective and independent. We use current challenges - a night of homework, preparing for a test, preparing a presentation, turning in hours worked on projects, balancing social life with academics or work - as a springboard to teach how to approach the next challenge. We apply a gradual release approach where we begin with considerable support and then focus on the client’s acquisition of tools and strategies so that they can become more capable of doing the work on their own. As one sees 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 lead to success in other areas of life.

Who benefits from coaching?

We work with many students and adults who are struggling to manage their work, due to ADHD, diagnosed Executive Function deficits, or other learning differences. These students/adults are often frustrated and discouraged, especially when their challenges are perceived as laziness. Most of the people 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 one needs to become more effective and more confident in life.

Why do you have different program levels?

We have 3 levels of coaching programs, Level One, Level Two, and Level Three, that relate to the student’s needs and challenges. At every level, all of our coaches must have a masters level degree in education or a related field and have experience working successfully 1:1 with students or adults. They all must go through a rigorous vetting and training process and pass our comprehensive exam in order to be an Executive Function coach with Beyond BookSmart. Coaches also receive ongoing supervision on a regular basis from supervisors and receive ongoing professional development through Beyond BookSmart’s Professional Development Team. 

Our Level One Coaching Program is designed to help students who are considering changing their work habits to learn the skills they need to address their EF challenges. Students in this level can develop rapport with caring adults readily and so are typically poised to begin the work of changing their habits within the first few coaching sessions.

Our Level Two Coaching Program is designed to help students who may be resistant to changing their work habits to learn the skills they need to address their EF challenges. Students in this level program may have challenges developing rapport with caring adults and/or have limited insight about their challenges. In the Level Two Coaching Program, coaches work with the student to help them gain insight and understanding about themselves as learners, and work with students to gradually help them to choose strategies that they become motivated to apply.

Our Level Three Coaching Program is designed to help students with complex learning profiles who are typically resistant to changing their work habits to learn the skills they need to address their EF challenges. Students in this level program often have challenges developing rapport with caring adults and/or have limited insight about their challenges. They may have multiple learning differences, mental health challenges, or other backgrounds that invite a highly integrated approach across providers. In our Level Three Coaching Program, our most experienced coaches work with the client to help them gain insight and understanding about themselves as learners and work to gradually help them to choose strategies that, over time, they become motivated to apply.

How long does the coaching process typically take?

The coaching process is transformative and takes time. For many, they are learning entirely different ways of viewing themselves and discovering their own motivation, often for the first time. Beyond skill-building, we’re helping individuals to take responsibility for their life’s direction. For work at this level, coaching can take many months, depending on one’s readiness for change and the scope of 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 short time to learn, practice, and internalize a new plan for managing their daily life. By contrast, a person who is easily frustrated, struggles with attention, and doesn’t know how to get work done on time might need more time to learn the specific skills they will need and to apply them independently. Our goal is to help clients achieve confidence, competence, and independence as quickly as possible. Our reputation is built on that premise.

Why do you have a minimum 16-week commitment?

Developing Executive Function skills is a process that takes time and consistency, the same as any ability you may want to improve. Can you imagine, for example, achieving a goal of playing a favorite tune on the piano or running a marathon without committing to ongoing practice? It's not likely that you'd see the improvements you desire if you worked toward these goals only when you felt like it. Similarly, with Executive Function coaching, we see the best outcomes when clients commit to setting aside a consistent time each week to work with their coach 1:1. It might be helpful to think of coaching as having a personal trainer for your brain.

How much does Executive Function coaching cost?

Depending on the results of your original coach level quiz and your in-depth consultation with your Client Services Coordinator which help determine your Coaching Program Level, our prices for students start at $108 per week for an initial 16-week commitment,  which includes weekly scheduled 45-minute coaching sessions. Billing occurs at 4-week intervals.

Do I need to pay to get started?

Yes, there is a payment of $150 membership fee. This allows us to schedule your first online session with us. Before the 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 or Zoom from wherever will be most conducive to a coaching session. 

Why coach online?

Online coaching provides greater flexibility for scheduling. Clients can work with their coach in the safety and convenience of their own home or office.

What days/hours are these sessions possible?

Weekly coaching sessions can be scheduled on a consistent, convenient day and time for you. 

How will you measure progress? 

Beyond BookSmart has developed a secure online portal that clients can access to view priorities, tools, and strategies addressed in coaching sessions. Coaches also include assessments in two areas: mindset and mastery of a particular skill. We track progress along both of these lines. Clients can see notes regarding session highlights and the degree of mastery of different tools in the portal.

Find out more about how Executive Function coaching can help.

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