Executive Function (EF) Coaching

What is this?

Let’s first look at what executive functions are.

We can group our executive functions into 3 core processes – inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility and working memory. Within these executive functions are 11 high-order skills – our executive function skills.

These enable us to carry out a range of tasks, as well as control our thoughts, behaviours, actions and emotions. We use executive function skills to remember tasks and instructions, control impulses, focus during tasks, manage our time and workload, as well as adapt to changes beyond our control.

Executive function skills:

  • Task initiation – the ability to start tasks or projects in an efficient and timely way, without procrastination.
  • Planning/prioritisation – the ability to create a plan to complete tasks and make decisions about the importance of tasks – what task to focus on first.
  • Organisation – the ability to manage and keep track of tasks, commitments, and items.
  • Time-management – this is the ability to effectively estimate how long tasks will take and to complete them within the given time.
  • Working memory – this is the ability to hold information in memory while completing tasks. The ability to use past experiences to apply to the current situation or task.
  • Sustained attention – this is the ability to focus on tasks for long periods even though there may be distractions, or the individual is bored or fatigued.
  • Goal-directed persistence – the ability to work towards a long-term goal without getting distracted or ‘giving up’.
  • Response inhibition – the ability to think before acting.
  • Emotional control – the ability to control or manage emotions instead of acting upon them.
  • Flexibility – the ability to adapt plans when unexpected changes happen.
  • Metacognition – the ability to monitor and evaluate own performance – reflecting upon performances and acting upon this and on feedback from others.

We all have different strengths and weaknesses in our EF skills. Some people can have real challenges with EF skills. Neurodivergent individuals are more likely to have EF challenges and individuals who have a mental health condition may also experience EF skills difficulties.

Teachers, lecturers, and bosses can often be confused by individuals with executive function difficulties, seeing them as ‘lazy’, ‘disorganised’, ‘unpredictable’, ‘disrespectful’, and ‘indifferent’.

This is definitely not the case. Individuals who have EF challenges are often the most hard-working individuals you will come across, with many strengths and talents. They can often be working significantly longer hours and giving far more energy to tasks, but as they have not found the strategies and support that work for them, it can appear that they are lacking in effort and ability, or just do not care about their work/studies.

EF coaching provides individuals with the support and guidance needed to develop skills, to find efficient strategies that work for them to enable them to succeed at these tasks and to truly demonstrate their ability and talents fully.

Cymorth Addysg can provide coaching on an individual and small group basis. We work with private clients as well employees of businesses who see the benefit of developing their workforce’s skills.

Contact us now for further information or to book a free thirty minute discovery call.