Although the actual coaching process will be tailored to you and your own particular neurodivergence, identifying your executive function skill strengths and challenges is often a good foundation to commence from.
Executive functions are the basic skills of self-management that allow people to live a healthy and fulfilling life. The ability to organise activities, regulate emotions and remember tasks are significant processes, and if these are impaired this can have detrimental effect on a child and adults’ well-being.
Executive functioning hinges on three types of brain function, working memory, mental flexibility and self-control. These functions are highly interrelated, and the successful application of executive function skills require them to operate in coordination with each other.
1. Flexibility - The ability to be adaptable, to improvise, and to shift approaches to demands.
2. Meta-cognition - The ability to assess one’s own actions, to self-monitor, and observe.
3. Social Thinking - The ability to understand social conditions and respond to them appropriately.
4. Organisation - The ability to use a systematic approach to achieve a goal or complete a task.
5. Planning - The ability to develop a set of strategies in order to accomplish a goal.
6. Regulation of Affect - The ability to manage one’s feelings effectively for decision making and task completion.
7. Response Inhibition - The ability to stop or delay an action rather than display impulsive behaviour.
8. Goal-Directed Persistence - The ability to persevere with tasks that require sustained effort.
9. Task Initiation - The ability to initiate a task without procrastination.
10. Sustained Attention - The ability to maintain one’s focus and attention in the presence of distractions.
11. Time Management - The ability to respond to things in a timely fashion.
12. Working Memory - The ability to remember relevant information and apply it to the task at hand.
Get in touch if you would like a detailed discussion on which of your executive function skills may need developing with executive function skills coaching in the UK and abroad.
Before we even start the coaching relationship, I recommend that you schedule a free 30-minute consultation. This will give you an opportunity to ask any questions that you may have and will be a good time to see if I am the right 'fit' for you.
Once we agree that we will be a good fit for each other, an executive function skills questionnaire is then completed. This creates a starting point and gives me a rough idea of your executive function skill strengths and areas requiring development. If you would like to complete this questionnaire prior to scheduling your free consultation, please just let me know and I can send that over to you.
We will then take some time getting to know each other and to start building a relationship, as this is vital if we are to trust each other and communicate effectively. I take a holistic approach and want to understand you as a whole and the context you live in, as opposed to a total emphasis on the issue that is troubling you.
Then, we move the process forward by developing targets in accordance with your core values, and looking at the best strategies to achieve those targets. If you are interested in completing a values exercise prior to scheduling an initial consultation please reach out to me.
One way we can maximise the likelihood of meeting these targets is through a process known as mental contrasting. This involves looking at potential obstacles that may arise when trying to achieve objectives and finding solutions to those beforehand. It is through this vital preparation that we can devise the best methods to keep you on track to achieving your objectives.
You may have a child with ADHD who has difficulty controlling their emotions, you may be an A-Level student struggling to stay organised or you may be looking for a new job. You may have received a diagnosis or may be waiting for a diagnosis, or you may even just realise that something is getting in the way of you progressing towards desired goals. Whatever may be the case – every client is an individual, there is no 'one size fits all' approach. We work together to look at your circumstances as a whole and work in partnership to advance your growth. Please contact me for more information about executive function skills coaching in the UK and abroad.
Within these sessions we will work on specific activities and exercises so as to improve the identified executive function skill areas that require development. This may be followed up throughout the week via optional check-in sessions. Check-ins can be conducted by phone, email, Zoom or another preferred form of communication. Wherever you are located in the UK or abroad, my executive function skills coaching can be tailored to best suit your circumstances.
1 hour skills session
1 hour of check-ins (check-in sessions of up to 20 minutes, four days a week)
1 hour skills session
30 minutes of check-ins (three 10 minute check-ins )
1 hour skills session
For parents who are seeking additional assistance in parenting, I can offer constructive guidance if you feel stuck or lost. I work with parents and children who have ASD, ADHD or other types of neurodiversity. I am not just an objective observer, I will coach you to help choose, develop and implement observable and measurable targets for you and your children to work towards. Steps are always small and taken in unison, so that growth is achievable and sustainable.
Like most things, it is imperative that communication between both parties is reopened and renewed. This is done by taking a detailed analysis of the circumstances. As sometimes, it may be third parties that are impinging negatively on the situation. Whatever the case may be, I will work together with all parties to devise strategies to help overcome any difficulties.
While most parents prefer bespoke coaching tailored to their own circumstances and lived experiences, sessions are likely to include some or all of the following:
Where does our children’s behaviour come from? What triggers our children to behave the way that they do? What maintains our children’s behaviour? What function does our children’s behaviour serve?
Behaviour does not exist in a vacuum, nor do our children simply decide to behave the way that they do. There are reasons and explanations for behaviours and it is our role as parents and caregivers to identify what these reasons are and to help our children through what are often very difficult and challenging situations. Understanding what triggers and maintains our children’s behavioural responses are key to engendering positive change.
Behaviour is often referred to as the ‘tip of the iceberg’. What lies underneath are what causes these behavioural reactions.
Often when our children respond with what we often hear called ‘challenging or inappropriate behaviour’ they are communicating that:
These are just a few of the explanations as to why our children may sometimes react with behaviours that we find difficult. Just think what sometimes underlies your own behavioural responses.
Growth Mindset has become increasingly accepted as an important component to happy and healthy learning. But what is Growth Mindset? How does it differ from having a fixed mindset and how can we encourage our children to adopt a Growth Mindset?
As human beings, parents are not perfect. None of us are perfect. Sometimes we respond to our children in ways that is not helpful or conducive to positive growth and change. But why do certain things our children do or say frustrate or annoy us? How could we respond differently? Responding with empathy is vital.
Children need firm boundaries and parameters to be set by their parents. Without clear boundaries children often feel confused and uncontained. It is possible to have clear and consistent boundaries in place while still listening to our children, considering their needs and desires, and responding with empathy. It is possible to be boundaried and empathetic at the same time…the two are not mutually exclusive.
Executive function and self-regulation skills are the mental processes that enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully. We all have executive function strengths and areas for development.
Including time management, planning and prioritisation, working memory, task initiation, sustained attention, goal-directed persistence, emotional control, cognitive flexibility, organisation, response inhibition and metacognition, executive functions skills provide a good starting point in helping us to determine areas to target and develop.
Executive function skills are by their very name, skills, and as skills, all of these areas can be taught, developed and fine-tuned.
Throughout the life-span our brains retain the ability to adapt. Our brains are ‘plastic’ and because of this, new skills can be taught whilst other, not so helpful skills or habits, can be unlearnt. Many of the challenges our children (and us for that matter) experience are due to skill deficits. If we can identify these skill areas and work on them over time, our children can develop and sustain useful habits that they can utilise throughout their lives.
often when we experience difficulty or challenge, we feel overwhelmed. What helps us to make positive behavioural change is to address challenge systematically. Choosing fewer areas to work on, having clear targets and steps in mind, understanding what barriers may exist, whilst emphasising small quick wins are all important considerations when embarking on change.
This is completely up to the parent. Sometimes it helps for me to listen to the child's point of view so that a complete and well-rounded intervention can be created. Often what is lacking with parent/child relationships is clear communication. It is important that all concerned have a say, so from this perspective (depending on the age and ability of the child) it is beneficial for me to also meet your child.
Most of the coaching will take place online. Having said that, sometimes it is beneficial for me to visit you in your home at least as a starting point. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, the home environment is where you spend most of the time with your child. Secondly, if you are having difficulties with your child, it is best that I observe you and your child within a natural or 'typical' environment or the environment in which the difficulties occur. Third, if I come to you, then you do not have to travel and this often fits well with working parents and children that attend school. Get in touch by email or phone for a detailed discussion on how my parent coaching or other forms of assistance available in the UK and abroad can help you.