Living with executive dysfunction often feels like a battle between personal aspirations and the practical challenges of daily life. In the blog post titled “Treatments for Executive Dysfunction: Exploring Executive Function Coaching for Adults,” we delve into the specifics of executive function coaching, a treatment option that is gaining attention for its effectiveness. Covering topics from its relationship with ADHD to the nitty-gritty details like insurance coverage, this blog aims to provide an in-depth understanding of how executive function coaching can be a pivotal approach for adults. It serves as an important resource for anyone looking to better comprehend and manage executive dysfunction.

A woman sitting at a desk having a meeting on a computer.

Executive dysfunction can pose significant challenges for adults, especially those with ADHD. At Effective Effort Consulting, we understand the impact of executive dysfunction on daily life and strive to empower individuals with effective treatments. Discover the ins and outs of executive function coaching for adults, the benefits, process, and real-life focus of coaching experiences, tailored to help individuals with ADHD develop their executive function skills.

How Does Executive Dysfunction Relate to ADHD?

A man holding his head in despair because he is having trouble with executive function.

Executive dysfunction refers to difficulties in the cognitive processes that govern organization, planning, decision-making, and time management. For individuals with ADHD, executive dysfunction is a common challenge that can hinder success in various aspects of life, including work, academics, and personal relationships. Fortunately, EF coaching provides a targeted and personalized approach to treat executive dysfunction.

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Executive Function Coaching FAQs:

EF coaching is a specialized form of support designed to help individuals with ADHD improve their executive functioning skills. This one-on-one coaching process focuses on understanding the unique strengths and weaknesses of each individual and tailoring strategies to address specific areas of executive dysfunction.

Is adult executive function coaching covered by insurance?

Insurance paper showing coaching is covered for the coachee.

As the awareness of EF coaching grows, some insurance providers may offer partial coverage for coaching services. It is essential to check with individual insurance policies to determine the extent of coverage available. Additionally, many employers are recognizing the value of EF coaching and may offer it as part of their employee assistance programs to improve their employees executive function skills for a more efficient workplace.

How Does it Relate to Real-Life?:

Three people showing executive functioning skills such as planning, organizing, time management, and executing tasks.

Executive function coaching goes beyond theoretical concepts and focuses on real-life applications. The strategies developed during coaching meetings are practical and tailored to fit the individual’s unique circumstances and executive functions. Whether it’s managing time effectively at work, organizing household tasks, or staying on top of academic assignments, coaching equips individuals with the tools needed to thrive in their day-to-day lives.

Can it Help With Working Memory Challenges?:

Working memory challenges are common among individuals with ADHD and executive dysfunction. Executive function coaching addresses these challenges by employing memory-enhancing techniques, such as visualization, chunking information, and creating external reminders. These strategies help individuals retain and recall essential information, leading to increased focus and improved performance.

What Executive Functioning Skills Can Coaching Help Me Improve?

Image showing different Icons representing different executive functioning skills, such as a timer for time-management, a calendar for planning and a light bulb for organized thinking

Executive function coaching can target a wide range of skills, including time management, prioritization, goal-setting, decision-making, and self-regulation. By addressing each of these skills, individuals can experience greater success and satisfaction in their personal and professional lives with strengthened executive functions.

Can Coaching Help Young Adults Transitioning to Independence:

For young adults with ADHD transitioning to independence, executive function coaching can be particularly valuable. As they navigate the challenges of higher education, finding a healthy work life balance, starting a career, or managing household responsibilities, coaching provides the support and guidance needed to thrive in these new environments.

How many coaching sessions will I need?

The number of coaching sessions needed varies depending on individual goals and progress. Generally, executive function coaching is a gradual process that involves regular sessions over several months. The coach and individual work together to establish a realistic timeline and adjust as necessary to ensure continuous growth of executive skills and improvement of any executive function disorder.

Coaching Session Framework:

A man and a woman working efficiently and happily because they have been helped with their ADHD via coaching sessions

An executive function coaching session typically follows a structured framework. The coach starts by reviewing progress and challenges from the previous session, followed by setting specific goals for the current session based on the person’s ability to do certain things. Together, they explore executive function strategies and action plans to address the identified challenges and work through any obstacles such as executive function disorder. The session concludes with a recap of key takeaways and actionable steps to be taken before the next meeting.

At EEC, we structure coaching sessions in this way, and also add additional components to the coaching model that you may not find other places. These components allow us to individualize the level of support you need while also meeting your preferred communication needs. Read on to learn about the 4 components to the EEC Coaching Model.

Direct Coaching

This model of coaching is the most common form of coaching and is required in the beginning for all of our clients. Direct coaching is when the client and coach are working 1:1 together over Google Meet,  in person or over the phone. 

Coach Initiated Indirect Coaching

This type of coaching is equally as substantive as direct 1:1 coaching and provides a similar type of support, but it uses methods such as texting, email, and/or other technology as a means to substantially support a client’s goals and skill development without meeting “face to face”. PLEASE NOTE: Not all coaches provide this type of coaching support so if you are interested in it, please let us know so that we can ensure that you have a coach that does.

Executive Function Case Management infographic showing the different elements such as 1-1 coaching, coach initiated check-ins, parent coaching etc.

Executive Function Case Management (EFCM)

EFCM provides a more comprehensive and increased level of coaching support for clients and/or parents looking for a higher level of support, monitoring, advocacy, collaboration, and/or accountability.  In addition to a more comprehensive level of coaching for the child, the coach is also available to provide such things as parent coaching and/or support, to facilitate family meetings, to collaborate with other professionals and team members, and to attend 504 or IEP meetings.

Check-ins

This is a client-initiated process where the coach and client set a schedule of when the client will update the coach on their daily or weekly progress. The ultimate goal is for all clients to embrace this check-in model and develop the skills to independently initiate updates with their coach as they progress through the coaching process. 

As you can see, EEC is a full service coaching company. We are here to meet you at whatever level of need you require. Whether you need a more intense level of coaching and accountability to support your skill development or you are ready for just a few coach initiated check-ins a month to make sure you are staying on track and can complete tasks on your own after you have built new habits and have new levels of confidence and competence, we approach coaching to meet your evolving level of need.

When To Change the Model Completely- a real-life EF Coaching Story

This story is written by an EF Coach from EEC and highlights an experience that necessitates veering from the typical EF Coaching model. While we try to stay within a predictable framework, creativity, and knowledge of each client are taken into consideration, to do what is best for each client individually. The example this coach shares is one of many like this. We pride ourselves on the individualized nature of coaching offered at EEC.

The individualized nature of the coaching offered here at EEC

An EEC coach coaching a person behind a computer, helping him with executive functioning skills.

I started with a client not too long ago who was extremely resistant to the coaching process and battles depression. The client had been characterized as very resistant to change, and a difficult personality to work with. He also did not want coaching, which he told me from the start.  I thought I could win him over by teaching him skills to increase his academic success. I threw out every strategy in my Rolodex, no go. Next, I tried targeting the depression through behavioral therapy methods, no such luck. Our sessions were like root canals. I arranged a meeting with the parents and client to discuss his struggles and whether or not the coaching model was effective. We agreed to make a few changes. We shortened our session time and switched to online coaching. We also decided not to touch or discuss any academics, aside from receiving an update on his grades at the start of a session.  The rest of our time was devoted entirely to anything he wanted to discuss. Initially, even this proved challenging, but we stuck together and like a rolling snowball, our relationship never stopped growing. A few weeks ago, we had a breakthrough, although it didn’t occur to me at the time. The client came to the session running on fumes; he was less chatty and every question I asked seemed to be harming our alliance. Rather than calling the session and risk setting a dangerous precedent, I asked him if he would be ok with me ranting for 30 or so minutes.  He was noticeably appreciative I was willing to meet him where he was at, and that I would gladly take the hit (i.e. go on a tangent and risk saying something silly if it meant he wouldn’t have to be uncomfortable).  After that session, there was a subtle but noticeable increase in his enthusiasm during our weekly check-ins.  In our next session, we played an online game. I trash-talked through the game chat even though I was behind most of the match. I believe, in hindsight, that this was an opportunity to truly connect – to show realness with humor and vulnerability. This moment has left a lasting impact. Today, our sessions and all my sessions remain imperfect, but the relationship never stops growing and I continue to meet individuals where they are at that moment.

Here are some takeaways from this incredible client:

  • Meet clients where they are, and get wins for the relationship (talk about their interests, be genuine, humble, etc.). Be willing readily throw away your agenda for the day
  • The relationship is always growing, (always)
  • Do text check-ins at least twice a week, send anything like funny memes or whatever that may resonate with our clients in between sessions (again, the relationship grows even from that)
  • Don’t force things on clients. If you push, they likely will push back, and the relationship could be harmed as a result. 
  • Once the relationship grows enough, it can be used as a buffer for less fun conversations
  • Be creative! Every client is unique, and there is no one right way to go about a coaching session
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Conclusion

Executive function oriented coaching for adults is a transformative approach to address executive dysfunction challenges faced by individuals with ADHD. By focusing on real-life applications, working memory challenges, and a personalized coaching process, individuals can develop essential executive functioning skills that enhance their daily lives. As a leading provider of executive function coaching, Effective Effort Consulting is committed to supporting individuals on their journey to discovering their strengths and building better executive function skills. With our guidance and support, individuals with ADHD can unlock their true potential and thrive in every aspect of life.