Why work with an executive function coach?
The parents I meet usually have the same list of complaints about their teen. You tell me that they are...
unable to follow directions
easily frustrated; reactive when something doesn’t go their way
unable to complete difficult or boring tasks
unable to deal with setbacks or failure
having difficulty maintaining positive relationships
spending too much time on media
procrastinating on homework or projects
losing important items routinely
The truth is that all of these “bad habits” are symptoms of poor executive function, and all of them must be addressed at the root in order to create lasting change (this means learning how to respond to these symptoms rather than reacting to them).
What is Executive Function?
You can think of executive function as your brain's mission control center. Basically, this part of your brain is in charge of getting stuff done, and it has three main functions:
SELF-CONTROL: Inhibiting impulses, regulating emotions, and delaying gratification in pursuit of a goal. Starting, stopping, and sustaining effort until completion.
WORKING MEMORY: Imagining yourself in the future and using self-directed talk to track your progress and coach yourself toward a goal.
MENTAL FLEXIBILITY: Being able to see and think about something from multiple perspectives; switching from one task to another; adapting and problem-solving.
Working together, your executive functions allow you to manage your thoughts, emotions and actions so that you can set and achieve important goals.
Teens with ADHD do not have the ability to stop and think through to the consequences of their actions. Instead, they act on their emotional impulses and get stuck repeating dysfunctional routines and self-defeating habits. Not because they don’t care, not because they are willful or defiant, but because they do not have the skills.
This is important: When your teen feels anxious or afraid, the emotional center of their brain (or the amygdala) sends a fight, flight, or freeze signal to their body that scrambles their executive functioning. Therefore, the key to helping develop your child’s executive function is creating an emotionally safe environment for them to express themselves without judgment or shame, and to feel comfortable coming to you for support.
Parent like a coach.
The most important role model in your child’s life is YOU. Thanks to our brain’s mirror neurons - which help us interpret the actions, intentions, and emotions of others - your child subconsciously interprets and reflects your emotions and behaviors. Therefore, to help your child develop their executive functions, you must first model your own.
If this seems daunting, don’t worry. I walk you through it step-by-step, in plain English, and with a practical approach that helps you to focus your energy on what matters - creating a high quality relationship with your child and modeling the skills you want them to learn.
I have simplified my program to focus on three main areas:
COMMUNICATION: Learn specific strategies for listening and speaking so that you can communicate with compassion, set loving limits, and help your child develop their "inner coach" voice (AKA self-directed talk).
PRACTICAL SYSTEMS: Learn the tools and step-by-step systems that you will use everyday to create more functional routines and solve problems collaboratively.
GROWTH MINDSET: Understand the stages of change, and help your teen develop a growth mindset, so they can feel confident in their ability to navigate any challenge.
These aren’t tips or tricks to get your teen to act a certain way. I created this program to help you radically transform the way you respond to recurring problems, so that you can become an effective role model and executive coach for your child.
Are you ready?
For the most part, your brain works on autopilot; 95-99% of your feelings, thoughts, and habits are subconscious and reactive. I call this mindless action.
I work with parents who understand the importance of deep self-work. They are ready to take responsibility and mindful action toward their goals.
In order to execute my program successfully, parents must commit to grounding their actions in their values rather than their emotions.
My coaching program follows nine core values, each based in our brain's executive functions.
#1 Stop and think
#2 Don't act on your emotions
#3 Don't wait until you feel like it
#4 Don't rely on your memory
#5 Go with the flow
#6 Create happy spaces
#7 Design your day
#8 Chase your fear
#9 Play, have fun!
It won't be easy,
but it will be worth it.
Change is a process.
There are no shortcuts - we are playing the long game.
You will be out of your comfort zone.
You will try and fail many times before you succeed.
Things will get more difficult before they get easier.
You will have the urge to resist change and fall back into your old habits.
Your child will test your strength and test your patience.
All of this is part of the process of transformation.
This stuff really works if you work it.
If you’re still reading and still excited about this program, then I am excited to work with you. Fill out this application to let me know how I can be of service.