Executive Functioning

What is executive function?

Executive function is a term that encapsulates a mental skill set responsible for allowing folks to complete tasks from start to finish. This includes planning the steps needed to complete a task, stay focused on completing it, and being flexible to adjust the original plan as needed when the unexpected inevitably comes up. When these skills are working together well, it is easier to complete day-to-day and long-term tasks or projects. 

These skills include:

  • Planning
  • Attention Control 
  • Working Memory
  • Self-Regulation
  • Organization
  • Emotional Regulation
  • Prioritization

Whitney Natiello, Lic Ac, BHCP, CBHT explains the brain science behind executive functions in our LifeLog. It’s a must read to understand the biology behind under and overactive executive centers in the brain along with development of these skills as we age.

How does LifeTutors coach executive function?

Coaches continuously partner with young adults as they develop and refine executive function from day one of the coaching relationship. Examples include:

  • Goal setting and planning
  • Utilizing calendars
  • Setting reminders and alarms
  • Body doubling
  • Breathwork (supporting emotional regulation)
  • Nervous system regulation (?)
  • Holding Accountability
  • Time blocking
  • Prioritizing tasks
  • Identifying and executing the next step toward task completion
  • Building supportive habits
  • Promoting follow-through
  • Mood tracking
  • …and more!

As an integral component of mental health, understanding executive functions is crucial for individuals seeking to maximize their potential. This encompasses the ability to plan, organize, prioritize, and strategize; all key skills necessary for achieving academic, professional, and personal success. Coaches specializing in motivational interviewing, ADHD coaching, and executive functioning can provide invaluable guidance in developing those skills. Additionally, coaching in areas such as financial literacy, independent living, and life skills can equip individuals with the tools needed to navigate the complexities of adulthood. For students, support in areas beyond academic success is essential for a fulfilling college experience. Moreover, a focus on planning for the future can help individuals set achievable goals and develop a roadmap for their personal and professional aspirations.