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If you would like to speak to a member of our team before getting started, please contact us at 833-482-5558 or email [email protected]

Executive Functioning (EF) Coaching for kids, teens, and adults

If you’re  interested in neuroscience—and how the human brain works to support daily functioning—then you’ve probably heard of executive functions. Executive Functions, also known as EF, are a set of skills that help the brain stay organized, intentional, and strategic. When EF skills are working well, emotions are well-regulated too, allowing us to approach circumstances without feeling overwhelmed. When EF skills are not strong, however, we can feel disorganized, frustrated, and ineffective. EF Coaching can help support executive functioning skills.

At Possibilities we offer EF Coaching to children, adolescents, and adults. Here are some common questions about our EF Coaching service, along with our responses.

When executive functioning difficulties exist, working through daily goals and larger, long-term goals is difficult. For example, it’s hard figuring out the steps you need to work through tasks, and to estimate how long those steps are going to take. Coaching is an effective therapy for EF challenges because clinicians help clients tackle goals systematically by identifying concrete steps, brainstorming strategies, and checking back in to see what worked and what didn’t. Coaching can help move individuals forward, bringing them closer to achieving their goals and dreams.

Generally, an EF Coach is someone who helps individuals achieve specific, meaningful goals, especially when there are challenges getting started, staying organized, and getting tasks done. At Possibilities, our EF Coaches are Registered Allied Health and Education Professionals. We have registered Psychotherapists, Psychologists, Social Workers, Nurses, and Occupational Therapists, as well as licensed Educators, on our EF Coaching Team. Our coaches adhere to specific practice and clinic guidelines, while providing focused support.

Depending on client needs, additional approaches may be introduced into coaching sessions to support mental health, or increase understanding of executive functions to enhance effectiveness. Our coaches may use various approaches—from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)—to Psychoeducational approaches that explain how the brain works and how specific strategies can support EF skills. Approaches our coaches use are tailored to what our clients need.

Our coaches work with children, teens, and adults who are struggling to reach goals and get tasks done. The approaches and strategies we use in our Possibilities EF Coaching Program are adjusted in ways that are appropriate for clients across ages.

If you are an adult seeking coaching, you’ll work with an EF Coach in your first session to identify personal strengths, and review challenges that keep getting in the way of success. You’ll discuss executive functions as a set of skills that affect many aspects of daily living, and how challenges with these skills may be holding you back. Next, you’ll begin working collaboratively with your coach to craft goals and actions that promote meaningful change.  

Generally, here’s what you’ll do in EF Coaching:

  • Identify 3 to 4 meaningful goals that you want to work towards
  • Identify smaller steps to be taken over a specific period of time—usually a week—to accomplish specific tasks
  • Learn how to write small, easy-to-follow weekly goals or objectives
  • Explore organizational tools to help you stay on track with your goals
  • Use critical problem-solving skills to overcome obstacles that get in the way of your accomplishments
  • Identify effective strategies that can be applied to all areas of your life

 

For children and teens, goals and strategies are also explored with the EF Coach. Parents are involved in some of the child and teen sessions, too, to help provide information about school and home goals, and to help with strategies that will happen outside of the coaching sessions.

No, not entirely. Setting goals that are meaningful to you—and that you can achieve with support—is a big part of any EF Coaching program. But when goals become reality, you can begin to revise the stories you tell yourself about who you are, and what you’re able to accomplish. Maybe your stories have started with the words, “I can’t” or “I’ll never be able to…” When you start making goals happen, you can begin to see yourself as a person capable of achieving great things. The same change in thinking can occur for your child or teen, when success starts to happen more consistently and more often. So no, coaching isn’t just about getting tasks done. It’s about changing self-perceptions. It’s about giving discouragement, defeat, and disappointment a much smaller role in crafting stories about who you are—or who your child or teen is. Coaching is about encouraging through success, and growing confidence and esteem along the way.

At Possibilities, coaching is offered in six session blocks. Each session builds on the previous one, starting with a check-in on progress over the previous week. Your coach will discuss what worked well, what challenges arose, and what changes can be made going forward.

Of course! Big changes take time. Before your sixth coaching session, you and your EF Coach will discuss next steps for treatment. You have the option of continuing with more 6-session blocks and adding on booster sessions (e.g., 1 to 2 appointments per month) for maintenance and check-ins.

Coaching sessions typically happen once a week, or once every two weeks. This pace helps you and your coach set goals and establish strategies that can be implemented within 7 to 14  days. This pace also means you’ll likely see positive change faster, compared to progress that may happen if you’re attending coaching sessions infrequently. You have the flexibility to schedule your coaching sessions in advance, to ensure your session time is best for your schedule (though be sure to cancel within 3 business days if you can’t make your pre-set time to avoid being charged). If you’re not able to meet once a week, you and your coach can determine if meeting once every two weeks is a better fit. More than two weeks between sessions will make it difficult to determine which weekly goals were met, and which ones need to be revised.

The goals covered in coaching are determined by what is meaningful to each client. You may have goals that relate to work and home. Your child may have goals that relate to school and tasks you want them to accomplish at home. For all clients, whether adults, teens, or children, some “right now” goals are typically identified and tackled. These more immediate goals may relate to school or work responsibilities, job seeking or career performance, or must-do chores at home. They may relate to how well you and your partner are communicating in your relationship, or with other family members. Beyond daily functioning, some time is spent on Dream Goals, too—or the long-term, big and starry Moonshots—meaning the big goals you or your child have always wanted to accomplish. Maybe you’ve always wanted to sell your artwork, or be a store manager. Maybe your child wants to be an electrician or a marine biologist. EF Coaching can help create exciting possibilities for the future, too!

For children, a parent is usually involved in the EF Coaching sessions, but the timing, extent, and nature of participation depends on many factors, like your child’s age, and the goals being addressed. For teens hoping to work with a coach more independently, brief parent check-ins during some sessions may be more effective. The EF Coach will work with you and your child to determine what level of parent support will work best to support goals and independence.

Yes! We offer coaching services remotely through secure video sessions. Clients enjoy the convenience of this option, rather than travelling frequently to our Toronto office. We’ve expanded our reach, too. Our coaches now work with clients across Ontario—made possible by offering coaching services through secure video appointments. You must be physically present in Ontario during your video coaching sessions.

EF Coaching is not covered by OHIP, since medical doctors do not deliver this service. At Possibilities, licensed professionals from various fields offer EF Coaching, including Psychotherapists, Social Workers, Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, Nurses and Teachers. Insurance providers often cover services provided by various professionals. Please check with your insurance provider, if applicable, to determine which professions might be covered.

The cost of a 50-minute EF Coaching session ranges from $200 to $280, depending on the clinician providing the service.

Yes! You do not need a doctor’s referral to start working with one of our coaches.

For more information about the Possibilities EF Coaching service, please contact us at [email protected] or call 1-833-482-5558.

You can also get started right away by completing our Registration Form. Once this form is received, our Care Coordinator will review your needs, match you to an appropriate clinician, and get back to you with booking options.

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