Executive functions are key to executive coaching. Everyone has their own profile of strengths and weaknesses. Our success, failures and flow experiences inform us of them.
In my coaching, I strive to expand your awareness of your own best executive functions. After a detailed personal interview and assessment of goals, I suggest a well-known and validated executive function scale. It is not intended to provide detailed and abstracted neuropsychological constructs. Instead, it provides practical information about how you think, plan and achieve in your everyday life. These insights directly affect how you envision, pursue and accomplish your goals.
The principles of my coaching methods are:
- Executive Functions
- The effects of self-regulation and emotional states
- Positive Psychology
- Developmental Perspective
Details are given below.
I am a former primary care physician who worked helped many individuals with ADHD in my practice. Those experiences laid the groundwork for a deep interest in and study of executive functions. Not surprisingly, executive function deficits are now considered by authorities to be the essential cause of ADHD thinking, feeling, and behavior. (Russell Barkley, Thomas E. Brown).
Individuals with or without ADHD benefit from understanding their unique executive function profile. Your knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses relate to specific life circumstances. You may discover unsuspected strengths which can be now be recruited into particular circumstances, or used to compensate for relative weaknesses. You will learn which executive functions take up more energy and which energize you. Coaching shows you how to use them most efficiently. Your awareness and wise use of your mental resources help balance your life choices and actions, and make you more productive.
Self-regulation and Emotional states – their effects
ADHD Coaching has been for me a front-line crucible to learn about executive functions. It is here I learned the most about identifying needed and sometimes hidden strengths. At the same time, I learned about dealing with relative weaknesses, holding focus, and maintaining motivation.
Trained as an ADHD and Life Coach, I further came to view self-regulation (Barkley) and emotional states (Brown) as significantly broadening our understanding of executive functions.
Self-regulation for the purpose of self-interest leads to self-directed actions. We perform most effectively when we are self-aware, even yielding to regenerative flow states. Even in play (reconstitution), we selectively observe features of our environment, re-group, and re-synthesize into novel combinations.
Emotional states clearly affect, and are affected by executive functions. Emotionally-laden information and memories affect each of our executive functions, through our highly connected amygdala. Conversely, self-directed private speech, visual imagery, and intentional defenses against detracting thoughts influence and regulate our emotions.
Strengths inventories reveal us at our best. I find them helpful in my coaching program, particularly those offered by the VIA Institute on Character and the series offered by UPenn (Authentic Happiness). My coaching seeks to help clients recognize and employ these strengths and realizable goals, and leverage them to a client’s best advantage.
My coaching is highly informed by the life view offered by positive psychology. Positive psychology is about “what goes right in life…, that part of the human landscape that is metaphorically north of neutral” (Chris Peterson). It stresses well-being as Martin Seligman describes it in the acronym (PERMA): Positive emotion (P), Engagement (E) positive relationships (R), Meaning (M) and accomplishments (A). Now in its 26th year, positive psychology, and the scientific literature supporting it, are growing exponentially. Positive Psychology offers hope and deals with the substance of our lives, as we both seek personal goals, deal with setbacks, and live fruitfully with those around us. It also offers simple exercises by which one can enhance a sense of well-being.
My developmental perspective has been honed, deepened, and validated by my experiences as a pediatrician. It resulted from my on-the-scene and boots-on-the-ground interaction with adolescents and their parents. Those experiences, requiring focused awareness and communication flexibility, have informed my coaching of both adolescents and adults. Beyond rote achievements, they have provided me with an intuitive understanding of human behavior, meaningful milestones, and transitions. Finally, my entire background confirms a growth mindset , seeing intelligence as expandable, defining a person not by failures but by learning, perseverance, and grit.
The name of my original web site is www.validationcoaching.com , from which I offer coaching to those with ADHD. It uses the word VALIDATION. By that choice, I mean to say: Every individual has value in their humanity, dignity, and aspirations.