Executive Functioning (EF) is a broad term that covers all the skills and strategies that allow you to choose and control your own behavior. To put it another way:
Executive Functioning is what allows you to take any idea, desire, or decision in your head and actually do something to bring it into reality.
We know, it’s not the simplest answer. But Executive Functioning is not simple, and we can’t pretend it is.
Broadly, we can break it down into two categories: EF skills and EF strategies.
Executive Functioning skills are cognitive processes. These abilities have been shaped over the course of your life by genetic and environmental factors. When we talk about EF skills, we’re talking about how your brain works. The term ‘Executive Functioning’ was originally developed to refer to these skills, and this is still the technically correct usage of the term.
Executive Functioning strategies are the systems, structures, and supports you use to accomplish things that are beyond your natural ability. When we talk about EF strategies, we’re talking about the external and observable things you do. Taking notes or keeping a planner, for example. If you’ve heard the term Executive Functioning before, it’s most likely been in reference to these strategies. It’s the more common usage of the term.
Both are important. Both are unique to you. Both can be changed.
The truth is that it’s difficult to explain Executive Functioning in a FAQ answer that’s short enough to keep anyone’s attention. If you’d like to learn more, click below to be taken to our blog post “What is Executive Functioning?”
An Executive Functioning Coach is an expert whose job is three-fold.
First, your EF Coach helps you gain an awareness of your current Executive Functioning. They help you learn how you work and why you’ve been struggling with some things and succeeding with others.
Second, your EF Coach helps you gain an awareness of what is required to accomplish the things you want to accomplish and they help you develop the systems, structures, and supports you need in order to bridge the gap between what you are capable of naturally and what it is that you are trying to do.
Third, your EF Coach helps you develop your Executive Functioning. Your ability to choose and control your own behavior will grow over time as you strengthen your cognitive Executive Functioning skills. As you grow, you’ll need less and less time, energy, and support to accomplish the things you want to accomplish.