What Executive Functions Skills Are & Why You Should Want to Get Coached on Them

Executive Functions are the ways you interact with the world in the present and future. Executive Function skills include:

• Goal Setting
• Planning
• Task Initiation
• Prioritizing
• Time Management
• Organizing
• Working Memory
• Focus
• Shift/Flexibility
• Meta-cognition
• Self Inhibition
• Emotional Regulation

All brains are not the same. How strong or weak one is on a specific executive function skill varies from person to person. Usually a person is strong in a few executive functions skills, weak in some other executive function skills and maybe middling on the remaining executive function skills. Each person’s brain has its own “equation.”

Whether I am working with someone affected by ADHD or someone who is simply weak in some executive function skills, the goal is to find ways for them to utilize their strengths to help compensate for their weaknesses. The first step is evaluating which executive function skills are stronger than others. Once we know that, we then evaluate what executive functions skills are needed for the person to achieve what they wish to achieve. Obviously, you use all of your executive function skills, but depending upon your goals, you will need some executive function skills more than others.

Different work situations demand different skills. Knowing your strengths can help you figure out how to work better for your own success and for the success of collaborative projects, success with people you supervise and success in your business or organization.

If the case of collaboration you want to choose people to work with whose strengths in executive function skills are in areas you are weak in. For example, if you are collaborating on building a bridge and you are not good at time management, you certainly want someone on your team who excels at that executive function skill. In a collaborative situation you want to create a situation where the executive function skills required to achieve success are fully represented. Usually this means more that you need more than one person.

So it follows if you supervise people, figuring their strengths and weaknesses regarding their executive function skills and knowing your own will give you excellent guidance on how to run your department.

If you own your own business, you want your first hires to be strong in skills you are somewhat weak in. Many an ADHD entrepreneur has gone under because their first hires did not to fill in where they were weak. Instead, they may hire like-minded people who have the same deficits that they do. This results in a new business growing with big blind spots.

Having a coach that knows a great deal about executive function skills can help you boost your performance and also the performance of the people around you. The more you know about yourself regarding executive function skills the better you will be at seeing other people’s skill sets and how to best mesh with them and/or lead them.

As stated in the beginning, executive function skills are the way you interact with the world in the present and the future. The right coaching can help maximize your strong executive function skills and find ways to compensate for your weaker executive function skills provided you work with a coach who understands executive function skills and their importance to success.

Abigail Wurf, PCC, M.Ed helps professionals, entrepreneurs, and small business owners affected by ADHD and/or Executive function issues achieve success in business and in life. Located in Washington DC, Abigail works with clients in person, over the phone and over the Internet. Her new book, “Forget Perfect: How to Succeed in Your Profession and Personal Life Even if You Have ADHD,” is loaded with tips to help overwhelmed people get things done and be more strategic about how to live their lives. To receive a free consult from Abigail, make a request through the contact form and she will get back with you to schedule.