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Interested In Becoming An Online Executive Function Coach?

Updated: May 7

Have you been feeling worn down by working in a large school? Perhaps, you want to transition from teaching, but don’t want to start a new career from scratch?

If you answered yes to either of these questions, you may want to consider leveraging your teaching skills to provide executive function coaching for students online.

Online executive function coaching is a rapidly developing education niche that focuses on helping students with organizational challenges develop skills related to task-initiation, time management, prioritization, communication and other “functions” that help them reach their goals.

As the founder of Executive Function Specialists, I watched my business grow from 1 to 30 clients in less than ten months during 2020, due to the fact that many students struggle with managing, tracking and completing the various assignments provided by their teachers.

Since then, my business has grown to serve over 150 families by a team of credentialed educators and educational therapists who I have trained in the art and science of executive function coaching.

I also have had the honor and privilege of speaking worldwide about how to support students with executive function challenges.

Recently, I completed my training course, “Become An Online Executive Function Specialists,” for educators who want to utilize their teaching skills to support students through online executive function coaching.

If you are thinking about a side-hustle or career switch, here are five skills you already possess that will make transitioning into online executive function coaching easy for you:

#1: You Know How To Write S.M.A.R.T. Goals

As a public school special education teacher, writing specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals (S.M.A.R.T) was the secret sauce to helping my students make yearly progress. Having this skill made it easy to work effectively with parents and students and track and measure their progress so they knew they were getting value from my coaching. As an online executive function coach, by starting my work with a student having a clear metric of success, we knew what we needed to focus on in each session.

As a teacher, you have been doing this for years, likely for many students, so making the leap to providing this for one student will be a piece of cake. Moreso, families will be immensely grateful when you set a goal and help their child reach it, which will quickly help you develop a reputation as an effective coach.

#2: You Know How To Chunk Big Projects Into Manageable Bits

Another critical skill to help students with executive function challenges is the ability to help them chunk test preparation and projects into manageable, daily bits. If you have worked as a learning specialist or special educator, you have been doing this your whole career! From helping students create a step by step study plan that they can check off each step of the way, to guiding them in plotting their assignments into a color-coded calendar, you’ve likely been doing this for years.

One of the core competencies of an online executive function coach is the ability to help a student break these larger, often overwhelming projects, into steps they can take each day. Parents of students with A.D.H.D. everywhere will sing your praises if you can apply this skill in your online coaching sessions, and by consistently providing this support for students, I was able to quickly grow from zero to thirty clients in less than 10 months.

#3: You Know How To Work With Parents

As a special educator, I learned that keeping parents informed and aware of the approach and plan I was taking with their child allowed them to feel involved and engaged. When a child would do something positive, I’d often write a short email to keep them informed of the good things that were happening. By filling up the “positive bank account,” when something challenging would come up, I would have the funds necessary to draw from if I needed their assistance.

As an executive function coach, I take detailed notes on all that my clients accomplish in our sessions, which I then easily send to parents through my customer relationship management system, Tutorbird. These weekly updates allow parents to engage in the process and reinforce what we are working out, rather than making them wait for an annual meeting. If you have been communicating with parents as a teacher, providing these updates from your sessions will be second nature, and will allow you to foster positive relationships with your clients.

#4: You Know How To Gather Baseline Data and Progress Monitor

Working with students with AD/HD., autism and other special needs, I learned the importance of having clear, measurable goals that could help me understand if the student was making progress in their areas of need.

To take it further, I found that having the student self-monitor their progress by showing them how to track their data on a Google Sheet boosted their confidence and increased their motivation. When the intervention wasn’t working, we would discuss the data and collaboratively adjust the approach.

Teaching this to one student at a time is often more manageable than attempting to teach it to an entire class, and can be life-changing for students who struggle with missing assignments, tracking their grades and communicating proactively with their teachers.

#5: You Know How To Celebrate The Small Wins

One of the most important things a great coach does is celebrate the small gains or what I like to call, “micro-wins.” In my sessions,I always start with things that are going well when working with a student and their family.

By starting this way, a student is more receptive to new ideas and feedback that can help them improve their organizational habits. While other teachers might describe a student as “lazy” or “careless”, it is my mission to find out what makes a student tick and how to motivate them.

As an experienced educator, you know the power of a kind word and can easily translate this skill into affirming and positive relationships with students that change their perspective on school into a positive one.

Don’t Forget to Add a Closing Statement

With all these tools in your toolbox, you are ready to create your own online coaching business and impact students with your wealth of experience. While it takes time to put your name out there and build a client base, the flexibility of creating your own schedule, working from home and trading paperwork for transformational relationships, is well worth the risk.

About the author

Sean G. McCormick is a former public school special education teacher who founded Executive Function Specialists to ensure all students with ADHD and Autism have access to high-quality online executive function coaching services. 

With this mission in mind, he then founded the Executive Function Coaching Academy which trains schools, educators, and individuals to learn the key approaches to improve executive function skills for students.

He is also the co-founder of UpSkill Specialists, a business with a mission to provide adults with ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder, access to high-quality executive function coaching services that can be accessed through Self-Determination funding.

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