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I often get emails like the following, asking for how to find a coach:
I need an Executive Skills Coach for my child who is resistant to any help, but starting to realize that she needs it as she is about to start high school… Any recs would be much appreciated. Keep up the good work.
- How to help a child who is resistant
- How to pick the right coach
- Ways to find a coach in the first place
- Exactly how to search the internet for a coach
- How to interview a potential coach to make sure it’s a fit
- What NOT to do when hiring a coach
- My 2 best tips for getting a coach
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Hey, good morning. This is Seth with SethPerler.com. Hope you’re doing good. I’m going to make a little video here for you on a new topic. I have an email from somebody and it says this, “I had a quick question since it appears you’re no longer here in Boulder, and now I’m in Santa Monica. I need an executive skills coach or an executive function coach for my child who is resistant to any help, but starting to realize that she needs it as she’s about to start high school. So any recommendations would be appreciated. Keep up the good work.”
So how do we do this? So what I did is I made some notes here to give you some ideas for this question. So one thing is, is that I do get a lot of emails about this. I get a lot of people from all over asking me, “Do you know an executive function coach in Alaska or in Florida,” or usually will give me like a specific city and I get such interesting emails from all over, places where I have no idea where anybody is. So I’ve answered this question a lot Because I’ll email them back and I’ll say, “Well here is what I would do to look.” And there are some key concepts I wrote down, some key concepts and terms of how you can find an ADHD coach or executive function coach in your area. So the first thing I’m going to do is I’m going to address the resistant child syndrome. Okay, all kids who come to me are resistant, so I want to talk about why they’re resistant. So there are four main reasons that I have on why kids are resistant to getting this sort of help.
First thing, before even tell you one of these reasons, is that I can’t help a kid who’s totally resistant to help. It’s just a waste of time. And if your child is there with somebody that they’re working with, it’s a waste of your time, it’s a waste of your energy, it’s a waste of your money. Obviously, you want to help your child. But how are you going to get them to receive the help if they’re resistant? So first of all, if they’re completely resistant it’s not going to work. So you have to find somebody who they will work with, or you have to get the door cracked just that much and I’ll explain a little bit about how to do that. Now what happens with me is I get a lot of parents who will contact me and let’s say, We want to go ahead and work with you or we want to explore working with you, we want to set up the meet and greet.” So what I do is I do something called a 30-minute meet and greet, and usually last 45 minutes to an hour, but it’s basically a time when I get to meet the family, so I get to meet the parents and child and the child gets to know me personally. And when the parents says, “Well what if my kid won’t even come to the meet and greet ?” Here is what I always say. If you’re a coach or therapist or tutor watching this feel free to steal this idea because it’s really important that the child feels emotionally safe to come meet me. So what I do when the parent says “Well what my kid doesn’t even want to meet you.” What I say is “Look, tell them that it’s 5 minutes, literally 5 minutes. If after 5 minutes after they meet me if they hate me, tell them they can go. And I mean that when I say that to parents, like if they really don’t resonate with me fine, but the child needs to feel like there’s an escape. They need to feel emotionally safe. They don’t know me. They don’t know a tutor. They don’t know a therapist. They don’t know a doctor. They don’t know a psychiatrist. This is scary when they’re told, when the child feels like ‘something is wrong with me and I’m going to this person to be fixed and I’m broken,’ like that’s not the case, but that’s often how the child will feel. So they need to feel emotionally safe that they can escape the situation. So you as the parent needs to say, “Look let’s just meet him. (whoever the person you’re looking at is). Let’s just meet this person for 5 minutes. If you don’t like them, I promise you we will leave. But you as a parent have to actually leave if it’s not resonating. And you’ll be able to tell right away if it’s resonating or not. The resistance comes because they don’t want to commit to something that feels bad to them.
So another reason, and that that is another of the reasons why they are resistant, is because they have had a lot of bad associations. So they have had associations with tutors, therapists, pullout programs, school programs, things where they felt bad about who they are, about that they can’t fit in the box, that they’re supposed to change how they are, that they can’t do it well enough, that they can’t do it fast enough. So they had to have these associations and associations in their head that they’re different. They don’t want to be pulled out of class. They don’t want to look different to their friends, in front of their friends. They don’t want to look different by being the ‘dumb kid’ or the kid that goes to the tutor, and they’re not. But they don’t, all they focus on is they don’t want to feel different. They don’t want to feel like they stand out like something’s wrong with him.
Okay, so and then the next one is the next reason that their resistant is because oftentimes it’s abstract them. So when I do the meet-and-greet with that allows me to do is look at a kid and say, “Look, here’s how it works. Here’s what we would do. Here’s exactly how many days, here’s how many hours, here is what it would feel like.” Meanwhile, they get to know what it’s going to feel like because they’re interacting with me and it and I do not make my kids feel stressed. I really work on focusing on their strengths and what’s going right with them and what I see, and then I give them a lot of ownership and say, “How do you want to improve, what are your goals?” So that ownership helps a lot.
So with the resistance, there are four key points to the resistance. If they are resistant to getting help, (1) I can’t help someone who’s 100% resistant, (2) the meet and greet really helps and telling them just give it five minutes and see how it feels, (3) they have a lot of bad associations with how they feel bad about themselves or how they feel different with experiences that they’ve had so they’re projecting those experiences on to whoever you’re trying to get them to work with, (4) that it’s abstract. They don’t know what ‘help’ means and so they need concrete. They need to know what help means, and that’s again where a meet and greet can help. But if the person who you’re seeing doesn’t do a meet and greet, you can look at their site and figure out more concrete ways in terms of how they work or you can do a call with them to find out.
Next, how do you pick a coach? So I have a few different ways to how you pick a coach, three main ways: (1) Who are you going to ask to find the coach locally? (2) How are you going to search for a coach if you’re searching on Google? (3) And how do you interview the coach? So these are all about how do you pick a coach? So if you’re looking for a coach, who you going to ask.
One, there are people called Educational Consultants and they will help you often know how to find treatment centers, boarding schools, but they can also help you to find local coaches. There are often very connected, their fingers are on the pulse of what’s going on in your area.
Two, Facebook groups in your area that have to do with education, or there a lot of massive like ADHD groups. So a lot of times you can find executive function coaches through an ADHD group or an Autism group, and even if it’s not in your area you can find Facebook groups that can help you get directed to the place you’re trying to go.
Three, ask your friends, ask people that you know who you know, because you might find a real gem just through asking friends who are not called an ‘executive function coach’ or whatever you’re specifically looking for. So ask your friends. Three, ask your doctor. Four, ask therapists, local therapists or therapists that you know, or a therapist that you’re seeing or psychiatrist or psychologist, but also neuropsychs. Neuropsychs in particular do a really wide range of testing, so they do a lot of testing and then they refer people out. So you might get a neuropsych test for your child, those can cost $2,000 – $3,000 for thorough extensive testing if that’s needed. But neuropsychs are very connected with coaches in your area and they refer out a lot. So those are who you’re going to ask if you’re trying to find a good coach.
Next, how are you going to search for a coach online? Well you’re going to search for ‘executive function coach,’ although there isn’t a lot you can search for. You can search for an ‘educational therapist.’ They may be good for what your child’s going through. You can search for an ADD coach or you can search for an ADHD coach. So do both Google searches, ADHD coach in your city, and ADD coach in your city. You can search for tutors. Now, there are some people who are tutors who are exceptional with organizational and study skill stuff. So I have one in Colorado, Jenna Bee, and she doesn’t call herself a tutor or an SAT coach or really anything, but she is an incredibly gifted and talented person working when working with these kids. So I’ll refer to her a lot, but parents don’t even necessarily know what to call her because she doesn’t have a title like that, but she’s amazing. So don’t worry too much about the title. But back to what you’re going to search for, search for the word tutors in your area, and you can also search for an online coach. So some kids, I do Skype coaching with some of my students. Now that comes back to the resistance question. If a kid is really resistant, online is not good. But if the doors open, then you can find an online coach. Now, there’s one that I know of that somebody recently mentioned to me, her name is Gretchen Wegner and I think she’s the Anti-boring Coach is what she calls herself. I don’t know her so I’m not referring her, but I looked at her site recently. I think she’s doing some cool stuff. So somebody like her, you can check her out. Gretchen, hi, I don’t know if you’re watching this but shout out to Gretchen, whoever that is, because she’s done some interesting stuff and she does a lot of online stuff so that can be a good one for you.
Okay, that is how do you search to find the person. More or less Google search. So first I talk about picking a coach, who to ask, how to search. Next, how do you interview a coach? Okay. So basically what I do is a meet and greet, and I wish more coaches, doctors, therapists would do a meet-and-greet because there’s no commitment. They can just get to know you. So I do a free meet-and-greet, but basically you want to interview them to see if it’s a match. Okay, the number one most important thing. Number one, when your child is working with someone, is to see if there’s rapport. If the person who your child is working with knows how to develop good rapport with your child and your child feels like they’re having a good relationship with them, like they feel good around them, like they joke around together and stuff like that. That’s number one to me because if your child trusts the person and has fun with a person feels good about himself with the coach that you’re going to set them up with, then that coach can help them soar. Okay, if your child is resistant because they don’t resonate with that person, I’m going to tell you most likely unless the person could build that relationship, most likely it’s going to be a waste of your time, energy, and money. So number one when you interview someone is to see if there’s rapport with your kid. You want your kid to meet them. Don’t just do the interview yourself, you want your kid to get on the phone or get on Skype with them or in person with the meat and greet, which I think is the best way because it’s in person, but you want to see if there’s rapport there.
You also want to make sure that the coach that you’re working with is very honest. So for example, if I’m working with a family and it’s not working, I will tell them. Or if they’re not resonating with the kid, I will tell them, “Don’t use me, go to such-and-such.” I refer out like crazy. I am not the person for everybody and I don’t want to be. I want to work with people who I really resonate with, for myself too, like I like to work with people who I resonate with, I don’t like to work with kids who I don’t resonate with. So you want a coach who is going to be honest with you and who’s going to tell you, “I’m not the person for you.” Okay, if that’s the case, and that’s not just about getting more clients but a coach that’s about getting you the help you need. So you want to look for that when you interview coach, you want to get that vibe from them that they’re not just about the money, that they’re about helping you first and foremost.
And you want someone who offers what you need. Now, I do a very robust offering of services. So I do school visits, RTI, 504, IEP meetings, I email teachers personally. I help kids make their own advocacy emails. I have parents learn how to write advocacy email so that they can email teachers in an effective way that’s going to get a response. I will contact school counselors, administrators. I do one-to-ones with my kids, I do groups with kids, I do parent sessions, I do parent coaching. So I charge by the semester. So basically I say “give me this much money for the semester and I’ll take care of anything and everything that possibly comes up.” Now, that’s how I work. Now, whoever you work with you just want to make sure that they’re going to cover the bases that you need. If you have a freak out on a Saturday morning and you really need to talk to that coach and get some tips on your child. And you know that that happens sometimes, you want a coach that has that kind of flexibility that they can get back with you in a reasonable amount of time. Some coaches are 50 minutes once a week, to me that absolutely doesn’t work. I text my kids, I call my kids, I email my kids. I’m in contact with them. Some of them need tons of support like that, some don’t, the idea that they’re going to need less and less and less and less support. But when you go to somebody who just has a very fixed time and it’s very rigid, that doesn’t work for a lot of outside the box kids. But if they feel like they offer what you need, trust them
So to find a good coach interview them, just make sure that they are meeting the needs. I guess the things again that I would be saying is do they do one-on-one, do they do group (my group is very powerful, the kids feel like they’re part of something and they don’t feel like outcasts in this group because everybody is struggling in the group). And it’s fun. Do they do one-on-one, do they do group, do they do home visits? I do home visits which I think are very important because I have to see where they’re studying and make sure that that environment is conducive to them being able to focus. Are they doing home visits? Are they doing in school visits when you need it? Are they available when you’re having times when you really need to contact them and need help? So just see about those things.
Some of the things not to do when you’re finding a coach is, do not believe that any system will work. Just because the coach says I do the XYZ system, this is my thing, and here’s how it work. If your gut doesn’t resonate with that system, you better trust your gut. So number (1) Don’t just believe any system works just because it’s a pretty fancy system wrapped up in a nice package. You should be skeptical. (2) listen to your gut. If your gut feeling says “I’m not sure about this person,” don’t hire them. (3) Don’t look for professionalism. This is what I’m wearing today, when I’m working with my kids I try to look cool so that I can relate to the kids. Now, that’s me. I’m not saying that people who dress in suits and dress really quote professionally aren’t going to help your kid. But don’t pick them because of that. Ultimately you want someone who can build that rapport with your child. So and if you walk into an office and it looks really pretty and really sterile and really perfect, imagine how your child’s going to feel. It feels very clinical. My office has skateboards and games and posters and rock and roll and stuff that I want. I want my kids to feel comfortable in my space. Again, I’m not saying that the other type is wrong, but be aware. Don’t just look on the surface, really look beyond that. So if you find a coach and they look like they’re ADD and how are they going to help your kid, but they relate to your kid and they can help your kid move forward. That’s all you care about you. You do not need to worry about how it looks on the outside. Okay, don’t judge a book by its cover. So really look for it again that rapport.
And then next, don’t get someone that your kid hates. So if you think they’re amazing, but your kid doesn’t like them, don’t do it. It’s not going to work. Next is the cost. Cost is very weird in this whole industry. And you got to look, do they charge for an hour, do they charge by semester? Do they charge by a program that’s a month-long or whatever, don’t judge it too much by the cost. What you want to do is you want to walk out of there saying to yourself, “Is this going to help my child’s future” and that’s what the cost is really covering. If you believe that it’s going to help then it doesn’t matter how much it costs. If you don’t believe it’s going to help then don’t pay for it. But the costs are going to be weird, people pick costs in different ways. And the person who you’re working with has put a lot of intention behind designing their cost and they’re trying to cover their costs for the business and make a living and help you. So don’t get too skeptical about it. You can definitely question them on it. And you want to be clear on what does it include, and you don’t really want to be upsold or feel like anything weird is going on. But you want to come out of feeling like okay, “I believe I’m going to pay this much money and this should help my kid get a better life,” and if that’s the case then whatever cost, pay it because it will also save you money in the future because you won’t be doing as many tutors and you won’t be doing blah blah blah. It’ll save you emotions, all kinds of things. So if the person resonates then it’s good.
I want to come back and I want to review the two biggest tips from this whole, I don’t even know how long I’ve been talking, 18 minutes, on how to take a coach. Two best tips, number one (1) if that person can build rapport with your child. That’s the most important thing in the world. If they can build rapport with your child and push your child past their comfort zone. So what I try to do is push my kids past their comfort zone but not past their threshold. So they will not grow if I can’t push them past their comfort zone. Just like when you’re working out you have to get past your comfort zone. But if you push it past the threshold when you’re working out too much, you’re not going to be able to work out at all for the next several days. So there’s a fine balance there, but you want someone who can build rapport with your child and who can push them beyond their comfort zone but not past their threshold. That’s one of the two most important tips. And the second most important if I think this whole thing is (2) if your child is resistant, then tell them, “Cool you can be resistant as you want. Just give him five minutes. Okay, just give the person 5 minutes. That’s all I ask. If you hate him we’ll leave, I promise,” and then you got to keep that promise. Alright, I hope you have an awesome day.