Somebody just posted this on my TEFOS Facebook group:
I’m looking for a virtual executive function coach/tutor to work with my 16-year-old. Any advice on how to find a good person?”
I get emails like this all the time, from parents asking me to recommend a “good” EF coach. This is not a matter of a quick recommendation, so I always reply with a video from my YouTube channel and blog that I made about how to find one. (Click here to watch that).
Well, today I’m going to give you some updated thoughts on this topic as well as a PDF checklist you can print to help you find one.
Click here to download the “HOW to find an Executive Function Coach” PDF.
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Video Transcript: Click here to download the transcript PDF.
Parents if you are looking for a great executive function coach, this video is for you. I’m going to discuss in this video 14 quick tips, some of them might be surprising and very helpful to you in terms of being able to help your child. And then I have 11 questions that you can ask them. I also made a PDF with this video so you can print it off, and you can use it to guide you in your search for a great executive function coach to help your kid.
What’s up parents? My name is Seth Perler. I am an executive function coach based out of Maui and I help struggling students navigate this thing called education so that they can have a great life. So somebody just posted this in a Facebook group that I run called TEFOS, The Executive Function Online Summit. We have an amazing Facebook group with all these awesome parents and they’re very supportive and very compassionate parents. This parents that “I’m looking for a virtual executive function coach or tutor work with my 16 year old. Any advice on how to find a good person?”
Yes, I’ve got plenty of advice for you. So I get emails like this all the time from parents who asked me to recommend somebody, oftentimes in a city that I don’t know anything about, or I don’t even know anybody. And it’s really hard for me, especially if it’s in another country, like I don’t know who to recommend you to. But I got so many of these emails that I made a video which I’ll link here that discusses how to find a coach. Now in this video, I’m just going to take some different twists on telling you how to find a different coach. But these two videos in conjunction can really help you not waste time, energy, and money on finding the wrong coach. So I want to make it clear that this is not a matter of me just recommending someone to you. A bunch of people in my Facebook group recommended Yulia Rafailova. As a coach, she is the best executive function coach I know. She’s amazing, but she is not right for everybody. I’m not right for everybody, you have to find who’s right for you. And I definitely recommend looking into her because she is fantastic. She’s sharp, she’s intelligent, and she connects with kids. But anyhow, this isn’t just about a quick recommendation. So I send them this video that I’ll link here to help them, but this video will help you as well. I’ll give you an update, and I’ll give you a PDF with this one. So here we go. Let’s get into the 14 tips.
Number 1: I have a group executive function program, I don’t really take on many one two ones anymore, just because I don’t have time for anybody and I have a waitlist out the wazoo. But I do run a group program, which is phenomenal. Look at the program, see if you like it. It’s called UGYG, it’s on my Seth Perler site. Next look at my program, scour through it. And look at other programs that other coaches offer. Look at many coaches websites, see how they coach.
Number 2: And what I want you to do on the second tip here is write out when you see something in my copy or an other website copy that you like that you want in a coach, your deal breakers, you need a coach who does this, this and this. Jot it on the list of your wish list of what you want a coach that will help you be really clear when you interview a coach of what you can find. Again, so you don’t waste a bunch of time so you can find the right person.
Number 3: Is there buy-in? If your kiddo doesn’t have buy-in, you’re not going to use the best coach in the world isn’t going to do any good. So you want to make sure that there is some buy-in from your child. I’ll talk more about that later in this video.
Number 4: Next, my tip for you is to look for a coach who’s willing to have the difficult conversations with you. You don’t want a coach who sort of tiptoes around difficult issues with you, you want a coach who can be very honest with you, very direct with you about their concerns. When they see something that’s a concern, you just want to help your kid, it’s not about your feelings. It’s not about you. It’s not about the parents, it’s not about the coach, it’s about your kid. So you want someone in my opinion, on this step, you want a coach who will have difficult conversations with you bluntly. And it doesn’t mean that they know everything or that they’re right about everything, but you want them to have the backbone to tell you what they see so that your kid can get the help they need.
Number 5: Beware of word of mouth recommendations. You might have two or three people recommend the same coach. That doesn’t mean they’re right for your kid, okay. So be aware that they’re great recommendations, but you still want to do your due diligence, because this is a lot about the relationship between the coach and your child and the connection there. So just don’t just say “Oh, a bunch of people recommended him so they must be great.” No, that is not true of any coach in any field.
Number 6: All coaches look good on paper. In other words, all coaches look good on their website usually. And so this is true for schools too. All schools look amazing on the website and I’ve seen a lot of families go to a school that seems so amazing, but once they’re in it for a couple of months, they realize it’s really not a match. So just be aware of what you read on the internet, take it with a grain of salt, you want to do your due diligence, as I said.
Number 7: This one’s important. Good coaches deal with resistance. In other words, your child is resistant, they procrastinate. They don’t want help, they don’t want your help, they don’t want advice, they bla bla bla bla bla. They are resistant to execution to doing the things that they need to do to have a great life for themselves. That’s the problem here. That’s what executive function challenges are all about. So if you have a coach who doesn’t help your child deal with their own resistance, you’re missing a massive portion of the battle here. I cannot help a child with executive function with just strategies. I can have the best strategies in the world, but if I’m not helping them deal with their own mindsets and resistance, then I can’t do any good. So just be aware of that, that you want someone who deals with resistance as well.
Number 8: Now, a good coach. A good coach, also, you will find gets more and more buy-in with your child as time goes on. So a coach has been working with your child for four or five months, and they’re getting more buy-in from your child, that’s a good coach. And how do they do that? They do it by building trust with your child, giving your child small wins, building successes with your child, building their relationship with your child, so that your child feels safe with them to take risks to grow. So a good coach gets more by him.
Number 9: This one’s difficult to say, but here is the truth. Your child may not be ready. If your child is not ready for a good coach and you get the best coach in the world, again, it doesn’t matter because there’s no buy-in. And if your child’s not ready, then you’re not even at the ‘find a good coach’ time. And I say that with a grain of salt. Because if you get a great coach that connects with your kids, they can help them become ready. But what I want you to leave this number nine with, with your child may not be ready is you may be in a place where you really are, you don’t need a coach right now, you need a therapist or a counselor, or a psychologist or psychiatrist, or family therapy, or a grade school counselor. or a mentor or teacher, or any number of things just to help them get to the point of being ready. And that can be a very long journey, depending on where your child’s at in life. So you need to be really honest with yourself, is your child actually ready? And if they’re not what things need to happen to get them ready.
Number 10: Be aware of how you get your child to be open to the idea of coaching, you want to make it their idea. And oftentimes parents nag or lecture or use logic or use reason or all these things and parents are trying to be helpful, but it’s not landing, your child’s not hearing what you’re trying to communicate. So you really want to be aware of how you get your child to be open to this idea. Is it a way where they’re going to feel like it’s their idea where they’re going to be likely to have buy-in. So that is number 10.
Number 11: A really interesting tip for you. And that is this. Don’t just look for executive function coaches. You might look for ADHD coaches, you might look for speech-language pathologists, there might be an amazing person who works at the school, who’s a para-educator who just gets your child and you might be able to hire a high school or college student that’s a really strong student, but that also connects with your kid. And the person you hire thinks they’re just the tutor, let’s say, but they are really doing a lot of executive function stuff with your child as well. They’re really helping them with this stuff. So be aware that there might be somebody right in front of you right now, who connects with your kid, or you might be able to find somebody very easily who connects with your kid, and can be their executive function coach, even if they’re not called an executive function coach. So number 11 is don’t just look for executive function coaches, there are a lot of amazing people out there that can help your child.
Number 12: Be aware of certifications as proof that they can help your child. I was a teacher for 12 years. And as a teacher, we the staff, we go through so many staff trainings, and we get so many certificates for things. And I can’t tell you how many of those certificates that I, or we teachers, receive that are pretty meaningless. It’s a piece of paper, you’ve gone through a training, it may or may not have helped you, but we have a piece of paper. Now, I’m not saying that your coaches certificates are valueless. They may have gotten a lot out of where they went for those trainings, and they may be exceptional. But don’t just think that just because they have a bunch of these certificates that that means that they’re qualified, because I don’t really care about qualification. I care that they’re connecting with their child and they’re qualified. I mean, they’re not connecting, what good is it?
Number 13: Get someone who’s flexible with how they help. So for example, even in my group program, I do 1:1’s in my group program. I text kids in my group program. I’ll say “Hey, when do you want me to text you? Oh, Saturday at noon to remind you something?” like I go above and beyond to do things that are unconventional. So you want to find somebody who is flexible, not where they just have like an hour set aside for your kid every week and it’s just a very cookie-cutter in-the-box thing. But you want someone who has the flexibility to say, “Oh, your kiddo needs something a little bit different. And I’m willing to do that.” So find out about their flexibility.
Number 14: The last tip is this. Don’t just hire a coach, or mentor or tutor, or whatever it is. Get to know them first, before you ever hire them with a meet and greet, you can do it on Zoom, you can do it on phone, you can do it in person if times are safe to be in person and such. But get to know them first. So I do with my clients a meet and greet a free meet and greet, about half-hour, 45 minutes. And in typical times, you know, we’ll meet at a coffee shop or my office or whatever. And I really, it’s my job to get to know the student, the child, and it’s their job to get to know me, so it’s just getting to know each other. And when I leave my meet and greets what I say to families is this, “Don’t tell me now if you want to work with me or not, go home and think about it for a day or two. I’m in no rush. You tell me when you’re ready, you’ll know if it’s right.” And I say to the students, you know, “If you if you’re like, hey, this Seth guy is kind of cool. I think I could work with them,” then tell your parents “Yeah.” And if there’s something in you that’s like, “No, I’m not ready,” or “I don’t like this guy,” or whatever. Tell him no. And so I, I don’t like to work with people who don’t want to work with me and don’t have buy-in. That is not how I can be most effective. But I don’t really think that’s really good for any of our kids. You want them to have a meet and greet, you want to have meet and greet with the coach. But you also want your kid to have time with that person. Again, on the phone, on Zoom, whatever. Number 14 is the most important tip I can give you. The person has to connect with your child, your child has to connect with them. If there’s no connection or very little connection, you’re probably wasting your time, energy, and money. So find someone that your kid connects with. And your kid says “Eh, they’re okay. I’ll try it.” Like for a lot of you that may be a gigantic win if your kids like, “I kind of like him.” Like that might be a giant win. But you know, if your kid is like, “Yeah, I connected with them. I think that that person’s kind of cool. I could see myself working with them,” then you’re ready to get started with a good coach.
Number 15 – Bonus Tip: Once your kid says they’re going to start know this, there’s still going to be resistance. Like that first time that they do an actual session your kids probably going to be hemming and hawing and stuff like that, accept that, embrace it. Okay, that’s okay, that’s totally normal. So that’s okay, that’s part of it. That’s a huge part of the process is that they’re going to continue to be resistant in all kinds of ways.
Now, I’m going to give you 11 questions to ask a coach, I’m going to go through this part pretty quickly. Again, this is in the PDF, print the PDF for my website, or wherever you are watching this video.
Question 1: Why they became a coach? I like heart-centered people. Okay, so I’m looking for, when I asked that question, why did you become a coach, I’m looking for heart. And if you watch my TEFOS summit, all my speakers, I get them because they’re coming from here. They’re not coming from here. They’re coming from here, heart first. So why did you become a coach? I’d be interested to ask them that.
Question 2: What’s your goal when coaching? My goal with coaching is that kids can have a good adult life, I’m very focused on their future. I don’t care about grades, I don’t care about test scores. Now those things go up as a result of good coaching. But that’s not my focus. I don’t even believe in grades. But they go up with good coaching. But that’s not my goal. My goal is that my students have a good life now as a child, or young person, and that they have a good future. That’s my goal. So what is their goal when coaching ask them that and see what kind of answers you get. And it doesn’t have to be my answer, but find an answer that you like, you know,
Question 3: How can my child meet you to see if it’s a mutual match? That’s just what I call the meet and greet for me. So how can my child meet you to see if it’s a mutual match? To see if there’s buy-in and to see if your kid likes the person if there’s connection.
Question 4: How would you describe your coaching style or your coaching approach? So you want to know what does it look like when they’re taking your child on this journey of transformation because the good coaches helping your child transform their life. So what’s their style? What’s their approach? How do they get your child from point A to point B?
Question 5: Are they good at tech? Next, ask them if they’re good with tech, I am doing tech all the time on Zoom. I’m having kids screen share with me, show me their grades, show me their portals. I can look at the portals on my end. My kids know how to screen share, I know how to screen share, I know how to see multiple students, I know how to record their passwords for their portal so that I can be looking at them on my end. I know how to use documents simultaneously so I can guide them in writing. The person has to know how to be doing this tech stuff so that they can really be supporting your child and knowing how to get into the portals and stuff because those are such a big part of education right now. They really need to know how to navigate that stuff. So ask them about tech. That was number five.
Question 6: How do you, the coach, support families in unconventional ways in case my kid needs something different? So again, like me texting kids on a Saturday morning, or something like that, like, are they going to go above and beyond? And like, would they show up to an IEP meeting online with you guys if you needed it? Would they write IEP recommendations? Would they give you time to discuss IEP or 504 accommodations or modifications? You know, are they doing things? If there’s something unconventional about your child can you count on them to go above and beyond for you?
Question 7: How do you help students work with their own resistance? I already mentioned that, but that’s a massive question.
Question 8: How do you coach parents during the process? If they’re not involved with you and they’re not like helping you see things about your approach and your parenting and in the blocks that you have, you’re missing a big part of how you can help your child.
Question 9: How is your executive function? And how does that impact your coaching? Now, I struggle with executive function. I failed out of college, dropped out of a second college before failing out, almost failed out of high school. I mean, I was the kid that I work with. I struggled with these things. I know what it’s like. I’ve moved through all this stuff. That’s what makes me good at what I do. But that doesn’t mean that someone with exceptional executive function isn’t good at what they do. But either way, I think you should ask them how theirs is and how it impacts them because we all have different stories in different strings. But I think that’s an important one and an interesting one to see what the answers are from the different coaches.
Question 10: What if my child doesn’t want to work with you anymore? Are we stuck paying you a certain amount of money? Are you flexible? Do you have a guarantee? What if my kid doesn’t want to work with you? Because you don’t want to be stuck in a situation that’s not working and feel like they’re not giving you anything, and they’ve taken your money. So be aware of that stuff.
Question 11: Do you have any referrals we could call? And like I said before, take the word amounts with a grain of salt, but it’s good to call one or two referrals and feel it out.
My name is Seth Perler. I’m an executive function coach based out of Maui. Go to my site SethPerler.com, I got a bunch of freebies and all kinds of resources for you and your child. And if you like what I’m doing, if this helped you, please subscribe to my site and share my work. Give it a thumbs up and leave a comment below. What tips do you have for finding a good coach or for being aware of a coach that’s not right for you? Do you have any tips for us leave in the comments, or just let me know what you thought of the video. I hope you are well. I hope you’re safe. I hope you and your family are safe. And I send out a new video every single Sunday on my list. If you are not subscribed, check it out. And you can check out my TEFOS summit as well, The Executive Function Online Summit all of this stuff, I’ll link it below. Alright, I’m done rambling. Have a fantastic day. Go find an awesome coach. You got this. Take care.