What is Executive Functioning? (ADHD)

Let’s start with an Executive Function Definition

When you receive an ADHD diagnosis, you need to learn a whole new world of terminology. Perhaps the most important term to understand is “executive functions” (or executive functioning).

You’ll hear “Executive functions” frequently used by educators, physicians and other professionals concerned with helping people with ADHD. Most of the definitions for executive functions are scientific and complex.  This one by LDOnline is pretty straightforward: (1)

The executive functions are a set of processes that all have to do with managing oneself and one’s resources in order to achieve a goal. It is an umbrella term for the neurologically-based skills involving mental control and self-regulation

ADHD Impacts Executive Functioning

Think of executive functioning as an aircraft controller for your brain and body. Executive function keeps you in control of:

  • Scheduling
  • Goal Setting
  • Organizing
  • Focusing
  • Prioritizing
  • Sticking with it when it gets tough (a.k.a. persistence)
  • Impulsiveness

Some scientists believe that the single greatest predictor of academic success is executive function.  Even more important that IQ! (2)  And ADHD impacts many or all of the above executive function areas. Turns out that the way ADHD affects the executive functions of the brain can be one of the most challenging parts of living with it.

Still students with ADHD are able to be extremely successfully in school and in life. Why?

ADHD is not a one-size-fits-all disability. Each person has their own, unique set of strengths and weaknesses. The key is to be introspective and understand yourself — know your strengths, your challenges, your passions, your aversions.

ADHD Coaching supports ADHD Success

An ADHD Coach help you learn life-long skills which will allow you to accentuate your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses. Sure, the greatest predictor of academic success may be strong executive functioning, but it isn’t the only thing that you need to succeed. You also need:

  • Awareness that you have ADHD and acknowledging it has special challenges
  • Willingness to ask for help
  • Seeking out the right resource
  • And finding the outside experts to help you develop a plan that works for you.  Like and Edge coach.

Edge Coaches understand how to work with ADHD. They have met the rigorous standards set by the Edge Foundation and are trained to working with students and young adults with ADHD. Our research proves that ADHD coaching works:

  • Students who received Edge coaching showed substantial gains in their overall approach to learning – their executive functioning actually improves! (3)
  • Students who received Edge coaching services showed significant improvement in their ability to organize, direct and manage cognitive activities, emotional responses and overt behaviors.
  • They were able to formulate goals more realistically and consistently work toward achieving them, manage their time more effectively, and stick with tasks even when they found them challenging.

Our coaches know how to help you discover your many strengths and talents – hidden and known – and bring them into the forefront. We are passionate about making a positive difference in the lives of students and young adults with ADHD. And most of all, we are ready to help you.

What are you waiting for?


(1)  Still want to learn more?  In 2008 Joyce Cooper-Kahn and Laurie Dietze wrote an excellent article for LDOnline that has stood the test of time.  It’s worth a read: What Is Executive Functioning?

(2) See Seattle Times interview of developmental molecular biologist John Medina

(3) ADHD students who participated in Edge coaching sessions demonstrated statistically significant, higher executive functioning than ADHD students who did not receive coaching. According to the study, “The magnitude of the effect size for self regulation was more than double the typical educational intervention, and executive functioning was quadruple. Findings with effect sizes that large are rare.”

Learn About Edge Executive Function Coaching


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3 Responses

  1. […] What is Executive Functioning? (ADHD) […]

  2. marie alford

    is there a executive function coach in Mandeville or Covington la area

  3. marie alford

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