What are Executive Function Skills?

EXECUTIVE FUNCTION SKILLS are the skills we need to get things done. From general household maintenance to completing projects for work on time. For a student, it means managing all sorts of school work in addition to extracurricular, social life and work.

The executive function skills are located in the prefrontal cortex. This is the part of the brain that is not fully formed until mid-20s. Therefore, most kids have weak executive function skills.

The operative word is SKILLS. It has nothing to do with intelligence.  Often students or adults with weak EF skills are deemed lazy or uncaring. This is false! All skills can be strengthened when working with a coach.


Working Memory – The ability to keep key information in mind while using it. Think about what is required when doing multi-step math problems or cooking dinner.

Self-Monitoring – Being self aware and paying attention to what is going on  in the moment

Planning & Prioritizing – The skill to plan your day, plan a mountain of schoolwork, or completing a big project for the client. The ability to use a calendar and remember to look at the calendar.

Task Initiation – Getting started is often the hardest part.

Organization – The ability to keep track of things physically and mentally.

Impulse Control – The ability to avoid peer pressure, to think before acting, to avoid getting lost in social media when there is an assignment due.

Emotional Control – Keeping emotions in check even when your frustration is high after making a mistake.

Flexible Thinking – The ability to go with the flow when plans or rules change.