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What is the research basis for the training programs in the Executive Function Coaching Academy?

Updated: Jul 11, 2023

I recently received this question from an interested participant in the Executive Function Coaching Academy seeking to determine if our program would be a good match:

I am interested in your executive functioning certification course but want to make sure it is the best fit for me. I am a speech therapist currently looking to improve my clinical work with pediatric and adult patients.
I also want to ability to see clients on the side because I recognize that many people need support with these skills - not just those with language disorders. I use research to guide everything I do and I really want a course that is founded in sound research. I want to understand how to assess and treat, not just compensate for executive dysfunction.

Have you ever wondered how you could broaden your impact as a speech therapist?

Or perhaps how you might deepen your knowledge and skills to better support your pediatric and adult patients, especially those grappling with executive function challenges?

If you've been pondering these questions, this article is the beacon you've been searching for. We explore the Executive Function Coaching Academy, a place where you can gain the expertise to guide individuals in overcoming executive function barriers and unlocking their full potential.

But what research underpins this program? How is executive function assessed? And are there other programs that could complement your existing knowledge?

Dive in, and let's embark on this enriching journey together!

What research underpins the teachings in the Executive Function Coaching Academy?

Our coaching program is firmly grounded in extensive research, most notably that by Dr. Adele Diamond in her systematic mega-review of executive function interventions.

The key insights drawn from her work and others have shaped our program's structure and approach. Among these insights, we've learned that stress can significantly impair executive functions, while mindful movement practices are shown to be incredibly beneficial for these same functions.

Furthermore, research has shown that computerized cognitive training programs do not yield as much development of executive function skills as they claim, even though these methods are widely marketed as highly beneficial.

As we tailor our coaching strategies to individual needs, we also consider the profound impact of ADHD on school achievement, as identified in John Hattie’s study “Visible Learning."

Executive function skills, especially working memory, are vital predictors of academic success. Improvements in these skills not only boost academic performance but also significantly enhance quality of life.

Furthermore, our program emphasizes the importance of executive functions for school readiness, often outweighing the value of IQ or entry-level reading or math skills.

Our coaching program combines these research findings with practical application, developing better self-regulation tools and identifying effective study habits to propel our clients forward in education and life.

Learn more by reading our article: What is the science behind executive function? (2023)

How do I assess executive function skills?

Assessing Executive Function (EF) skills can be accomplished through the use of established tools and questionnaires.

Three notable resources are Peg Dawson's Executive Skills Questionnaire, Seth Perler's "13 Executive Functions Assessment," and the Life Skills Advocate "Executive Functioning Assessment."

Each tool allows individuals or others familiar with them, such as parents or teachers, to evaluate the individual's abilities across multiple areas of executive functioning. These assessments can be administered in a face-to-face scenario or delivered online via platforms such as Google Meet or Zoom.

The results reveal an individual's strengths and areas for improvement, thereby facilitating the development of tailored intervention strategies.

In the context of diverse learning needs, such as dyslexia, these tools should be used alongside other specialized assessments, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of the learner's needs.

What other program options are there for me to explore?

Tera's Seeds of Learning is an online educational platform focused on executive functioning in the learning process.

This community, available on Mighty Networks, offers resources to diverse participants including educators, speech-language pathologists, and parents.

The platform provides self-study modules, resource libraries, weekly live Zoom sessions with Tera, and course completion certificates. Moreover, active participants can earn Graduate Level credits through Ashland University. It's an all-encompassing resource, aimed at enhancing understanding and application of executive functioning skills.


The JST's Empowering Students Through Coaching program provides comprehensive, ICF Level 1 accredited training for life and neurodiversity coaching.

The curriculum leverages the JST Coaching Model to cater to students with ASD, ADHD, and executive function challenges. By adopting a neurodiversity perspective, it creates an inclusive environment, fostering strong coach-client partnerships and paving the way for student achievement.


Dr. Peg Dawson's program empowers underachieving students to succeed academically and professionally through coaching strategies.

The hybrid course combines self-study and monthly online Zoom sessions, covering aspects like goal setting, conducting coaching sessions, parental involvement, and progress tracking.

Participants actively coach a student, focusing on either elementary or secondary level, fostering the development of vital executive skills.


In conclusion, choosing the right program is a critical step towards enhancing your ability to help clients navigate executive function challenges. It's crucial to select a program that not only matches your career aspirations but also aligns with your commitment to making a real difference.

The Executive Function Coaching Academy stands out for its evidence-based, structured approach. This platform is geared towards empowering you to expand your practice and provide comprehensive support to those dealing with executive function issues.

Likewise, Tera Sumpter's Seeds of Learning, JST Coaching and Training, and Dr. Peg Dawson's Executive Skills Coaching offer robust, research-based training platforms. These programs have been meticulously designed to help practitioners like you extend your services beyond the usual therapy settings.

So, explore these platforms, do your due diligence, and invest in the program that resonates with your professional goals.

And remember, continuous learning is key to becoming an effective executive function coach. To ensure you stay updated with the latest trends, tips, and resources, sign up for our EFCA newsletter. It will be your guiding light, helping you navigate your journey to becoming a successful executive function coach.

About the author

Sean G. McCormick is the founder of Executive Function Specialists, an online coaching business that guides middle, high school, and college students in overcoming procrastination, disorganization and anxiety by teaching time management, prioritization and communication skills so they feel motivated, prepared, and empowered.

He also founded the Executive Function Coaching Academy which trains special education teachers, school psychologists and other professionals to support students with ADHD and executive function challenges.

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