Who is Lauren Eckert?
When people ask me if I know of any professionals with expertise and experience helping folks with executive functioning challenges, one of the first names I give them is Lauren Eckert. My colleague, Cara Nazareth put me in touch with Lauren back in July of 2019. Lauren and her team serve a wide range of clients who all seek similar goals: to organize their lives and realize their dreams. I sat down with Lauren for lunch last year and wanted to learn more. Here’s what happened:
What’s your origin story, how did you get into coaching?
My background is in Psychology and Education. After spending a few years in the classroom as a teacher, I pursued my Masters of Education in School Counseling and took a position at a local high school as the Director of the resource program. In my role, I served as a school counselor while also ensuring students with accommodation plans received supports and services needed for their success. I found that the majority of the support I was providing was in teaching tools and strategies for students struggling with executive function skills. The need was great and I found that my role in the school setting was limited. I began coaching a few students a week and that quickly developed into my full-time work which led me to start Lauren Eckert Coaching LLC. Over the past 7 years, my team and I have helped hundreds of students and adults.
What drew you to working with people who have challenges with executive functioning skills?
My passion for helping this population stems from my personal experience growing up with a sibling with ADHD. I saw the impact that her support team had on her life and was inspired to have this type of effect on my clients’ lives.
What common challenges do you find helping your client’s with regarding home organization?
Too much stuff! Often, people think they do not have enough space in their homes but that is typically not the case. One of the greatest challenges I encounter in helping families declutter their homes is addressing the overwhelming amount of things that have accumulated in all crevices of the home. Many individuals struggle to let go of items or do not have the time to identify belongings that do not need to be taking up space in the house. Our goal is to help families and individuals simplify their lives and their spaces. By removing the extra clutter and developing systems that keep everything in their place, our clients find that they can reclaim their homes.
What is one of the most important things that your clients need to be prepared for before they begin working with you?
This work can be very tough. Many clients reach out to us and say they desperately want to make changes in their lives regarding organization, time management, goal setting, etc… but when it comes time to put in the work, they take some steps back. I think the most helpful thing clients can do before beginning this process is to really identify their “WHY?” in reaching out for this support. If they can identify what drives their desire to implement new systems and routines in their lives, then we can refer back to that throughout the process. Additionally, the more open they are to the ups and downs of this type of work, the more success they will have!
How do you help people change their lifestyle to prioritize their health and wellness goals?
The tools that we have developed over the last seven years are designed to help individuals set goals, create a clear step-by-step path to reach their goals, and then identify strategies to keep pushing forward even when they face obstacles. One of the unique parts of our work is that we check-in with our clients throughout the week in order to provide added support as they get bogged down with the day-to-day stresses that might derail their goals.
How can people get started working with your team?
Our clients start by doing an initial call with one of our team members. During this call, we assess what they are looking for from the coaching process and we share about our work. From there, we have them fill out an intake form which helps us create a program that will best support their needs. During our very first session, we set concrete short and long term goals. If we are focusing on organization of space, we will take inventory of the spaces that they are wanting to improve so that we can create an action plan.
For our clients who are looking to make improvements in their daily routines and systems to better support their health and overall functioning, we have a series of initial activities that help us to create the best possible game plan for their success. We celebrate progress along the way, every little positive step forward is so important and we want to recognize each one!
In what ways do you find your work meaningful?
When I get a text from a client letting me know that they have successfully met a goal that they previously never thought was possible, I know that this work matters. We get these messages constantly from our clients—students passing courses they thought they couldn’t pass, parents learning to better communicate with their student and having improved relationships, families enjoying more personal time together because their homes are running more smoothly, a client who has reached a health and wellness goal and received great feedback at a doctor’s appointment, and the list goes on and on.
Individuals who struggle with executive functioning skills can feel stuck and overwhelmed at the thought of making these changes. Often, their daily functioning can be so impacted that it affects their home environment, efficiency at work or school, their relationships, and their ability to enjoy their life fully. Knowing that we can come into these individuals’ lives and provide resources and encouragement to get “un-stuck” and propel forward toward their goals, is the most rewarding aspect of this job.
What’s on the horizon for Lauren Eckert Coaching this year?
We have recently announced our summer program offerings for 2020. We have many exciting new programs available for all ages to provide supports in executive function skills, writing and study skills, college readiness, and much more. One of our new programs, “Do You Want to Build a Business?”, gives students the opportunity to create a product, business or project, develop it, and pitch it to a “Shark Tank.” The students will learn executive function skills and how to utilize a variety of tools all while having fun and working towards a goal! Check out our website for more information on our summer programs!
Robin S. Smith, MS, LCMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in clinical practice in Bethesda MD. As an MFT, he specializes in relationship issues for couples, families, and individuals, for improved quality of life. His areas of expertise include: transition to parenthood for new and expecting parents, infidelity, sex and intimacy issues, premarital counseling, and trauma. Robin has given talks to various groups including hospital administrators, graduate students, fellow psychotherapists, and child birth educators. He is the primary contributor to The Couple and Family Clinic Blog.