True Next Step with Sasha Raskin & Partners
Being a student (in all contexts) is innately overwhelming and challenging for most, so if you are here because you are struggling and would like some support to keep your schoolwork in order, you are in the right place.
We specialize in coaching students of all ages (1st graders to Ph.D. students) to excel in school and at work in order to diminish the feeling of hopelessness (the “I can’t do it” phrase you probably hear running circles in your brain). Want to put an end to that?
Academic success can look different to each person, but there are specific strategies that we can help teach you or your child in order to make the delicate balancing act of academics and personal wellness feel easier.
School programs typically desire students to be intellectually capable while also having strong executive functioning skills. Our clients often coach with us in order to improve upon the latter.
Executive functioning skills are closely intertwined with academic success. In case you are not sure what the components of executive functioning are, take a look below:
If you or your child find it difficult (and sometimes nearly impossible) to begin school/work assignments, to plan efficiently and ensure that your goals are possible to accomplish, to organize (not just your school work, but any aspect of life), to show up to places and for people that you make commitments to, to manage work and life changes effectively, to pick up on common social cues, to stay focused on tasks and to follow a sequence or plan then we are so glad that you have found us!
Learning new material in school and at work is already difficult enough for most individuals, and improving upon your academic and executive functioning skills does not need to be. Let us help you reach academic success!
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To learn more about academic coaching and executive functioning coaching you can watch the video below, which features a conversation about the topic between Sasha Raskin, the founder of the True Next Step coaching center and Alex Lioznov, an academic coach and executive coach at True Next Step.
Transcript: What is academic coaching and executive functioning coaching
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: Hi, Alex.
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: Hey.
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: So this is a good opportunity to do a quick conversation about academic and executive functioning coaching. Not a lot of people are actually aware that this option exists, and that academics don't need to be suffering an uphill battle all the time, and that executive functioning is just a skill like anything else that can be learned and trained with a coach. So this is a great opportunity for us to chat about that. And hopefully, it would be helpful for people who read, listen or watch this. We both are coaches at true next step coaching center.
And let's start with what do you think are the main problems that people who need academic coaching or executive functioning coaching see in their lives?
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: So I think one of them would definitely be time management, another one would be organizational skills; others would be just day to day tasks and initiation of those tasks and planning ahead for those tasks. And I feel like I could list off a million more, but those are kind of the upper umbrella terms that come to mind of what is identified and what plays a role in executive function or executive dysfunction, which is where our role plays a part and we can help individuals not feel so dysfunctional per se.
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: Do you have an example in mind, kind of hypothetical slash a combination of different clients you worked with, as an example how it would show up in their lives? For example, in college.
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: Yeah, absolutely. So a lot of the time, especially students that are transitioning from high school into college feel this big new stressor of taking care of their own life events independently. When you're growing up, typically, people have somebody that's kind of like their coach let's say, maybe it could be parents, it could even be an actual coach. But I think the difference is, and the difference that we can kind of help make a difference in, is once you go to college you are kind of thrown in on your own a lot of the time, and all of those responsibilities that you were receiving help with get dropped on your head.
And so academic coaching can help you kind of at the beginning, especially, and that's why we offer short term coaching as well as longer term coaching, depending on the needs of our clients. But I have worked with individuals where they need to learn how to use a calendar, effectively. That's a huge one. And I know that you can comment on that as well. A lot of students don't know the magical benefit of just writing things down, having them all in one spot, being able to follow some sort of organization that's already in place instead of having to have your calendar in here, which I feel like I encounter a lot of students who believe that they can manage it and then feel like a failure when they are no longer able to do that.
And so we want to prevent those feelings of distress of actually failing a class maybe or failing communication with somebody or failing to show up with the people you care for, and just a variety of different reasons why we want to get ahead of it instead of let the problem stack on and let you just independently face them all.
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: So the need for independence is a huge one. And research shows that the way that, at least the Western education system is built, is actually one of the main contributors why it's so difficult for people with ADHD, for example, to succeed. Because there is this two powerful forces that that are happening - one is the need for independence increases as you go higher in grades, but then, also, when you go to undergrad school, you go to college and grad school, PhD, it's more on you. At the same time, there is a reduction in help from others.
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: Yeah.
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: Right? So at the beginning, first grade, parents are happy to help you. And then they help less and less and less while the need for you do your work independently, including manage time and manage goals and break it down to plans that work, etcetera, and choose environments that work for you, that increases. So then that's where people really, really struggle. And for some mysterious reason, those important skills like time management and goal setting and project management are not being taught in schools. It's just kind of, "We're going to throw you into the water and expect you to swim. If you won't, we're going to fail you, and it's on you.”
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: Yeah. And you're paying for it, isn't that the best part of it all? Oftentimes it's like, "We'll still keep your money and will fail you, and it's your fault."
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: Yeah. So I hear that, like a lot of frustration when students reach out to us or their parents, many times it's their parents actually that reached out to us.”My son is in college and like he's really trying and started strong. And then something happened. Like it all collapsed. And I just keep wasting my time and money.” And like it creates a lot of conflict also in the family. It has a big impact on everything.
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: And people are really hard on themselves when that happens. And then it oftentimes leads to kind of like a snowballing effect. And so that's why it's really important to make sure that people are addressing it and that they realize that there is help out there, because you don't want one small issue to lead to another small issue. And for the next issue to be a little bit bigger. And eventually you end up in that place where you do fail everything and there isn't always a return to kind of fix it all pretty easily. So my goal, and what I would like to do for people is to make it well known that that support is there before you feel desperate for it.
I think a lot of people think that, "I can do this, I can do this. I know I can be able to do this alone.” This is the expectation, right? The expectation of the successful college student or the successful PhD student is that you are independent, you're in control of your life, you know what you want. And it's like that is very rarely the case from people that I have met, looking at their life and from myself as well. Like I need help, and it's okay. It's okay to say that you need help and to reach out and find those resources where you can receive that type of support. And I wish that more people knew that.
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: And it's actually ingrained in our nervous system. So when we work with our coaching clients, we kind of demystify how the nervous system works. And the cortisol, the stress hormone, when it increases, actually, one of its goals is to push people towards connecting with others to seek that support. But at the same time, the message from the society, and I've lived in three different cultures, this is the third one, but in the US as well, it's very individualistic, right? “It's all on you. I should be able to do this on my own.”
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: Yeah, like I've already failed if I can't handle this on my own.
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: Yeah. No, you didn't, right? And I think that's why college is such a great preparation for life, you actually learn how to utilize resources.
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: Yeah.
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: Other humans as well. So what do you think actually stops coaching clients from figuring it out on their own? Why would they need a coach?
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: I think there are some very obvious ones, and that usually comes along with a diagnosis. But as I know, and as you probably know and other coaches and people who are supportive to other people and health professionals, we know that when things start to go awry that there are resources out there. Whereas a lot of other people, they kind of going back to that snowballing effect, they kind of want to ... they want to follow this hope that they'll sort it out, you know what I mean? And so that prevents them from seeking out the support that's out there. And from learning the different types of resources, I've actually talked to friends since becoming a coach and they were like, “Oh, what do you do? What is what is the difference?” And it's like, “Well, we help people that are struggling.”
And so going directly back to your question, like what might cause the specific struggle, the obvious one is some sort of diagnosis. And the not so obvious one is just that you are a human being, and life is stressful I think for, I mean, I think everybody. I don't know if you would agree to that. But I don't know any other adults who are out there just managing it all and genuinely happy. And I think that's another big component in coaching and, in general, in accepting help and support is realizing that maybe you somehow could figure it out on your own, but you don't need to. Like you don't need to dig yourself into a miserable hole trying to solve everything all by yourself. That doesn't make you more successful or more worthy or more talented or anything like that. We innately, as humans, need each other. And I think in every facet of life that's applicable, but definitely here.
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: I totally believe in that. I worked fairly ... well, for sure with more than 10 coaches, and so I really love coaching for myself. And I realized a long time ago that no one needs coaching, it's that it can help me do things faster, more efficiently. And I can do trial and error, I can throw spaghetti on the wall until the cows come home and try and figure it out, right? But that takes time, and I pay for mistakes, right? What if I could find someone, a mentor or a coach, who can help me with that specific thing in my life that already kind of knows the way ahead and I can just model what they already know how to do. I think it's an amazing way of doing life.
Sorry, go ahead.
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: No, I was just going to comment on the fact I found it interesting and important to mention that you said you pay for your mistakes. And I think that's probably playing a big factor in some people not reaching out for help as well. And I know we understand and we wish that everybody had the financial well being to be able to invest in themselves and receive the support, and not everybody does. But for those individuals that do and are maybe thinking to themselves like, “I'm not worth it or it's too much,” or all these things that I'm sure people have and they're very valid normal thoughts to be having, it's not like the flip side of that is that you're not paying with anything. You might not be paying with direct cash, but you're paying with your mistakes, which is taking up what I would say actually is more valuable, and that's your time. But other things as well, like your mental well being. I mean, to me that's most valuable. I'd give any amount of money to be just overall a good amount happier on my day to day life. And I think that supports are in place to be able to give that to individuals and not everyone is utilizing it.
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: So how do you help as a coach? When you do academic coaching or executive functioning coaching, what does it even means? Like if no one’s ever done it and they are thinking, “I think I want to try this thing out, but I kind of need more information, what this means,” and they don't have anyone around them that did that as well. What would be a little trail off for that process?
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: So one thing I would kind of bring up as a consideration to people is thinking of traditional therapy. And I don't know why I said traditional to be honest, because I don't know that there is traditional therapy, there's a lot of different non-traditional, traditional, somewhere in the middle therapies. And I'm a speech therapist, you're a, I believe, a psychotherapist and pursuing your PhD as well, right?
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: Uh-hmm, yeah.
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: And I think that people understand just from society talking about it a lot that there are a variety of different therapists. And I know my understanding, and I have had many therapists myself, is that therapists are there a lot to talk about things and a lot to kind of dig deeper into figuring out like why certain things are happening and to touch base on feelings and emotions a lot. And I almost want to give you a moment to kind of explain that better than me because I truly feel like you can explain that better. So I don't know if you'd prefer me to pause and maybe you explain like what the key difference between therapy is and coaching. But I was going to explain coaching in the sense that it has some factors that are similar to therapy, but it's more action-based. It's more like, “Let's actually do something,” rather than let's talk about things. And all of that can do things as well, it's just a little bit I guess faster paced I would say.
Like you can get to those goals if you have goals in mind faster with the support of coaching, rather than therapy, which is also we're always recommending to make sure that you do have a therapist to address a variety of different things going on in your life, and that's insanely important. But I think I would start by kind of explaining the difference there, that like we're also a support, we also can address problems that you're facing in your life. And specifically, with executive functioning, it might be ... the common ones that we've heard is probably like, “Oh, I can't get my assignments in on time, I keep skipping things.” Or, “I have all these emails piling up. And I just don't know where to start.” Or, just to like bring up some of the very frequent concerns and problems that our students or clients bring to our attention they would like help with. Whereas, I think therapy is a little bit different.
But I'm going off on a tangent right now. I was just trying to paint the picture, because you asked me like what it might look like. And so it looks like support, but it looks like very goal-driven, like action-based support so we can make progress each time and make like a little inch towards that goal. It's goal-driven.
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: Yeah. So I like how you put it because there is no clear cut separation I guess between therapy and coaching. There is some overlap, right? The overlap being change happening in conversation. We talk about things, right? Let's say you are the coach and I'm the client, and I'm talking to you about how difficult it is to, I don't know, with my schoolwork or with my ADHD. So those definitely benefit in terms of just having a person listening to me and really get it and understand and kind of validate.”Yeah, it's not that easy.” But, also, while I'm talking to you, as a coach, I can start understanding things about me that maybe I have blind spots with, right? “Oh, that makes so much sense. I'm usually stressed when I am not clear on what's the next step. When there is no planning it feels like it's a big ambiguous goal and it reminds me of past experiences that were not as really pleasant, right? Like writing papers and some other things.”
And from that understanding, I can start creating change. And you can, for example, give me a few strategies to work with that biggest challenge that is coming up in my life this week. So if I bring to you the fact that I just can't start writing that paper. Yes, other people might find it difficult, but for me, I feel it's impossible. So as coaches, we might show the clients, “This is how you work with your dopamine levels to increase them, so that you would feel more focused and more joy while doing this, what feels like a boring, stressful task, and then you'll reap the rewards later.”
And if I do it again and again and again, I just created the system, right? I created a consistent way of getting things done that were difficult in the past, that I can use later on as well after coaching is over. So in a sense, I think that, especially with academic coaching and executive functioning coaching, it's not giving the fish, it's showing how to fish. Or better yet, figuring out how to fish together, because people are different, right? So giving the fish would be let's say I would hire a tutor and they would help me with my math and we'll figure it out. But then that's it. The math class is over, I passed or whatever, or I have a really good grade, but it kind of ends there. With coaching, “Oh, okay, when I have a project that feels impossible, I can just follow step 1, 2, 3. And once I have a really good plan, this is how I start executing it, 1, 2, 3. And I can apply it to school, but I can apply to chores, doing the dishes. Or I can apply it to activities that I've been postponing forever like going to the doctor, whatever it is,” the things that there’s no deadline, for example.
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: Yeah, I like your note on kind of carryover. So the skills that we focus on and that we address in coaching ... like executive functioning skills, I could also clarify to people that might not know, and that's kind of why we group it together, like it's academic coaching and executive functioning coaching. And my belief on that, and what I've seen to be true through working with these clients, is that executive functioning skills are needed for all aspects of life. Academics are not necessarily directly needed, but in order to succeed in academics you need to have strong executive functioning skills. And so if those skills are lacking and you don't know how to improve upon them, there's not really a way for your academics to improve. Like it's not magic. We wish it was, I wish it was for my sake, I'm sure you do, too. We would all love to just easily fix things quickly. But it's the fact that those things are challenging to address but they're also important. And if they're not addressed, meaning the executive functioning skills, if you are feeling like some of ... and there's a list of them, by the way, on the website, if anyone's listening and ...
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: By the way, do you mind mentioning them right now? That would be helpful.
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: Yeah. So I mentioned some of them earlier, but like time management is a huge one that I addressed with a lot of people and they're like, “Oh, I don't know when to get started on this. I don't know how much time I need for this,” whatever. And planning is related to it all as well. So in order to have good time management skills, you need to be able to formulate a plan. So we can help with that as well. Learning how to initiate tasks, and you kind of touched base nicely on some of the skills that we might address in order to help people be able to improve upon that, like the dopamine levels. And I love timers. I don't know, some people might hear that and they're like, “No. That's stressful, I don't like that.” It's not stressful, it helps. And it's not used in a way to stress you out. You control how you use it.
But time management, organization, task initiation, planning, just to name a few. I mean, I've seen lists, by the way, where there's like 12 or 20 of them, and I've seen lists where it’s limited to like say six or eight or something like that. So just to list a few, there they are. If any of them sound relatable, it would make absolute sense that if you don't really understand how to manage your time effectively that that is going to carry over into your academics.
And I think one other note that is important to also mention is that academic coaching is different than academic tutoring in the sense that you just mentioned you can go get a tutor and you can have them help you write the paper. And that's exactly right, yeah, you could, you could go get a tutor and they could sit with you on whatever subject you specifically need help with, whether it be math, science, it doesn't matter. But we are teaching our clients to put that all together, all the skills that you need in order to be able to apply it to all of the classes and to gain some independence. Not in order to just segregate it into like, “Okay, first I need to deal with this problem, then I need to deal with this problem, then ...” No, no, no. We can develop skills that can help you address all of this stuff, and we can be those people, like that's what coaching is for.
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: How did you see your clients life change after coaching? I can give an example to start to start with. I had a client who was on probation and she went into a very expensive college and she had a lot of problems with keeping up with everything. She’s actually showing up to classes, doing her homework, etcetera. And we worked on getting her grades up in a very specific way. I know that if college becomes just college, it kind of defeats the purpose. No one needs a burnt out student that sacrifices their lives for academia, right? So we created a lifestyle that she really enjoyed, including self-care and music. She had really cool hobbies. And within that, making sure that schoolwork gets done in a way that's super clear, nothing is ambiguous. Everything is planned out and we are not sacrificing a happy life, right? We’re doing this together. So as a result, she got her GPA up, she got a scholarship, she even figured out, “Oh, I actually want to switch majors to be even happier.” Because she got her GPA up by a lot, she was able to actually get accepted to that other major. She graduated and she's doing a lot of exciting things right now.
Another student I had, he had panic attacks when looking at instructions of an academic paper, like he couldn't start it. And he would just sit and sit for hours looking at it, on a blank page, and couldn't start. A lot of anxiety and depression, etcetera. We figured out how to create systems in place to make it easier and more fun, and also how to get support from other people while doing it too. So he graduated, his first interview that he got was actually in SpaceX, so straight out of college. And he went through many of the steps there. So it's pretty incredible to see what people can accomplish when they sign up for coaching because, in a sense, that's already a very symbolic step, right? It's drawing that line in the sand and saying, “Okay, so far in life, I've been able to wing it, but now is the time for me to actually get all of this in order. And I'm willing to put the time and the effort to trying things out in a different way, in a way that actually works for people, especially if I have ADHD,” or some learning disabilities.”And if not, even if I'm not diagnosed with anything, but I just find it difficult to initiate tasks,” like you said, “Well, why does it need to be suffering? Maybe I'm just lacking that knowledge and skill.”
Now, why not read just a book? Because people don't need more information. People need more application. And change happens in a relationship. That's why coaches are so important, that's why you will not find any high performing athletes without a coach, like it would be ridiculous not to have one, right? It just doesn't happen.
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: Yeah.
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: So any stories that you have of clients?
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: Sure, yeah, so I actually worked with a client who had transitioned, he had a diagnosis of autism and he was just transitioning from high school into college. And his parents were very, very involved in his life. And he began coaching, and he said, “I don't want to feel like I need my parents to do all of these things for me.” I said, “Okay, great. Give me a list. What are the things? Let's figure out what is it that you want to be able to manage more independently.” And I say more independently with caution, because I don't want him and I think that he didn't truly want to be able to handle everything on his own. He wanted to be more of an adult, and to him feeling like an adult meant creating more of a divide between his parents taking responsibility for his schoolwork, for his bills, for communicating with outside help, and all this different kinds of stuff. He wanted to be able to take care of those things more independently.
And so we set up a system, like you said, like creating a plan and creating a way to allow the skills that you learn to be applicable to your whole life, not just to one scenario. And he began figuring out, with my help and with coaching, he began figuring out what was working. And some things were working. And you mentioned a little bit earlier, and I also want to touch base on the trial and error, right? There is no like you're going to fire and it's going to make it right on the target. No. But we are here to be teammates, we're here to hold individuals who are there and committed accountable. And we're also here to trial and error with people so they don't feel alone and they don't get discouraged if something didn't go well.
And again, I'm choosing my words wisely, because I think that people feel a lot of the time that they have failed. When they plan to do something and it doesn't turn out the way that they wanted it to they think, “Oh, I messed it up.” Like I did everything wrong, this is my fault, I suck. The negative self talk. And it's like We work to make sure that that person doesn't feel that there's nothing that they can do to stop feeling that way. You know what I mean? That doesn't have to be. It's not like, “Oh, you feel like you suck, and you're just this person. This is who you are. I'm sorry, you suck as a person. Too bad.” It's like, “No, you don't. You need some support. And we're going to figure out what things work and what things don't.” And so that's another I think key facet to coaching, is that we work with people to figure out what works for people.
And people are very individualistic and unique, and there's no like one method. And I think it's awesome too that your practice hires a variety of different coaches from different backgrounds, right? The goal is not to have only one kind of person who can do only one kind of thing. It's like we all have some sort of diverse background.
And as far as I know, so far, coaching is not recognized as like a standard practice. Like there's athletic coaching, there's academic coaching, there's mental health coaching. I mean, there's like any kind of coaching that somebody feels that they've had the experience, and they have had, I hope people have had the experience before getting into this. We have. I’m not sure about everybody. But I think that's kind of what makes the relationship successful, is that somebody is understanding and has experienced either through themselves or through you and through clients like you, they understand what you're going through and they're really, really committed to getting you forward.
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: Yeah. So if you fast forward with that client that needed those types of help to do individually, what did you discover kind of towards the end of your work together?
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: Yeah, absolutely, so one thing that he no longer needed help with was his parents checking in with teachers. So his parents were sending emails to professors, and it was driving him insane. But he knew that if they weren't doing that, somebody needed to do it. So he recognized that he needed this support in place, he just didn't know how to manage it on his own. So we set aside time during the week. And at first we had some trial and error, the time didn't work out or it was too long or too short. But we blocked off a time during his week, and he committed to dedicating himself that hour of the week to collaborating and emailing and responding to his professors and his educators.
And he kept on with that, and now it's just a habit, it's something so normal to him. So that's just one of the examples of what got taken off of his parents plate, he took responsibility for, and he has now figured out how to make it work. So he still receives the support, right? The solution was not, “Oh, mom and dad, stop helping me. I don't need your help. I can do this,” and then he's like, “I can't do this. Like there's so many things. Who do I reach out to? How do I do it?” It's like, well, no, we made sure that we establish kind of ground rules and some sort of plan that worked for him. And then he tried it. And each time we checked in he was like, “Well, this kind of didn't work. I didn't feel so great about this.” And I was like, “Okay, so what if we do it like this instead? What if next week, we try to change the time a little bit to a day when you're not exhausted?” For example, like a lot of the time people are more fresh on a morning. So I said, “Do you have any morning during your week where you can sit down and make sure that you have dedicated time in your life and in your schedule to be doing this thing that you say you want to do?” And he's like, “Yeah, absolutely. I can do an hour a week out of all my hours of the week, I can dedicate to this in order to feel like I'm taking care of myself. And my parents are not taking care of this aspect of my life.”
And so, to this day, I mean, we finished up working together and he ... I don't even know if this is like relevant or not because I think he would have succeeded because he had a lot of drive and he would have found supports. And I'm so glad that I got to be one of those supports and he found me, but he successfully finished up that semester when we were working together, he got good grades, and he slowly began taking care of different things in his life instead of having it fall on his parents. So he accomplished that goal. There's more to accomplish, and he told me that, but he felt kind of empowered to start taking care of stuff independently. And so that's the cool part I think, where it's like, “I don't need these weekly check in sessions forever.” And if you do, that's okay too. But I loved this example, because he learned to function better through coaching and now he doesn't need anybody. I mean, he doesn't need anybody for academics.
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: Yeah. He's not going to retire to an island and live on his own forever.”I'm done with humanity.”
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: He needs people, and I'm sure that he will find those people. But now he knows how to take one step forward to make sure that he is searching for the right supports instead of feeling like, “Why can't I do anything?” This feeling of like I'm a failure, something's really wrong with me because I can't do this. And it's like, “No, life is going to throw curveballs your way. And you need to seek out the professionals who are trained and who have experienced to support you and move you forward.”
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: I love that. So Alex, you said two super important things, one of them, I see that all the time that things that felt like totally outside of the realm of possibilities for my clients when we started working together became like daily habits, like it's done. And I see it again and again that people who I work with, even if they have ADHD like that, they haven't seen the floors of the bedrooms for five years because it's piled with stuff, they can’t start anything, they constantly get reminders from their partners, parents, whatever it is - they can actually with time and effort and repetition, working with a coach on their ... either if it's academic coaching, executive functioning coaching, they can get so much better than anyone else out there.
And why? Because (a) they have been paying the price for not taking care of that and for the fact that they weren't given those resources by the education system usually, that's the case before. And (2) something happens when they commit and take the time and effort to learn those skills and actually apply them in real life. And then the second thing that you said, actually get back to the coach and check in what worked and what didn't, right? It's not like you have homework just like in school, you do this thing and we'll just continue doing the next time when we met. No.
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: Right.
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: Let's figure out in what you did, what was the big block, right? And we figure it out. And I can suggest a few tools and strategies to work with that. It's kind of like being detectives, figuring out what works and what doesn't. And doing more of what works and brings joy and fulfillment to one's life and less of what drains them.
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: Yeah.
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: You were about to say something I think.
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: No, I was just ... I really liked ... my strong belief is that we're on the person's team who comes to us. And I think that's very important for people to understand and to feel, is that when you go out somewhere and you reach out to some sort of support, at times, those people are biased, right? It's like if they're in academia themselves then sometimes they feel like, “Oh, you should know this by now.” Or, “Oh, like there's these resources, go seek them out.” And I think that's the difference, at least my coaching approach, is that I don't care where you're starting and I don't care like what ... I mean, not I don't care. It doesn't affect my belief of what you can accomplish and what you can't, and kind of it doesn't tarnish any kind of ... like I'm on your team regardless. I don't care what the struggle is, I don't care how things are going to go. I'm going to continue trying my best to empower you, to push you forward, to give you tools for you to feel like you are succeeding and you're getting the most out of it because you deserve it.
And it doesn't matter that somebody sent you a different direction or told you you couldn't do it or whatever. It's like yes, like no. Like you're in the right spot, let's figure it out. How can you do it? It's not an option of maybe you can't do it. It's like, “Can you do this? If this is something you want, and with the effort,” because that's huge, the clients need to be committed and be ready to put themselves into whatever it is that they really want to accomplish. But with that being there and us on their teams, like people can accomplish almost anything.
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: Yeah. And I like what you said about it doesn't really matter where they are starting from, because the gamut is so wide. I worked with clients who are very successful business owners, so on paper, it's all good. But behind closed doors, it's a nightmare, they’re not happy in their relationship because they're being micromanaged let's say by their romantic partner. Because there is no way out, right? That's kind of the way they've been doing things, they would otherwise forget to do this thing, right?
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: Yeah.
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: Or they are just burned out because they're doing way too much, it's all scattered, they forget or postpone doing the most important things, and they are busy with whatever distracts them and it takes their attention away in the moment. Or it can be a high school kid with ADHD that's struggling just to get their grades up, with the basics. But, so on the one hand, there is no cookie cutter solutions, people are different when they are starting. On the other, there are way more commonalities between us than differences. And it especially applies in academic coaching and executive functioning coaching, there are specific tools and strategies that work pretty much for everyone, right?
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: Yeah. And sometimes we just need to modify them too, right? It's like the strategies are there and they've been proven to work, they don't have to work in the same way for you as they do for me.
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: Exactly right.
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: That's why we do the check in and we do the kind of like, “Okay, so it didn't work like this. That's okay.” And I'm also big on challenging people's beliefs. Because a lot of times people think, and I don't blame them, and I'm sure I have those as well and people around me are challenging my beliefs, and ultimately, that pushes me forward. So I want to challenge people's especially their views on themselves, because a lot of the time people come to us and they're defeated, right? They feel like something is wrong. They couldn't do this. And it's like, “Well, may be, yes. Something's clearly not going the way that you want it to, and that's why you're here. But it's not like a you problem per se, like innately. It's like you've developed these beliefs and people have influenced the way that you've kind of thought about yourself.” Like you had a teacher that made you feel stupid and that was like, “You're such a mess. How are you such a mess? Like come on, it's three months into this class and you're still missing stuff. Are you joking?” And I'm saying this because I've heard students say [unclear/cross talking 43:03]
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: That hits a spot. I feel I'm shrinking just hearing that.
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: Me too. Me too. I've been on the other end of receiving somebody talking down on me and then me leaving and being like, “Wow, I suck. Like everybody else has it all together.” And it’s funny that you mentioned the image of this big boss who appears on paper like everything is sorted out and it is almost never that way, right? The people with like the most success oftentimes have the most like battles in the past that they've had to deal with, but also future stuff in order to maintain their success along with not losing themselves, like being able to still be you and know who you are and be confident in yourself.
And confidence, huge one as well, like if you coach with me, I don't know about you, but I'm like, “No, no, no, say it again. You can do this. We're going to figure this out. You got this.” Not, “Oh, I couldn’t, I can't do it, it’s too hard, I'm too lazy, I'm too tired.”
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: Not buying it.
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: Yeah, I'm like, “Stop. Stop right there. Just stop it.”
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: Yeah, well, it's kind of like not bypassing it, right? Validating, “I get it.” Just like you said like a minute ago, I've been that student, right?
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: Yes.
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: We’ve heard all those disempowering messages, and that's not something I believe in. And at the same time it’s, “Okay, here's an example of when you did succeed with that in the past, right? So what if we take what you did there and we apply it here? And here's another tool that can help.
And I like building confidence by stacking successes, wins. Victory, victory, victory, victory every week. And then, for example, I worked with a teacher who was with her with ADHD, she was chronically late. And we started working with a tool to organize her time. And we also knew exactly what's happening, when it's happening. And I remember, I think it was the fourth or the fifth session, she had 50 things on her calendar that week. Super busy, but we mapped out everything, right? And out of those 50, 49 were done and done on time.
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: Win, win, win, win, win times 49.
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: Yeah.
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: Yeah, that’s awesome.
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: Can she still a month later, like when that proof is looking back at her, can she tell, “I'm chronically late or disorganized?” It's done, right? Well, she can try, right? There’s the inertia of past believes, but like it’s, “No. Look at this, this is like what 97% success rate,” or something.
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: Yeah. I was going to say getting started is just the hardest part. And I think that's when it comes to coaching too, like there's always like this kind of flip in the process at some point where you're like, “Oh, this person's buying in.” And that's so nice for us and for them, because we're about to like really feel the progress here, instead of just think that we can't and then think that maybe we can but it hasn't happened yet, and then to push ourselves and be stressed. And it is a process, and it might feel very long even if it's cut into 12 weeks or however. But like in the grand scheme of life, that's a short amount of time to invest in yourself to get ...
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: Exactly right.
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: And I think that we help people realize like, “You just did it for a week. And yes, that's not a long time. But if you do it for another week, you would have done it for half of a month. And if you do it for two weeks times two, you've just done it for a month.” It's like, “Yeah, it's hard.”
Another thing is habits become easier, right? Like you did a nice job explaining it, and I remember you teaching me, but I can't quite remember the wording, but like how a new habit forms. Like, part of this process is teaching people how to formulate those new habits and understanding that like, “You can do it, everybody can do it. But you need to be willing and you need the right supports in place.”
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: Yeah, totally, totally. And I know that it's also related to communication and relationships, that usually we're really good at trying and put things in different boxes, that's why what you said about coaching exists, right? Financial coach, relationship coach, social skills coach, academic coaching, executive functioning coaching. So clients come to us through one specific door, but gradually it opens up and we can see, “Oh, okay, the fact that you don't have any friends is probably not helping you with completing homework,” right? Just because of the work we’ve done.
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: Yes, it's all very intertwined. Yeah, there's no like life is just split into boxes and it doesn't pour over into the other boxes.
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: So we’re almost at time, and for anyone who's reading, listening, watching this, if you would like to get some help, there is one easy step to take which is book a consultation call. It's not even a consultation call, it's more of a strategy session. We go very fast paced. For 20 minutes, we do a map, a road map - where you’re at, where you want to be, what are the main obstacles? Maybe we can brainstorm a few solutions if time permits during that time. And it's a free service that we offer. And it's also a really good way to figure it out on the call if it makes sense to work together or not, if it's a good fit or not, because that's half the battle, finding a coach that is a good fit for you.
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: Yeah.
Sasha Raskin, Life Coach & ADHD Coach: And you can see it in the menu. Simply book a free consultation call with the coach that feels right for you. And see you on the call.
Alex Lioznov, Academic Coach & Executive Functioning Coach: Yeah, we're looking forward to it.