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PhD Work and Life

I’m passionate about engaging with the experience of doing a PhD and finding ways to create what you want from it.  My professional coaching life really started with PhD students and I’ve coached PhD students from a wide variety of backgrounds, disciplines, stages, universities and nationalities.  I’ve co-authored with Jeff Gill ‘Your PhD Coach’ published by McGraw Hill/Open University press and run regular workshops for PhD students – see www.academiclives.com.

PhD coaching really works on two levels.  The first is in creating a context to work with the PhD in relation to you as a whole person. At this level coaching works on issues such as confidence, balance, responsibility, relationships, focus, the inner critic.   The second level focuses on particular challenges you are facing in your PhD, for example exploring writing, fieldwork, analysis, presentations, supervision, feedback, networking, intellectual fitness etc..

Some of benefits previous coachees have described include, for example, being able to write with confidence, making more use of supervision sessions, being constructive with difficult feedback, managing stress better, feeling more motivated through effective goal setting, and finding creative ways around tricky problems.

Coaching is available by face-to-face, telephone and Skype. Contact me for a no-obligation 30 minute call to find out how coaching might work for you and, if so, whether I’m the right coach or can recommend someone else.


As well as self-funding students, have often used funding from their grants to pay for one-to-one coaching. For your supervisors, coaching will mean you are better skilled at managing your work, leading to increased performance and being in a stronger position to make better use of their time. That’s also important for you ensuring you complete on time.  For the University, coaching also provides a powerful approach to support you in career progression, by helping in clarifying your goals and in developing your self-management ‘tool-kit’ that is increasingly valued by employers.