Sprout: What coaching is (and what it isn’t)

A little while ago I mentioned I was planning on starting a coaching offer for final year PhD students and early career researchers (ECRs). It’s become increasingly clear to me that there is a real need for genuinely affordable advice and support. And, as a one-time PhD student, ECR and now precarious academic, I understand the particular challenges, uncertainties, pressures and stresses (both externally and internally-generated) of navigating the brave new world of the neo-liberal university and how to escape it (should that be your goal)!

The pre-launch survey I ran before Christmas indicated that there is a clear need for coaching but there is a lot of uncertainty and perhaps some misconceptions out there about what coaching entails and what it can do. Hence this introductory post!

What coaching is

  • Coaching helps an individual to get from where they are now to where they want to be.
  • A coach provides effective support and guidance during by helping the  individual gain an insight into their goals and aspirations, and assisting them with practical exercises to help them achieve their goals.
  • A coach helps the client navigate any obstacles they may encounter on the way and provide them with tools and strategies to help create lasting, positive change.

What coaching isn’t

  • A coach doesn’t prescribe what an individual should do. Instead they assist and support them to reach their own goals and meet their aspirations. The journey is their own.
  • Coaching academics is not academic coaching, by which I mean, it’s not just a fancy name for proof-reading, helping individuals to write, or editing their work.
  • Although there is some overlap, a coach is not a counsellor, a therapist, a mentor or a consultant.

What I plan to offer

This bring me neatly onto what I do plan to offer in the coming months. Keep an eye out for:

  • free, downloadable resources;
  • affordable workbooks and e-guides’; and
  • in person and online one-to-one coaching sessions.

On themes such as:

  • goal-setting;
  • self-care;
  • maintaining motivation; and
  • transitioning beyond academia.
To help distinguish coaching-related posts from others, look out for the ‘Sprout’ prefix.
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Image by Francesco Gallarotti

Sprout: nurture, grow, bloom

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