I thought it would be helpful to answer a few questions related to dissertation coaching. The questions I’m most often asked are:
Q: What areas does dissertation coaching focus on?
A: Any area that is keeping you stuck, weighing you down, or preventing you from working steadily and happily on the dissertation in order to complete it. Most often, dissertation coaching focuses on problem-solving and strategizing in order to create the space and time necessary to complete the dissertation. Along the way, you’ll pick up some good life habits, too.
Q: How does it work?
A: I’ve been dissertation coaching for almost eight years. What I have found works best is a schedule of 3-30 minute sessions, in a 3 weeks on/1 week off format. These are scheduled at a mutually convenient day and time, and occur by phone or Skype. Sometimes, we might meet more frequently- such as when you are close to finishing and might benefit from shorter, more frequent meetings; and, other times, we might stretch our meetings out a bit further. Typically, we do this when there is a need, though I don’t suggest we go longer than two weeks without meeting. If too many weeks go by, it is difficult for you to make regular progress and for your coach to stay in touch with your project.
Q: Should I tell my advisor or department I am working with a coach?
A: Totally up to you. My experience has been that most advisors and departments don’t really approve or appreciate that you might be working with a dissertation coach. In most cases, you don’t need to say anything, and just let your results (i.e. improved productivity, reaching deadlines, etc.) speak for themselves.
Q: Am I locked into a long-term commitment if I work with a coach?
A: No. Coaching is scheduled on a monthly basis, and I’ve worked with people for a few months, and then they’ve taken some time off, and come back to coaching later. Life happens and coaching can be flexible to accomodate this. However, for best results, I would suggest being able to commit to 3 months at a time, as this will give you the best results.
Q: What areas of the dissertation can coaching help me with?
A: Most of them. You can utilize coaching to help you select a topic, develop your research design, execute your literature review strategy, and for the daily writing tasks, time and project management. You can use coaching to better navigate your advisory relationship, to help you work efficiently, and to get extra support and accountability when and where you need it.
Q: What is your success rate of dissertation coaching?
A: Better than 99%. Out of the 300 people I’ve worked with over the past 8 years, only two never finished. One quit for personal reasons and the other is still working on their degree (but is no longer coaching with me.)
Q: What makes your process so different?
A: Well.. different than what? My process is based on using leverage and finding ways to accomplish as much as you can, in the shortest amount of time, with the highest quality possible. We focus on strategies and techniques to help you build momentum, believe you can do this, and prove it to yourself.
Q: Is there any kind of money-back guarantee?
A: No. Coaching is a professional service, and, as such, there are no refunds given. You are given a few opportunities to meet with me or my associate and be sure there is a good fit before you contract for coaching. If you decide it’s not for you, you can end after that first month and won’t be charged again.