The idea for this post came to me late last week, just after I’d spoken with a new potential dissertation coaching client. As part of this conversation, the client, “Sue”, asked me what traits or characteristics might define someone who wouldn’t do well in dissertation coaching. I thought this was an interesting question, and it got me thinking.

As I formulated my reply, there were several characteristics which occurred to me. Certainly, someone who never did the work we agreed upon wasn’t going to do well in dissertation coaching. Someone who consistently missed calls or agreed upon deadlines also wasn’t going to do well.

As I thought through my responses, what I realized, though, is that all of these behaviors boiled down to one main concept: That nobody can want your dissertation for you. Let me explain.

Other people can want you to finish, and can assist, poke, prod, and nag you to death- all that’s true. But the truth is, you will not move if you don’t want the degree for yourself. Nobody can want the degree more than you do.

Sometimes people come to dissertation coaching and want me to convince them why they should finish the project. While I have a bias towards finishing, and will only work with people who I believe I can help to finish, there are, sometimes, certain clients who challenge and provoke me to “prove” to them that they should finish their dissertation.

And here’s what I say, “Yes, I’d like you to finish, and yes, I’d like to help you finish. But here’s the thing- if you don’t finish, it’s not really going to impact my life at all. It’s only going to impact yours. So I want to help you, but I can’t want it more than you do.”

Do you see what I mean?

Doing a dissertation takes focused effort, directed planning, and perseverance. Of course, it’s natural and normal that these feelings will wax and wane through the course of the project, and the waxing and waning is something we can work with.

What is much harder to overcome is when someone wants convincing that they should finish. That shifts the focus from the process of finishing to the merits of doing so.

So as you examine your dissertation process, note if you have the desire to finish- for yourself. Whatever your reasons may be, be sure you want to finish *for yourself*.

Then find the most direct and efficient route to help you do so.

When your level of commitment is there, you can’t help but make meaningful and substantive progress.