A new project to develop a coaching network for doctoral student has launched, thanks to funding from the Enhancing Research Culture (ERC) Fund. The ERC Fund provides funding to support universities to develop activities in response to the Research & Development People and Culture Strategy.

Building on the success of the existing internal staff coaching programme this new scheme involved training staff volunteer coaches in order for them to provide free coaching to doctoral students within the university. All Coaches have undertaken a rigorous training programme leading to a Level 5 ILM ‘Certificate in Coaching and Mentoring’ from the Institute of Leadership and Management.

'I have seen first-hand the success of the internal staff coaching network and I am really pleased to be able to offer a similar scheme to our doctoral students. While there are already many ways in which doctoral students can get support, coaching can provide a new approach to help empower and raise self-awareness. ' — Oli Schofield FHEA, Doctoral Training and Development Manager, Doctoral College

What is coaching?

Coaching provides focused guidance and support to help with a particular challenge. Coaches work with their coachees, on a 1-1, confidential and voluntary basis, to help stimulate learning, action and change. Coaching can help students discover how to address their own challenges; develop greater self-awareness; identify goals and potential barriers; develop appropriate skills and strategies and feel empowered to take action.

Why doctoral students may benefit from coaching

For doctoral students, they may find coaching useful to:

  • discuss their self-management skills such as time management
  • improve work-life balance
  • improve self-confidence
  • explore working relationships with colleagues, peers and supervisors
  • reflect on own professional development needs

It is important to mention that coaching does not intend to replace the need for doctoral supervision. Instead, coaching provides an opportunity for individuals to reflect and think about a particular aspect of their development in a safe, confidential space outside of their research environment.

What doctoral students will get

Doctoral students can have up to 6 sessions with a coach during a 6 month period. Sessions will take place either online or in-person. The first wave will start in early April.

For further information on the scheme, please see the doctoral coaching scheme page.