April 11, 2013

Times Higher Education Article on Coaching Professors and Grad Students

Matthew Reisz, writing for the Times Higher Education journal in the UK, has written an excellent article on coaching for grad students and professors in higher education.  The best part of the article is that about one third of it is about me!  Well, that's the best part for me.

I like how he introduced the topic:

Corporate coaching has spread rapidly from the US across the world, with the business sector happy to buy in such support for employees they are grooming to be high flyers. The higher education sector, in contrast, would appear to offer a less obviously lucrative, and perhaps more sceptical, market. Yet coaches in the US, and to a lesser extent in the UK, are working with an increasing number of academics, helping them to confront not only the challenges they share with many other professionals (notably the sheer lack of hours in the day) but also the pressures specific to the sector.
I have to agree that academics are a skeptical and critical market.  I've noticed that they are skeptical of anyone who charges money for their services, for example.

As a matter of fact, one of the other two coaches featured in the article, Nathalie Houston, associate professor of English at the University of Houston,  observed that academics take their excellent critical skills and turn them against themselves.  There's no advantage to being a surgeon who goes home and cuts herself with her tools.


Susanne Simms,who is a senior lecturer in speech and language therapy at Birmingham City University, describes coaching as "a solution-focused style of talking that protects people from stress and overload. It's strength-based and not interested in problems. It tries to find out what is working and how to do more of that - it's an enabling conversation rather than talking about what's wrong."


I was surprised to read that the UK is behind the US in terms of offering coaching for academics such as grad students and professors. 


If you're interested in learning more about coaching for professors and grad students, then this article is well written and quotes some very intelligent people.