The difficult decision of leaving

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The difficult decision of leaving

Having gone myself through a PhD and a postdoc I am aware of the difficulties and the internal and external struggles you have to go through when you hesitate staying or moving away from academia.

But I do not want to advocate here the role of counsellor or mentor.

Rather I believe you have already inside you the answer to all those difficult questions that cross your mind. You just need some guidance to overcome your internal blocks and release your potential. This is nothing more than the central essence of coaching. That is why others and I believe that “coaching is an excellent tactic for scientists’, and it’s a valuable support to help them improve their career or job situation”. (see Joanne Kamens’s article Career coaching for scientist )

But what does coaching really means?

As described by John Whitmore in his book Coaching for performance, coaching is unlocking people’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is not merely a technique it is a way of thinking, a way of being. Coaching is about creating the conditions for learning and growing.

In a typical coaching session (very well described by Eilene Zimmerman) you will be asked a lot of questions. The aim being to make emerge solutions that will lead you to change a behavior pattern and ultimately have a positive impact in your professional or life achievements.

But for whom is the coaching meant?

Typically used by high-level professionals to accelerate their careers (As described by Eilene Zimmerman) coaching is now a widely spread tool that can be used to improve aspects of your professional or personal life.

In this regard coaching is for everyone facing challenging times. For everyone who wants to excel in their job or simply going through a time of change and facing difficulties in finding their way.

Does this sound familiar?

Have you been so deeply immerse in your research projects that now when the moment comes do take decisions you have problems deciding if you want to make a career shift or continue doing research? Do you want to finish your thesis but you cannot help procrastinate the writing process? And then when you think your mind is set to leave academia, are you assaulted by thoughts like: I have no skills and cannot apply anywhere else outside academia! …besides, what else is there interesting to do?

We think we can provide you with some help. In our coaching sessions we will work together to set clear objectives and a plan or strategy to achieve them. Depending on your current situation we propose to use coaching approaches alone or combined with career counselling tools to help you move forward with your life and reach out for your full potential.

7  reasons coaching might be beneficial for you:

  1. You have problems communicating to your supervisor or your colleagues.
  2. You cannot take time from your research to think about the next steps in your career.
  3. You think during our PhD you only developed technical skills, not useful outside academia!
  4. You are procrastinating finishing your thesis.
  5. You still believe in some myths in Academia, such as: “I will be forever labelled as a looser if I leave”.
  6. When finally you decide to go for a post academic career  you get stuck thinking there is nothing worth applying for.
  7. You want to stay in academia but do not know how to be creative and innovative.


  1. John Whitmore in his book Coaching for performance,.
  2. Joanne Kamens. Career coaching for scientist. Nature Biotechnology (33)
  3. Eilene Zimmerman. Ready for the Big Leagues? Ask a Career Coach. The New York Times.