I approached Laura when I felt really demotivated to write. I knew that I had a book project to finish but not much desire or belief that I could do it. I felt pretty rotten about my capacity to write and thought I lacked creativity in my writing. Despite a clear developing record of publications, I felt a bit of an interloper in academic spaces.
At the same time, I knew much of this was me getting in my own way. Thinking about doing rather than doing about thinking. But how did could I get out of my own way? How do I find a way to do rather than try?
Laura immediately made me feel at ease and comfortable discussing these fears and introspective views. She provide me with a space in which my anxieties could be made external but without the threat of judgement. She approached coaching with me in a way that made me feel that it was specifically tailored to me.
We explored, in a structured manner, a range of different tools to practically help me to get writing again, to help focus my writing practice not on the markers of productivity or the expectations of others, but my own internal motivations; I uncovered what would make me feel comfortable writing regularly and focused on cultivating those sensations and intentions. Rather than being motivated by the statement ‘I need to write’ I focused more on ‘I want to write’ and ‘I am writing’. I was amazed at how effective employing these small switches were. My meetings with Laura didn’t end up acting as places where I could merely dump all of my self-loathing and frustration about my writing and thinking as I had thought they might. Instead, Laura was an external check that I was being compassionate towards my writing, viewing myself as accomplished and creative.
While I know there will be meandering paths, diverting gullies and frustrating, pressing hurdles, I also know through my work with Laura, that if I focus on naming and responding to my writing gremlins, if I intend to write calmly, creatively, and insistently I will be less interested in checking off whether I have reached that peak or this, but instead enjoy the journey that I am on. — L.M., Birmingham
I decided I wanted coaching because I had been out of higher education for about 10 years before starting my PhD program. This, combined with doing my PhD in a different country, created a lot of anxiety. I spent the first few months of my program thinking I had missed a meeting where they explained everything. After I discovered that there was no meeting, I decided to seek some sort of outside help. For me, a PhD is about knowledge and process. I can obtain the knowledge but I did not have any type of process for turning that into the final result.
I was pretty adamant that did not want any type of coaching. Past experiences led me to believe that it was not my style. Luckily, Laura was able to meet me where I was in the process. We work together to create plans around my particular issues. She guided me through a process that helped me move past my internal blocks. This, combined with her academic experience and knowledge of resources, propelled me forward at a critical time in the PhD process.
As a result of working with Laura, I allowed myself to be different. I am an older student, in a foreign country, and with a unique set of life experiences. While I know cognitively that all these things are my strengths, this was not showing up in my actual day-to-day process. Laura helped me see this and harness my strengths into concrete action.
For me, Laura was the non-coaching coach. Her style is one that is primarily concerned with my expressed needs, but she also has a keen eye for other issues that may be impacting my success. As the old saying goes, “you do not know what you do not know”, and Laura was able to help me know more things about myself. — Bill, London
I decided I wanted coaching because I felt a bit out of synch in work. I was finding balancing increased responsibilities in work and at home with a demanding research career overwhelming and knew I needed to make good decisions about where to focus my time and energy. I chose to work with Laura because her background and approach really appealed to me. I felt like she was someone who would understand where I was coming from. This instinct was so right! Laura’s coaching style is empathic yet practical. She has helped me reconcile my values with my life inside and outside of work. She helped me decide what to commit more to, and in order to do so, what to let go. As a result of working with Laura, I feel a renewed of inner purpose and a calm. — J., Professor, UK
I found working with Laura freeing. As someone who had also chosen to leave the tradition academic path, it was such a relief to be able to discuss those decisions and situations with someone who already knew the language and environment. Though we came from different disciplines and different systems, there was no need to try and explain the intricacies and esoteric environments because they were as familiar to Laura as they were to me.
In starting from that same breadth of experience, Laura was able to quickly hone in on the details that were both specific and important to me. Laura helped me formulate questions to assess options and possible paths by querying the characteristics that made me happy rather than the characteristics that I thought made me a good worker or a good academic. With her guidance, I was able to begin to differentiate behaviours that made me happy from behaviours that I thought would make me successful and recognise that I had a long history of choosing options that made me unhappy because I thought they would make me succesful.
After working with Laura, I find that I evaluate new situations and new choices more quickly and more emphatically. I am less prone to the inertia and ruminations of indecision. Laura taught me how to identify the core values that I am searching for, as well as the commonalities between the missteps I have taken. Equipped with those two lists, and the clarity of mind to be able to assess novel situations and people for those qualities, I feel capable of re-envisioning my future and confident that I will make the decisions that are best for my whole health. — A.D., Former academic
I chose to work with Laura because on meeting her I saw her capacity for incisive lateral thinking. So beyond the fact that she adheres to and fully embraces the key principles of coaching, she also has a unique capacity to dissect and respond to things very astutely. She is an excellent listener. Innate wisdom and broad life experience for me is a prerequisite in a coach. She helped me immensely and was very thorough/rigorous in her follow-up. She held me to account very effectively. I would highly recommend her to anyone requiring coaching. — S.M., Separated and self-employed
I met Laura as she was co-coaching on a three-month long summer writing retreat. This was completely transformational, I went from struggling to write 30 minutes a day to regularly writing 2-4 hours daily. This was largely thanks to Laura: firstly, her thoughtful comments every two weeks on my writing log, showed she really did care and read everything, and this correspondence pushed me out of certain thought patterns, helped me lower my standards and feel more confident in my own abilities. Secondly, Laura recognised me as a ‘fellow process junkie’ and we had a two-person book club, where we read texts she recommended on productivity and the everyday processes (or rituals) of creative women. These exchanges were so fun and sharing our favourite and critical perspectives was essential for me to establish new habits to create a balanced system for writing and relaxing.
After that, and an one-on-one call included in the retreat, I knew I wanted to work with Laura more to come up with a clear vision statement to guide my decision making and long-term planning. I am someone who already does a lot of regular planning, reflection and tracking of my time and I wanted to take this to another level with the feedback of a coach and someone to hold me accountable. Laura is excellent in being able to both offer a clear structure and way forward, while keeping it open for you to guide the process and make sure you’re getting what you want from the exchange. She excels at holding up a mirror, proffering thoughtful analogies, to help you challenge or work through your taken-for-granted statements and perceptions of yourself. I also love the way Laura offers comments that are framed around ‘what is going to be useful for you,’ rather than taking up a great deal of time to tell her own stories. This was different from what I’ve experienced with mentors in the past, and she even stresses that ‘you don’t have to worry about my feelings or ask how I’m doing’ so all the time we’ve spent together felt on-task with what I wanted to achieve. Laura’s past experience as an academic was also valuable as she understands the juggling act and workaholic norms in this field, the way she communicates and conducts herself overall was an antidote and I relished the returning question our interactions brought: asking what would a feminist academic do?
Honestly, hiring Laura as a coach has been one of the best things I’ve ever done. Together, we’ve developed a vision statement that makes deciding what to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ too much clearer. Of course, figuring out ‘who you want to be’ and ‘what makes you happy’ is hard, but, thanks to our sessions together I feel more intentionality, clarity, and authenticity in my everyday interactions and decision-making. — Katherine, Senior Researcher, UK
Laura helps me feel less alone. I have worked with her to identify my core values, name my saboteurs, and trust my intuition. Laura is a direct and empathetic coach. She acknowledges that the answer to my queries often lies within myself; and when I need assistance, she provides me with strategies for accessing my inner voice. She sees me, shines a light on me, and gives me actionable goals. Laura is next level! — R.H., North Carolina
I decided I wanted coaching because I was so fed up with feeling constantly in a rut with my PhD. I was progressing with it, but extremely slowly and not at the pace I needed to be going at to finish when I wanted to. I’m a final year student and have only 3 months left until submission. Academia also feels like a very isolating and cold place at times and I believed coaching would provide a safe and confidential space for me to talk through my concerns with someone trustworthy and empathetic.
I chose to work with Laura because from our initial correspondence and phone call, I immediately sensed her empathy and warmth. This became even more transparent when she offered her pro-bono spot to me when I explained that I could no longer afford the coaching fee. This sums Laura up so well: she could sense how much I needed help and wanted to give me it without financial circumstances being a barrier. I know this was a very fortunate and lucky situation for me, but I would 1000% pay for my sessions with Laura if I had the financial means to do so because she has completely transformed my mindset with writing when I needed it the most, as time was quickly running out and I was letting my own overwhelm hinder my PhD progress.
Laura’s coaching style is practical, approachable, friendly, and non-judgemental. She finds out the root of your problems and provides useful tools and methods to address them. Laura is always so understanding because of her own background in academia and completely relates to the PhD process because she has been there herself. What I find most refreshing is Laura’s encouragement to have down-time and schedule in regular breaks and self-care slots. This reminder has been so valuable for me when I’ve spent so long in an academic environment that makes you feel guilty if you don’t work 12-hour days. Laura has transformed my mindset around the amount of work I can achieve in a lot less hours.
There really aren’t enough words to express what Laura’s coaching has meant to me. I feel like I’ve re-gained so much of myself because of Laura. She has helped me get through some mental blocks that have stopped me from writing productively and has such a great way of motivating me because her words are so encouraging and kind. Laura is also the BEST listener and you can tell that she genuinely cares about you and your progress. After every session with Laura, I feel rejuvenated and inspired because she instils so much belief in me that I will get to the end. I owe so much to Laura for walking me through to the end of my PhD, which has been one of the hardest and loneliest times of my life so far, made so much more bearable because of Laura and her amazing approach to coaching. — Emily, PhD Student