PhD Unplugged: coaching podcast for PhD students

Juggling all the different tasks in your PhD can be tough. How to start when work is piling up? How to perform well when there is so much pressure? How to relax when work is always on your mind? How to make plans when the future is uncertain?

With their podcast PhD Unplugged, PhD students Luisa and Lara Solms aim to address common challenges that PhD students face but that are rarely talked about: insecurities, publication pressure, conflicts with the supervisor and much more.

The podcast is unique in that it consists of a 'live coaching' session, in which a PhD student talks to a professional coach about a subject of their choice.

Background Luisa and Lara

Luisa is a second-year PhD student at the department of Work and Organizational Psychology at the University of Amsterdam. The well-being and personal development of PhD students are central themes in her research.

Lara is fourth-year PhD student at the department of Work and Organizational Psychology at the University of Amsterdam and the Erasmus Medical Center. After studying psychology in Germany and the Netherlands, Lara has been working on the topic of professional coaching for the past four years.

Episode 7: writing

Writing is a crucial part of everyone’s PhD journey. Yet, for most of us it does not come easy and can be a source of frustration. In this episode, PhD student Willemijn Helmich talks to academic writing coach Jeanine de Bruin about the challenge of writing a dissertation next to a full-time job, how to integrate writing into a busy working schedule and how to make it a more meaningful and fun activity.

Episode 6: Career Planning

Obtaining your PhD is one thing, knowing what to do after is another. In this episode, PhD student Tajda Laure speaks to coach and coaching researcher Dr. Tim Theeboom about the difficulty of knowing what career path is right for you and how to take the steps that get you closer to your goals.

Episode 5: information overload

PhD students have to gain an in-depth understanding of the topic under study. Immersing ourselves in our work is crucial. Yet, high engagement can also slow us down when we get lost in details. To avoid falling down the ‘rabbit hole’, and losing sight of what is important, we need to set boundaries. In this episode, we speak to PhD student Charlotte Vaassen and psychologist and professional coach Christianne Vink about how to nourish moments of flow while limiting our tendency to ‘overshoot’.

Episode 4: Meaning

Doing work that is personally meaningful is an important source of motivation for many PhD students. At the same time, having great passion and being intrinsically motivated for the job can also lead PhD students to overinvest in their careers. In this episode, we speak to PhD student Anastassia Vivanco Carlevari and former editor of Harvard Business Review, Karen Dillon about ‘how to measure your life’.

Episode 3: stereotypes in academia

What does it mean to not fit the stereotype of a scientist? In this episode PhD student Noor Abdulhussain shares how coming from a non-Western background has made her demand a lot from herself and work extra hard during her PhD studies and beyond. Together with coaching practitioner and researcher Dr. Raija Salomaa, we discuss how finding recognition can help us when we are doubting ourselves or our place in academia.

Episode 2: self-compassion

It’s easy to be hard on ourselves when we fail or fall short. How, if we would treat ourselves the way we would treat a good friend? In this episode, Luisa and Lara speak to self-compassion pioneer Dr. Steven Hickman and PhD candidate Yoni Schirris about the power of self-compassion.

Episode 1: Insecurities

Everyone is insecure now and then, but sometimes, insecurities can really stand ourselves in the way. How to deal with insecurities in your PhD? Luisa and Lara will talk about it together with their guests, Daphne van der Kruijssen and executive coach Jenny Rogers.