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Resilient Researcher
Coaching Programme

At a glance


Are you considering group coaching for researchers in your centre? If so, you might be interested in some of these free resources to find out more?

  • Mark has argued in this OpEd for Times Higher Education that every researcher should have a coach – so much more powerful than traditional mentoring schemes. I can recommend good coaches with experience in the sector, but this is beyond the budget and remit of most researcher development teams

  • As a result, a number of Universities are now offering group coaching as part of a tailored training programme that researchers can apply for – listen to Mark's interview with Ged Hall from University of Leeds to hear how their Building Impact Momentum programme works and how it integrates group coaching


In response to this we have developed a highly tailored, evidenced based programme of coaching for the academic community.


The Resilient Researcher Coaching Programme offers:


  • Coaching to support academic, research and support staff of all disciplines and stages.  

  • A 9-month programme which empowers 15 people per cohort  to achieve their best work, without sacrificing their spare time.  

  • Participants will be taken on a journey to identify deeply held values and rekindle their vision.  

  • They will make small, manageable, evidence based changes applied daily leading to long term resilience in work-home balance, and over all health and wellbeing.

  • They will learn about truly integrated work-home balance and how to maintain it, leading to greater productivity, curiosity and a higher quality of work produced.  

  • They will also learn about their own personal barriers to self-care and learn to apply tools to remove these when challenges appear in the future.  

  • They will learn first-hand about the importance self-care in maintaining an intense career, by applying evidence based principles to their own lives, therefore tackling stress and burnout before they arise. 

  • By enabling self-compassion in the face of challenges such as imposter syndrome, perfectionism and people-pleasing, participants are empowered to make more values-based decisions to resolve competing demands on their time. 

  • Groups cultivate self-compassion as a first step towards acting more compassionately towards others, and form the basis for a more compassionate, and so impactful, culture around them.


  • The research evidence is clear – coaching can: 

    • Help researchers achieve their objectives and prioritise their most important work.

    • Increase wellbeing, tackle stress and prevent burnout.

    • And group coaching is both more affordable and more fun, giving you a chance to build supportive relationships in your team.

In detail

What is group coaching?

Coaching is empowerment of the individual, with the coachee in the driving seat and the coach being the vehicle to support change towards personal goals.  In group coaching there is the added benefit of the support of peers who are on a similar journey, and this adds a further dimension of accountability and social support.  The coach works with the group to discover their own goals and barriers, and supports them towards a greater sense of self-worth, job satisfaction, work-home balance and health.

Graphic of four cars with a driver, each going in different directions
What is group coaching

The coach has key skills in behaviour change but does not advise or dictate the course of action for the individuals within the group, thus empowering them to achieve their own goals.  The coaching goals each participant makes will be unique to them and their own work-home circumstances, and the group coaching format is inclusive and supportive of the needs and circumstances of every individual. 


Dr Joyce Reed runs this coaching program, and she also offers individual coaching which can be specifically tailored to the lives and pressures of academia.  For more information visit her website, and arrange a free exploratory call to discuss options. For more information about the power of coaching take a look at her blog here.

Evidence for group coaching

The evidence base for coaching of all kinds has been steadily building over the past decade, with several RCTs now emerging, mainly from health and executive coaching. These studies show promising evidence that coaching groups gain a number of benefits over control groups. These include:


  • Improved productivity, quality of work, and resilience at work;

  • Increased wellbeing and motivation, with higher rates of return to work and job retention; and

  • Self-rated benefits around goal commitment and achievement leading to increased positivity, hope and wellbeing with an overall reduction in stress.


For further information on the evidence base, a good synopsis can be found in What works in executive coaching by Erik de Haan. A recent Times Higher Education article by Prof Mark Reed also looks at why coaching rather than mentoring is more relevant for researchers and academic staff when looking at creating compassionate, creative and impactful cultures.

With a view to further adding to this growing body of research, consent will be taken for participants to be contacted in the future or at any point in their coaching journey to provide qualitative data about their subjective experience of the programme.  Fast Track Impact may also use anonymised data from self-scoring exercises and symptom scores to complement this if consent is given.   All data and responses will be kept completely anonymous unless participants are approached individually for further consent to use part of their narrative, in which case their own words would be used and credited appropriately. 

Contents of the programme

Format: The programme starts with The Health Resilient Researcher training, which provides a summary of cutting-edge health and wellbeing evidence.  This course has a specific focus on how to become a healthier and more resilient researcher.  This 4-hour session introduces key concepts for discussion around work-life balance and self-care, allowing lots of time for discussion, breakout rooms and development of personal goals, to get started.  As an introductory session the training format provides a safe and familiar opportunity for group members to get to know each other as they learn foundational concepts, and moves participants from contemplating change towards taking action.  This is followed by eight monthly group coaching sessions which take participants on a deeper journey into key areas of life in academia, which when tackled intentionally can lead to huge increases in resilience.

The eight follow-up sessions are 2 hours long taking a more in depth look at each area covered.  These involve a learning session interspersed with group discussion, individual exercises, an active break and a breath work session (that is, taking a movement snack and learning a breathing technique together). This is followed by a discussion to reach the session goals, which participants take away to work on between sessions.  All group sessions will be conducted via Zoom, and all dates and times will be arranged up front in order that busy academics have ample notice of the timings of sessions.   


Each participant will receive a contract and code of conduct which will be signed and adhered to during the sessions, in order that the group remains a safe and constructive environment for all participants.  Read the group coaching contract here.  People experiencing group coaching together can form close bonds and find great strength in each other, which further adds to future resilience at work and beyond.

Participants and resources: Up to 30 participants from your department or university can sign up for the initial 4 hour Health Resilient Researcher session, then from this session 15 can sign up for the full Resilient Researcher coaching programme.

You will receive 30 copies of the manual and also the coaching group will have access to all the resources we use during the session.  All participants will get pdf copies of the self-help dairy and reading list.


Follow-up between monthly sessions: Initially, weekly email or WhatsApp group contact will be made with the group to act as a reminder to keep up with goals, for motivation and general encouragement.  This will gradually be reduced as groups develop their own strategies for self and group support, thus setting up sustainable patterns for the future and bringing resilience firmly into the cultural narrative of the workplace for each group.


The group coaching sessions cover the following topics:

Anchor 1
Example 'My time/priorities' piechart

1. Values, Motivators and Vision

In this session we use the identities and priorities task from the initial training session, building on insights drawn from this task.   We will look at research evidence around why our values matter for achieving our health and wellbeing goals.

2. Perfectionism, people pleasing and imposter syndrome

This session explores some of the psychological barriers that can stand in our way, blocking us from achieving our work, health, and general life related goals and why these happen so much in the modern post-industrial world of work.

Various vegetables ranging in color

3. Underpinnings of good nutrition for resilience

In this session we take a deeper look at what a whole food diet consists of, giving participants a deeper understand of what processed foods are, so they can start seeing them as non-food.  The session also looks at food labels and how to make difficult choices when food shopping.

Woman asleep in bed

4. Accessing our sleep superpower

A whole night’s restorative sleep doesn’t come naturally to all of us, so in this session we will dig deeper into how we can start to retrain our brains to access our essential sleep superpower.

A blanket being knitted

5. Rest and restore

In this session we consider how resting well is different from getting a good night’s sleep.  Resting restores our body, mind and soul allowing us to align daily with our most authentic selves.  This creates time in our day where we are brought out of the “stressed” sympathetic state of the nervous system and into the “rest and digest” parasympathetic state.  In modern life this increasingly needs to be an intentional choice. In this session we will learn how to do this more effectively and identify barriers that come up for us in taking the vital rest we need.

Several women in an exercise class

6. Whole body movement

Increasing research evidence is showing that movement is medicine not only for the body but also for the mind and emotions.  Digging deeper into some key pieces of evidence, in this session we will identify ways of moving that we enjoy, which will increase our motivation, health and vitality.

2 women having a discussion

7. Cultivating healthy open relationships at work

Starting with the importance of self-compassion and empathy, we look at authenticity, vulnerability, and honesty in saying “no to mean no” and “yes to mean yes”.

8. Concluding Session

Discussion and concluding actions, including a discussion on how to create a health and wellness culture in the group.


£4500 plus VAT

Dr Reed can also work with you to design a bespoke programme of coaching for your group. This can be with a focus on productivity, wellbeing, or resilience in academia, or with a mixture of sessions from the Resilient Researcher Coaching Programme.  Click here to set up a call to discuss your needs further.

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