Updated: Apr 4
A Ph.D. is a big, life-changing investment that has huge implications for your career. This is why it is important to make sure you have the best support network possible to help you deal with what will be an intense period of study and research.
As a Ph.D. student, you might have already heard about the importance of having a mentor. A mentor is an experienced colleague who guides you through the process of your studies and helps to set up future career opportunities for you.
Carmel RG and Paul MW (March 31, 2015) studied the importance of coaching and mentorship and discovered that it provides psychosocial assistance in the workspace, which assists mentees to deal more effectively with role ambiguity, role conflict, and a perceived uncertain environment.
So what makes a good mentee? It's essential to be proactive and show initiative to secure a good relationship with your mentor. But mentorship doesn't stop once you start working on your thesis.
In Higher Education, mentoring has been linked to career advancement (Burke and McKeen, 1997; Higgins, 2001), increased self-confidence (De Vries, 2005), and personal satisfaction and growth (Ehrich et al., 2004)
Here's why mentoring and coaching are so vital during the early stages of your career as well as throughout your Ph.D.
1. Help in Proposal Development
Before you can do research, you need to know what exactly your research is about. Ph.D. aspirants are expected to develop their core research ideas and demonstrate competency in the analysis of methods, materials, and other aspects of a Ph.D. project in form of a proposal.
The proposal development stage is a critical part of the Ph.D. process. This involves the preparation of a report which will be submitted to your university's committee for approval of funding and supervision. You must receive funding approval at this stage. The report is where you justify your research topic, explain how it fits in with other work being done by yourself and others, detail your proposed methodology and outline any risks to success.
Making a report on your own without professional guidance may lead to an unpleasant experience. Therefore, it is recommended to always seek advice from mentors who have the professional experience to help develop your proposal and get it approved.
2. Alternative to an Unsupportive Supervisor
"You see things, and you say, "Why?" But I dream things that never were, and I say, "Why not?" - George Bernard Shaw
To some, this may sound like a utopian vision of the academic world. We should all be so lucky to have a supervisor who cares about us as much as we care about our work! But for many Ph.D. students, it's simply an impossible dream.
However, this shouldn’t be a dead-end for them. Those scholars who don’t get the necessary support and guidance from their assigned supervisors can always turn to have supportive mentors or coaches available, who can save them from a disastrous Ph.D. journey and help them in their professional development.
3. Avoid Isolation
Ph.D. programs can be an isolating experience. It can make sense to reach out for support when you are feeling overwhelmed, or amid a crisis that has the potential to derail your progress towards your degree. There are many forms of support available to you, but out of these the best one which you can have is through an active and helpful mentor.
Daloz, LA (1986) Mentoring is an important development activity that can have a positive influence on the growth and professional development of those involved in a mentoring relationship, but more so the person being mentored.
4. Tackle Anxiety and Setbacks
A Ph.D. is a challenging endeavor, and it can be difficult to remain motivated throughout your program. While there are many benefits to being a Ph.D. candidate, including the freedom to explore topics in-depth and an opportunity to make a meaningful impact on your field, there are also drawbacks.
The most significant disadvantage of pursuing a Ph.D. is the potential for setbacks along the way. At any point during this lengthy doctoral journey, you may hit a roadblock that leaves you feeling frustrated and demotivated. Having a supportive mentor or coach at that time who lifts your spirit through mindful sessions to tackle these challenges would be a great blessing for you.
5. Data Collection and Analysis Techniques
A common theme that runs through all the projects in a Ph.D. is collecting and analyzing data. You will be required to develop your research skills in these areas, which require different levels of expertise.
In the first stage, you will want to start data collection for your research and this means that you would need to use primary sources such as textbooks, journals, articles, websites, and so on. You would also need to use secondary sources such as books, articles, and other people's research findings to find out what has already been done regarding your topic of interest.
If you do not know where to find the relevant research material or how to conclude results from them, you will find yourself immersed in a sea of endless resources. To avoid this overwhelming situation you need to have regular one-on-one sessions with Ph.D. coaches who can guide you on how to extract data efficiently from reliable sources and utilize them for your research.
Good News for Ph.D. Students & Candidates Who Want to Finish Sooner Rather Than Later
Scholars Professional Editing Group LLC has developed a structured premium dissertation coaching program that is personalized and tailored specifically with the doctoral candidate/student in mind. Our 1-on-1 coaching is conducted by real experts that understand and crystalize the research review process and are fully equipped to support you through navigating you step-by-step through your established dissertation goals to completion. Candidates can expect the following outcomes and results enrolled in our coaching program:
1. WE Save YOU Time Through Speed: Complete up to 10 full sections of your dissertation in 8-weeks through accountability, line-by-line live editorial reviews, immediate, structured, supportive, and CLEAR feedback that propels you in excitement to write in a clear and focused manner.
2. WE Save YOU Money Spent In Tuition & the Accumulation of Student loan Debt: By speeding up the completion of your dissertation in a shorter period we save you $7.5k spent per/semester in tuition fees over an estimated 8-year period to the reduced $140k per/year in 4-years.
3. We Save YOUR Overall Well-being: Stress, anxiety, depression, isolation, dissertation completion pressures, committee ambiguous feedback and expectations, life-work balance, and suicidal thoughts are common psychological effects experienced by 47% of doctoral candidates. The mindful sessions are conducted by our clinical therapist and designed to neutralize anxiety and reverse psychological effects and subconscious blocks that prevent forward and focused progress in your life. Our Clinician will equip you with transferable skills that will prepare you beyond the dissertation and can be used to combat any form of anxiety and stress that emerges in your life. We will remove subconscious blocks, so you can put your best self forward when facing stress and anxiety in completing your dissertation.
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Carmel RG, Paul MW. Mentoring and coaching in academia: Reflections on a mentoring/coaching relationship. Policy Futures in Education. 2015;13(4):479-491. doi: 10.1177/1478210315578562
Burke, RJ, McKeen, CA (1997) Benefits of mentoring relationships among managerial and professional women: A cautionary tale. Journal of Vocational Behaviour 51: 43–57.
Higgins, MC (2001) Reconceptualizing mentoring at work: A developmental network perspective. Academy of Management Review 26(2): 254–288.
De Vries, J (2005) More Than the Sum of its Parts: 10 years of the Leadership Development for Women Programme at UWA, Perth, WA: University of Western Australia.
Ehrich, LC, Hansford, B, Tennent, L (2004) Formal mentoring programs in education and other professions: A review of the literature. Educational Administration Quarterly 40(4): 518–540.
Daloz, LA (1986) Effective Teaching, and Mentoring: Realizing the Transformational Power of Adult Learning Experiences, San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.