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Testimonials From Coaching Clients

A dissertation savior – without Gaye’s advice and support, I would still be stuck in the mud instead of moving forward towards a goal which now seems attainable!

Fortunately for her clients, Gaye has the right mix of skills to get a project moving, keep it progressing, and see it through to completion. It is difficult to single out what has been the most helpful aspect of our working relationship because I find that whatever obstacle I come to her with, she is able to help me work through it and stay on track. When one approach ceases to be effective, Gaye quickly finds another to help me get through a particular problem. I have approached Gaye with numerous problems ranging from procrastination to perfectionism to writer’s block and she has always been able to help me find the right strategy for conquering it. In addition to these internally generated issues, Gaye has helped me to overcome obstacles to getting this project finished which were generated by advisor and university issues, the interference of health issues, and numerous other problems which impact my academic productivity. Having herself had the personal experience of life interrupting work gives Gaye a particular insight into how to balance the stress of writing a dissertation with the demands of a life outside of that dissertation. For many, it is just not possible to push everything else aside in order to finish that dissertation. Gaye has helped me to accept that fact and work around it to the best of my abilities.

I find that Gaye’s coaching style is quite unique in that it takes the form of a real dialogue. At the end of a session, I feel as though we have reached conclusions and developed strategies as a team. Instead of telling me what to do, Gaye encourages a conversation during which I am able to really absorb her suggestions and build upon them with my own ideas.

The practical advice she has given me, the tips and tricks of the daily grind, has been enhanced by her constant support and encouragement. The process of completing a dissertation can seem very lonely and isolating. Touching base with Gaye on a weekly schedule always helps to center me within my work and gives me an opportunity to talk about it which is generally not afforded in my daily life. However, Gaye is not at all a push-over and she has consistently challenged me to make my work better, to get out there and share my ideas, to take advantage of unique opportunities to interact with professionals in my field, and to get it done!

I hate to think where I would be if I had not made that call to her!

WS, Rutgers University, USA



I have found Gaye’s input very valuable indeed: she’s helped me through the process of balancing work, life and writing a thesis, and has been a tremendous source of practical help. I believe I wouldn’t be at the stage I’ve reached without her help. All the work we have done together has been by phone or email, and I know she works with other people via instant messaging - so geographical separation isn’t an issue.
DB, Newcastle University, Australia

Thank you very much for your wonderful support.
NP, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia

I have done more work on the dissertation [during our first month of coaching] than I have in the nine months leading up to the coaching. I spent time really investigating what is holding me up and causing this process to continue to be stalled. I have organized my dissertation binders effectively, and made a place for all of my ideas to “go.” I have worked more consistently on my dissertation and in so doing have been a little more engaged with the ideas that I had about what my project is trying to accomplish.

Particularly helpful parts: you have helped me realize that there are ways and means by which I can “self-correct” some of my bad behavior; holding me accountable for hours spent on the dissertation; helping me to define digestible chunks to work on — I can’t seem to be able to do that on my own as I become quickly overwhelmed by the size of the project as a whole. I really feel like I am getting my money’s worth although I have to work harder to see more results.

Interestingly, I think that I realized that there is no “cure” or panacea for this dissertation process. Having your support only works in that it gets me to do things, not in that it does the things. Not quite sure why I thought that there would be some “instant fix” for all the dissertation problems, some way to get it to almost do itself, but I seem to have realized that that is something I had in the back of my mind.
WS, Rutgers University, USA

Thanks for helping me in the big picture — working out what my thesis is about.
PC, Stanford University, USA

I just want to thank you for such a helpful session tonight. I feel calmer and a bit more capable. I was very nervous to call and am so grateful that I have found one relationship in this whole dissertation business that is not judgemental of my progress.
WS, Rutgers University, USA

Gaye, you have helped me focus in on the things I really need to do, and made me accountable in a low-stakes way.  This has been very, very helpful.  In many ways, I already know what needs to happen, but there are so MANY things on the potential to-do list, it helps a lot to have your guidance in deciding which things are really important and urgent to take care of.  For example, I don't think I would have started working by making a reverse timetable.  The task was pretty time consuming, but it was very valuable.  I feel so much better right now knowing where I should be in the process and why.  If you hadn't asked me to think that through, I would be in denial about the schedule, and would have avoided looking into it out of fear.  It would definitely be haunting me at night!

Having a deadline with you to accomplish certain tasks has helped also.  So, I guess coaching has helped with my motivation — not on the dissertation as a whole, but with the specific sub-tasks involved.  Your recommendation that I get started with the subject recruitment was helpful in that it focused my attention on an important, urgent task, but knowing that you were expecting me to have made the calls really motivated me to get it done.

Another aspect of coaching that is helpful to me is that you are separate from the rest of my life.  You are not the person evaluating my work, you don't live with me, etc., so I don't have to worry so much about how I come across.  It would be hard to go through this process with my advisor, for example.

I also appreciate your willingness to give concrete advice and recommendations.  I interviewed another coach who seemed more like a therapist — it seemed as if EVERYTHING I said got restated or turned into a question. I value your willingness to share your knowledge and expertise with dissertation-related tasks. The coaching has been really great and very useful to me, and definitely worth the fee. I feel that I am getting my money's worth and that I can afford the process.

JBP, Northwestern University, USA


Congratulations, Gaye! The website looks great. I know you’re gonna help lots of frazzled grad students survive the dissertation writing ordeal. Wish I’d had someone like you to help me; it might have shaved a couple of years off my time in school. Writing my dissertation was one of the toughest things I ever did.

Don H. Morris, Ed.D. in Counseling and Personnel Services, The University of Memphis, 1996
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