Name: Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Liverpool
Type of Coaching: Building resilience coaching programmes for Early Career Academics
Within the academic population, there is increasing pressure to perform in a climate of constant change and restricted resources. Stepping into the role of an early career academic for the first time requires a different set of skills that individuals may not always have had the opportunity to develop.
The biggest challenge for early career academics was managing workload, prioritising time and adapting to constantly changing demands. The request from the University of Liverpool was for a group coaching programme which would focus on developing skills, building confidence and encourage behaviour change, and with the additional and extraordinary challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the group wanted to explore strategies for building resilience.
Early Career Academics were invited to share their individual challenges and needs to enable the co-creation of the themes for the coaching sessions:
- Managing Time
Topics included being productive during times of high workload, dealing with the urgent (when everything is urgent) and delegating effectively.
- Building Better Working Relationships
Topics included understanding and appreciating differences, understanding preferences using MBTI profiling and having tricky conversations.
- Managing Pressure
Topics included stress management techniques and understanding your own relationship with stress and pressure
- Building Resilience
Topics included developing a resilient mindset, managing imposter syndrome.
The session style was informal but with a need for involvement. A mix of proven techniques and activities grounded in theory were included and each of the four sessions introduced the group to practical tools which individuals could implement immediately in their role. In between sessions, Early Career Academics were encouraged to try the techniques and report back.
The programme sponsor from the Faculty of Science and Engineering commented:
“The programme has been very positively received and continues to be in demand. Denise’s experience and knowledge of the HEI environment meant that she was able to deliver sessions that were tailored to the challenges and needs of our ECAs. Participants favoured Denise’s informal and supportive style throughout.”
“Listening to the perspectives and advice of others was really valuable.”
“It was very helpful to have this coaching. It helped me a lot better to handle everyday situations in my job”
“It was very useful. Being an Early Career Academic is challenging in normal years and this is not a normal year. It was very helpful to hear from colleagues facing similar challenges, and the positive support was quite inspiring.”
“The ideas of time management and conflict resolution will be very valuable in the near future.”