Before starting my coaching sessions with Melissa, I was always worried about not being efficient enough at work and spent a lot of time comparing my working style to the perfect “The 5 AM club” routine.

During my sessions with Melissa, she helped me recognize and accept my uniqueness. I gradually came to realize that although most of the successful story sounds similar and a lot of people benefit from “The 5 AM club” schedule, everyone is built differently.

With Melissa’s help, I started to accept and even appreciate my uniqueness. I quit buying generic planners from publishers and initiated my own planning system, which turned out to be much easier to work with – not a surprise since now I have a “customized” planner.

I would recommend Melissa’s coaching service to anyone who needs a coach who would listen to your needs and inspire you to draw a practical yet exciting road map for your career.


Before coaching with Melissa I was exhausted, with low energy and no motivation to do my work. Procrastination had ruled my life, I was doing things at the last minute when panic took over and then crashing because of the stressful days. Also, writing was overwhelming.  

What’s changed as a result of coaching with Melissa is that I can now understand why I procrastinate, and then work on fixing the root cause. I learned what drains my energy and what I can do to make the writing process easier.

For example, I made progress in my writing projects, and I also scheduled and completed an exam that I had previously put off for 2 years, and I’ve been following through on cooking more often and eating better, which I used to procrastinate about.

Nizia, Graduate Student

Before coaching, I was experiencing high anxiety and a lot of resistance to writing. This not only affected my academic productivity, but also had a deeper impact on my sense of well-being overall. 

Now I find writing to be a much more positive experience. I find I am actually energized by the challenge of writing, and I no longer see writing as a barrier to pursuing my career aspirations. 

Melissa helped me overcome the barriers that were keeping me from accomplishing what I am capable of, and establish a consistent writing practice to write my dissertation. She also helped me shift my perspective on writing, and develop specific strategies to continue to support myself to progress towards my academic goals.


Before I was coached by Melissa I was drowning in unfinished manuscripts making it hard to focus on the task at hand and remain focussed to wrap up and submit manuscripts.  It’s also difficult dealing with the rejected papers as it’s a constant fight against the imposter syndrome.

The coaching program helped me to reflect honestly on who I am, face the past demons and make a plan to move forward. 

The way I saw myself has shifted.  I was reaffirmed that I am a good scientist, I write well and my research is worth publishing, and to accomplish my goals I need to be patient and forgiving with myself, but persistent. 

I don’t need to take complete responsibility with the entirety of my publications but have learned to focus my research and writing on the message that I want to convey. 

Melissa helped to maintain the focus and positive reinforcement of the good that I wanted to achieve.


Before coaching with Melissa, I was struggling to support my graduate students, often micro-managing their writing rather than focusing on the science.

In my own writing, I was continually seeking perfection rather than working through the writing process.

Since coaching began, I have seen positive improvements in my writing, in my interactions with graduate students, and in the quality of research. I now feel that I have more energy to be present during meetings and have gained confidence in myself and my work.  

I find that having dedicated me-time to discuss my writing and my personal and professional interactions is very powerful for me finding balance in my life.

Melissa helped me to reflect on my goals and to find my definition of success.

As I enter the second-half of life, this has helped me to become more true to myself thus putting me on the right path for great work/life balance.


I love my work, all dimensions of it, but I could never fit it into a constant, organized, everyday routine.

I have always regarded this as a weakness, something that worked against my productivity, and, for several occasions, tried to push myself to be different, more constant, more respectful for the eating-sleeping-working hours, but it just wasn’t working.

The pandemic “confinement” period made me feel lost because the exterior sources of structuring (working with others in an organized environment) were gone, and I was “left alone” with my “disorganization”.

With her supportive way, without judgement, Melissa brought that clarity to me. So, the most significant change was, definitely, being able to transform a weakness, a source of frustration and demotivation, into a strength.

I feel motivated and more productive and actually enjoy the flexibility that this brings to me.


Before coaching with Melissa  I found it hard to balance my time between work and off-time.

This meant that I often tended to over-work and then crash afterwards, which led to having to rest for a long time after, during which I did not get much done.

What’s changed for me is that I have learned to pay more attention to why this happens and received several techniques and exercises.

Practicing these have increased my awareness of when I start overworking and I am currently working on mastering how to transition away from this behaviour and get into a more sustainable work/rest cycle.

I have also learned how to appreciate small steps forward as success and frame challenging tasks as opportunities to improve, which has been highly helpful.


Melissa has brought order to my life in more ways than I could imagine.

I found working with her has really helped me examine other aspects of my life, not only writing, and gave me a sense of control that I longed for.

I now feel that I can get things accomplished in a timely manner and it is so uplifting.

The program has been a tremendous help – it improved my working and personal relationships, since it made me realize that I can define what it is that I need and what I need from other people to be an effective writer.

This program has taught me to be an effective communicator not only in my writing, but in my relationships and it is sincerely life changing.

It is so important to coach with Melissa because it got me out of a “hole” I had placed myself in for so many years.

I appreciated Melissa for helping me uncover my repetitious “negative self talk” and replaced it into one that is more positive and uplifting.

I cannot express how much my sessions with Melissa have changed multiple areas of my life, especially writing.


Before coaching with Melissa I felt I was at a crossroads in my career but I could not figure out what the path forward would look like for me. I was unsatisfied with the options I could come up with, and I was confused and afraid to begin tackling the question of my own career advancement.

Since coaching with Melissa, there’s been a complete shift in my understanding of my value which allowed me to negotiate a new role and a raise. It’s a new holistic feeling of value, distilled into hard dollars… so it’s less about the raise but more about what it signifies.

Kelly Shen, Senior Program Manager, Simon Fraser University

As a result of my relocation to another country, and the changes that came along with it,  I was not able to adjust to the new commitments at work and at home. I was feeling overwhelmed with my time and tasks I needed to do.

Through that process I was able to prioritize my time, negotiate and communicate my availability with others.

I feel more confident and I have a better understanding of who I am and where I am at. Those were key parts of improving my time-managing skills.

Eugenia Flores-Figueroa, Scientific Associate II, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

Before coaching with Melissa, I was always delaying/avoiding the moment of sitting down and working on the writing of my scientific manuscript. I always thought that it would be a complicated task for me and I was feeling overwhelmed every time I thought about doing it. 

Thanks to Melissa’s coaching I realized why I was feeling that way and how I could overcome those barriers. Today I have been able to successfully finish the writing of the manuscript, enjoying the process and improving my work-life balance. 


It was an incredible experience to work with Melissa. I’m feeling prouder that my inner-confidence levels are increased more than ever before.  Also, when I applied the learned strategies/tools in my ongoing writing projects such as fellowship applications and grants, I could see the improving my confidence, reducing the anxiety and fear, and experience positive results by applying them correctly.



Before my coaching I was experiencing an inability to overcome a barrier to begin my proposal writing. In addition, times I was able to push forward, I had difficulty maintaining focus and remaining in a productive state. Writing had become a chore for me and I wanted to change this perspective.

Since my coaching with Melissa, I have been able to identify methods that are conducive to consistently achieving my writing goals on a daily basis. In addition, I have been able to identify appropriate writing environments that promote productive writing and I have established techniques that help me maintain my productivity over defined periods of time.


I had a lot of anxiety around my progress in my PhD program.

Melissa helped me to break the negative self-talk spell I was under. This has been invaluable.

I have started to actively evaluate what works for me.

I have been able to give myself permission to begin listening to and trusting my inner voice for guidance.


Many facets of my life felt as loud reminders of the concept that: “You, Farshad are just not good enough. You may be good in general, but not good enough to really get it all together”.

In a span of 3 months, I went from being told (by my supervisor) to be a bad writer and feeling cowardly towards writing, to submitting the first “accepted-as-is” manuscript in the history of my supervisor’s laboratory. I just could not believe how that happened, but it did!

But more importantly than all the above, has been my improved self-evaluated self-image. These days, I feel at peace in my life, and as I have learned from Melissa, “I am exactly where I need to be. In fact, I have always been exactly where I needed to be!”


Before working with Melissa, I was experiencing chronic anxiety and self-doubt about my ability to finish my PhD. At the time, I was struggling to bounce back after a year and a half of parental/medical leave and, now expecting my second child, I felt a ‘real’ deadline to finish. I was especially struggling with perfectionism, motivation, and momentum because my pre-parenthood writing habits and strategies (long, uninterrupted blocks of time) were no longer available to me.

Melissa’s bi-weekly coaching helped me completely transform my writing habits, my attitude toward work/writing, and my self-confidence. She helped me develop and practise techniques to get into and stay in the ‘flow’ of writing (despite many life distractions!); protect and manage my writing time; enjoy the writing process; and acknowledge all of my lessons and achievements along the way. As a working parent, the most profound change has been achieving a comfortable, low-stress pace of productivity and feeling a sense of more quality time in my personal life.


I was experiencing overwhelming stress that I had not made enough progress toward my thesis publishing goals. I was struggling to create time for writing and was not meeting my writing expectations when I did set time aside.

I am much more confident in my ability to write well. I have learned to be patient with the writing process and really focus during the times I schedule to write. This has helped me write better quality articles faster and with less anxiety.


Before coaching with Melissa, I felt like I could never write something I truly wanted to write and actually put it out in the world. Sharing my work with people other than my inner circle felt impossible and nerve-wracking.

I have a totally different perspective and attitude toward writing now since coaching with Melissa. I am more adventurous, truthful, and self-compassionate. Also, I’ve taken steps toward being braver and more truthful in my personal relationships, to mirror my approach to writing.

Melissa’s coaching helped me to see the connection between my fears around writing and the challenges in my personal relationships. I have achieved what felt impossible before: I wrote something and published it online and I have strengthened a personal relationship that had been strained for several years.


Melissa’s coaching has helped me recognize some of the barriers I had set up for myself that were preventing me from achieving professional (and personal) success.

Her coaching has been instrumental in providing me with the awarenessand strength to recognize goals/aspirations that I would like to achieve while being true to myself.

Working with Melissa, I am now much more aware of what I want in life and present during my decision-making. This has helped remind me that my decisions each and every day coalesce to help me reach these goals or importantly, when and how directions may need to change.

Melissa has an extraordinary ability to help others tap into an awareness that helps shape a happier, more fulfilling life – an awareness of how the small things can affect the much bigger picture of our lives.


Before coaching with Melissa, I was stressed about writing projects and the fact that writing will be a huge part of my new role as Principal Investigator. I did not enjoy writing and I wanted to find ways to make this a more joyful process.

Since coaching with Melissa, I feel more confident about my writing and therefore started enjoying it more. I have more awareness about the writing process and what it entails, e.g. that background research is a huge and important part that counts towards the writing project which should be accounted for in planning out the timeline of writing projects and having planned time for that  will make the actual write up much easier.

Melissa provided me with several tools to address my issues with writing. Some of them are directly related to the writing process, others not so much, but ended up being key in making progress with my attitude to writing.

A key step for me is to grow confident in my own style of writing and in believing in my own way – this is still a work in progress but I can see how the coaching with Melissa is helping me to achieve this goal.  Another key step was to realize how I am actually operating and what parts of science I enjoy to harness my strength and incorporate it into the writing process.

I started the program with a very open attitude and just wanted to see what it is about. The coaching program became very important to me because I realized the progress I have made after the first few months.

I decided to continue the coaching with Melissa because I can also see that I can accomplish even more if I stay in process with it.

Melissa is a great coach because she is able to listen and read between the lines to make you realize what your actual roadblocks are. Melissa has this great ability to provide that second person viewpoint and guide you towards seeing the forest for the trees. I also really appreciate that I never feel judged by her and that she has a very kind personality.


Melissa has a way of stimulating my thinking and extracting my thoughts that has helped me to create the structures that become central for preparing directions for grant proposals, scientific papers, and strategic initiatives. She has a way of helping me to see the glimmer of an idea in my mind and expand it into a textured, meaningful and focussed direction.