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 am in the process of preparing project proposals for my future career and it was through Melissa’s coaching that I was able to progress in the writing process. Specifically, I have new-found confidence in my idea development and writing which has led to tangible documents I can use for project proposals. Additionally, I have taken the same tools and applied them to the successful preparation of a manuscript for publication! 

This program has been indispensable and invaluable for the development of successful writing habits. The program has assisted in my workplace success and subsequently my personal life because I can live less stressed about my work and focus on those aspects which hold significant importance to my happiness and well-being.

Melissa has an excellent ability to see what you can’t. On several occasions during my coaching, she revealed to me her observations regarding my challenges that altered my perspectives and changed my approaches to the challenges which ultimately led to successful results.

Nick

I had a lot of anxiety around my progress in my PhD program. I would use “productive procrastination” to avoid working directly on my thesis while still soothing my anxieties. Overtime, it got to the point where I simply became avoidant and would allow my negative self-talk to get in my way preventing me from completing my PhD and even living a contented life.

Although I am very much still in process, I have begun noticing how negative self-talk and high personal expectations no longer motivate me or serve me as they had in my previous degree programs. Before working with Melissa, I wouldn’t have even been able to identify these as some of the key issues that inhibited my work. I have also begun thinking about my PhD program more broadly, seeing it as an opportunity for personal growth and development not just another milestone degree.

Although initially uncomfortable, Melissa’s encouragement and focus on celebrating achievements has broken the negative cycle of constant striving that had led to many of my anxieties around my PhD. I now see that allowing myself to participate in this coaching is an act of self-compassion; it has shown me that I deserve positive reinforcement and support. I feel like Melissa’s coaching has opened me to seeking help, and I now see that learning how and when to seek help has been a crucial step in my journey.

The program has allowed me to create a space where I put my needs at the forefront. Melissa’s positive support has reinforced the notion that self-compassionate reflection on my journey and progress is more effective and sustainable than using negative consequences to increase productivity

Having someone to break the negative spell I was under has been invaluable. I have started to actively evaluate what works for me. Through Melissa’s encouragement, I have been able to give myself permission to begin listening to and trusting my inner voice for guidance.

Jennifer

I was experiencing a few major hurdles with respect to the initiation and completion of a major writing task (which was the writing of a sizeable review paper, 6000 words with 5-6 figures and multiple tables of information). More specifically, I would find myself extremely anxious as soon as I would sit behind my computer to write. I would also question every line of reasoning I would come up with, thinking it was not good enough, even before putting my ideas into words.

In a span of 3 months, I have gone from feeling cowardly towards putting words down to now feeling very confident and in place with my writing tasks. Additionally, I now find writing actually quite enjoyable, since I see how it has allowed me to materialize a lot of thoughts and ideas that I had long held onto only in my head. More critically, my significantly improved confidence in writing has allowed me to more confidently communicate verbally, which has proven extremely transformative in my relationship with my supervisor. 

Melissa’s coaching style is focused on self-discovery, rather than technical writing lessons. Her guidance has allowed me to find answers to my own problems, even when those problems are emotionally overwhelming. Melissa has coached me to implement a few major skills in my professional and personal life, including journaling my daily intentions first thing in the morning, journaling emotionally burdening and distracting thoughts so that they would not take away my focus, systematic calendaring of my many commitments (which had overwhelmed me for years), and many more tips and skills. Of note has been the techniques she has share that have allowed me to quickly deal with writing/decision-making blocks. 

This may sound cheesy, but Melissa’s program resuscitated my long-gone happy self. It has brought back the love of science and scientific investigation in me, and has taught me how to process complex (and oftentimes anxious) feelings I feel on a daily basis around different aspects of my graduate education. In short, the program has brought me a level clarity and self-awareness that I had never known before and this clarity has allowed me to become and stay happier more frequently.  

I have had more than 10 phone conversations with Melissa so far and almost invariably she has always showed up with complete focus on and knowledge of my concerns (as communicated to her in the form of progress reports, and so forth). Her assertive yet objective voice has allowed me to find respect and trust in her, which I believe is crucial to a coach-pupil relationship.  

Farshad

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.

Melissa designed a coaching program that was tailor-fit to who I was and what I needed. Underpinning everything was her genuine “whole person” approach, where she dedicated time to understanding me as a person and then customized concrete strategies and techniques (writing, time management, self-reflection) to support me. Her exceptionally structured approach, insistence on mutual accountability, and encouraging nature were a perfect trio that ultimately led me to complete my dissertation on time and in a low-stress/high-gratification way.

For me, working through Melissa’s program meant complete transformation – professionally and personally. Her support extends far beyond the domains of writing and work – she truly helped me grow as a person toward greater contentment in the rest of my life.

I am confident that anyone, at any stage of their writing/career, can benefit from Melissa’s support. Investing in her program will truly be a lifelong investment in yourself!  

Amy

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.

Through Melissa’s coaching I learned a number of useful strategies for leveraging my capabilities, strengths and weaknesses to move through the writing process.  I learned to make decisions with more conviction, view my project challenges from new angles and understand the value in what I have learned and created already. Melissa’s coaching has really helped bring success to my PhD research.

The coaching program created structure for reflecting on my efforts, knowledge, decisions and learn from them to continually improve myself and my productivity.

Melissa’s skills in uncovering and addressing barriers to my research priorities were an essential part of getting me back on the track to completing my PhD.

Aaron

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.

The program has been healing for me. It has helped me embrace my truth.

Melissa asks just the right questions at the right time and gently but firmly guides me to realizations and actions that may be challenging but always rewarding.

She approaches me as a whole person and understands that my relationship to writing is  deeply connected to my relationship with myself and with others in my life.

Helen

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.

Katherine

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.

Stephanie

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.

John

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