Center for Coaching Certification

Coaching Postgraduates on Writer’s Block

by Charlotte Johnson

Thesis writing is one of the hardest tasks a postgraduate student will undertake. A good coachwill support their students effectively throughout the process to make thesis writing easier.

Coaches can ask questions on how they want to structure and plan out a thesis or essay.  Explore relevant topics by inviting them to list topics, prioritize them, and then ask for the key points on each topic. A good postgraduate coach will be able to see if a student is veering off topic and will ask questions to help them readjust their focus. postgraduate

Sometimes students worry if their first draft is long and crammed full of information. Removing irrelevant details during the editing process is easier than editing as they write.  A coach can ask them about the pros and cons of the content and help them determine what works.  A great writing coach can help them decide what to keep and what to delete with questions, reading, analogies, and exploration of possible interpretations.

If students get stuck, a coach can help them by exploring being stuck to find their answer. A coach can also partner with them on brainstorming. Often simply asking questions and having the student answer them will help them move past a writer’s block.

If your student is worried that the professors won’t approve their work, a coach can role play – a trial thesis defense. This will help build a postgraduate student’s confidence in presenting his or her work to a panel.

Apply what you learned in your coach training and you will be a powerful partner for postgraduate students.

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