About Jo Collins

I specialise in coaching in the Higher Education sector, where I have been teaching, publishing and researching for the last two decades. I hold a EMCC accredited qualification in coaching and mentoring, and I am a member of the Association for Coaching. Alongside my coaching work am a Researcher Developer at a UK University, and I also research into doctoral wellbeing and support for international postgraduates.

Building an effective writing habit

In this post I’m going to address three key issues that get in the way of building an effective writing habit. I’m going to call out these three gremlins: Inspiration Perfection Permission Firstly the inspiration gremlin: I was lucky enough to teach about Romantic poets and writers, and one of their lasting legacies was a belief – now filtered into popular culture – that inspiration is key to any artistic activity. However, if you wait for the muse to arrive before you write, you might be waiting a while – especially if you are [...]

By |2022-07-04T09:28:05+01:00July 4th, 2022|Academic Life, General, Productivity, Writing|0 Comments

Shaping your job to fit you

These are my favourite shoes.  I’ve had them for a while, and yes, I can see that they’re tatty.  They are so comfortable, so much so, that I’ve worn them through.  They weren’t always this way though.  They were inflexible when I first got them, they rubbed, and they were too tight around the widest part of my foot. Yet I wore them in until eventually they fitted, and they fitted well.  Why am I telling you about my shoes?  Because my shoe is a metaphor for a job.  Some of us at the moment might be contemplating going [...]

By |2022-06-21T17:10:53+01:00May 9th, 2022|Academic Life, Careers, General|0 Comments

Embracing challenge

Embracing challenge sounds like an oxymoron.  When challenging situations rear their heads, it can be easier to default to some of the following thinking styles: Catastrophizing: “This is going to be a disaster!” Interestingly – if we look at the medical effects of catastrophizing– patients who catastrophize a higher pain expectation have worse pre-operative pain than non-catastrophizers.  However, after the procedure, pain for both is similar.  The implication here then is through magnification, rumination and a sense of helplessness, we can tend to make the situation worse for ourselves. [...]

By |2022-02-21T18:10:09+00:00February 21st, 2022|Academic Life, Personal development, Productivity, Wellbeing|0 Comments

Refocussing for 2022

A lot of us start the new year with resolutions for change. However, it can be really tough to get these to stick. Höchli et al (2019) suggests this is because often these goals are often broad and abstract, requiring sustained behavioural change. In this blog I’m curious about setting and adhering to New Year’s resolutions in the context of the ongoing pandemic, and I’m going to explore some ideas and research to help navigate through this.  Firstly, in order to stick a goal has to matter to us.  Neale et al (2011) explain this by distinguishing between our values, our beliefs and our attitudes, [...]

By |2022-01-28T11:05:35+00:00January 28th, 2022|General, Personal development, Productivity, Wellbeing|0 Comments

Focusing on your values as a pathway to success

What are values?   Our values are absolutely key to who we are.  Values are deeply embedded ideas about how things should work, what matters, and as such they shape the decisions that we make and our behaviours.  Take for example my bugbear about selfish drivers.  I get irate about selfishness in general as I have a deep-seated expectation that social interaction should be based on people respecting each other.  I feel that consideration for each other is a kind of glue that keeps us all knitted together and functional as a society.  If someone cuts me up whilst driving, for [...]

By |2022-01-28T11:08:01+00:00January 28th, 2022|General, Personal development, Wellbeing|0 Comments

Giving ourselves permission to rest

As I write this blog, we are in the run up to the Winter break at Universities.  I wanted to focus on this break particularly, because many of us have a manic autumn term, and the break is our chance to rest and recuperate.  Except, actually, it becomes a time to cram in all those other things we just didn’t manage to fit in during the term.  Vitae’s ‘Impact of COVID-19 on Researchers’ survey (Feb-Mar 2021) showed that 58% of those surveyed found it impossible to do the research they had planned during COVID, and so now, many of [...]

By |2021-12-16T15:41:06+00:00December 10th, 2021|Academic Life, General, Personal development, Wellbeing|0 Comments

Stand tall: Academic Authenticity

What is authenticity? The other week I found myself telling my class a familiar anecdote about submitting my PhD for what must have been the seventieth time in 7 years (this is not an exaggeration: 10 classes per year x 7 years).  I’ve always used anecdotes as a way to try to connect to students and coachees, as I believe they express something authentic about attitudes, values, or motivations.  Yet I found that I had reused the anecdote to the point that I felt the phrasing speak for me, and I wondered then if the story was still truly [...]

By |2021-12-16T15:40:24+00:00November 12th, 2021|Academic Life, Personal development, Wellbeing|0 Comments
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