About Natalie James

Natalie James is a professional development coach, higher education consultant and Founding Director of Research Coach Ltd. Working exclusively within the higher education sector, Natalie supports the professional development of a large cohort of academic researchers (PhD to Professor) through her one-to-one coaching, team coaching and group training workshops. With over 15 years’ experience of research and higher education environments, her clients appreciate the balance of ‘insider knowledge’ with the supportive coaching spaces she creates for them to explore their professional challenges and goals. For more information about services visit https://www.researchcoach.co.uk/

Funding bids: Who do you need to convince and what are they looking for?

In this blog I discuss the importance of connecting with different audiences when writing funding bids, based on my previous experience as a funding manager at the UK Research Councils. To get practical support, feedback and experience to help you develop your bid-writing skills please get in touch Developing convincing arguments to successfully secure research funding is a real skill, and bid writing differs substantially from other types of academic writing that you typically get more experience with during the earlier phases of your research career e.g. writing papers, chapters, thesis etc. As icky as it might sound, when [...]

It’s OK not to be OK, whatever the time of year

‘Tis the season when we are bombarded by messages of jollity – ‘Merry’ Christmas, ‘Happy’ New Year, Tidings of ‘Joy’, and we are surrounded by imagery of fun, laughter, festivity, friendship and family. But what about if you’re not feeling jolly? What if you are far from being anywhere in the realms of joy and happiness? What then? Truth is, this time of year can be even more difficult than any other. You might be grieving, you might be unwell, you might be having relationship problems or be separated from loved ones by thousands of miles, you might be [...]

By |2021-12-16T15:41:20+00:00December 15th, 2021|General, Wellbeing|0 Comments

Academic promotions: Tips to help you make your best case

Thinking about promotion? As we head towards the end of the year, it’s the time many Universities start to open their academic promotions processes. I love it when clients ask me to support them with their promotion applications because it is an exercise in helping someone to reflect on all the tremendous progress and achievements they have made through their career. Most people (naturally) find it somewhat daunting when they start to examine the promotions criteria, with all of the high-powered buzzwords  ‘Excellent’, ‘Inspirational’, ‘Innovative’, ‘Impactful’, ‘Distinctive’, ‘World-leading’, ‘Strategic’…..etc, and it’s an inevitable trigger for the old imposter syndrome [...]

By |2021-12-16T15:40:51+00:00November 23rd, 2021|Academic Life, Careers|0 Comments

How to say ‘No’: Moving from ‘default yes’ to ‘considered response’

'No' - such a little word, but so difficult to say One of the things I hear most frequently in one-to-one coaching sessions with academic clients is ‘I need to say no more’. Whilst that it is easy to say and to know in theory, it is a whole lot harder to translate that into practice. No is such a tiny word, but the reality is, it is often very hard to say! Why is that?! From my discussions with clients over the years it is evident that there are a variety of genuine reasons why ‘No’ does not [...]

By |2021-12-16T15:40:07+00:00November 9th, 2021|Academic Life, Personal development, Productivity|0 Comments

Writing an effective PI response

In UK funding processes, for example with UKRI funders, it is common for you to receive the reviewers’ comments before your proposal is considered at a funding panel. In many cases you will be invited to provide a written response to the reviewers’ comments for the panel members to consider when ranking your proposal, this is usually referred to as the ‘PI Response’. In my former life as a manager at the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, I convened more funding panel meetings than I care to remember, and consequently, saw the influence a good (or bad) PI [...]

By |2021-12-16T15:39:01+00:00October 22nd, 2021|Academic Life, Research and Funding|0 Comments

Managing the ‘Imposter Gremlin’

Why do 'Imposter' thoughts show up? Right now I’m in the middle of making a bunch of exciting (and scary) changes to my business. Starting to blog, launching a new look website and new coaching programmes, planning a podcast, and taking on a new employee! It’s all great stuff, but with all this ‘newness’ comes a ferocious comeback of my Imposter Syndrome, aka the ‘Imposter Gremlin’. (Yes, coaches suffer with it too, even though we are supposed to know what to do with it!). Imposter syndrome is estimated to affect at least 70% of us at some point in [...]

By |2021-12-16T14:14:46+00:00October 21st, 2021|Academic Life, Personal development, Wellbeing|0 Comments

Welcome to our blog

Well this is new..... Hello and welcome to the Research Coach blog. It’s always been on the ‘to do’ list to start blogging, but it’s one of those things that never quite got prioritised, mostly because it’s rather terrifying! However, we are constantly talking with our coachees about the importance of pushing outside of the comfort zone (there’s a preview for a future post theme), so here we go. We’ll be using this space to post about topics that are important to us and our clients. We will be sharing tips, tools, resources, insights and ideas. We’ll be drawing [...]

By |2021-10-22T13:20:06+01:00October 21st, 2021|General|0 Comments

Responding to change

As I write this piece, our world is in the midst of COVID-19, which has seen us having to rapidly respond to one of the most major global changes in generations. Whilst this change is unprecedented, the range of responses we are experiencing ourselves and witnessing in our colleagues, friends and family are natural human reactions to change. As a cognitive species, we are often (consciously or subconsciously) resistant to change, wanting to do everything in our power to maintain stability, fearful of the uncertainty that accompanies change. Our own and others’ emotional responses to change can often be [...]

By |2021-12-16T14:18:23+00:00October 21st, 2021|Personal development, Wellbeing|0 Comments
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