Serendipity is a great thing.

In my last blog, I said that I would explain how a bit of serendipity helped me. My learning from this was to keep an open mind – and follow your heart as well as well as your head. Forcing a situation is not helpful.

I had considered universities and talking with various academics for a few months. During a conversation with my coaching supervisor, I expressed my frustration and she suggested that there were times to take a step back. I recall her saying it would all come together when it was right.

I had been looking at Oxford Brookes University, as they have a specific part-time Doctor of Coaching and Mentoring programme. I’d also considered the University of Brighton business school, due to its proximity.

Then, whilst talking with an ex-colleague, a random comment was made about when we worked with the University of Portsmouth Business School. This had been in my previous career and had been a productive and enjoyable experience.

Not too far to get to. A good reputation. Do they have a specific coaching doctorate or anyone with coaching specialism, who may be interested in my subject? Worth a look…. and whilst looking through their postgraduate programmes I saw ‘coaching’ as a research area. The University’s website suggested an informal conversation may be helpful.

Following an email exchange, I had really helpful and constructive conversations with a couple of members of staff. One of them suggested I look at the profile of Dr. Yi-Ling Lai. Her doctorate was in coaching and she has an interesting background, so I emailed her, asking for an informal conversation.

A couple of days later, whilst reading more about evidence based coaching, I found myself drifting to evidence based decision making, to evidence based leadership and onto evidence based management. Then I found myself reading the website of the Center for evidence based management. I had read papers by one of the founders, Rob Briner and looked at the team – and whose name jumped out at me? Dr. Yi-Ling Lai!

We had a really in depth conversation and, as the saying goes, ‘the rest is history’.

My coaching supervisor was right. As much as anything, the rapport between the staff of the university and I  felt right as things came together.

All I needed to do was apply….


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  1. Are you on instagram?

    1. Afraid not. Twitter is @coachbluelion

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