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Imagine Your Done Dissertation!


Are you a working professional also trying to get that dissertation out the door? 

Kudos to you!

If you're like most ABDs, you are probably finding it a tough challenge.  Don't despair--and don't quit your dissertation or your day job.

Instead take advantage of a secret weapon--coaching!

​You will likely benefit from having your own personal dissertation coach if you answer yes to one of these questions:

  • Do you ever doubt your ability to finish your doctoral degree?

  • Are work commitments making it hard to find time to work on your dissertation?

  • Do you find your motivation to finish has significantly diminished?

  • Do you ever suffer from dissertation shame or anxiety? 

  • Is your dissertation project causing issues with important others?

  • Do you procrastinate on your academic tasks frequently?

  • Do you suffer from writer’s block or lack of focus when trying to write?

  • Do you let your work and dissertation eat up your self-care routines?

  • Does your inner critic beat you up regularly?

  • Are you derailed by negative feedback on your work?

  • Do you feel like an academic fraud or impostor?

  • Would you benefit from support in figuring out the path forward?


Did you answer “yes” to any of the above? 


Positive psychology coaching can help you develop confidence, build momentum and resilience, and finish your degree while developing success habits that will last a lifetime.  Just ask my many clients who are now proud to be called “Dr.” It offers innovative, science-informed strategies that boost your mood, motivation, focus, and relationships. 

Imagine if you could enjoy your life while you make progress on your degree.  It is possible!  My nuanced approach, informed by positive psychology and decades of college teaching, helps you create sustainable habits that get you across the finish line--while you enjoy the journey.  You won't experience any cookie-cutter programs or empty cheerleading--just proven strategies tailored for your situation.  These will allow you to cultivate the positive mindsets and success habits that will serve you now and after graduation.

Ready to get unstuck? Ready to put away the mental whips?  Isn't it time to finish what you started and get your life back? 

"I learned that self-compassion is a better motivator than self-criticism."  Client N.J.

For a free consultation, please contact me. 

"I assumed, when I started working with Gayle, that she would be, essentially, a deadline-setter: I’d tell her that I wanted to get x, y, and z done this week, and she would hold me to account. This was certainly true: Gayle did hold me accountable for self-imposed deadlines. But my sessions with Gayle did more than that. They opened my mind to a holistic approach to work, one in which care for the self is as important as quantifiable progress on my writing. Ultimately, self-care – and by this phrase, I mean respecting all of one’s commitments, to academic work and otherwise – is a way of respecting the self, and it’s this self-respect that is the ultimate driver of excellent, sustained work in any field."

J.M. (History Ph.D. candidate)

"Gayle helped me to recognize the degree to which my inner critic was negatively impacting my ability to make progress on my dissertation, and she shared an incredible variety of strategies and techniques for identifying my usual “ruts” and shifting my perspective to one built from self-compassion and a deeper sense of my strengths, accomplishments and purpose. Now when I sit down to write, I’m more often able to embrace the challenge, move through the uncomfortable and uncertain moments, and celebrate the work achieved during that session."

K.Z., PhD candidate, Portland, OR.

"The expertise Gayle draws on does more than just help me hustle towards my degree.  She offers real methods and concrete practices to live a better, more meaningful, and more enriched life.  She is everything you could want in a coach. Warm, encouraging, easy to talk to and open up with, giving, understanding, nurturing, and so generous. She recognizes the person behind the degree and wants to help empower the person, not a brain on a stick. Gayle has a wealth of experiences, anecdotes, books, podcasts, etc., to draw on to deliver the most helpful, powerful tools to help you get unstuck and be successful. Her genuine compassion for her clients is unmatched."

EL, California


Don’t miss out on proven strategies for getting your dissertation out the door faster while enjoying the journey. Subscribe free to the award-winning newsletter, The All But Dissertation Survival Guide, brought to you by MentorCoach. As editor, I am proud of the evidence-based tips and resource links we share for improving productivity and well-being for doctoral students (and they work for others too!).  Peruse our extensive archives to savor articles like these (click title to download):

Feel Like a Fraud?  

Is the Impostor Syndrome holding you back?  If you struggle with perfectionism, rugged individualism, or juggling too much, take a breather and read this.

What Really Makes Your Procrastinate 

Would you rather feel good–or finish and succeed?  Learn why managing your moods may be the best thing for your productivity.

A Simple Plan to Finish Your Dissertation that Really Works 

Discover a surprisingly overlooked method of nudging yourself to do what you say matters more often.

Secrets for Staying SANE–and Finishing Your Dissertation Faster 

You are the tool that gets the work done.  How good are you at self-care?  Get better with these tips.

Free weekly planning template for ABDS:  Download here.

Online Meditation


It’s Just a Dissertation!  by Denise K. Comer and Barbara G. Garrett.

No matter where you are in the dissertation process, this unique step-by-step workbook will boost your confidence while offering practical suggestions for overcoming external and internal hurdles.

Finish Your Dissertation, Don’t Let it Finish You! by Joanne Broder Sumerson.

Practical guide to help you design, conduct, and finish an academic dissertation or thesis with minimal drama, Excellent tips for choosing a smart topic, preparing your lit review, designing your study, and preparing for your defense.

The Dissertation Journey: A Practical and Comprehensive Guide to Planning, Writing, and Defending Your Dissertation by Carol Roberts. 

Read this entire guide before you start–then keep it on your desk for continued referencing.  In user-friendly language, this highly experienced graduate professor shares insights, strategies, and handy checklists that will save you time and worry.

Demystifying Dissertation Writing: A Streamlined Process from Choice of Topic to Final Text by Peg Boyle Singleton. 

A highly useful manual for narrowing your topic and getting your manuscript out the door with emphasis on the writing process.

Solving the Procrastination Puzzle: A Concise Guide to Strategies for Change by Timothy Pychyl. 

Procrastination is the #1 problem in academia–and this book gives you scientifically grounded ways to overcome it.  A must for those who put things off!

“They Say / I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing (Third Edition) by Gerald Graff. 

The best-selling book on academic writing.  Identifies key rhetorical moves, explains how to frame arguments in context of existing literature, provides templates, etc..  Chapters for different disciplines.  A terrific guide for writing a lit review that works.

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