Dr Hannah Roberts – Private Coach for Women in Science

What led you to your career as a coach for women in science?

During my first postdoc I fell pregnant and wanted to return part-time so I transitioned into grants management to provide me with that flexibility; I then started a spin out company, Bio-Shape Ltd with 3 other academics from The University of Manchester and The University of Liverpool.  I was Managing Director of that company for 2 years.  During this time, I also had 2 more children.  Then, 12 weeks into my maternity leave, my Dad had a huge heart attack.  He is only alive thanks to the amazing work of the NHS.  It really left me questioning what impact I was making in the world and the legacy I was leaving.  I had already received business coaching as part of my professional development in Bio-Shape Ltd. and it had been massively boosted my confidence, enabling me to move beyond Imposter Syndrome.  I then invested in a couple of personal development courses from One of Many.  The archetype of “Superwoman” really resonated with me.  That need to do more, be more and achieve.  I found the tools I learnt so transformational and profound that I spent 18 months training to be a certified career coach.

Do you feel as though your postgraduate degree has provided you with skills and expertise you now use in your current profession that you otherwise would not have developed?  If so, what are they? 

My analytical skills have been invaluable in coaching.  I use questioning and profiling tools to gain evidence towards a theory (how I can best help my client).  During the sessions I assimilate that information to help drive the direction for my client in order to get them the outcome they need to move forwards.  Planning is another skill which is often overlooked but without which, my business would have little momentum.  As a scientist, you take a scientific question, map it out into a research project and then break that down into key milestones you need to be hitting to get you there.  From that point, focussing in on a fine level quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily plan.  I use a similar process in my business.  Just like in Science, not everything works.  I’m able to take those set-backs, re-set and adjust the plan and learn from those challenges.

What would you like current postgraduates to know about the career paths they could possibly take?

Often, we take the next obvious step in our careers based on our qualifications and expertise.  Sometimes, we make snap decisions to move away from a situation without taking the time to map out what we are moving towards and how that will give us fulfillment.  By getting clear on your vision, purpose, mission, values and natural talents and capabilities the next breadcrumb steps will become obvious.  You will know deeply where you can add value in a way that lights you up. https://drhannahroberts.lpages.co/high-achievers-anxiety

Additionally, anything else you care to mention about your work…

As a postdoc, I would have described myself as Superwoman.  Seen as competent and the go to person to get things done.  Running at 200 mph, pushing to prove myself, very concerned about other people’s opinion of me and lacking in confidence.  I ruminated upon thoughts and conversations constantly, hated confrontation and lacked vision and direction.  I also had developed a specific fear around public speaking and would avoid those opportunities at all costs.

I am really proud of who I’ve become.  I show up very differently in the world today.  Through personal development and being coached, I’ve shed those patterns of behaviour.  I feel comfortable and confident in who I am and certain of my place in the world.  I have done the work to discover my natural talents and capabilities and aligned them with where I feel I can make the biggest impact.  I have freedom and this makes me very happy.