CDr Coaching

Coach for PhD candidates

About us

Coach for PhD candidates

CDr Coaching is an independent coaching and training bureau owned and run by Carmen Rietdijk PhD. I offer specialized coaching and customized workshops for PhD candidates, in Dutch and English. I am a certified coach, and I am a member of the European Mentoring & Coaching Council (EMCC) and the Dutch Order of Professional Coaches (NOBCO).

Are you a PhD candidate and ready to take charge of your project, career and life ? You’ve come to the right place! I have first hand experience with the struggles faced by many PhD candidates, so I understand what you are going through. Together we will make sure you overcome your challenges and reach your goals! Read more about my full coaching program or 2-session coaching.

Are you looking for a workshop or presentation for PhD candidates at your career event, teambuilding day or other professional meeting? You’ve (also) come to the right place! I offer specialized workshops and presentations on a wide range of topics. My workshops have a hands-on approach, and my presentations are grounded in my own experience as a PhD candidate. Read more about my workshops and presentations.

For a more personal introduction, please visit my YouTube introduction video.

Coaching, workshops, presentations

How does it work?

CDr Coaching Intake Program

Full program - The intake

The first step in the coaching program is for us to get to know each other. I offer a 30-minute intake via Skype, free of charge. During the intake we will discuss your coaching needs.

CDr Coaching Program

Full program - The Coaching Sessions

The trajectory consists of eight sessions of 90 minutes. These can take place on site or via Skype. During these meetings you will discover who you are, what your goals are, what you are capable of, and what you can do to achieve your goals. You will work to meet your objectives, and make your ambitions come true!

2-session coaching

When you just need a little push in the right direction, two-session coaching is the way to go! This is a highly efficient, focussed and cost-effective approach, containing two one-hour sessions. In just 120 minutes you will be ready to take the first step in your new direction!


Workshops are the ideal way to tackle a specific coachquestion in a group setting. I offer tailored workshops with a hands-on approach. My goal is for participants to engage with the topic, so they leave the workshop with new insights that allow them to take their next step. All my workshops are adapted to the clients wishes, the audience and the setting.


Presentations are great to share information with a large audience. I offer tailored presentations where I share my personal experience as a PhD candidate. My goal is to show PhD candidates that they are not the first or only ones who are struggling with certain topics. I aim to include interaction with the audience to my presentations, depending on the setting.


What are the costs?

CDr Coaching offers on-site coaching in the Utrecht area, and eCoaching* via Skype. A coaching program consists of a free intake, and 8x 90-minute sessions. Two-session coaching consists of two one-hour sessions. All rates are indicated below, and include VAT.

We also offer workshops and presentations tailored to your needs.


*eCoaching is available at a reduced rate


  • Two-session coaching starts* at €186,00 per package.
  • Full coaching program starts* at €1116,00 per full program.
*Shown rates are for 1st year PhD candidates. Rates gradually increase for 2nd-4+th year PhD candidates.

Workshops and presentations

The rate* for workshops and presentations is €150,00 per hour.

Contact me for a customized offer.

*Reduced rates available for nonprofit organizations.



The coach

Carmen Rietdijk

Dr. Carmen Rietdijk

Dr. Carmen Rietdijk

Coach for PhD candidates

I am Carmen Rietdijk and I received my doctorate from Utrecht University in 2016. I am a certified coach and experienced teacher.

I have firsthand experience with the struggles PhD candidates face on the road to graduation. I believe the PhD experience can be so much more than an uphill battle, so I made it my mission to make the PhD experience a process of personal growth, filled with courage and compassion! From this mission I’ve developed my company, and I now offer specialized one-on-one coaching, workshops and presentations on a wide range of PhD-related topics. Contact me if you want to know more.





What defines coaching?

My view on coaching

Coaching is a form of personal guidance with specific characteristics. Here I offer my personal view on the defining features of coaching. You can use this information as a touchstone against which you can test your expectations. This will make it easier to decide whether 2-session coaching or a coaching program at CDr coaching is what you need.

The coach and coachee are equals in the coaching process.The coach creates a supportive environment, that is conductive for the coachee to find answers to his/her own questions. Coaching is focussed on motives, qualities, strengths, goals, plan of action, and moving forward. Therefore the coachee needs the potential for self-direction for the coaching to be succesful.

(The coach will not offer healing, advise or answers to the coachee.)

CDr Coaching View on Coaching


Where can you meet me?

Meet me at the ‘PhD Activating Career Event (PhACE)‘, the career event for PhD candidates at Utrecht University.
I will give a lecture on entrepreneurship!

PhACE Career Event Utrecht University

November 5th 2018, Academiegebouw, Utrecht

I will organize a masterclass on the PhD-career-path and the role of personal qualities in career choices at the ‘Carrièredag’ (career day) for Pharmacy students at Utrecht University, organized by U.P.S.V.

U.P.S.V. Carrièredag

February 16th 2019, Utrecht

Meet me at the ‘BCF Career Event‘, the largest career event for the life sciences!

BCF Career Event Netherlands

May 23rd 2019, Beatrix building, Jaarbeurs, Utrecht


What customers say

I have been Carmen's client for the past months and I had a great coach experience with her. I gain new insights regarding what I want and how to pursue my goals. Working with Carmen is very pleasant and smooth because she is a very open-minded and supportive. Carmen is good at understanding and caring. Communication is very good and she always makes sure to create a safe space during the coach sessions. I highly recommend Carmen to anyone who is having doubts about their careers.

Helena Grande PhD candidate at Utrecht University, writer, and curator

CDr Coaching Testimonial 2

I have taken the coaching program from Carmen for the last half year. During the 8 sessions, Carmen is always patient to listen to me and trying to understand me, which makes me feel comfortable, safe, pleasant, and free. Thus, I trust her and would like to provide more information about myself. This also makes the coaching program more personalized and I have gained a lot of insight into my competencies. The more important thing is, Carmen is a coach with professional knowledge and skills, with which she helps me know what I am good at and how to use these competencies. Choosing Carmen, you won't regret!

Yulong Zhao PhD candidate, Utrecht University

CDr Coaching Testimonial 1

I had a nice conversation with Carmen after a coaching assignment where I had the honor to be her 'test client'. I especially appreciate her ambition to become a PhD coach, which I think is a niche where she will be able to bring about a lot!

Pauline de Goeje PhD candidate in Tumor Immunology, Erasmus MC

CDr Coaching Testimonial 1

Carmen Rietdijk described how she completed an academic career as a young mother, whereupon she entered the industry and politics. While her story is maybe not one that many would follow, her experiences undoubtedly aid young academics in reflecting upon their future career as well as the possible hardships that lie in the wait. Carmen presented in clear terms the many challenges she faced while completing her PhD, such as for example the lack of mental support, which reflected situations that will feel familiar to PhD candidates.

Katinka Zinner Programme manager, Hyphen Projects


Latest articles

Welcome to my blog! I write about the PhD experience, with a focus on topics related to PhD training in the Netherlands.

Advice to myself before starting grad school

Advice to myself before starting grad school

What do I wish I could have told myself before starting grad school? What advice would I give my younger self, looking for a PhD position in 2010?  Which experience-based recommendations would have benefitted me? I wrote them all down! Until a time-machine is...

read more
Combat stress with the peak-end rule

Combat stress with the peak-end rule

This blog will help you to turn your stressful PhD experience into a happier one. Instead of remembering difficult situations and the associated negative emotions, you will remember pleasant moments and positive feelings. To achieve this, it is enough to...

read more
Coping with chronic stress 101

Coping with chronic stress 101

Last January 25th I attended the symposium ‘Keeping sane during your PhD. What can you do? What can UU do?’ at Utrecht University (UU)*. The symposium  was organized in response to recent findings that PhD candidates at the UU and other Dutch universities...

read more


Come and meet me

Contact details


Call us for an appointment

Mail us for more information

Read our FAQ

You can read them here.

9 + 13 =