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.

I also collaborate with some of the best people in the field of early career researchers! Choose to work at your own pace on your PhD coaching trajectory with the online course ‘Unstuck your PhD’, in collaboration with Next Scientist! Or focus onPhD career development with Welcome Solutions. And if you are looking for a reliable printer for your thesis, please take a look at Ridderprint.

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.

Unstuck Your PhD

A Step-By-Step Course To Fix The Problems In Your PhD And Make You Unstoppable.

If you’ve lost the love for your PhD, and maybe even feel like your only option is to quit your PhD, but you still want to try your last shot (the best one) at fixing your situation. Then be ready to look inside your personality and face your dreams!

An online course that will guide you towards success! In collaboration with Next Scientist.



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, and an online course for PhDs.


*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.



Unstuck Your PhD

This online course offers two different plans. Curious which plan would be the best fit for you? You can find more information on them, and their pricing, at Unstuck Your PhD.


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.

Quo Vadis? — On the exodus from academia to industry

This is a guest post by Dr. Natalia Bielczyk. She helps early career researchers find new careers in industry.      Capitalism hits academia PhD candidates are a good investment for departments and research institutes, because they are a cheap and productive...

read more
High sensitivity- Facts and Handles

High sensitivity- Facts and Handles

A guestblog by Marlies Zonderland-Thomassen (MSc, PhD) Did you know that 1 out of 5 persons is a highly sensitive person, or HSP? Did you know that it has been proven that the brain of HSP processes stimulus differently, and needs more processing time (Bergsma, 2019)?...

read more
Achieving better mental health for PhDs (1/2)

Achieving better mental health for PhDs (1/2)

Improving the Academic Environment for PhD candidates Many PhD candidates (PhDs) experience negative thoughts related to their work. In order to significantly raise the mental health of PhDs the academic environment needs to be improved. Do these thoughts sound...

read more


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