I help other passionate academics walk their most inspired paths in and outside of the university world. I give them the tools and go on the barricades for them to dare dream, create, and reclaim.

 Photo by Rogier Coopmans

Photo by Rogier Coopmans

I am a life and career coach certified by the International Coach Federation. My clients are academics of all ranks, as well as  other passionate individuals wanting to make new strides in spheres they care about.

Some common situations I can help with:

  • you’re at a crossroad: you want to make the best choices

  • something just isn’t working: you want to identify what and how to change

  • there is a deeply meaningful project or next step you’ve been preparing for: you now want to see it through

An exploratory conversation with a 30-min free sample session is the best way to experience what it would be like to work with me. I also enjoy being a resource for others, so please connect with any and all queries. I would be delighted to hear from you!

About me as a coach

The freedom, the fun and the intellectual satisfaction I feel when doing research and teaching made me want to become an academic. I have studied and worked in different disciplinary and interdisciplinary university departments in the Netherlands, the UK, and Singapore.

It's been a great adventure and I have been successful in ways I did not expect - contributing in a deeply satisfying way to communities of practice and learning, and building a body of work I am proud of. I also faced many challenges along the way, including struggling to finish my thesis and not completing my tenure track. You can hear how coaching made a difference for me in the interview excerpts on this page. 

My passion for coaching dates back as far as I can remember. It has taken on a more distinct shape in recent years. I trained with the Coaches Training Institute, known for its industry-leading standards of rigour and quality, and became a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) in May 2018.  I am also a member of the International Coach Federation, and credentialled by this organization as an Associate Certified Coach (ACC).

I am not a career consultant who gives advice; as a Co-Active Coach, I support and champion people in finding their own way forward. Aside from academics and PhD students, I have coached professionals in the creative and tech industries as well as other coaches and consultants.

I coach both in person and via video or audio call.

The audio fragments come from an hour-long interview about my experiences with coaching in higher education, conducted by David E. Goldberg for bigbeacon radio.

For a visual expression of what I am about as a coach, check out the "magia" print by Spanish artist Eva Armisén - which also hangs in my home office.


Catelijne is a super smart and trustful coach. I am so grateful that I simply started this as a fun experiment and gift for my 50th birthday, to reflect on and enrich my academic life after 20 years in academia. It was way beyond my original expectation that I learned so much about myself, developed so many useful skills for my academic life, and ended up with so much transformation and excitement for the next 15 years!

As a senior scholar and teacher, I have done a lot of advising for students and junior scholars. Still, after working with Catelijne, I must say that professional coaching has its unique expertise and contribution that differs from other ways of seeking advice or reflection. It has been an amazing journey.
— Chia-Ling Wu, Professor, Department of Sociology, National Taiwan University & Former editor-in-chief of EASTS

Catelijne Coopmans’ coaching sessions helped me to connect with a part of myself that I thought was lost for a long time. Her coaching techniques provided me with the tools to allow the self-assured, confident and powerful side of me to resurface. As an entrepreneur I need to be able to make important and company-defining decisions on a regular basis and after several months of coaching I know that I can confidently make these decisions without doubting myself. Her coaching has given me the tools to do this.

I had never been coached before and, initially, I had my doubts but after just one session Catelijne was able to help start uncovering deep-seated hidden issues within me that were blocking my path to success. I have never felt so mentally and emotionally strong in my life after getting coached by her.
— Abhi Kumar, ‎Chief Creative Director & Cofounder - ‎Warrior9

Writing my PhD thesis in the midst of all the other curveballs life was throwing at me was a daunting experience. In my final year, I felt I had lost focus. It was easy for me to produce more words but I was less and less sure that I was doing something meaningful.

Coaching with Catelijne allowed me to reconnect with what I value most about being a researcher, and to get a different perspective on what I was struggling with. This helped me write with greater focus and purpose, and gave me some wind in my back to finish my PhD. From our first meeting, Catelijne was warm and confident and allowed me to discuss my life without ever taking away my agency. This is what I think is the strength of her coaching: she enabled me to think through and articulate everything that I was going through while ensuring that it was I who always solved all my problems.
— Gayathri Haridas, Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities, Singapore University of Technology and Design

I gave coaching a try as I’ve always felt that academics (and others!) need coaching to get the best out of themselves. Coaching is like a touchstone of deep calmness and empowerment that I return to. It feels as if Catelijne, like a sports coach, is at the touchline cheering me on, correcting mental traps and mistakes, and helping bring out my best game.

As my coach, Catelijne has helped me to:
• Connect with the core of what really motivates me to fulfil my life calling, as a scholar
• Refocus away from things I can’t change, toward the things I can do to reach a place meaningful and satisfying at a deep level
• Find the courage to face, process and move on from struggles in the past
— YYX, Senior Lecturer, National University of Singapore

For the past three years I’ve wanted to get into the varsity team and play squash for NUS. After I got coaching and training overseas, I felt I had acquired the hard skills to do it, but somewhere in my mind there was still a barrier. I tried coaching with Catelijne and the experience was really good, above my expectations.

The resources Catelijne helped me create for myself have unlocked personal strength and depth of character that I have been able to use in my game. I am more confident than ever about who I am as a squash player, and, not long after completing the coaching, I made it into the NUS selection! Beyond that, the coaching also connected me with the full potential of who I can be as a person.
— Nicholas Ting, varsity athlete, National University of Singapore

As an analytical person, the experimental, non-linear element to Catelijne’s coaching initially took me by surprise, but it definitely brought valuable and actionable insights, perhaps as it took me away from my ‘normal’ approach to working things through.

The biggest change has come from my re-discovery of routines that really work for me. I also feel more skilled now at recognizing when I get stuck or overburdened, and how to address that. Looking closely at the challenging places in one’s life is difficult to do, but it’s easier in the long run than consciously ignoring those places, especially when you can trust that your coach sees and wants the best in you. I always felt that way with Catelijne.
— Craig E.