Individual career coaching

01 January 2022 - 31 December 2022
(continuous offer)


A PhD degree opens up a wide range of avenues for challenging and exciting job opportunities. Pursuing a career in academia is only one of the options. In a climate of innovation and growth, the qualities of young researchers are an excellent match to the needs of the labour market. Sometimes it is difficult, however, to find the right match on your own.

In order to support PhD students and postdocs in their career development, individual career coaching is offered - through the doctoral schools, but by an external coach. There are about 12 available spots per year.

After a pilot project in 2021, the doctoral schools decided to collaborate exclusively with 'Make me Fly!'. However, if you have another coach in mind and you have specific reasons for doing so, we are willing to consider this.

Make me Fly!
(Please do NOT contact the organisation directly, but follow the procedure as described at the bottom of this page.)

Make me Fly! is known for its no-nonsense yet innovative approach to career questions that are never standard. For many years we apply positive psychology and the Solutions Focus methodology to working with (former) academics, using our experience in Human Resources and recruitment in the scientific sector and beyond.

Your questions could include:

  • Does research really suit me? Why do I question my abilities so often? Is this my ‘greatest place to work’?
  • Can I combine a career in research with raising a family? Do I want to pursue an academic career?
  • What are my skills and career goals? What will I do after this contract? If not in academia, how can I use my skills and experience to go for something else? What is that ‘something else‘ and how do I get it?
  • How do I translate my academic experience into a valuable profile in the world outside academia to get hired for a job that I really want?
  • How to deal with feelings of stress, overwhelm, solitude,… that take away the fun in my work? What do I need to feel happy and satisfied with the work that I do and how can I influence this?
  • Maybe you feel burned out or depressed, making you doubt if this is your place to be and if you’ve got what it takes.
  • Can my academic work help me to found my own company? How? What? Where to start?
  • Or any other struggle that keeps you from enjoying what you do.

Your result after usually 4 hours of coaching:

  • You know where you want to go and how to find and select opportunities that you feel passionate about. You’ll also know what to stay away from;
  • You know how to match your skillset and experience to the desired profile and how to represent your professional image in the outside world (your CV, your LinkedIn profile, how to deal with interviews,…);
  • You have a clear picture of a working environment that allows you to thrive and how to detect that from the first instance with potential employers;
  • You may even know what your entrepreneurial path could look like;
  • You’ll know what steps to take, at your pace, in the right order, matching your personality.


Both Els Deboutte and Rilla Lysens have a sound experience in the academic sector as well as other sectors, as coach and trainer. They offer coaching in both English and Dutch. Online coaching is possible.


Who can apply?

  • PhD students and postdocs, who ...
    • have been working at Hasselt University for at least one year, and
    • have already participated in at least one career event or workshop

How to apply?

  • Send an email to, entitled 'application career coaching'. Please include the following elements:
    • motivation statement: your reasons for wanting a career coach and the career questions you are struggling with
    • the number of years of working experience you have, including your PhD (in order to assess whether you are eligible for 'loopbaancheques')
    • previous career events or workshops you participated in
    • your faculty and the year in which you obtained or plan to obtain your PhD

  • It is possible to apply throughout the year.

Further procedure?

  • The doctoral school team assesses whether the application is eligible. If yes, the researcher is brought into contact with 'Make me Fly!'.
  • A (free) introductory interview is set up, based on which both parties can decide whether or not they want to start a coaching trajectory together.
  • Coaching trajectory:
    • All agreements are made in direct correspondence between the coach and the coachee.
    • The costs for maximum 4 hours of coaching are borne by the doctoral schools*.
    • If more coaching is needed, this is paid for by the researcher. The costs for this should be clear from the start, and the researcher may decide independently whether they need/wish to continue the coaching or not.
  • After closing the trajectory, you will be asked to complete a brief evaluation survey.

* If you are eligible for 'loopbaancheques', you will be expected to apply for those and the doctoral schools will reimburse the amount spent. (In first instance one cheque; if the need for a second cheque - and hence extra coaching - can be argued, the second cheque may be reimbursed as well.)

Back to the Career development - events, coaching & training (2022) overview