Why are we conducting research?  

The MATCH pilot program for PhD candidates serves as an excellent foundation for scientific research into the effectiveness of coaching. The research is conducted in collaboration with a research team from the University of Amsterdam, ensuring an added layer of independence and data confidentiality. 

Many PhD candidates experience a high level of stress, with some even developing symptoms of burnout. Factors such as a high degree of work-life interference, workload, and significant uncertainty about the future can significantly impact the well-being of PhD candidates(1). 

Limited research on the effect of coaching for researchers

The effectiveness of coaching in enhancing personal development and performance has been repeatedly established in many organizational and educational settings(2). However, scientific research on this subject is divided, and there is limited research on the effects of coaching for PhD candidates. For organizations such as Erasmus MC, it is also essential to understand whether and how coaching can contribute to the development of employees and students. This will enable them to decide whether coaching should be incorporated in development programs.

Personal resources can aid in burnout prevention

According to the Job Demands-Resources model(3), a widely used work stress model, high job demands pose an increased risk of exhaustion and burnout, and personal resources (e.g., flexibility, coping, resilience) can have a protective effect on this risk (3&4). Personal resources can be enhanced through interventions such as coaching(2&5)The research associated with our MATCH coaching program will contribute to the existing literature by investigating whether specific personal resources relevant to the career development of PhD candidates can be enhanced through coaching.


(1)Nicholls, H., Nicholls, M., Tekin, S., Lamb, D., & Billings, J. (2022). The impact of working in academia on researchers’ mental health and well-being: a systematic review and qualitative meta-synthesis. PLOS ONE, 17(5), e0268890. 

(2)Theeboom, T., Beersma, B., & van Vianen, A. E. (2014). Does coaching work? A meta-analysis on the effects of coaching on individual level outcomes in an organizational context. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 9(1), 1-18.

(3)Demerouti, E., Bakker, A. B., Nachreiner, F., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2001). The job demands-resources model of burnout. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86(3), 499.

(4)Xanthopoulou, D., Bakker, A. B., Demerouti, E., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2007). The role of personal resources in the job demands-resources model. International Journal of Stress Management, 14(2), 121

(5)Solms, L., Van Vianen, A., Koen, J., Theeboom, T., De Pagter, A. P. J., & De Hoog, M. (2021). Turning the Tide: a quasi-experimental study on a coaching intervention to reduce burn-out symptoms and foster personal resources among medical residents and specialists in the Netherlands. BMJ Open, 11(1), e041708.