The Edges of Lean — Ep 124 Continuously Improving Your Dissertation with Dr. Jen Harrison


Have you earned an advanced degree? What was the dissertation process like for you?  Have you thought about going back to school for a PhD?  Are you wondering how to succeed and come out of the process with new knowledge, ready for your next challenge, and with your continuous improvement skills and self-confidence honed? Dr. Jen Harrison works with students as a dissertation coach, and she joined me at the Edges of Lean to share the pitfalls and the keys to success with researching and writing your dissertation, all while becoming more collaborative. 


Jen Harrison


Dr. Jen Harrison is a highly experienced dissertation coach with a Ph.D. in Children’s and Victorian Literature from Aberystwyth University in Wales, UK. Over the past decade, she has successfully coached and supervised first-generation, ESL, and non-traditional students in the UK and USA, helping many achieve first-class degrees. Dr. Harrison’s expertise extends to providing support in writing, research design, motivation, and research methods. As the CEO of Read.Write.Perfect., she utilizes her background in secondary school English teaching, private tutoring, and experience in nursery and primary schools to offer exceptional writing and research services.



00:02:02 – Transition to Dissertation Coaching

00:03:07 – Role of a Dissertation Coach

00:04:45 – Misalignment in Graduate Programs

00:06:21 – Field Non-Specific Coaching

00:08:29 – Pressure and Personal Stories

00:11:02 – Academic Year and Deadlines

00:15:31 – Realizing Misalignment with Goals

00:18:14 – Coachability of Students

00:20:14 – Applying Classroom Teaching Skills

00:25:13 – Differences Between US and UK Academia

00:32:21 – Advocating for Proper Supervision




  • Set boundaries with your program and supervisor early on and stick to them.
  • Build a strong support network of friends, family, and resources to help you through the process.
  • Understand your why – know your purpose and goals for pursuing a graduate degree.
  • Seek feedback and ensure you receive constructive feedback that helps you improve.
  • Take time for self-care and prioritize your mental health throughout the process.
  • Be proactive in advocating for what you need from your supervisor and program.
  • Prepare for the transition after completing your dissertation by identifying your next steps and finding something to be excited about.
  • Reflect on the structure and expectations of your program and adjust accordingly to meet your needs.
  • Remember that resilience and perseverance are keys to navigating the challenges of a graduate degree.

Memorable Quotes From Jen Harrison


“Have a network, establish your network early on, and that doesn’t just mean the people in your institution.”

CONNECT WITH Jen Harrison      



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