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Birkbeck's Big Ideas: Do life's tensions help us grow? How we experience growth and how coaching can help

Venue: External

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What is personal growth and development? Natalie Lancer, PhD researcher at Birkbeck's Department of Psychological Sciences will explore this in an engaging talk. Natalie started her PhD study looking to understand how students having one-to-one coaching grow at university and initially found that students developed their social skills and their confidence. In time, she realised that behind these one-dimensional descriptions of growth, lay a more complicated, two-dimensional experience, grounded in the tensions and trade-offs of real, gritty life.

This talk aims to challenge the audience's preconceived notions of growth and introduce a psychological theory that may help attendees reflect on meeting the everyday struggles we all face, considering whether and why coaching may be helpful for us to process these normal, human tensions.

Who is Natalie Lancer?

Natalie Lancer is an educational consultant and accredited coach. Building on her career as a teacher, she is now an independent university course and careers adviser ( She started her own coaching practice ( in 2010 and specialises in career coaching and mentoring for young adults. She has written two books: Techniques for Coaching and Mentoring (2016) and Getting into Oxford and Cambridge (2008). She has almost completed her PhD in Psychology at Birkbeck, entitled ‘Navigating the tensions of undergraduate life: An existential phenomenological analysis of growing and developing in the context of coaching at a UK university’.

What is Birkbeck's Big Ideas?

Birkbeck's Big Ideas is a series of thought-provoking free public lectures, delivered in the local community by Birkbeck researchers from a wide range of subject areas. Everyone is welcome to attend, regardless of previous educational experience, and the lectures are a chance to learn something new.

The event is FREE and open to all, but please note that seating is allocated on a first come first served basis. Registration and refreshments start at 6pm and the talk will commence at 6.15pm. We look forward to welcoming you to this Birkbeck's Big Idea event!

Join the conversation on Twitter: #BBKBigIdeas

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