The Messy PhD Group Coaching Hive

I am currently redesigning my group coaching programme, so am no longer taking any applications for the Hive. Please join my mailing list to ensure that you’re among the first to hear about the new group coaching membership when it launches! Or, check out my 1-to-1 PhD Coaching options here, and book in a Discovery Call with me to find out more.

Close coaching, community and support
for your best #PhDLife

You’re here to do excellent, impactful research.
You know you deserve a joyful PhD experience that’s full of creativity, flow, and support.
Now’s the time to make it happen.

Is this you?

You’re feeling overwhelmed by how much you need to do in your PhD (in such little time, arg!)…

You’re feeling fed-up, frustrated and can’t figure out how to get your #thesis motivation back…

You’re spinning your wheels, don’t have time to clean your house and feel like you’re getting nowhere with your research…

You’re worried that you can’t actually do this PhD, that you’re a fraud and they’re going to find out…

You’re scared of messing things up or failing your PhD…

You don’t know what the @^&$ you’re doing!

You’re kept awake at night overthinking the best way to fix, control and ‘perfect’ every element of your research…

What if I told you there’s another way to do the PhD?

A way that’s full of clarity, ease, pleasure, support and joy?

Read on

For those who are tired of working with overwhelmed, or even self-important, academics who seem to have lost their senses of humor, you are in the right place with Dr. Jamie! She is consistently positive, encouraging, and REAL. Not only does she understand the struggles of students and academic writers, she combines effective techniques, community support, and FUN to help overcome these struggles and progress as writers.

Dr. Lara Wallace ~ Academic writing and Speaking Coach

Let’s have a chat about why your PhD feels so darn messy…

The pressures in academia can be next level stressful. It’s a terribly competitive place filled with highly intelligent, capable people doing highly demanding, challenging work.

You’re probably surrounded by high-achievers and perfectionists, people who are not only very good at what they do, but who also constantly believe that they “should be better”.

Add to that the countless myths and memes about how much of a struggle the PhD is, how academics have no lives and how suffering is inevitable…

… and you soon feel like you’re constantly having to ‘catch up’ and reach impossible goals.

It’s no wonder you’re burnt out and exhausted.
It’s no wonder you sometimes feel ground down and small.
It’s no wonder you’re searching for a better way to do this.

Welcome to a new way of doing research

The Messy PhD Group Coaching Hive

Personal Action Plan

Practices and action steps that are customised to YOUR optimal working rhythm and flow


The encouragement to recognise your unique skills, step into your confidence and amplify your best research self


Moral and emotional support from a community of fellow PhD researchers who are on the same journey as you.

Sound good?
Great! This is exactly what you’ll get in the Hive

My coaching offers you the additional support that most universities don’t offer. I help you to meet the messier emotional components of doing research with a level head and a renewed confidence in your own brilliant abilities to meet any PhD challenge.

PhD students I have coached report going from feeling overwhelmed and demotivated to:

“[getting] back on a path of clarity”

“loving this PhD process”

“taking away practical suggestions for change which have already started to make a real difference to the way I’m working and living”

I’ve no doubt that you already have the know-how, skills and abilities to do deep, thoughtful, excellent research.

The only thing getting in your way is the surrounding messiness: overwhelm, imposter syndrome, lack of motivation and confidence, doubt, the fear of failure, difficulty saying no…

And while many supervisors and universities are less forthcoming about addressing these uncomfortable parts of doctoral research, I’m here to help you bust through them to enjoy more confidence and clarity than ever.

Get ready to enjoy all this once you’re in the Hive:

  • Approaching every aspect of your research knowing exactly what you need to do and how to do it
  • Having unshakeable confidence in your abilities to meet every aspect of your PhD, even when things go wrong
  • Waking up every morning looking forward to doing your PhD
  • Working with more clarity and focus, pleasure and ease
  • Doing less but achieving more each day
  • Enjoying your research while also having lots of time for rest, play, family, friends and fun.
  • Feeling magnified passion for your research, understanding exactly how valuable it is and why it’s changing the world
  • Being in creative flow, and constantly having ideas and insights pour out of you

This isn’t just wishful thinking. A joyful PhD journey filled with clear-sighted focus and ease is absolutely possible.

It’s time for you to claim this fulfilling, happy PhD life for yourself and make it a reality.

The Messy PhD Group Coaching Hive is here to show you how.

I am very proud of the fact that I was one of the early members of Jamie’s Messy coaching programme. She is a vibrant, creative, spiritual, and intellectual person, and that energy is infused into everything that she does! She has a knack for community building and, honestly, whatever community she builds, I know I want to be a part of. Jamie never fails to be an encouraging and empowering presence, often approaching things from a completely different direction, which provides a fresh and energising perspective on whatever it is you’re working on.

Shelby Judge ~ PhD researcher, University of Glasgow

The five pillars of the M.E.S.S.Y Framework

The Messy PhD Group Coaching Hive is based on my signature M.E.S.S.Y coaching framework, which comprises 5 key pillars to help you meet your PhD and life goals, find more clarity, joy & ease, and just feel bloody good about yourself and your research.
Are you ready? Let’s get M.E.S.S.Y:

Over the next three months, you’ll…

  • Discover creative new solutions, opportunities and magic at every stage of your PhD, even in the problems and challenges
  • Recall your own magic by recognising and expanding your existing strengths, talents and skills
  • Work through the difficulties of research to emerge with even greater confidence and more finely honed skills that you can take forward into any career path

During this coaching programme, you’ll…

  • Create nourishing routines that make space for plenty of rest, reward and relaxation
  • Beat overwhelm and stress, by learning new ways of working less while making more progress than ever before
  • Invite greater ease into your research experience so you always enjoy a constant, effortless flow of creativity

When you’re in the Hive, you’ll…

  • Build your own routines and rituals so you can create and sustain motivation more easily – both in and out of your PhD
  • Reignite joy, pleasure and passion in and around your research
  • Reprioritise fun and play in your research, so you’re going into your work every day with fresh energy and excitement

Through this group coaching programme, you’ll develop…

  • A renewed confidence in your own ‘enoughness’, capabilities and the value you bring to the table
  • Crystal clear clarity to discern exactly what goals, activities and relationships will best serve and support you
  • Firm boundaries – the focus to pursue what is most aligned with your aspirations and values, and the ease to release what isn’t

Alongside your fellow Hivers, you’ll…

  • Be introduced to simple but hugely transformative steps to design your PhD experience exactly the way you want it
  • Build a safe, loving community that will support you to smash your research goals and reach your highest research potential
  • Learn to connect with your greatest and wisest guide – your own research intuition

Extra Sparkle Up

I incorporate a spiritual element into all my coaching. I’ll work with you to strengthen existing practices in your own faith and/or to introduce you to concepts like manifestation, visualisation and meditation; affirmation, mantras and prayer; tarot and oracle readings; and human design.

You don’t have to have any prior experience with any of this (I’ll explain everything once you’re in!) and I promise that you’ll never have to do anything you’re not comfortable with. Just be aware that this is a strong component of my coaching approach and practice, and get ready to experience some super electric magic!

In the hive, you’ll get all of this:

Close-up support
I am deliberately keeping the Hive small, with a minimum of 6 people and a maximum of 12. So you’ll get plenty of intimate support directly from me as well as connection and friendship with your fellow Hivers.

2 live group coaching calls a month
Each month, you’ll get to join 2 x 90-minute live Zoom calls for intimate hot-seat coaching support where I’ll deep-dive your current PhD challenges

Daily group messaging support
You’ll have access to a private messaging group to ask and get your questions answered daily (Mon-Fri). This means you’ll get both my direct coaching support outside the group coaching calls and the continued support of your fellow Hivers.

Resources galore
You’ll be given lifetime access to a collection of journal/reflection prompts, mini trainings and worksheets, covering many aspects of doctoral research – from Creating an Effective Daily Working Plan, to Setting Boundaries in the PhD, to Checklists for a Joyful PhD. I’ll also be creating new resources specifically to meet the needs of Hive members!

The strength of the hive lies in its community and the peer support you will get from other PhD Hivers on the same journey as you. You’ll have a PhD family to keep you accountable, share encouragement and celebrate your wins.

The benefits of a messy coaching approach

From the close coaching you’ll receive and working intimately alongside other PhD folk, you’ll be equipped and supported to….

  • increase confidence and awareness of your own skills and abilities to successfully complete you PhD
  • meet challenges or problems in your research with greater creativity, versatility, resilience and confidence
  • nurture a healthful balance between doctoral research and other extracurricular activity, such as teaching, public engagement, part-time work etc.
  • find and implement strategies to experience more joy and pleasure across your doctoral journey
  • develop the necessary skills, leadership qualities, experience and confidence to facilitate your transition into postdoctoral roles or alternative (non-academic) career paths
  • create a balance you’ll love between your academic responsibilities and other personal, family and social commitments

Oh, wait, you want more?
Okay, strap in for the bonuses!

Just Write: 4 Training Videos for Writing Your Thesis

Whatever stage you’re at with writing the PhD (and even if you haven’t started), this collection of trainings offers an unconventional (but effective!) way of approaching thesis writing. You’ll learn how to:
– craft a writing plan that will work best for the way you work
– produce excellent, creative writing without rigid plans
– set the most energising intentions to bring into your writing
– stay on track with the fundamental requirements of academic writing at every stage of your thesis.

Webinar: Managing procrastination and building motivation in research writing

Delivered by academic writing coach Dr. Lara Wallace and me, Dr. Jamie Pei, this 2-hour webinar offers 4 key tips for beating procrastination and demotivation in your research writing. It’s absolutely jam-packed with tips and practices you can implement straight away to start seeing rapid progress in your writing – whether you’re working on your dissertation/thesis, writing a journal article or preparing a conference paper.

5 Steps to a Winning Presentation

The handiest, most compact little guide you’ll ever need to create impactful presentations. Whether you’re preparing for a conference paper, public speaking competition or public engagement talk, this guide shares my 5 best tips for writing and delivering a punchy, smart pres that your audience will remember long after you’ve stepped off the podium.

Jamie was a breath of fresh air, giving me the opportunity to explore some difficult areas with her calm (and calming!), no-nonsense approach. I instantly felt at ease and free to talk without judgement, but more than that, I came away with practical suggestions for change which have already started to make a real difference to the way I’m working and living.

Alex Mallinson ~ Senior Lecturer and PhD Researcher

The Messy PhD is unlike any other
doctoral training you’ve attended

Universities already provide plenty of excellent training on ‘how to’ do the PhD. Whether it’s workshops on writing literature reviews, learning SPSS or understanding research ethics, you’re probably sorted.

What’s less commonly addressed are all the messy in-betweens of doing research and being a researcher. The messy anxieties of not being good enough, lack of confidence, imposter syndrome, overwhelm, demotivation, procrastination, the fear of things going wrong… the list goes on.

It is these uncomfortable, grubby in-betweens that messy coaching deals with.

This is PhD coaching. It is also life coaching.

Messy coaching works with that strange (yes, messy!) space where the two collide: doing research while juggling life, and navigating all the other demands of life while doing research.

It is geared towards helping you be the best researcher you can be, while also enjoying your very best life as a gloriously, messy, complex, feeling, loving, living human being.


I’m Dr Jamie Pei (but just call me Jamie!) – your messy coach and host of the hive,

I’ve done a PhD in Women’s Studies (Social Science/qualitative research) and for 4 years, I enjoyed the most joyful, enriching, fulfilling PhD experience.

Throughout that time, I also got to present at numerous conferences, run workshops and trainings, won awards for speaking about my research, and developed a kickass yoga + weight-lighting routine.

But I also had some pretty awful moments during those 5 years, dealing with bereavements, health issues and finally, the viva that nightmares are made of, followed by a horrible pandemic-themed year of corrections.

So, I understand both the incredible highs that come from doing really deep, pleasurable research AND the terrible lows of feeling stuck, hopeless and overwhelmed.

More important, I’ve found ways to increase and sustain the good bits, and deal peacefully with the bad.

I’ve since developed my own signature M.E.S.S.Y framework for working through the PhD (and life!) with the greatest ease, clarity and joy. And now I’m here to share all that goodness with you.

The Messy PhD Group Coaching Hive is for you if…

  • You’re sick of being told that there’s only a specific way of doing a PhD, and you’re longing for a freer way to do research
  • You want to discover easier, more pleasurable ways of working with the multiple demands and messiness of research life
  • You’d love support for designing and living your PhD experience the way you want it to be, while producing excellent, thoughtful, impactful research
  • You’d like to work closely alongside a supportive community of like-minded PhD students on the same journey as you
  • You’ve lost your motivation or struggle with procrastination, and you’re looking for more enjoyable ways of working in flow
  • You’re overwhelmed by perfectionism, highly competitive environments and fear of failure, and long to feel more confident in your academic and personal life
  • You’re sick of feeling exhausted and always juggling too much, and would love help with setting firmer boundaries, letting things go and enjoying your research

And it’s not for you if…

  • You’re happy with the traditional, conventional ways of doing research as commonly practised and ‘taught’ at universities
  • You expect the PhD to be structured, predictable, tidy process
  • You’re expecting a regimented instruction manual and rules for ‘how to do your PhD’
  • You’re comfortable with the high-pressure, stressful ways of working that’s common among academics
  • You never struggle with motivation or procrastination
  • You don’t want any more support and you’re not interested in building a research community around you
  • You’re fully confident about every stage of your PhD

Your investment

A quick recap of what you’ll get in the 3-month Hive:

2 monthly live group coaching calls
Close community for friendship and accountability
Daily messaging support
Additional PhD training resources
Access to any of my public workshops during the time of the Hive
3 cool bonuses

Early bird pricing (until 30 June 2023)

Pay in Full

USD 688

3-month payment plan

USD 288/month x 3

After 30 June, prices increase to:

Pay in Full

USD 888

3-month payment plan

USD 358/month x 3

Frequently asked questions

You’ll get all of this:

  • 9 live group coaching calls
  • 3 masterclasses on a topic decided by the group
  • Daily messaging support via Voxer, WhatsApp or Facebook group (The group will vote for their preference)
  • A shared virtual co-working room via Google Meets
  • Additional training resources for different aspects of your PhD that you can work through in your own time

PLUS you’ll also get these bonuses:

  • Just Write: 4 training videos for writing your thesis
  • Webinar: Managing procrastination and building motivation in research writing
  • 5 Steps to a Winning Presentation: a mini guide

(You’ll get lifetime access to all the training resources and bonuses).

I aim to start the programme on 1 September 2022, and it will run for three months until 30 November 2022.

I bring quite a different, ‘messy’ approach to the PhD that considers the many other aspects of your life as equally important to your PhD. While your university probably already provides plenty of training on how to do the PhD and conduct research, this coaching programme will support you to manage the many other ‘messier’, intangible and emotional aspects of PhD life.

The programme is predominantly aimed at PhD or postgraduate research students. If you’re doing a Masters by Research programme, or you’re preparing to enter a PhD programme, the Hive would be great for you! It might not be as suitable for postdocs though, as the issues I’ll be coaching on and working through with the Hivers may not be as relevant to you.

I’ll start the programme when a minimum of 6 people have joined. I am capping membership at 12 people so that the group remains small, intimate and cosy.

First, do check with your department or university if they offer funding for personal/career development courses or training. They might be willing to cover this coaching programme. Alternatively, drop me an email at and let’s discuss other options.

Nope! Any PhD student from any field or discipline is welcome. This coaching programme won’t delve into subject specific issues (your supervisors, departments and universities should provide you with guidance for that), but addresses the surrounding aspects of your life that support you to do your PhD.

I blend mindset work, practical guidance and a little extra sprinkle of spirituality. I’m focused on you as a human being first before your research and will be coaching you on what’s going on in your life, head and heart, not on the technicalities of doing a PhD or the specifics of your research topic. I believe that you already have all the inner resource, strength and awesome ability to do the work that you’ve set out to do; so my coaching style is never prescriptive. I don’t ‘teach’ or tell you what to do. Rather, I support you to uncover your always-already existing strengths and capacities, and to discover the best ways for you to work.

I believe in the power of each person’s intuitive abilities, and will work with you to tap into that intuition and listen to what your inner guide/higher self has to say to guide you in both your PhD and life. I also incorporate metaphysical practices in my coaching, such as tarot readings, human design, manifestation practices, mantra/prayer and prayer. I don’t prescribe to any particular religion though, and certainly don’t expect you to adopt any belief or practice that you’re not comfortable with.

Unfortunately, I can’t guarantee that (and honestly, nobody can…). I will provide you with as much support, coaching and resources as I can to help you to work at your optimal level and with much greater clarity and confidence. But ultimately, you will still have to put in the work for your PhD, and continue to work closely with your supervisor for conducting the research and writing up the thesis.

I’ll be doing ‘hot seat’ individual coaching for several people within each group coaching call (don’t worry, you’ll all get a turn across the weeks). If you wanted more private coaching sessions with me on top of the group coaching, we can definitely discuss further options! Email me to chat about options:

I’d love for you to make the most of your time in the Hive and really connect with the community so I’d recommend setting aside at least 1-2 hours a week for the group coaching calls/webinars. All other resources will be made available to you to work through in your own time so you can dedicate as much or as little time to that.

Get in touch: