Prof. dr. Thomas Schmidt is Professor of structural dynamics of biomacromolecules in life processes at University Leiden.
“I am the spokesperson within my research group, and I represent the viewpoint of the group. As a result, I deal with many different visions and opinions, and I have to pull them all together. If you work with people, it's very useful to reflect on what you do and equip yourself for leadership. To improve my skills, I decided to work with Aletta. When we began the one-to-one sessions, we defined specific goals. We also involved my scientific director at that stage, so that he knows what we are doing and why.
One of the things that I started to work on was formulating my vision and then standing up for my convictions. I had noticed that I tended to be reserved when sharing my ideas. I've now experienced that it's very helpful to prepare for meetings and difficult conversations, and to evaluate them afterwards to see what went well and what could be improved. I now take the time to actually do that, and it pays off immediately. I am more able to express my visions, it's clear where I stand, and the meetings are far more efficient.
I like the way Aletta works. She asks all the right questions. It makes me far more aware of how I behave at work and why. And the fact that we defined clear goals before we started makes it all efficient and practical. It has been a very useful experience for me, and, frankly, I think that some form of personal coaching would be beneficial for everyone.”