The complexity and dynamics of our lives are constantly increasing at a rapid pace. Globalization, digitization, demographic change, and the development toward information societies - accompanied by networking processes in all areas of life - represent the current megatrends. The academic landscape is also directly affected by these trends and has also undergone significant changes over the last decade:
- The Bologna Process for the Europe-wide reform of teaching,
- the Excellence Initiative of the German federal and state governments to promote science and research, which will be replaced by the Excellence Strategy in 2019,
- the increasing competition to attract third-party funding,
- digitalization and internationalization of education, science and research
- and the realization of equal opportunities, which is being strived for at all levels
- place demanding requirements on people who work professionally at universities and colleges.
Since March 2020, the Corona pandemic has posed a multitude of additional challenges for society as a whole and thus also for people working in science. Scientists in some disciplines often work for days, weeks, and months at a time in physical isolation from their supervisors, colleagues, and home office staff. Thus, many people at home are confronted with an even higher workload due to the juggling of professional and private roles, simultaneously. To a large extent they are also facing loneliness. Other disciplines, such as the natural sciences, which rely on laboratory work, have to deal with pandemic-related delays in their research projects. Not in every case are they given an extension by the project-funding organization. As a result, the competitive situation of scientists at the peer level may become even more severe than in previous years. Overall, a significant increase in individual stress levels and related physical and mental illnesses is observed in the scientific context.
Women and other underprivileged groups of people are significantly more affected than their privileged peers by the professional restrictions resulting from the pandemic containment measures and the disadvantages they encounter as a result. If anything, this reinforces the inequalities that already exist in the science system.
In order to face the current situation in science as an individual in a more self-effective, resilient and professional manner, it is now quite common to seek support from qualified coaches. External and internal coaches have become recognized sparring partners in the context of personnel development at German universities, non-university research institutions and colleges.
Those who want to clarify their professional situation, to maintain orientation and an overview, and to continue personal development processes even under these more difficult conditions can select specific modules from various personnel development measures (e.g. leadership and mentoring programs, seminars/workshops, peer counseling or individual coaching) that seem personally coherent and meaningful in on-site, hybrid or online formats.