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Goal setting and career planning when returning to work after maternity leave

In this video we share a few questions and activities that we use with our clients to support them during this time in their career.


Looking at your current values and how you will honour them


We often start by looking at values, as they can help us make decisions that are in line with how we want to live our lives. In our opinion, values tend to shift as we go through different stages of life, including having a family, so re-evaluating these is important. A coach can help you by asking questions to support you in getting clear on your values.


Once you are clear on what your values are, it may be helpful to imagine them as different buckets. How will you fill each bucket in order to honour your values? What rules do you need to put in place? Such as, how often is it ok to work late? How often can you work overtime? What conversations do you need to have to put your rules in place? 


Having a set of values and rules will help during the times when family and career inevitably clashes. It might be that at some point, career will have to come first, while family will have to be prioritised at other times. Just as your values shift over time, the rules you put in place during a certain time can also be adjusted.


Looking at your career timeline


When we look at a career timeline with our clients, we invite them to gain a different perspective by looking at their career from above. We often use the following exercise:


On a piece of paper, draw a line. At one end of the line, write the current year, along with your age and your child’s/children’s age. Then break up the line in 5 year chunks and write your age and your children’s age in 5 years’ time, in 10 years’ time and so on. Explore the differences between these in terms of what the children are going to need from you and what this means for you and your career. We find that when looking at their career from this perspective, people often realise that they still have several years of their career ahead of them, which can help to relieve some of the pressure to progress as quickly as possible.

If you’d like more information about our maternity return coaching programmes, please get in touch.


My colleague Sarah Turner and I have been busy creating content highlighting the importance of organisations providing support for working parents. As part of this, we created this video series exploring the entire journey of maternity leave, from before the leave starts, through to preparing to return and then the first few months back at work. If you or your organisation would like to understand more about how to support your employees as they take parental leave, please get in touch.


This blog post is a collaboration between Maternity Coaches Laura Duggal and Sarah Turner. They are working together, sharing their experiences and bringing the best of their joint advice and knowledge to you.

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