How Coaching Can Help Working Parents
Updated: Jan 12
This blog post is a collaboration between Laura Duggal and Sarah Turner, who are both Maternity Return coaches. They are working together, sharing their experiences and bringing the best of their joint advice and knowledge to you. In this blog we talk about the time after you’ve returned to work and some of the typical themes that come up in coaching conversations.
When we talk about maternity coaching, parental coaching or return to work coaching, the focus is very much on the event of becoming a parent. The transition back to work, the adjustments to juggling both home and work commitments, the re-evaluation of values, beliefs and priorities. However, the realities and challenges of being a working parent are not only keenly felt at this juncture. Navigating the journey of parenting children of different ages and stages, alongside the evolution of your career and the career of your partner can be demanding, rewarding and for some, exhausting.
In this post, we wanted to highlight how coaching can be a valuable resource to working parents as they, alongside their children, develop and grow. When working with new parents, I often invite them to complete a timeline exercise. This allows them to step back from the minutiae of their day-to-day life with a baby or toddler, and look at the next five, ten, fifteen and even twenty years. I invite them to pause and reflect at each five-year interval and consider what the needs of their child(ren) will be and the implications of that for them as a parent and as a professional. For most of my clients the most illuminating aspect of this exercise is the realisation that the hectic, demanding and often crazy period of working whilst having a young baby to care for doesn't last forever. For, once children start school, and even when they start secondary school, their independence grows and their needs change. What this means for the parents will be different for every family, but the important point is that things will continuously change and evolve.
Developing the agility to adapt and respond to these different ages and life stages can be challenging and sometimes takes us by surprise. I have worked with clients who have unplanned pregnancies resulting in a third child they hadn’t planned for, and clients who have teenagers who are struggling and have a greater need for their parents to be present. Whilst other clients have faced other personal difficulties such as the loss of a loved one, or the illness of a partner. And of course professional opportunities can also bring about change such as secondments, promotions and relocations. Much of this cannot be planned for, and this uncertainty is what many find difficult. Yet, this is exactly where coaching can play a crucial role.
Rather than expecting yourself to cope with the changes and know exactly what decisions to make and when, a coach can act as your thinking partner, accompanying you as you reflect on who you are, what you need and where to focus your energies, both at home and at work. If this is something you’d like to explore further, feel free to get in touch to arrange an introductory call.
Laura is an EMCC qualified and accredited coach with a background in HR and Recruitment. She has 15 years experience of coaching individuals around their professional and personal development. Her own experience of returning to work after having her daughter highlighted that there was a need for more robust support through this transition which lead her to specialise in maternity return coaching. Clients share that they find her to be warm and down to earth, giving them a renewed sense of self belief, motivation and tools to cope in a fast paced and often challenging world. Her coaching approach is grounded in Positive Psychology focussing on mental health and well-being. She see’s her role as providing a safe and calm space for those facing uncertainty and making big changes in their lives.
Sarah is an Executive and Maternity coach with a background in HR, Diversity and Inclusion and Occupational Psychology. A mum herself, Sarah has experienced maternity leave and she has coached numerous women and working parents as they navigate their own journey into parenthood. She brings compassion and empathy to her maternity coaching, priding herself on offering a supportive but empowering space where her clients feel heard and able to find their own way through this stage of their lives.