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How maternity coaching differs from leadership or executive coaching

Maternity return coaching is a specialist and relatively new form of coaching. It plays an important role in supporting those transitioning back to work after having a child. While it shares some similarities with executive coaching, we will explore in this blog, what it is, how it’s different from leadership or executive coaching and how it can benefit both employees and organisations.



The primary goal of maternity coaching is to support working parents in making a successful transition back to work. This can be achieved by addressing various personal and professional challenges, which is done best when working with a qualified and accredited coaching, specialising in this area.


Key differences from leadership and executive coaching


1. Key focus on life / work integration

Maternity return coaching is primarily about supporting working parents to integrate their family and professional lives successfully. It recognises that there are unique challenges around balancing new responsibilities, addressing potential feelings of guilt or self-doubt, and managing logistics and emotional adjustments associated with becoming a working parent. In contrast, leadership and executive coaching generally focus on enhancing leadership skills, career development and workplace performance.


2. Addressing the transition period

Becoming a parent is a significant life transition. While leadership and executive coaching may deal with career growth and leadership skills, maternity return coaching offers support around adapting to the changed circumstances, including adjusting to a new routine, coping with changes in roles and responsibilities, and understanding the workplace culture post-maternity leave.


3. Recognising emotional and psychological well-being

Maternity return coaching places a strong emphasis on emotional and psychological well-being, acknowledging that returning to work after maternity leave can trigger various emotions including self- doubt, guilt, anxiety and on occasions post natal depression. A maternity return coach is well equipped to deal with this sensitively and appropriately and sign post to other, more appropriate professionals, such as therapists if necessary. Leadership and executive coaching on the other hand, tend to be more performance driven.


Benefits of maternity return coaching


1. Improved employee retention

Offering maternity return coaching can lead to improved employee retention, as women who receive this support are more likely to return to work and continue their careers within the organisation. This can save companies recruitment and onboarding costs associated with replacing experienced employees.


2. Increased productivity

When women are provided with the necessary tools and support to navigate the transition back to work they are more likely to be productive and engaged employees. Maternity return coaching can be used to set realistic goals, manage time and develop effective coping strategies, contributing to a healthier work life balance.


3. Inclusive and supportive workplace culture

By offering maternity return coaching, organisations demonstrate a commitment to diversity, inclusion and gender equality. This sends a powerful message that the company values the contributions of female employees and is willing to support them during crucial life transitions.


Maternity return coaching is a specialist type of coaching designed to support those navigating a transition back to work after maternity leave. Investing in maternity return coaching not only benefits individual employees but also fosters a more inclusive and supportive workplace culture. As organisations are continuing to prioritise diversity and inclusion, maternity return coaching is becoming an essential tool for supporting working parents and maximising their potential in the workplace.


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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