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What can I use my maternity return coaching sessions for?

If you’ve been offered coaching by your organisation, and you’ve not worked with a coach before, you might be finding it tricky to know how to use the sessions. A common statement made by coaches is that coachees already have the answers inside themselves… which begs the question – why do I need a coach!?

To demystify this we’re sharing what you can expect when you work with us.

Working with a Maternity Return Coach is a supportive partnership provided by the organisation, usually with no input from line managers or HR around objectives for the programme.

Everything we discuss will be confidential and you set your own direction and agenda. If you’re unsure how to use the sessions, we can help you get some clarity, set goals if you want to, or use the sessions for whatever comes up at the time.

A partnership between you and your coach

We see coaching as a partnership with our coachees, where we’re equal and each bring something to the session. As the coachee, you bring the topic you’d like to explore and as the coach we bring our coaching skills and toolkits which include the following:

  • Coaching questions: As qualified and accredited coaches we’re trained to use different types of questions to help you explore your topic. These support you in raising your awareness of yourself and your wider situation.

  • Listening: Coaches are great listeners, we provide a space where you can talk freely, without judgement and know that you are being heard. Being listened to deeply, by another person and having them ask questions or offer reflections around what they’ve heard is extremely powerful.

  • Partnership: In a coaching relationship, Coach and coachee are always working towards the same goal. We’re here with you to acknowledge and celebrate when something goes well, and also as a sounding board if it doesn’t.

An example of a coaching partnership

To bring this to life, here’s a story about a past client of Lauras, Charlotte, told with Charlotte’s permission.

Charlotte started her coaching programme with me after having her second child. She told me that she was lacking in self confidence and belief. She had always been career driven before she had her family and wanted to find a way to make her job work for her and her family. Her goals for the programme were:

  • To get clear on what she wanted her professional life to look like now she was a mother of 2 young children.

  • To keep the coaching sessions as a space to explore ideas, talk through her thoughts and make sense of them.

Over 6 x 90 minute coaching sessions we used the following coaching tools to meet her objectives.

  • Identifying her most important values and noticing how these had changed from her pre-parent days.

  • A career time line, noticing how she had made decisions previously and when she had felt the most successful.

  • We spent a session digging into her thoughts, feelings and beliefs around what success would be like for her now and how that would play out in the wider world of her family and friends.

  • We identified role models she was inspired by and worked though what their values might be, and how they matched or crossed her own.

  • With all of this new information, we used a session as a space to work through conversations she now wanted to have with her direct line manager and her husband. We worked through what she wanted to get from these conversations, what would absolutely need to be included and what she would need to leave out.

At the end of 6 sessions, Charlotte told me that not only had we met her objective of getting clear on what her professional life might look like now, but that as a side effect of this new awareness she was making better decisions, comparing herself to others less and had a deep sense of confidence that she was doing what was right for her and her family.

If you’d like more information about out 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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