Preparing to go on maternity leave is quite a strange experience. On the one hand you are excited by the idea of this new phase ahead of you, and on the other hand you might feel conflicted about temporarily stepping away from your career that you’ve worked hard to build up to this point.
The key to navigating these competing priorities is to firstly, create a framework with some rules of engagement prior to embarking on maternity leave and sharing this with your employer.
Secondly, it is crucial that you treat it as a framework – it represents your intentions but being open to adaptations as your maternity leave progresses is key.
This is where maternity coaching comes in – I like to think of myself as a partnering someone through this transition, supporting them achieve the outcomes they want from their career and from parenthood.
In this blog post I have brought together 5 benefits that maternity coaching can have on you as both an individual and an employee, and I’ve created a template for you to use to build a business case to ask your employer for their support.
1. Feeling in control
Maternity coaching ideally starts before you leave the workplace. Setting boundaries and rules of engagement that you can clearly communicate to your employer allows you to embark on maternity leave knowing where you stand with each other.
2. You have a plan
I’m using the word ‘plan’ loosely here! What I’m talking about is that you have sketched out with your coach what a successful transition back to work would look like – before you leave.
This should include how you plan to use your KIT days and any other intentions that you hold at this point, such as a phased return. You’ll feel confident you have a plan in place that you can revisit at a later date and can focus on your time with your new-born without any background noise.
3. Coaching is a ‘safe space’
Coaching provides a confidential, judgement-free space to have conversations about how you feel about going back to work. It provides time and space dedicated to just you (by this point that will be a huge novelty in its own right!), to work through any adaptations you want to make to your original plan.
4. Returning to work with confidence
I know from first-hand experience the impact that maternity leave can have on your confidence. It can feel like you’ve disconnected with your professional identity.
Coaching will help you re-connect with that person and address any limiting beliefs you might be holding on to, allowing you to transition back into your organisation confident in who you are and what you bring.
5. Planning for the future
The transition back to work doesn’t stop the minute you walk back through the doors, there is a process of adapting and rebalancing that needs to take place. Having support during this process is invaluable without a doubt.
In addition, working out your medium and long-term career aspirations with a coach can help you engage with your career and feel purposeful in the decisions you make within the context of your work and family life as a whole.
If you would like support in creating a business case for your organisation to fund maternity coaching on your behalf, I have created a template you can use to do just that.
Jane McKenna is a partner coach at Careering into Motherhood. If you would like to find out more about maternity coaching (self-funded or business funded) you can visit her profile here https://www.careeringintomotherhood.com/coach/jane-mckenna/
April 14, 2023