Posted: Sunday May 9 2021
By: Abbie Coleman
Maternity Coaching – delivering benefits for everyone
By Cheryl Donnison
Starting a family takes planning and preparation. Whether it’s putting money aside, decorating the small bedroom or buying a more practical car, we do what it takes to get things in order. So why isn’t our career included in this preparation?
Your career has played a big part in making a family unit possible, it’s a major part of your life and you’ll need it to be in good shape when you finish maternity. Too many businesses and individuals overlook the importance of maternity preparation, the cost of which can be high for both parties.
The benefits of maternity coaching
Maternity coaching provides women with support and structure, helping them navigate into, through and out of maternity leave whilst keeping their career on-track. For employers, maternity coaching is particularly important for retention, ensuring your employees don’t jump-ship after maternity leave as a result of a disconnect, mistrust or lack of support.
More and more talented women are making career choices based on the maternity support they would receive. For businesses and line managers there are a whole host of benefits to providing maternity coaching.
Benefits of maternity coaching to businesses
- Reduces the skill and performance reduction associated with maternity leave.
- Builds loyalty, enthusiasm and likelihood of a return to work following maternity leave.
- Increases the retention of experienced, talented employees.
- Removes the costs of rehiring and retraining.
- Supports line managers by improving communication, priority setting and succession planning.
- Removes talent threat to business and creates a positive transition and change experience for all sides.
At Lumina, we typically look at the three phases with maternity coaching – leaving work, on leave and returning to work. Sessions involve the steps you can take at each phase to ensure your career remains intact whilst you focus on your family.
Your 3-step maternity coaching plan
Leaving work – planning and preparation
In the run up to going on maternity leave, you should look to have two or three coaching sessions. These allow you to discuss workload negotiation, expectations and any issues regarding productivity. An aim of these sessions should be to highlight any inefficient work practices and to understand that juggling work and life is achievable.
On maternity – communication
Sessions whilst on maternity are all about keeping in touch (KIT) through planned KIT days. Aim for a minimum of two and look to meet with managers to get updates and with other mums in the business to learn about any challenges on the return to work.
Later in maternity it’s all about discussing your return to work preparation with the full support of your employer, so you can hit the ground running on your return.
Back to work – confidence and progression
The return to work is the biggest transition and you should be having a minimum of two sessions in order to ensure confidence and motivation remains high. These sessions are all about being open to support, minimising the impact on career progression and ensuring a rapid resumption of performance.
Longer-term maternity coaching
You should also consider additional coaching 6-18 months after return. Research has shown that coaching at this point can help to reassure women of their career/family balance, whilst re-establishing career goals.
For you, your baby and your career
A lack of maternity coaching is a serious threat to female talent pipelines, leaving high-potential women unsupported at a key moment in their careers. Through successful maternity coaching, you can safely navigate one of the largest transitions in your work life, ensuring you get the work/life balance right and your career stays on track.