I’m going to be making a few assumptions today. That you have heard the phrase return to work coaching. It’s been floating around your consciousness for a while, but you aren’t quite sure what it is our how it can help you. Right? Let’s continue!
When your baby arrives, and you take your maternity or parental leave, it is easy for your new routine to quickly become the only routine you are used to. As your return to work date creeps up, you may start wondering how you will settle back in. How you will manage to coordinate getting yourself and the kid(s) out the door. You may be excited about the prospect of an unaccompanied toilet visit, a new challenge and hot cuppa that hasn’t been microwaved ten times over.
When you go back to your existing company, usually to your old job (but not exclusively – but that is a whole other blog on its own) everything is the same and totally different at the same time. It doesn’t matter if the leave has been your first or last child, your time away from work will change you and what you want from your career. You may have already reflected on this whilst you have been away. It is no surprise that many parents start businesses or plan a career change during this time.
Sometimes this change may be forced on you. Lack of a supportive work environment or inflexible childcare may mean you need or want to change what you are you doing. However, many, many of my clients come to a realisation that THEY want things to change when they return to work.
However, how many times have we told ourselves we will make a change, and then the every-day gets in the way? Your time becomes reactive; travelling from one appointment, meeting and project to another, then going through your mental to-do checklist during your commute.
This is where return to work coaching comes in. Time and space for you to prepare for your return, then work on yourself and your goals before life starts to get in your way.
Before we continue, I need to clear a couple of false beliefs up. The thing that comes up the most, that ambition needs to be put on “hold” due to a change in working conditions or the fact that someone calls you “MUMMY” or “DADDY”.
(I’m going to put this in capitals AND underline, just to make sure you get it.)
YOUR CAREER DOESN’T HAVE TO STOP BECAUSE YOU ARE A PARENT.
YOUR CAREER DOESN’T HAVE TO STOP BECAUSE YOU WORK FLEXIBLE HOURS.
How can return to work coaching help you?
Just consider how much energy it takes to carry around an issue. To have worry or anxiety. Equally, how frustrating is it to have an idea but you can’t find the headspace to put it into words let alone create a plan to make it happen?
Instead, how would it feel to be able to take the time to:
Confront any challenges in your work-life balance and work on practical ways to overcome them.
Identify what you want out your career, and select the best way to make that happen.
Craft the new version of “you” as a working parent, identify your values and what success means, and makes that happen.
How does return to work coaching work?
There is no mumbo-jumbo. No trickery or witchcraft.
You are given two things; time and questions.
Permission (and the expectation) to clear space in your diary and guided self-reflection.
A coach (just like me) plays the role of a critical friend; to make your accountable, question your thought processes and challenge any of those pesky negative beliefs and the external “bullsh*t” that us parents are often, unnecessarily, influenced by.
As my client’s so eloquently put it:
“Love the absence of airy-fairy advice or non-descript coaching style. There’s nothing more helpful in having someone skilled in their area of expertise, gently guiding you through the maelstrom of thoughts, emotions and options when going back to work after having a baby”
“Returning to work hasn’t been easy by Clara has always been there with lots of evidence-based ideas and a big injection of positivity. I always feel inspired, confident and raring to go when I have spoken to Clara”
“Thank you for helping me realise the only person that expects too much from me, is me! My self-confidence and belief has improved MASSIVELY from this time last year. I felt I was failing to do the best at home, for my son, at work and just in life generally; you provided me with the tools to conquer all of this both at work and generally. Nearly a year on, I still use the techniques you taught me – you’re often the little voice in my head when I feel myself slip back into my old ways”
Whilst it fills my heart (and my ego) to read the feedback from a few of my return to work coaching clients, what I want to show you here is some of the results that coaching support can give you.
• Career Clarity
• Stress Management Techniques
• Work-Life Balance Tools
• Goal Setting
The end result of all of this is the ability to craft a career and life that works for you.
How could a return to work coach support you? You may have already met the coach you want to work with. Reach out to them and find out how they can help you return to work with confidence.
Join The Balance Collective with Clara Wilcox and join in the return to work conversation with other likeminded parents.