This page is aimed at EMPLOYERS and sets out a compelling case for investing in maternity comeback coaching and an innovative, inexpensive approach to engaging and supporting maternity leavers across your organisation. Do visit our site for employers, The Talent Keeper Specialists and download the Compelling Case for Maternity Comeback Coaching paper (pdf file). If you are looking for ideas and advice for your return to work, please see the Mums Back to Work page.
Research from the city law firm, Clifford Chance, which has been offering maternity coaching since 2006 reports an increase in retention in the two years since maternity coaching was introduced compared to the preceding six years (Freeman, 2008). More specifically this study reports a significant decrease in the number of maternity returners exiting the company within the first 12 months of their return (down from 22%to 10%) and in the 12-24 month period after their return (down from 8% to 1%).
Engagement & Performance
A third of women report feeling ‘terrified’ about the prospect of returning to work and cite depleted confidence from lack of skill usage and contact with their organisation as key factors. In a survey I conducted of 168 women in 2009 about the emotions they experienced in the weeks surrounding their return to work, nearly half experienced a sense of dread, two thirds described feeling anxious and three quarters experienced guilt. Anecdotal feedback suggests women who are coached before and during their return to work experience these performance inhibiting emotions to a much lesser degree.
Psychologists and authors of Coaching Women to Lead recommend coaching as a way to restore a woman’s confidence and get her back into the mindset to perform: “The first 100 days back at work after maternity leave are almost as important to women as the first 100 days for a new CEO…Confidence and self-esteem is a huge need at this point – both in everyday life and at work – because having a baby is a life-changing event.”
Progressing Women’s Careers
Research conducted by Opportunity Now and Bank of America Merrill Lynch shows that women believe that the barriers to them progressing their careers have not diminished in the five years 2005-2010. The single biggest barrier cited by the 857 male and female managers in this study is ‘women having to balance work and family responsibilities.’ Helping women rebalance domestic roles and retune their identity – particularly high achieving women who take to showing the word they can handle the so-called ‘triple burden’ standing on their heads – is a key part of maternity coaching.
Providing women space to discuss their concerns about having ‘it all’ and indeed to challenge assumptions about what ‘all’ is and what she needs to do to attain it, is particularly relevant if women are to progress their careers.
A 19 year study in the US (Adler 2001) makes it clear as to why we should want to get more women onto UK boards: profitability. His research shows that “…the 25 Fortune 500 firms with the best record of promoting women to high positions are between 18 and 69 percent more profitable than the median Fortune 500 firms in their industries.”
A Comeback Programme for Your Organisation
Developed and delivered by a team of first rate coaches including Jessica Chivers, author of Mothers Work! How to Get a Grip on Guilt and Make a Smooth Return to Work our Comeback Programme is uniquely positioned to retain and engage female talent during this significant life and career transition.
Aimed at women currently on maternity leave and women who have returned to work within the last 24 months, our pioneering Comeback Programme has been developed from quantitative and qualitative research and is tailored to the needs and budget of your organisation.
The Comeback Programme addresses many of the issues women identify as a barrier to a smooth return to work. As a rolling programme with events scheduled at regular intervals, it’s well placed to service the needs and build a supportive community within and between women at all levels of the organisation. We see the programme as voluntary, with women (and men who may have taken extended paternity leave) opting into what suits them.
We provide a blend of diagnostic consultancy, interactive workshops, workbooks, networking events, online resources and 1:1 coaching to support and engage women before, during and after maternity leave. Each programme we run is tailored to the size and needs of the equality and diversity agenda of the organisation we’re working with. See our paper, “A Compelling Case for Maternity Coaching” for a flavour of the workshops we offer.
Our Maternity Comeback Team
Jessica Chivers is the founder of the niche coaching consultancy, The Thinking Woman’s Coach. The Thinking Woman’s Coach specialises in boosting women’s performance during career transition.
Jessica has ten years 1:1 coaching and group facilitation experience with brands such as Barclays, RBS, Santander, The Mind Gym, M&S, BBC, Vodafone, and Veolia. As a media contact for the British Psychological Society Jessica is often heard on the radio, TV and seen in popular magazines. Jessica previously held a learning and culture development post at Barclays and looks to the future with a growth in the maternity comeback programmes she devises and a PhD in mind.
Allison Mitchell (www.manicmums.com) entrepreneur, speaker and author of Time Management for Manic Mums, The Manic Mum’s Guide to Magnificent Parenting and co-author of Making It. Previously at Accenture and the least manic mum we know.
Starting her career with Accenture, Caroline worked as a management consultant for nine years specialising in the delivery of change programmes for a variety of clients in Ireland and the UK, including Police and Immigration Authorities, the Ministry of Justice and Pfizer. After becoming a mum in 2007 she was keen to be able to combine family life with stimulating and engaging work which led her to set up her own business running classes to help boost communication and language development in 1-5 year olds. In addition Caroline is an NLP practitioner, a qualified business coach with The Mind Gym and is also a facilitator on their Parent Gym programme. She leads a networking group for business mums in her local area called Motivating Mum, supporting other mums in their quest to find work that is stimulating and rewarding while still having time for family life.
Stephanie Hopper is a strengths-based facilitator and executive coach. Stephanie has over 17 years experience in the financial services and media industry where she filled a number of different customer facing and people management roles in the UK, Australia, Switzerland and Greece – most recently at Thomson Reuters. Her areas of expertise include positive psychology in organisations, coaching future leaders, women in leadership, career development, managers development and helping individuals find fulfilment through their work.
Vanessa is a certified executive coach and specialises in personal development coaching and training, covering all aspects of communication and leadership skills. She is fully accredited with the International Coach Federation and a Fellow of the CIPD. Vanessa has over 17 years wide ranging experience in human resources, development and coaching at Friends Provident and Virgin. Vanessa’s primary focus is to inspire and make a difference with her clients, enabling them to create clear vision and possibility, the confidence and determination to pursue their aspirations and the accountability to drive success.
Let’s Talk Maternity Leaver Engagement & Performance
If you think we’re onto something and would like to talk about how we can do great things with you
and your maternity leavers please contact Jessica Chivers in the first instance on 01727 856169 or
drop a line to us using our get in touch page.
Mothers Work! Yes They Do.