Women Starting Businesses

Going freelance and starting a business can be like a love affair – passionate, exciting and all-consuming. After the buzzy honeymoon period of the first 3-6 months where you’ve been experimenting with marketing tactics and enjoying the general thrill of being your own boss it’s not uncommon to feel a bit at, unsure or overwhelmed.

Coachees talk about benefits such as:


  • Clarity about what they need to do (and what they need to ditch, delegate and delay) to get clients/ customers and for the money to come in.
  • Understanding which bits of running their business they enjoy and are most profitable – and which bits to outsource or stop doing altogether.
  • Relief that what they are experiencing is normal (when I share, without naming names, stories of other business owners and my own tales of setting up The Talent Keeper Specialists).
  • Liberation from endless worries about whether the business will succeed – once you’ve got a plan you stick to, you’re on your way.
  • Boundaries and a clear plan in place of how they are going to combine work with everything else in their life that is important to them.
Here’s an idea of the ground different women in fledgling businesses and I have covered in our coaching sessions to get them to where they want to be:


    • Being authentic in the way they do business
    • Confident pricing and negotiating
    • Time management – defining priorities and getting them done
    • Shifting the ‘limiting beliefs’ that get in the way of success
    • Building confidence to try new marketing activities – speaking, networking etc
    • Practising business pitches
    • Revisiting business plans (or creating one in the first place)
    • Taking stock of what marketing activities work


Maternity Comeback

I work with women who are preparing for (or considering) their return to work after maternity or an extended break. I wrote Mothers Work! How to Get a Grip on Guilt and Make a Smooth Return to Work (Hay House, £12.99) in reaction to the emotional and practical challenges surrounding this very personal transition. Click on the “Take Away” icon for practical tips you can use now to set you up for a smooth return.

You might like to come and join the conversation on the Mothers Work Facebook Page and/or join a free maternity comeback workshop.

Coachees, irrespective of age and seniority, tend to describe similar benefits owing from a programme of maternity comeback coaching:


  • Validation of their thoughts and feelings about being a mother and combining that very important role with work beyond the family.
  • Clarity on their ideal scenario as well as who at work and at home they need to influence to achieve it.
  • A reconnection with their strengths, professional identity and credibility before they return.

Some recurring themes and questions women who are preparing to return to work raise in coaching time:


  • Can I handle the promotion I’m being offered on top of getting to grips with returning from leave?
  • Should I go back to my old job or a new one?
  • I want to be as good as I ever was at work – how can I do this?
  • People’s perceptions of me might change and…
  • I wanted to leave my old job before I got pregnant but they’ll give me PT hours so…
  • How can I convince my boss to go for my flexible working request?
  • I’ve had four years out to raise my children and I don’t know where to start in getting back to work.
  • How can I climb the career ladder on limited hours?
  • I didn’t like my old job and I wanted a career change back then – what do I do now?
  • Getting my confidence back – I just don’t think I can do this
  • I feel so guilty that I’m going back when we don’t need the money
  • I’ve found being at home with a baby very hard, how I am going to incorporate work too?


Executive Coaching

Hankering after a career shift upwards, sideways or just anywhere but the situation you’re currently in…? Perhaps comfort or good conditions in your current role are stopping you? Or lack of clarity about what you want? Then there’s the confidence issue, which, although bandied about way too much in connection with women’s careers, is a genuine factor.

Confidence is the number one emotional barrier to women climbing their career ladder as quickly as they might and there are four speci c behaviours that hinder us: 1) Not asking, 2) Being overly modest, 3) Blending in and 4) Remaining silent (see Jill Flynn et al’s paper Four Ways Women Unintentionally Stunt Their Careers in Harvard Business Review, 2011).


Coachees who come for coaching to create career change talk about these benefits:

  • Validation of their thoughts and feelings
  • Clarity on the elements of their career to date they want to retain in their next role and the new skills and experiences they would like to develop or be exposed to.
  • Belief that they are a credible candidate, which we build through exploring their realised and unrealised strengths and often by using a strengths assessment tool.
  • Confidence about how to present themselves at interview and all the conversations that come before and during the hiring process.
  • Uncovering and pursuing ‘hidden’ opportunities.
  • Discovering ways to improve relationships at work and influencing key people – sometimes this is about changing perceptions held about the coachee.
  • Improving performance in their current role.


The horse's mouth

“It’s been remarkable – a huge impact on my personal and professional life.” Nicky’s getting better results from her team, she’s confidently approaching difficult conversations and is fulfilling a secret ambition to write a book. Read how Agnes, Dani, Andrea and Emmy say they’ve benefited from a short spell of coaching.

Are you in HR?

The Talent Keeper Specialists helps employers keep, retain and develop returning talented and valued employees through workshops, 1:1 coaching and culture-shaping initiatives aimed at line managers. We provide both off-the-peg and customised solutions through our select team of experienced coaching and talent practitioners.

Jessica Chivers on BBC Breakfast

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