Our recent blog What is Parental-transition Coaching identified what makes this type of coaching so unique.
This blog addresses some of the most common questions employees have around parental-transition coaching. Sharing this will help many employees realise that this coaching will benefit their health, wellbeing and future career potential, especially those who may have dismissed this type of workplace support in the past.
1. I have already had coaching in the past – how will this be different?
There will be some similarities – the coaching sessions will enable you to reflect on and explore any issues, worries or challenges you are facing, in a confidential and supportive environment. The main difference with parental-transition coaching is that you will be focusing on a timeframe whereby you will be experiencing a lot of change and many emotions. In addition, if you experience pregnancy at work, there will be physical considerations to take into account, so a focus on your health and wellbeing for now and for the future will be much more apparent. As this period includes leaving behind your professional life for a while, dealing with this change can be new for many – it’s not just around the practicalities of leaving, it can also change your sense of identity.
2. I’m currently expecting and everything is going fine in my preparation for leave – will the coaching help me?
We often get feedback from employees who reported that they initially were not sure if they needed the coaching, but once they had their first session, they were pleasantly surprised about how much it helped them consider things they’d not previously thought of. As coaching is forward-thinking in nature, parents-to-be are able to think big picture, and sometimes further into the future, and be much more proactive than they would have been without the coaching.
3. I am a second time parent – will the coaching be beneficial?
This is a very common question from parents who already have children. We would always say that every experience of expectancy and having a child is completely individual and different every time. There are so many changes that make each period of leave different – changes in you emotionally, in where you are in your career and in your relationships. It’s always worth having the first coaching session before you go on leave so that you have opened up that additional channel of support for later, if you need it.
4. I am preparing to adopt – will the coaching still support me?
Absolutely. Parental-transition coaching supports the huge change you will be experiencing and the impact that this has on your work/family balance and the role of work and impending parenthood in your life. As with all coaching, you always get more out of it if you are open to learning about yourself and if you are able to identify a challenge or issue you want to discuss. This is the same whatever your family circumstances are.
5. I have already returned to work after leave – is it too late to start the coaching?
Whilst we recommend that you start the coaching relationship before you go off on leave, many employees don’t feel ready for the coaching at this point; or perhaps due to logistical reasons you have only just found out about it! As long as you feel you are ready to reflect on where you are right now and to discuss different ways of dealing with the challenges you might have, you can start your coaching at any point of your parental-transition journey.
6. I am in a same-sex relationship and about to become a parent – is this coaching for me?
Absolutely. Becoming a new parent and dealing with work and your new family is a shared human experience. Connecting with those who deeply understand this transition can be hugely supportive and our coaches have experience in working with many different family situations.
7. I’m a dad returning from Shared Parental Leave – how might this coaching be of benefit to me?
Whether you have taken several weeks or several months of leave, returning from a period away from your career can be challenging. Mums and dads often experience very similar concerns – getting the right balance; working flexibly; reintegrating and rebuilding relationships at work. We have a specialist dad’s coach for those dads who prefer this option; however regardless of the choice of coach, if you feel open and ready to find ways to feel happier in yourself or do better in your role as a parent and/or professional, this coaching will help you!
8. How will I find the time for the coaching?
You will find it easier than you might think to schedule in your 1-hour sessions, especially because you will probably come to see them as intrinsic to your personal development. As you develop your relationship with your coach, you will probably come to enjoy and look forward to your time together! All sessions are booked in at a time to suit you, and although we do have a cancellation policy, there is some flexibility if you need to reschedule.
9. Is there any manager involvement?
The coaching is completely confidential between you and your coach. Part of your action planning/takeaways from the coaching may well be for you to discuss certain things with your manager. Managers can also be offered their own coaching to reflect on how they can support members of staff going on and returning from leave – you can find out more about this from HR.
10. What is HR’s involvement?
We will let HR know what dates you have had the coaching. When you have completed the evaluation form at the end of the coaching, this will be sent to HR. Once or twice a year we meet with HR with a very general overview of the types of themes we are noticing across the organisation with a view to improving the family-friendly and supportive culture. However, all coaching sessions are confidential, so no individual names or comments are shared.
This week’s blog is written by co-founder of Parent & Professional, Helen Letchfield.