Developing and nurturing female talent is key to solving the significant talent shortage faced by businesses across the UK and law firms are no exception. A key factor in this is how maternity leave is managed by both employer and employee – and it is not just new mothers that faces this challenge. Now that new fathers can get between 2 and 26 weeks additional paternity leave, they too face new considerations when it comes to managing their obligations. This blog focuses on the impact on women and how coaching is becoming increasingly important in helping new mothers balance their responsibilities and make informed career choices.
Statistics from the House of Commons Library indicate that up to 50,000 women a year feel they can’t return to work after maternity leave. Women are often forced into different roles upon their return, find that their status has been undermined while away. Labour MP Yvette Cooper has spoken of her own negative experiences and suggested that discrimination against new mothers in the workplace needs to be addressed with further new regulation.
In essence, the economy is rate-limited by employers’ failure to deal with an issue as universal as motherhood (and in many cases, parenthood). However, in the absence of any sweeping changes to employer legislation and of widespread culture change, it is left to the employer and employee to work out the best arrangement for both within the existing regulation. Significantly, most new parents are unaware of the professional services available to help them make this transition successfully, one of which is maternity coaching.
Maternity coaching is a very effective way of creating a win-win scenario for employee and employer. With the day-to-day issues of performing effectively in the workplace being cast under a harsh spotlight upon the return to work, the best way to deal with these is to have a personal plan of action. Coaching helps women develop and stick to their plan. Through coaching, the new mother is able to make effective handovers of workload and responsibility at the start of the leave while remaining aware of changes to their role during it. They are able to communicate effectively while away (including where necessary contact days) and make an effective, confident return.
Coaching delivered in this way, before, during or after their maternity, helps new mothers not only make a smooth return to work, but return with even better skills – including time management, prioritisation and delegation. This not only makes for a successful transition for her, it gives her the tools for better career planning and management and it means the employer gets to retain and optimise her talent.
Empathy for Legal provide maternity and paternity coaching for legal sector staff who are planning for, or returning from maternity/paternity leave. Coaching, as opposed to training or advice, has enabled many professional parents to better manage the responsibilities of career and parenthood and is a key element in building and maintaining confidence.
If you have any questions, would like a free, no-obligation and confidential discussion on any issues relating to maternity coaching, contact us today:
Tel: 0845 474 8877