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Laura’s coaching story

I’ve been at the firm since 2015 and working in the recruitment team means I know all about the great initiatives we have - I use them to help get candidates over the line when considering a job offer and I’ve also been fortunate to benefit from them myself. 

When I returned from my first maternity leave for example in 2018, I came back on a compressed working pattern, which was quite unheard of at the time. More recently, I was one of the first people in the firm to make use of our neonatal leave policy, as my second child was born at 27 weeks. If it hadn’t been for that policy, on top of the stresses of having a baby so prematurely, I would then have had the added stress of covering an additional 13 weeks off work. The fact that I was able just focus on my daughter, and our family was a massive relief.  

Finding my family leave coach  

When I got close to returning to work, my people manager mentioned that we now offer family leave coaching. This was introduced in 2020, so wasn’t in place when I returned from my first maternity leave. It wasn’t something I would have necessarily considered for myself - as I had already returned from maternity leave once before – but I am so pleased I explored it further.  

A lot can change in 18 months. I’m in a small team, and when I came back, I had some new colleagues and a new people manager. So, I decided to take up the offer of a family leave coach to help me settle back in.  

I was paired with a colleague within the wider People and Culture team, and she was (and still is) just amazing. She got in touch with me within a couple of days of me being back at work and we met once a month for the first six months. As an experienced coach herself, I felt like she was able to suggest an approach that was really personalised to me, rather than proposing a ‘one size fits all’ option. 

The sessions were self-led, and we spent a lot of time talking about me personally, my maternity leaves and my career with the firm. I had a really positive experience when I came back from my first maternity leave and people were always there to help, but in some ways for me that actually led to frustration. I just wanted to get back to normal and I didn’t feel like I needed help.  

Having a family leave coach this time gave me the confidence to explain to people how I was feeling. We talked a lot about my priorities, values and how they had changed since I’d joined the firm almost eight years ago. It wasn’t just about how I worked now I had children, it was useful in helping me achieve what I wanted to - in work, but also in my home life.  

Moving on with coaching  

I’ve now been back at work for over a year, and whilst we don’t meet monthly anymore, we have still kept the coaching relationship in place. Now, it’s just moved to an ‘as and when I need it’ basis. We haven’t met for a few months, but I know when I need a session I can get back in touch with her.   

There is no set rule as to how long you need coaching for, and you certainly don’t need to keep it going like I have, but for us this has worked really well. It’s evolved from family leave coaching to broader business and work coaching.  

My advice to anyone would be to not see needing a coach as a sign of weakness or that you are in a bad place. You are simply wanting to get to that next stage, and you need help to get you there. 


22 April 2024 at 3:14 PM