Career Change Coaching for Parents

Career Change Programme for Parents Returning to Work

Returning to work

Returning to work after a period of maternity or paternity leave is hard enough. Maybe your self-confidence has taken a battering since having a baby and being out the loop for so long; maybe you’re worried your baby brain isn’t up to the job; maybe you’re fretting about how tired you’ll be at work if your child wakes during the night; maybe you’re nervous because a lot of the people you knew at work have now left; or maybe you’re wondering how on earth you’re going to get everything done at work AND at home.

These concerns, in addition to all the other worries and anxieties we often have about returning to work, are made a lot harder if you also hate the job you’re returning to.

These days, a lot of parents have to return to work for financial reasons, and many also want to work for their own interest and self-development. However, there’s nothing worse than dropping off your child at nursery or school to commute to a soul-destroying job that you hate. Life’s too short to be full of such dread each day.

Perfect time for a change

Being on maternity/paternity leave, or a career break since having kids, is the perfect time to consider a career change. It offers you the opportunity to step back and re-evaluate what you’re doing with your life. Having children often changes your perspective on what’s important too, meaning you become more aware of how you’d prefer your career to be.

Programme Outline

So, here you are. You’ve decided you don’t want to go back to your old job, but you have little/no idea what you want to do instead.

This career change process aims to help you take a journey from uncertainty about your present career, and not knowing what your next step might be, through to having a clear vision of a career that is absolutely right for you, and a plan for how to create it.

The programme provides a structured framework for the coaching in the form of interesting and engaging exercises, which will bring out the creativity and resourcefulness in you, and direct it toward discovering the right next step for your working life.

The 12 session coaching programme is broken down in to three distinct phases:

1. EXPLORE phase (7 sessions, ideally held weekly or fortnightly)

Research shows that those who are most satisfied and motivated by their work are in careers which reflect who they really are; careers which reflect their true nature and their real passions; careers which draw on their innate strengths and employ their favourite skills; careers which allow them to honour their deeply-held values. Because of this, the foundation of the coaching programme entails a long, hard look at who you are as a person, and your life as a whole.

During the EXPLORE phase, you’ll get a clear idea of:

  • your values
  • your life purpose
  • your most powerful self
  • your personal strengths
  • your interests and passions
  • your personal achievements
  • everything you need in your life to be happy and fulfilled.

The next layer on the foundation stone in the EXPLORE phase is about your key work preferences. You’ll work to identify:

  • your favourite job skills
  • your key work motivators
  • your professional strengths
  • your greatest work achievements
  • your preferred working organisation and environment
  • your ideal working day
  • everything you need in your working life to be motivated and satisfied.

By the end of the EXPLORE phase, you will be very clear about what you must have in your new career to be satisfied and motivated, which then acts as the acid test for evaluating any future career ideas or job opportunities.

2. IDEAS phase (2 sessions, typically held 3-6 weeks apart)

This is a very creative part of the coaching programme where together you generate a number of possible new career choices. The idea here is to be expansive, to think outside the box, not to be constrained at this stage by traditional notions of what’s possible.

The most attractive ideas are then explored in more detail, before being narrowed down to your most attractive option, which is then worked through in the final ACTION phase.

During this stage, you also are encouraged to 'test drive' your shortlisted ideas, in order to assess their alignment with your needs and wants from a career. These 'Shift Projects' are encouraged to be low cost, non committal ways of trying out your ideas in real life e.g. volunteering, shadowing, short courses, workshops, etc. These take time, hence the (albeit flexible) spacing of the sessions during this phase.

3. ACTION phase (3 sessions, typically held monthly)

The ACTION stage is the point where you visualise, plan out, and start to implement the top possibility that was decided on and committed to in the IDEAS phase. You will work through a creative and empowering exercise, which enables you to turn your ideal career into a clear, structured Action Plan you can easily follow in order to make it a reality.

You then use the last two sessions of this stage to check in with Alice, review your progress against your Action Plan, and seek whatever support you may need at this stage to help keep you on-track and accountable for making your new career path a reality.

You therefore finish the programme well on your way into your ideal career!

What Else to Expect

Attitude required

Alice works with those serious about making changes in their career, as sessions require an open mind, a willingness to take risks, accountability, and a sincere commitment to implementing the actions agreed between you and Alice. The more keen and ready you are to move forward in your career, the more you will get out of the programme.

Coaching sessions are not a quick fix but an investment of time, commitment, energy, and acceptance of responsibility towards your future, and how it turns out. Investing in coaching is your first step in taking charge of your future, and carving out a happy, fulfilling, and enjoyable career. The coach can not wave a magic wand (unfortunately), nor can they tell you what career path to take. The responsibility for making decisions ultimately remains with you, which is good, as it's your future, not theirs. The coach is there to facilitate your self-awareness, and help you make sense of your answers to the challenging questions they ask you, so that you can draw concrete conclusions much more easily and objectively than you would if you were trying to figure it all out on your own.

Session format

Coaching sessions last approximately 60-90 mins, and are conducted via telephone or Zoom.

Next Step? Arrange an Introductory Session

For those keen to get started and find out more about coaching, Alice offers a 45-60 minute online Introductory Session (£45) to discuss your current situation, your goals, and what to expect from coaching. You can then decide whether Alice is the right coach for you and how you would like to proceed.

To briefly discuss any of the above, or to arrange an Introductory Session, contact Alice or telephone/text +44 (0)754 559 2909 for details.

Alice Stapleton

About Alice

Alice coaches those who want to change career but don’t know what they want to do instead. She offers Career Coaching designed to help graduates, early to mid-level career-changers, and parents returning to work gain a clear vision of what career is right for them, and how to achieve it. She is also an accredited Coach Supervisor, and host of The Career Change Diaries podcast.