I'm delighted to share that I have been shortlisted for the CDI Career Development Awards Career Coach of the Year.
The Career Development Awards celebrate and show case the very best UK-wide practice in career development.
The aims of the UK Career Development Awards are:
to identify and promote excellence in career development
to celebrate and generate a sense of pride in the career development profession and our partners
to raise the profile of career development and the CDI
I have been shortlisted for the work I have been doing with mothers returning to work after maternity leave.
Having personally experienced how hard it is to return to work after having a family, I am particularly passionate about helping women returners in my local area and work with many motherslooking to find more flexible work to fit in with their family life. I found that it was hard for new(ish) mothers to access career coaching due to financial issues and having babies and small children in tow. I decided to take my services to new mothers at groups and classes they are attending anyway and offer some quick tips and help for free, with hand outs and signposting for further services or information should they need it. In a relaxed environment, mothers find it easier to talk about their work issues while they hold / nurse or rock their baby. Having had two daughters myself I know how important it is for my mothers to feel relaxed and not judged while talking, and sometimes we walk and talk if it suits the baby better!
I offered a “Career Surgery” format to local groups. At a “Career Surgery”, a mother can book a free 20-minute consultation to discuss her work or career issues. I have discovered that at this stage, most mothers are feeling really unsure about their return to work so I help by sharing information, such as how to request flexible working, helping them come up with a plan of work that will fit with their family or exploring whether they would like a career change. Very often mothers like to practice their “back to work conversations” they need to have with their line manager, and one of the most frequent outcomes is that they realise they can go and talk to their HR teams about their issues.
For the vast majority of mothers 20 minutes is all they need to help with their issues, together with signposting to useful information. And it is just the right amount of time for babies and toddlers before they get restles! I now volunteer regularly as a Career Coach with local groups to help them.
I have had wonderful feedback from the mothers who have come to my Career Surgeries, saying how they haven’t felt they had anyone else to talk to about their issues, how they aren’t sure where to look for information they need and how it has been a useful transition to get back into work mode again. Very often they hadn’t ever thought about Career Coaching, and are now aware of what help is available should they need it.
With so many mothers being the main ‘breadwinner’ and feeling torn between wanting to be at home with their baby or children and the financial pressure of needing to earn, they find it useful to talk through these emotions.
I am extremely proud of the work I do with local mothers and being recognised for this by the CDI is the icing on the cake.