Maternity coaching is an effective and pragmatic way to enable new mothers to make a successful return to work. It ensures that the parental leave experience is positive both for mothers and their employer. It increases the retention of skilled employees within the organisation, reducing costs associated with re-hiring and induction.

Decisions about returning to work are often complex and coaching affords a good employer a cost-effective way to boost their employer brand so the company is attractive to women who want a flourishing career combined with work life balance.

At 10Eighty we pride ourselves on the quality, skills and commitment of our team and we take good care of them. When our Business Support Manager, Shannon Rowlands, took maternity leave last year we offered maternity coaching, Shannon says she was “reluctant initially because I didn’t feel I needed the coaching, but I was really curious to see how it could help me”.

Shannon knows our coaching team well, so she was well placed to pick a coach with whom she would be able to quickly and comfortably establish a rapport, someone she knew would work well with her style and understand her needs.

The maternity coaching process

  • Initial call; this call was an introduction to the support, discussing key areas Shannon wanted to focus on and the scheduling of the first coaching session.
  • The Coaching sessions: Sessions took place over Zoom which was very easily scheduled to fit around Shannon’s responsibilities at home and were based around her key focus areas, which were: How to structure her return to work so that it was effective for everyone, e.g. what responsibilities she would take back, days she would work, etc; Rebuilding her reputation and place within 10Eighty; The practicalities of going back to work, caring for baby Ellis and what her working week will look like.
  • The final session: this took place two months after Shannon returned to work. This was to discuss how Shannon had settled in, covering concerns and plans going forward.


Shannon reports a hugely positive experience and outcomes that exceeded her expectations:

  • My coach Clare made suggestions about things I had not considered;
  • I felt confident and prepared to return to work having considered everything to ensure a smooth transition and also logistics for where problems might occur due to baby illness or childcare issues;
  • My coach gave me the confidence to realise it is absolutely possible to work and be a mum and do a good job in both areas.

Shannon, to the delight of her colleagues is now happily returned to work and enjoying the challenge of balancing work with caring for toddler Ellis.

Make returning easy

Many women, especially those at a later career stage, may feel they are letting people down, worry that they will be forgotten, that all their hard work will be unravelled. A coach can discuss these feelings, explore what to let go of and what to focus on.

Women returning from maternity leave may feel a mixture of emotions and uncertainty about going back to work. Common fears are “will my brain work?” and “will I be able to concentrate, will I worry all day?” and they may also feel under-confident and de-skilled.

Returners may, on the other hand, feel they have acquired new skills and gained from motherhood, and so re-frame these as relevant to the workplace. Coaching can encourage a woman to think about integrating new skills with previous ones, enabling her to identify change and growth, rather than focussing on her absence from the workplace.

Support maternity returners

Bear in mind that in some industries around 50% of the workforce, customers and stakeholders are female. Women really matter to a company’s employment brand, reputation and corporate image.

Taking leaving from paid employment, becoming a mother, then returning to work can be a difficult transition for a working mother. Absence from the workplace for an extended period alongside the psychological shift of becoming a mother, can add stress to an already challenging change in status. Support systems and solutions aligned with family-friendly policies at work, and understanding from colleagues and managers, will make a real difference.

Check out our recent LinkedIn live on Parental Leave and Returning to Work.


10Eighty is a boutique, specialist provider of career coaching based in the UK. All of our clients are unique, and so our services are tailored to their individual needs. 10Eighty helps individuals to maximise their potential and helps organisations to harness that potential. We are experts in developing leadership capability and helping organisations increase employee engagement. Our service offerings include: Career Transition/Outplacement, Executive Coaching, Career Management, Leadership and Management Development and Team Effectiveness

Returning to work after maternity leave

Returning to work after maternity leave

Returning to work after maternity leave is a difficult transition, we’re discussing tips which make the transition a little easier on you.

Find out how we can support you and your people