“Becoming a mom makes a woman a better employee and a better leader; you take a better self back to work” Melany Green, Chief Great Expectations officer
There’s no denying that becoming a mother is one of the most life-changing and mind-altering events in a woman’s life. One that can be met with many challenges and a degree of uncertainty and one that, no doubt shifts all preconceived ideas we may have had about life with kids.
And for many working women, especially in high-powered executive positions, these challenges are only magnified as they face the task of merging careers with family life. With little coaching and support, combined with the overwhelming demands of juggling both work and family, many women begin to sense that their dream of having it all is simply impossible.
Leaving jobs they have invested years of their lives into to look after a baby for a season, can be a huge adjustment. And if the leaving is challenging, the returning to work is sometimes even harder as they realise how much of their way of thinking has changed since becoming a parent. While they may be just as committed to their jobs as they return from maternity leave, there’s no doubt that their priorities would have shifted to some degree or another and so, it only makes sense that they be given special coaching and support through these changeovers right?
Great Expectations is a company that is trying passionately to change all that and make the transition for new moms, whether first, second or even third-time moms, an easier and less disruptive one. They are also working with organisations to make business a better and more accessible place for parents; in both leaving their jobs as they embark on the wonderful season of maternity leave as well as returning to work when that season has come to an end. And furthermore, helping moms ensure that a great support structure and schedule is set up for their babies/toddlers for when the they do return to work.
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“Research together with our first-hand experience of working with thousands of women, locally and abroad, confirms that before, during and after maternity leave, women make crucial decisions regarding their personal and professional lives – choices that impact themselves, their families and business. The maternity phase is one of the most catalytic transitional milestones in a woman’s career, and hence a period that demands specialised focus. “
Adding to that, there is enough evidence that gender diversity at the top delivers better business results. But studies indicate that the maternity transition is the major career pinchpoint, potentially limiting the pool of women available for senior positions. The decision to start a family often happens at a highpoint in a woman’s career. Firms that support women through this phase successfully have a distinct competitive advantage.
Great Expectations refer to it as MTC (maternity transition coaching), a niche form of executive coaching and/or facilitated workshops and webinars. Interventions are confidential and they follow a strict code of ethics.
“We recognise that each woman’s maternity journey is unique, whether you are a first or second time or even third time mom – and whether you are biological mom or not. The interventions help each individual woman consider the practical and emotional challenges she faces on a personal and professional level, to influence a more seamless reintegration after maternity leave and to support her future career choices. “
In essence, Great Expectations are all about empowering women in the marketplace and giving them the tools they need to experience maternity transition in a way that enables them to be most effective as they navigate the challenges and the joys of integrating their multiple roles as career women, wives and mothers.
I love that Great Expectations is the first of its kind in South Africa and, I truly believe that what they offer will be of significant value to any women facing challenges in these stages of life.
Here are just a few testimonials of women who have experienced the benefits of Great Expectation’s Maternity Coaching first-hand:
“Empowered, lighter, braver, excited… It really is liberating to have someone listen, give constructive feedback, and validate you.”
“My coach was great in focusing my mind on what I needed to think about before leaving, during maternity leave and upon my return to work. Every session was informative and useful with a view to my goals, aspirations and choices. She did not once give me the feeling that she had an agenda from the firm; she took the information I provided in my expectations form and tailored the sessions according to my personal preferences.”
“This programme was particularly helpful for me as a first time mom and I had also just been promoted as I went on maternity leave, making my return to work a little daunting. It was very helpful and reassuring to have someone listen to my concerns, provide guidance and help me to prepare for and adjust to my new identity as a working Mom.”
*** Upcoming Cape Town Workshop ***
Date: Thursday 23rd of August 2018 in two separate slots.
Times: Returners: 8.30am-12pm Leavers: 1pm-4.30pm
Place: Banksia Boutique Hotel Mowbray
Cost: Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out what your seat will cost you. If you use the code #momdiaries you will receive 10% off your ticket price. If you refer a friend they can also use the code to receive their discount!
What will be covered at the workshop?
This is one of the most significant life transition periods, and as such, one of growth and adaptation. Understanding the different stages of personal change can help you make sense of perspectives and emotions that you and others may experience during this momentous time in your life. Change can challenge our identity, our hopes and our beliefs. Acknowledging what you are experiencing can be helpful. Looking for support and help from those around you, talking things out, managing expectations (your own and those of colleagues or family) and focusing on the future can all play their part in helping you to prepare for and manage your new reality. All of this is with a view to managing a more seamless return and to progressing your career after Maternity Leave, should this be part of your plan.
Some broad topics include the following:
- impact of change: realities, emotions
- managing perceptions and bias
- owning your departure: your handover plan
- strengths review
- contemplating your return
- making ML work
- setting yourself up for a seamless return
- leaving a legacy
For more information about the workshop visit their Events Pages (Leavers/Returners) on Facebook or email Angela at email@example.com to book your spot. You can also visit their website for more studies, insight and information.
This post was written in collaboration with Great Expectations.