Maternity coaching: what’s the return on investment?

Maternity coaching isn't about having babies: it's about preparing for a woman's smooth and successful return to work after a major life adjustment.

And it offers great benefits for employers, as well as new mothers.

Do you worry there's a need to get straight back to 'business as usual' once the oohing and arrhing at baby photos is out of the way? At Confidence To Return, we know that frustration, fear, and guilt are feelings that can start nibbling away at a woman's workplace confidence from the moment she tells her employer she's pregnant.

'The urge to just 'fit back in' can be counter-productive'

Back from maternity leave, the urge to just 'fit back in' can be counter–productive for the employer and the new mum.

Women might take on impossible tasks or timeframes in an urgent struggle to re–validate themselves in the workplace. Trying to behave exactly as they did before their pregnancy is exhausting.

Big business is starting to take this seriously, realising that there is more to maternity provision than a corporate policy and legal requirements.

Ernst and Young example:

Global accountancy firm Ernst and Young (now EY) realised too many of its talented female employees were leaving within two years of returning from maternity leave, threatening its goal of gender balance at the top of the firm. It launched a maternity-coaching programme in 2011.

Cutting the – albeit very small – number of grievances by women returning from maternity leave was also a motivation, as was a desire to promote flexible working.

'75% who had maternity coaching felt valued by the firm'

Not surprisingly, they wanted a return on investment, which included using an external coaching provider: it might be 'a nice to have', but does it make sense for the business?

It found

  • The number of women returning after maternity rose from 80% to 94%
  • 75% who had maternity coaching felt valued by the firm
  • 65% said the course helped them to deal with personal challenges to do their job
  • 61% said it helped them maintain stakeholder relationships
Feedback from women on the programme, which included one-to-one and group coaching, was very positive; the only negative being that the courses were too popular!

'My transition back into the business and up to director have been
smoother because of … the coaching'

One participant said: 'Ernst & Young benefitted from me having this coaching almost as much as I did. I honestly think my transition back into the business and up to director have all been quicker and smoother because of the time spent on coaching

EY director of diversity and inclusiveness Sally Bucknell said the coaching was about 'getting people to think about their attitudes towards maternity leave and look at situations from someone else's perspective', not broadcasting corporate policy.

Top 5 benefits of maternity coaching for women returning from maternity leave:

It will help you:

  1. Integrate back into the workplace more quickly
  2. Keep a healthy and productive relationship with your employer
  3. Improve your confidence, communication and sense of contribution and credibility
  4. Make better decisions about your career
  5. Realise the value of a neutral, non–judgemental sounding board.
Top 5 benefits of maternity coaching for employers.

It will help you:

  1. Reduce employee turnover costs. (Estimated to be a minimum of £8,000 to £12,000 for each employee by the CIPD in 2006).
  2. Retain and increase representation of women in senior positions
  3. Accelerate women's re–engagement with the workplace and the value they can add
  4. Increase your employees' motivation, performance and contribution to the business
  5. Show talented women that you are a positive employer they want to work for.

    Get in touch with Confidence To Return, to find out how we can help you create a maternity leave experience that is a positive return on everyone's investment.

    Sandie Dennis of Confidence To Return.

Ernst & Young's maternity coaching improves retention of talented women


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