Is your employee getting prepared for maternity leave? There’s plenty of time for that, surely? But as her leave date gets unavoidably closer, the right time for her to organise her handover seems to shift further away.
Consider Lucy. She’s determined not to let her pregnancy ‘get in the way’ at work.
Reluctant to admit needs
‘They mustn’t think I can’t cope’, she thinks. ‘In the old days, women had babies in the morning and were back in the fields in the afternoon… Some female CEOs have babies at lunchtime and are Skyping by the close of play, aren’t they?’
Her worries might include: ‘I won’t ask my manager if I can skip this year’s conference. I don’t want to admit I’m tired. I’ve got plenty of time to prepare my team.’
Not ready for leave
Then gestational diabetes becomes a problem for Lucy. Her careful time management is out the window, with essential extra medical appointments, added stress and even less time to sort things out. She feels like she’s been whisked away on maternity leave ‘too early’, leaving her team unprepared.
Heavily pregnant women in films are shown painting nurseries, to a pop soundtrack and with beaming smiles on their faces. Lucy is just battling a nagging doubt about whether she sent that important ‘how to’ email, or not. Her employers don’t even know that email exists.
Maternity coaching help
Maternity coaching could have helped Lucy.
At Confidence to Return, we use maternity coaching to help your employee create a robust handover plan. This plan considers emotional and practical factors and helps everyone feel a little bit more in control.
We get real. We gently seek answers to important practical questions that otherwise might be avoided. We get worries out in the open, where they can be tackled (and seem a lot less scary).
Confidence to Return questions
Questions to consider include:
Emotional questions, such as:
● How are you preparing the team for your leave?
● What’s stopping you from asking for their support?
● Who do you want to keep in touch with during leave?
● When do you give yourself permission to be pregnant at work?
● What are your biggest concerns about finishing work?
And more practical questions, such as:
● What tasks need to be completed before you finish?
● Which of these tasks can be delegated to someone else? Who?
● Which task is occupying most of your headspace right now?
● What help can you enlist?
● What’s not going to get finished?
As a maternity coach, I am:
● Independent and objective. Your employee can feel safe to answer questions honestly,
tell me how they really think and feel, and what is best for them to do.
● Their advocate. I can let you or your HR department know if things might be going
wrong (while always respecting confidentiality).
● Able to offer ongoing email support, through pregnancy and beyond!
● Armed with a practical checklist of questions to work through.
Having control at the beginning can help new parents months later. They won’t return feeling resentful because it ‘happened’ to them. They will have been supported and been involved in the plan.
Download the free guide 10 things she might be thinking: How to manage maternity leave to see more examples of what might be on her mind - and the effects it could have on your business.
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