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Business Careers Lifestyle Parental

Is Career Coaching as Good as Therapy?

Most people hit a rough patch at a certain point in their lives and they feel lost, overwhelmed, and confused.

The pressure of such a slump additionally magnifies if you’re an entrepreneur who has to run a business and make tough decisions on a daily basis. No wonder that many business owners have too much on their plate, which leads to stress, anxiety, and depression.

A research study has shown that 72% of entrepreneurs are affected by mental health issues directly or indirectly.

But, regular employees also have their fair share of stress resulting from work. A highly competitive workplace paired with increased expectations

If we add a kid or two to this entire equation, it’s perfectly clear that working mothers and mompreneurs have an even greater deal of workload, stress, and pressure to handle. Moreover, if growing pains of your business and your kids coincide, you’ll most probably end up exhausted and completely drained.

One way out of this is seeking professional help, but it can be a bit confusing when it comes to choosing between career coaching and therapy.

That’s why it’s important to discuss the benefits of these two approaches and establish which one can do the trick.

Career Coaching vs Therapy?

The thing is that, although similar and partially overlapping, these two fields are intrinsically different. It’s true that your career represents a big part of your life, and as such has the power to affect your mental health to a great extent. 

In other words, you might even consider taking up both a career coach and a therapist to work on different aspects of your personal and professional life.

The main distinction between career coaching and therapy lies in the fact that the former helps you manage your career and its challenges regardless of how deep it tackles the issue. On the other hand, the main goal of therapy is to improve your mental health and resolve some underlying issues that have been bothering you.

Also, while therapy might take years, as it’s essential to unearth and uncover some hidden negative thought patterns, career coaching can be time-limited and focused on practical work. A career coach can help you develop the necessary skills for job search, learn more about your strengths, and deal with workplace issues.

Benefits of Career Coaching

Now that we’ve established that you can greatly benefit from both career coaching and therapy, let’s examine what individual advantages of both approaches are.

  • Career coaching will help you recognize your own professional value. This can be pretty challenging, as people sometimes aren’t sure what their actual professional worth is, especially after losing their job or having been rejected after numerous job interviews. Similarly, going back to work after maternity leave can be more difficult than people imagine. Maybe the company you work for underwent some changes while you were away, not to mention that many new moms feel anxiety over what they are returning to. Career coaching will offer you an insight into what your particular skill sets and abilities are, and help you articulate them properly while negotiating a job or salary. Also, with proper coaching, you’ll learn how to leave your fears aside and focus your energy on your job and caring for your baby.
  • With career coaching, it will be much easier to overcome the difficulties of a change or make some big decisions. For example, if you’re wondering whether it’s the right time to quit your 9-to-5 job and embark on an entrepreneurial journey, a career coach will point you in the right direction.
  • One of the most important purposes of career coaching is to keep you accountable and motivated, as well as to push you to reach your full potential. Your career coach will monitor your progress towards reaching your goals, keep things in check, and make sure that you’re following your plan. This way, the likelihood of straying from your career path is minimized.
  • It’s essential to make the right career choices and pick what’s best for you in the long term, and a career coach will take both your personality, professional skills, and wishes into consideration when helping you navigate the workplace landscape and your own career path.

Benefits of Therapy 

Even if you’re not facing some life-altering challenges or traumatic events, the truth is that all of us could use a little help and support when it comes to coping with everyday stress and everything that life throws at us.

Research studies have shown that even the act of verbalizing your feelings can have a therapeutic effect on your brain. The power of this simple tactic is multiplied if you’re talking to a professional who is trained to listen to your story and help you articulate, channel, and manage your feelings.

Sometimes our own personal issues prevent us from succeeding, which means that it’s essential to fix them before you can see any career improvement.

Therapy can be highly beneficial for some of the following workplace situations:

  • Help you cope with workplace-related stress and anxiety. If you feel that you’re headed for burnout or that your current job situation is making you feel miserable, it’s a good idea to talk to a therapist and see what you can do to improve it.
  • Asking for a raise. Although a career coach can be instrumental in helping you get the best deal, a therapist can work from another, deeper level, and remove certain mental barriers that prevent you from talking to your boss. If you’re too shy or can’t accept rejection, therapy is essential, while you can figure out the right script and other details with a career coach.
  • Dealing with an office bully. Not everyone can confront a toxic person without getting upset. Therapy can help you build a defense mechanism and muster up the courage to have your say clearly and loudly.
  • Improve your self-esteem. All the issues mentioned above stem from the lack of self-esteem. By understanding your own feelings bringing out your insecurities out in the light, you can work towards becoming more confident in yourself. This is particularly effective if you’ve lost confidence over your work performance and skills – which is nothing strange if you are away for a while on maternity leave. If you start drowning in self-doubt, you should remember that it’s probably just your hormones and fatigue speaking, and therapy will help you learn coping and relaxation mechanisms.

So, Is Career Coaching as Good as Therapy? 

It’s better to ask yourself which one of these two professionals you should hire in order to improve your life.

You might even decide that working with both will help you grow personally and professionally.

What’s the most important factor is, however, finding a career coach who’s keeping pace with the latest trends in psychology and the workplace. That should be a person who’s capable of guiding you towards becoming the best version of yourself.

Here’s what you should pay attention when choosing a career coach: 

  • Do they belong to a coaching organization? This will prove that they meet certain standards of the profession.
  • Ask them for their resume or professional biography, so that you can check whether the program they completed in order to obtain a certificate is legitimate.
  • Even if a certain career coach has a license to practice psychotherapy, it’s better to find some other practitioner to treat your potential mental health issues. It should be stressed that these two approaches work great in conjunction – just make sure to distinguish your sessions and work on your mental/business goals separately.
  • Ask for client references. You should talk to some of the people they worked with and understand why their approach is effective. In a nutshell, it’s not enough to simply read testimonials on the site.
  • Discuss their coaching philosophy. As career coaching, just like therapy, is a delicate matter, it’s essential to find someone whose values and philosophy are aligned with yours.

It’s safe to say that career coaching is as good as therapy, but by no means can we say that these two practices can be used interchangeably, or that one can be used instead of the other. Depending on what you want to work on and improve, you can choose either career coaching or therapy, but these two also form a powerful synergy.

Michael has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael’s work at Qeedle.

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Careers Flexible Working Parental

Getting Help to Return in Manchester

Are you a parent or carer in Greater Manchester, looking to return to paid work? Are you looking for support to find flexible jobs with family friendly or carer friendly employers?

Caring, Working, Living is a Greater Manchester project that supports people with caring responsibilities who are looking to return to paid employment (Returners) to increase their confidence and self-esteem in relation to returning to paid employment, and to improve their understanding of the skills that employers are looking for.

Returners are people who have taken at least a year out of work to undertake caring responsibilities for children, or elderly or sick relatives.

Caring, Working Living can:

  • Provide information to ‘Returners’ about agencies in their local area that provide support with job search skills.
  • Provide financial support towards the cost of job searching, for example towards the cost of childcare or other care; travel to an employment support activity; interview costs such as travel or clothing.
  • Provide information about employers that are offering coffee and chats; workplace visits; work trials; placements or Returnships as part of their recruitment.

If you have any questions about the project, please contact Vicky for more information.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 0161 277 1044

Returners can refer themselves here: https://www.gmcvo.org.uk/caringworkingliving/returners

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CaringWorkingLiving

Categories
Business Flexible Working Industry Flexers Parental

Hilti, helping you Find|Your|Flex

Having worked in HR for over 15 years, I have seen a growing demand for employers to provide more flexible working practices. Employees want increasing flexibility for a variety of rea-sons and need different types of flexibility throughout their working lives. Many employers are keen to support this, however, often limit themselves to the statutory legal provisions and view flexibility in a very narrow way.

Flexible working options should not be limited to part-time working, it’s about considering the variety of choices employees need at different life stages and offering something for everyone. A well designed flexible working offering can make a significant difference to employee engagement and retention.

As Head of HRBP’s at Hilti, I’m part of a team that are striving to build a working environment and culture that stands-out amongst our peers as a ‘Great Place to Work’. Offering an outstanding flexible working approach is an important part of differentiating our culture. It also presents an opportunity to retain our fantastic workforce in a buoyant labour marker and to attract new talent to our organisation.

Prior to launching our new approach to flexible working in summer 2017, our policies were over-complicated and confusing. Applications for flexible working were low and only 3% of our workforce in GB worked in an altered way to their original contract. This was at odds with clear demand, evident through our employee engagement survey, that our people wanted more help to balance the demands between work and home life. Improving and simplifying our approach to flexible working provided an obvious solution to this gap.

Our new flexible working approach set out to simplify what we offered and identify new opportunities to expand our policy. The new options addressed the gaps in our existing approach. We introduced the right to request a sabbatical or career break of up to 12 months whilst pre-serving the contract and added the right to purchase an additional five days annual leave and to take one days’ paid emergency leave annually for unexpected personal situations.

Our family friendly provisions were already generous with 18 weeks fully paid for maternity leave and two months’ salary paid as a return to work bonus. But we wanted to do more for our dads, so increased paternity pay to two weeks at full pay and equalized pay arrangements in Shared Parental Leave.

To make sure our employees were made aware of their new offering we ran an internal campaign using the #Hiltiinmylife as we felt this perfectly reflected how we wanted our employees to balance their Hilti role with their lives.

This included a video message from our Northern Europe Region Head, to endorse his personal commitment to flexible working at Hilti, as well as some video case studies from team members who already enjoyed flexible working practices.

Flexible working at Hilti

Following the launch in July 2017, we received more applications in two months than the total received in the previous two years. And our journey didn’t end there – we have since introduced home working for suitable Head Office roles, offer a day’s leave for our team members who are moving house or getting married and also now offer up to three days’ paid leave for fertility treatment .

In 2019, we have also taken the next step to add more flexibility to our field-based sales roles by designing a role that can be done on a part-time basis without compromising customer relationships or making it harder to hit target. We truly believe that by embracing flexible working in all its forms, we will have highly engaged teams who will want to stay and be part of our ‘Great Place to Work’.

Kim Kerr

Head of HR Business Partnering

Hilti Great Britain

Categories
Lifestyle Parental

My Dad, voted HouseWife of the year in the late 80’s

Whilst the rest of the world has transformed over the last 38 years, accepting Dad’s as full-time parents hasn’t, and neither has the way the Government perceive Shared Parental Leave. So, let’s stop giving allowances to the rich, and start giving equality to parents.

38 Years Later And No (real) Change

I was born In September 1980 and my parents had made a decision that my Dad would be the ‘stay-at-home’ parent whilst my Mum worked and continued to develop her career.  This worked for them, and based on what I know now, took some courage to do, but a lot of society was, and it appears still is, uncomfortable when it comes to Dad’s being the ones to stay at home.

For me, it was normal, and it continued until my younger sister started primary school.  I have a half-brother from my Dad’s first marriage, but in the family home, there was myself, my younger brother (18 months my junior) and my younger sister (3 years my junior). 

As a slight aside at this point, my brother and I were not what you would call planned my sister however was.  And you might think that any parents would be out of their mind to actually choose to have three children under three, however there was a reason.  At the time, and seemingly totally acceptable in the early 80’s, my Mum was told that if she wanted her promotion and was planning on having any more children, she should complete her family quickly so as not to hinder her career progression – and so my sister came along soon after.

And so, my Dad was at home with three young children and my Mum went out to work.  As a child, this was our normal.  I don’t remember thinking anything of it until I was seven and we moved back to my Mum’s hometown of Peterborough.  Before we moved, I remember my Dad volunteering at the nursery, and then walking me to school.  I remember our conversations with the lollipop lady at the school crossing and that I went to Paul’s house after school (a childminder where I had egg sandwiches almost every day and my Mum would pick me up on her way home from work).

A Stereotypical Gender Role Reversal

My Dad worked part-time in a local pub to help with some of the money as well as helping out at the nursery.  It was very much a stereotypical gender role reversal compared to most families.  The only thing I ever remember as being ‘different’ was walking across the road every morning to the house on the corner to have my bum length chocolate brown hair plaited, or ponytailed by a neighbour – my Dad had never gotten used to the hair, which probably explains why my sisters was never even when we moved to Peterborough.

When I started primary school, I was in top reading sets, and would often get cornered by parents at birthday parties who would quiz me about my reading level.  By year two in Mrs Samuel’s class I was on books from higher years.

My Dad’s focus was on the three of us instead of washing breakfast or lunch dishes, something I remember always being an argument when my Mum walked in from work whilst I watched Lassie and Gentle Ben.

But by the time we started school we could all read, write, do basic times tables and basic adding.  We knew our complete alphabet and could tie our shoes.  Dad made a shoe from cardboard and tied laces through it to help make it easier than actual shoes.

Given that three children and one salary was quite expensive, my Dad would make my Mum ‘presents’ from wooden lolly stick and he would burn messages to my Mum in them using my Grandads wood burning kit.  He would also write poems to cereal and chocolate companies and we would receive gifts and treats by way of pens, cereal bowls, cereal boxes and boxes full of chocolate as a reward for my Dad’s ingenuity.

This was life, this was our life and perhaps given my age, the comments and looks that I noticed as I grew older, were there, but I was just too young to realise.  But I don’t recall anything being abnormal until I was seven and we moved.

And Then We Noticed We Were Different…

We moved to Peterborough in the summer holidays on 1987. I was seven just a week into my new school and our new life, my younger brother was also at school.

This was when I noticed people asking why my Dad walked me to school every day.  He continued to work at the local nursery as he had before we moved and so many of the parents got to know him early on.  He also when my sister also started school would work as a lunchtime supervisor, a ‘dinner-lady’ and the kids would call him ‘Miss’, until my Dad convinced them all to call him Barrie.

And all of a sudden, all of the kids knew Barrie. All of the kids would wave at him and run over to say hello if they saw my Dad whilst we were out and about – but sometimes I would get asked what was wrong with my Dad and why didn’t he work.  I didn’t know how to respond to this – I didn’t know what they were getting at.

My Dad cooked dinner every-day and it was ready on the table every night when my Mum came in.  I remember arguments when my Mum came in late as we weren’t allowed to eat until she came home, but we would have to sit at the table from the time it was ready.

Housewife Of The Year

My Dad was the disciplinarian, the homestay, and my Mum the breadwinner.  My Dad won ‘housewife of the year’ in the late 80’s and the full page spread in our local newspaper of my Dad with the vacuum in the living room, got even more people talking. 

They say that yesterday’s news becomes tomorrow’s chip paper, but everyone seemed to remember this in our local community.  Barrie the housewife was a well-known celebrity in the local community, and even now the Swingler children are remembered by many teachers.

As the three of us got older, my Dad did a bit more locally. He was Chair of the lone parent advisory service given his organisation skills, he took on more duties at church, and at nursery, and at lunchtimes. This was our life.  He studied when my parents could afford it and when my sister was older, and it made financial sense, my Dad went into a full-time job. However, he hated it but it was what was needed.

In 1999, my parents moved house and when I was visiting one day I was in the kitchen talking to my Dad and a young child fell off their bike in front of their house.  I thought my dad would fly out of the front door – but his reaction was one of stillness with a sadness in his eyes.  Nobody in this new area knew Barrie, and the last thing he would want is to be accused of something untoward by a child he didn’t know.

Not A ‘Real Man’

But this was my Dad.  This was Barrie the housewife, the dinner-lady and the nursery teacher, but not in this new area.  He knew what people had thought about a man who spent so much time with young children whilst his wife went to work, and whilst I knew we shouldn’t talk to strangers, my Dad had never been the stranger.

And at that time, we had a frank conversation about some of the comments that had been made about him for being the one to stay at home.  He had been referred to many times as not being a ‘real man’, simply because real men didn’t stay at home. He had been asked about why he and wife decided this on this strange arrangement and what his motives were for spending so much with kids. 

But he had done what he could to fit around looking after the three of us whilst keeping himself busy and earning a bit of pocket money – the same as any mum may do in the same position.  And I felt more grateful for the way we had been brought up.

2005 And Not Much Has Changed

In 2005 I met a HRD I had been speaking to for quite some time and over coffee she told me she had an ‘odd thing going at home’ – of course I got curious.  By ‘odd’ she meant, that as the main breadwinner she worked, and her husband stayed at home with the kids – we talked a lot about my own experience and how I didn’t find it odd at all.  She shared the tough conversations, the looks and comments that she had her husband got, and the advances that her husband got frequently when he naively thought he was just going on a playdate with the kids.

2019, It’s Slightly Better But Still Dad’s Still Face Stigma For Being A Stay At Home Dad

It’s now 2019, and from what I heard at #TheBigConversation, the judgement of at home Dad’s or those families that split these duties, are still seen as odd – why is parenting odd?  It’s been happening for a very, very long time.

There is nothing odd in Dad’s looking after their children, but whilst I still hear people talking about Dad’s babysitting their kids on nights when the Mums are out – its culture and stereotypes that have to change. 

The Role Of Shared Parental Leave In Challenging Gender Stereotypes

Two of my coaching clients have embraced shared parental leave and it’s ended with the Mum’s going back to work and the Dad’s staying at home.  It works for them, but the comments and the looks continue.

My older brother and his partner are embracing shared parental leave, my sister-in law is taking six months off work and my brother the next three months.  It is normal, yet lots of people assume it’s laziness on his part.  Anyone who has been at home with a six-month-old knows there is nothing lazy about it, and we certainly wouldn’t say that to any Mum.

I don’t have an answer, but I can say, that my stereotype of genders growing up was that we are equal – my view of the world is different to a lot of people I know.  And if that’s all that comes out of Dads being at home, then even that would make it worth it.

But the reality, is that whatever is right for you and your family, is the reality you create for your kids.  Thus, whatever is right for your kids shouldn’t be questioned or judged by anyone else.

As a working Mum I’ve had my fair share of judgement myself – and to be frank it is none of any else’s business what I choose to do, and it’s also none of my business what anyone else thinks of me.

Because whilst the rest of the world has transformed over the last 38 years, accepting Dad’s as full-time parents hasn’t, and neither has the way the Government perceive Shared Parental Leave.  So, let’s stop giving allowances to the rich, and start giving equality to parents.

Now Is The Time For Change

So, my plea, let’s encourage parents to be with their kids and play an active role. Society needs to stop eye rolling the Dads who are at home and the Mum’s who are at work.  Let’s stop looking at the Dad’s like unemployed bums and accept their role as parents.  Parents, parent your own way, in whatever way you choose. Let’s turn our attention to our own families and what’s right for us.

Kelly

Author, speaker, coach, rebel and heart-centred people leader, Kelly is changing the world of work and helping HR professionals do things differently and add more value.

Founder and Rulebreaker at The Chrysalis Crew, she rips up the rule book and helps people create what’s best for them, their teams and their organisations – not what’s best for their competitors.

She’s Mum to twin sons and step-Mum to two sons – a busy home, a busy business and a busy life, but one that’s totally worth it.

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Parental

Returning To Work After Maternity Leave

Integration back into the workplace after months of sleepless nights, pureeing carrots and walking in the park is not always as easy as you might think. In fact, it might shock you to know that a whopping 65% of women on maternity leave do not go back to their employer. Why?  Some women choose not to return to work, but more often than not, they are left with no choice due to inflexibility from employers.

According to our research, 44% of women don’t return to work at all and 21% return to a new more flexible employer.

The stats raise the question – are employers doing enough to accommodate their employees changing needs and circumstances? Some employers are flying the flag for returning to work and even offer specially developed programmes to ease new parents back into work life. Others, sadly, are really letting the side down.

Here are a few ideas on how you can stay ‘in touch’ and engaged with your employer while you’re away.   If your employer is currently not using any of these methods, then make your case for them. It’s in their interests to hold on to good people!

Keep-up chat

Buddy up with a colleague and have a monthly catch-up call. You can stay in the loop and be involved in decisions (if you want to!) whilst on maternity leave.

(Obviously, this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Some parents want to 100% switch off from work when they’re on maternity leave, which is totally fair enough.  It’s all down to personal preference.)

Phased return

Following an initial catch-up session, ‘phase’ back into the workplace on your return after maternity leave e.g. be ‘in’ but not ‘on’. This helps new parents to re-acclimatise to the world of work.

Flexible working

Flexible start and finish times, remote working, part time, full time condensed hours, term-time only and job shares are just some of the options available. If your employer doesn’t offer flexible working, make the case for it! Read our blog on asking for flexible working hours.

Shared paternity leave

Consider shared paternity leave as an option, meaning each parent spends less time out of the workplace but your baby has that quality time with both of you.

Having a baby is an emotional time and will change your life forever, so it’s very difficult to plan ahead. You just don’t know how you will feel tomorrow, let alone six months or 12 months down the line. You may not want to go back and be fortunate enough not to have to, or you may want to return on a flexible working pattern. Or perhaps, you want to carry on just as before.  Everyone is different.

Maybe you are thinking of a change in career direction. If this is the case it may be worth talking to a career coach. You can read more about this on our blog.

Whatever route you choose to go down, there are always options available. If your employer is not parent-friendly and flexible, encourage them to be! There are plenty out there who are!

 

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Careers Flexible Working Parental

Childcare Options And Flexible Working

Finding the right childcare options when working full time or flexibly can be like finding a needle in a haystack. If you do find that needle it is often a diamond! Parents spend up to 45% of their disposable income on childcare. When it comes to a return to work, families (and in particular, mothers) often have to make a decision as to whether it is even worth working after paying for childcare. Many parents therefore try, to combine flexible working with childcare. An attempt to try and achieve a “happy” medium.

“43% of working women in the UK now work part time or flexibly. The majority of these choosing part time / flexible working to balance childcare.”

Flexible working requests are reassuringly becoming a norm. Not only for those parents returning to work after maternity or paternity leave but also throughout the lifecycle of parenting. A parent’s working arrangements can change several times as their children grow up. As many parents quickly realise, the days of a worrying about how to leave the office at 5pm in order to collect from a nursery at 6pm, are soon replaced by school pick-ups.

Getting Creative

Unfortunately, whilst your working arrangements may be flexible your childcare is inherently inflexible. Therefore, parents are forced to look at creative solutions and combinations in order to meet their needs. Nurseries have set hours; childminders will only pick up from certain schools, school holidays are fixed and so as their childcare is often inflexible. So parents have to seek greater and further working flexibility at certain times of year or at certain times in their child’s life.


So Back To Basics, What Are Your Childcare Options?

Nannies

Nannies provide the most flexible option for childcare when your children are young. Being based from your home if you need to work late, they can also ensure the children are then put to bed and your house is tidy. Nannies are widely regarded as the most expensive option. The reality is that if you have 2 or 3 children to care for, they can be cheaper than nursery fees. Nanny shares (whereby two employers share one nanny) can also provide further financial advantages and is a popular solution for many working flexibly.

Nurseries

Nurseries provide the least flexible childcare but are open all year round, except when your child is ill and they are unable to go. They have set hours and set sessions that you must pay for regardless of whether your child goes and there can be high penalties if you are late.

Childminders

Childminders provide a home from home setting with relatively fixed hours. They do provide more flexibility particularly for families who need less standard hours, shorter days or part-time care. Most will also offer nursery or school drop off and pick up options (although they will only usually pick up from certain establishments).

Family

Family has a benefit of being free, home based and flexible. However it’s important for the family member to be fully committed (such as not taking lots of holidays when you need cover!). Building a network of school families is essential. This network is beneficial not only for those emergency situations when you are running late home but also to arrange swapping playdates or holiday cover. A bit of sharing the load for childcare is a great way of cutting down on summer camp costs.

Au-Pairs

Au-Pairs are a popular choice when children go to school. Like a nanny they will work just for you and can offer 25-30 hours a week providing cover before and after school. Financially they are the cheapest option, providing you have a spare room available for them. However au pairs often have no (or very limited) childcare experience. They often travel to the UK for a cultural experience of only between 6-12 months.


Breakfast Clubs and After School Clubs

Breakfast Clubs and After School Clubs are available not just at your school but also some local nurseries offer a local school collection service and then they care for the children in premises near to the school.

 

So how do you go about finding the right childcare options for your family?

The biggest piece of advice for any parent thinking of childcare is to plan ahead but also to constantly reassess. Childcare needs unfortunately change. Such as when there is a change is circumstances like going to school or changing schools, new additions to the family. Ensure an open and frank relationship with your employer. The key to achieving the “happy” medium is trying to achieve flexibility on all sides.

Ultimately the right childcare option is the one that leaves your children happy, stimulated and safe. One that leaves you with peace of mind. Also one that creates the less stress possible for busy working parents, whether working full-time or flexibly.

Parental Choice the essential “one-stop shop” to help you make the right decision on your childcare needs. Parental Choice offer childcare searches including nurseries, childminders, nannies and au pairs plus support employers of nannies with all their payroll and employer responsibilities. For more information on your childcare options and how Parental Choice can help visit www.parentalchoice.co.uk and quote MJPC5.

Need help on deciding which career path to follow? Why not check out The Mum’s Enterprise events!

Categories
Parental

Coaching Skills for Parents from Positive Parenting

How many of us went to the University of Parenting?

How many of us were given a manual when we had our first babies?

Where is that rulebook, the one that tells us what to do, when & how, the one that tells us how to deal with teenagers?

There’s plenty of advice out there, but no definitive answers, not really. I never did I go to that University, never was I given the manual or the rulebook – yet I raised 4 boys to be fine young men. I had a career, a hard-working and successful one too, good money, great benefits and a wonderful business, long hours and working away a lot, yet still I managed to balance being a Mum with that career.

Or did I balance it? Sometimes I have wondered what effect my career has had on my kids?

Then I discovered a relatively new programme called Coaching Skills for Parents and was offered a place on the pilot programme.

This was and is a totally immersive programme aimed at parents & guardians – in fact anyone with responsibility for children (of any age). A programme that doesn’t give any rules (it’s most definitely not super nanny!) – but what it does is provide a safe environment for parents to explore what children really need, and how to meet those needs. The programme gives parents the skills & techniques to take back into the family environment and coach their own children using the same techniques.

Essential needs of children

The programme centres on the 4 essential developmental needs of children – those of love & security, responsibility, new experiences and praise & recognition.

It follows the writings of many influential people, including Nancy Kline (listening skills), Mia Keller Pringle (4 essential needs) and Stephen Covey (habits of highly effective families).

My own experience of Coaching Skills for Parents

There were 8 other delegates, and we quickly built a high trust environment, becoming very close friends (and we’ve stayed in touch) as we shared many personal memories of our own upbringings and experiences of being parents & guardians.

There were many times when the emotion in the room spilled over, when we had some very personal realisations about our own upbringings, how our parents did this for us, how we could improve our own parenting, and for some of us how we wished we had parented differently.

For me personally, there was one powerful technique that was particularly poignant, where we looked at the life of a relationship (I picked mine with my eldest son) – right back to birth and then up to today it looked at my highs and lows in my relationship with him, and really helped me feel the whole relationship not just the most recent event, or the most outstanding ones (or worst ones). This was a visual exercise, using flip-chart & coloured pens – a powerful medium for me to use as the visual nature of it made it more personal and meaningful. It also helped me celebrate the highs, because I could see just how many there had been.

On this programme I learnt a lot about the needs of children, and about my own needs as a parent! There are many techniques shared with us that help us understand our own upbringings and those of the children we are responsible for.

Examples of some techniques covered:

• The Emotional Needs of Children (and Parents!)
• How Children Make Sense of the World
• Praise – the Magic Ingredient
• Labels and seeing things with fresh eyes
• How our own early experiences affect our parenting style
• Position in the Family
• Dealing with Feelings
• The Family Emotional Bank Account
• Family Meetings
• Developing responsibility and critical thinking

I learnt a lot about where I had possibly gone wrong as a parent (although there is no rule book), and certainly where I could be a better parent going forward. I recently became a first-time grandma, and my efforts will now also be focussed on what I can do to help guide my son & his partner as brand-new parents, and the role I play as a grandparent – a vital role model in many children’s lives.

How I use what I learnt for others

As an accredited coach, I am now delivering this same programme to groups of parents & guardians, in many settings & locations, sometimes offering affordable taster sessions to give people a feel of what coaching skills might offer them and their family, then a structured programme through regular sessions for consecutive weeks.

I also deliver a new version of the programme to separating & divorcing parents, helping them to build strong stable relationships with their children in a new home environment.

There are preparations now under way for launching an online interactive version of this programme during Summer 2018, and a franchise opportunity during 2019.

What people say

“The whole course has changed my home and work life completely. My whole attitude has changed for both & will always be improving everyday from now”

“There is more structure in my life. More focused on how I want things to be. A better relationship with my husband. All this stops one from crossing over into another which gives me a happier work life”

“I have learned more about myself & how I can influence my child. The course has helped me take a different perspective on things & this has helped me deal with the relationship strains that occur when you get a new addition to the family. I have learnt a lot that can’t help much at present but is going to be of massive benefit as Olly gets older”

“I’ve become a lot more patient; I take more time with the kids”

“I’ve gained an appreciation of the workings of a child’s mind & how their beliefs are formed. I can take this into all my relationships as it helps me to better understand adults as well as children”

Want to find out more?

Steph Durbin-Wood is an internationally accredited coach, a member of the International Coaching Federation, providing personal, executive & business coaching, consulting, and now parent & family coaching through the Coaching Skills for Parents programme.

www.prospectcoaching.co.uk
www.positiveparenting.coach
Categories
Business Parental

Would improving men’s rights help close the gender pay gap?

The Gender Pay Gap And Gender Equality

I don’t really think of myself as much of a feminist. I don’t get offended if a man holds a door open for me or calls me “love” (to be fair living in Yorkshire, it’s a pre-requisite and even men get called love, so score one for equality!). But I am a woman who’s pretty dedicated to her career. I’m a working mum. And most importantly, I have three daughters who are (in my completely neutral opinion) amazing human beings who will go on to be brilliant adults. For them, and their generation, I’d like to see gender equality finally become a real thing.

And so there are certain “female” issues that really piss me off. And the current bee in my bonnet is the gender pay gap. Which leaves British women earning an average of 17.4% less than men in similar full-time jobs and places us 15th out of 22 countries*. Or rather the gender bias that continues to dog our society and prevent women from achieving the same career success as their male counterparts.

My Experiences

Through my twenties my career progressed quite successfully and initially, being female didn’t really factor. But once I moved into a management role I started to become aware of nuanced differences between the way I was treated compared to men of a similar age.

There was a “boys club” of up and coming ad execs who got invited to golf/beers/important client dinners with the MD and Chairman. Their careers progressed far quicker than my female colleagues and my own. The most memorable moment that made me stop and pay attention that perhaps I wasn’t being judged purely on my ability, was the conversation I had with the company Chairman when being considered for a promotion. He “joked” that he was only considering me because he “trusted” that I wasn’t just going to “run off and have babies anytime soon”. I was 27, engaged. Whilst not immediately planning a family, I knew it probably wasn’t too far off in my future. Yet I had to pretend that “no, no I’m a dedicated career woman, none of this baby nonsense for me” in order to pass his “test”.

I wonder if any man has ever felt that pressure? They certainly didn’t in that particular business. Men could marry and become Dads without a single raised eyebrow from the powers that be. To be aware that even the potential of a marriage/baby that may not happen for a decade or more (or ever) could be a factor you have to answer to because you are “a woman of a certain age” is frustrating and archaic. And while most employers are far too savvy/legally compliant to ask the question that my old boss did. We all know that it is often consciously or unconsciously a factor when hiring or promoting a young woman.

And to some extent I get it. Women do often have babies in their late twenties, thirties, forties. And then want reduced/flexible hours. And that costs a business, especially a small one, a lot of money that perhaps doesn’t make up for the value of the employee in their child free years. But women do not choose to be born female. So why should they have to choose career or parenthood? Men don’t. Does that make men better at their jobs? Does it make them lesser parents? In my opinion the answer is no. This shouldn’t lead to the massive gender pay gap we currently see.

The Here And Now

The UK has made fabulous strides over the past 11 years, since I became a mum, to make it a little bit easier to juggle motherhood and working life. Maternity pay/leave have been extended and it’s become the norm to take a year or more off and still return to a well paid role.

Flexible working policies have also become fairly common place, allowing women to balance the demands of work and parenting. Which is all brilliant. But still comes with restrictions. Breakfast meetings, after work networking, long days of travel, are all pretty hard to work around most childcare provisions. And whilst colleagues can be supportive, you can still feel that you’re more “difficult” to work with than a child-free colleague. And that affects confidence, your feelings of job security, it can put you off applying for a promotion or new role as you don’t want to upset the status quo.

And so women tread water while their kids are young and their male counterparts progress. And by the time you’re able to be “all in” at work, you’ve reached a glass ceiling and are reporting into men with 10 years less experience than you have. And so the gender pay gap persists.

So What’s The Answer? Even More Benefits And Support For Women? Maybe. But To Change The Social Stigma, How About We Focus On Men?

Again the UK has made some excellent progress in sharing the load of parental responsibility in the work place. We have seen developments in paid paternity leave and shared parental leave and the opportunity for anyone to apply for flexible working. But it’s still not the norm. Paid paternity leave is still only funded by the government for 2 weeks. Our parenting leave is only the 11th most equal out of 21 countries* with shared parental leave a minefield to organise. Flexible or part time working is still something that feels more aimed at women than men (men make up only 25.8% of the part-time workforce, leaving the UK 16th out of 21 countries measured *). Dads who take extended time off to be with their new baby tend to face social stigma, or at least a few raised eyebrows. And this means that on average, British men spend 24 minutes caring for children, for every hour done by women, according to the Fatherhood Institute’s Fairness In Families Index (FIFI).

People also presume that the woman will be the one to take a career break as the man is earning more (a comment even my own husband made, completely forgetting that when we started a family we were on equal salaries, as many couples are). And on the flip side, women whose partners take more time off than them are seen as “lesser” mums, putting their career before their kids. And because of all of this, men in their late twenties and early thirties are still not associated with the “pregnancy risk” that may entail a career break or reducing their hours at some point, even if married or with long term partners.

But if we could encourage more men to take up the opportunity to be at home with their kids, work flexibly and take on more of the parental juggle – without being judged for it. If we bring our kids up to see that both mum and dad can be their carer and have a career maybe things might finally be come more equal.

And if a parental career break (or indeed a mid-life career break for any purpose) becomes society’s standard for both men and women, then the glass ceiling might finally shatter. Maybe not for me and my peers (if we’re lucky we’ll be retired by then!). But if my daughters can dream, believe and achieve with no limits, then that would be a wonderful thing.

*stats taken from the Fatherhood Institute’s Fairness In Families Index 2016

 

Why not check out our other posts such as:

Writing A Good Job Description

The Rise Of Flex Working Flex Supporting Rec Cons

or

Check out why you should advertise with The Find Your Flex Group

 

 

Categories
Careers Parental

A Tale Of Two

Part time working professional

Once upon a time, I was a full time working professional. As company accountant, I loved my job. I loved the business I worked for. My job really did define who I was. Whenever I met new people, conversation would always have the same starting point. “What’s your name?” and “what do you do for a living?” were always the openers.

Then my life changed about a bit. I had dependants – young and old. I was needed, me personally. This couldn’t be delegated or outsourced to anyone else. Perhaps it wasn’t that it couldn’t be, perhaps it was more that it wouldn’t be. Either way, I could no longer do it all.
And so I became a part time working professional.

Then began the search, the CV updating, the networking, the marketing of myself. It soon became very clear that there are really not many part time, senior, challenging, exciting jobs. In the finance world, I could easily find part time work in very junior positions. I would not be using my years of experience and skills, I would not be stretched, I would likely be very bored.

So why was it so hard? Shouldn’t I by treated the same as a full time worker? Shouldn’t I be judged on my CV, my skills and experience regardless? Shouldn’t I be treated in the manner with which I had been treated previously, I was after all the same person?

I could answer these questions myself quite easily – the answer was a resounding NO.

I’m not the same person. It’s that simple. I used to be able to put in 60 hour weeks quite easily. I used to be the dependable one that would always be there in a crisis. I’d always be the one to work early mornings and late nights when it was needed. I cannot do that now.
So in some ways, I’m not as good as I once was. That’s the harsh reality.

But in so many other ways – I am better.

I manage my time better. I might not be in the office full time, but trust me, I have a LOT on my to do list. Some of it work related, some of it not. But nonetheless, I get a lot done in my week. Being in the office part time puts an extra focus on getting things done. More gets done ‘today’ because I can’t guarantee having the time to dedicate to it tomorrow. I am better than I once was.

I can multi task better than I ever thought possible. Juggling a job and a family is pretty commonplace. There are many people out there who do it. But it will never appear on a CV as a skill. I can switch so quickly to the most urgent crisis (whether it’s a financing proposal or a desperate need to provide something for the school cake sale!) and I’ll switch back the second I can. I am better than I once was.

I’m a much more compassionate person these days, caring for a family does that to you! I have more empathy for others than I once had. I don’t think I realised how useful a skill this would be in the workplace. I am better than I once was.

I always said that I loved my job – I always believed that. But now that I do other stuff in between, I really love my job. Those few days of absence makes it all the better to get back to. That extra bit of happiness makes me extra productive. I am better than I once was.

I’m lucky to have the job I have. As I ‘ve said, those exciting, challenging, skills enhancing jobs are few and far between in the part time arena.

I know I’m incredibly fortunate, I know I work for an amazing business with an amazing team of people. I’m grateful and that gives me the motivation to go the extra mile. I am better than I once was.

So in some ways, I’m not what an employer wants – I’m not there 5 days a week. But I’m available 5 days a week (or 6 or 7). Today’s technology makes it even easier to be away from the office. Telephone calls and emails still happen on non-working days as sometimes, you just want to resolve something. Being part time doesn’t have to stop that.

I’m still a professional, I still work hard, I still develop my skills and learn new ones. I still love my job and care about the business I work for. I’m still flexible, I switch my working days here and there, I accommodate meetings to ease others’ diaries. I just cannot be flexible enough to give all my time.

I accept that some businesses will only want employees who are in the office every day – always there, on call for any emergency. But I hope there are still plenty of other businesses who realise that us part time workers can still add value.

Being part time is different. Not necessarily better, not necessarily worse – just different.

Sarah Hawthorne ACMA
Financial Controller – Wagstaff Recruitment
Mom to Alice aged 6
Daughter to “Mum and Boss” aged 76
Wife to Simon aged 49 ¾

From the other side of the fence

Wagstaff Recruitment started as a bedroom business. As the owner I drove business through sales and cajoled my husband to do my monthly management accounts on a weekend. Hubby was great, he is an experienced Finance Director, but I became spoilt with his extensive knowledge and skills.

As the company grew, I took on offices and developed a team I knew I needed my own Finance Manager and here lay the problem. Due to hubby’s skill, my expectation of what a Finance Manager could do was unachievable on a part time basis, or so I was told (by external applicants). I wanted someone who could be part of our leadership team. Someone who had great management accounts skills. Someone who was confident to upwardly manage and challenge me. Basically I wanted a high level Finance Manager on a part time basis for an SME and they did not exist. Well they do!!

Then, through a fellow finance recruiter, I was introduced to Sarah! I gained an experienced, skilled professional who has the talent to utilise her skills. Sarah manages her time so well, delegating to our admin support team where needed and delivering a valuable, high quality finance service. I get great finance and management support and it is on a part time basis. The truth is hiring this talent is achievable it just may not be in the convectional way you expect. (I also don’t feel Sarah is part time as she is so flexible and there for me if I really do need her).

I would applaud any business to really consider part-time experienced workers. Finance, Marketing, Engineering, the list can go on! The experience and skill they bring, in my experience, is certainly added value.

Ruth Forster
Founding Director – Wagstaff Recruitment
Mum to Lexi (Our dog! No little people!)
Categories
Parental

Back to school, back to you

It’s hard to believe that the Summer holidays are nearly over. Six weeks of picnics, beach trips, long walks, tantrums, grazed knees…you know the drill.

While the children in our lives are starting to pick out their new backpacks, a fun pencil case and of course be kitted out with new uniform they are going to grow out of by Christmas, what do you get out of it?

We think the start of the new school year can be a new start for you too! Whether you’ve taken an extended break, come back from holiday or just fancy a change, see September as a way to start afresh.

Here are a few ways we think you can kick start your new you.

Find out who it is you want to be

Sometimes the hardest part can be making a start. Do you want to change career? Do you have skills you feel are being wasted? Do you want to learn new skills?
Get a piece of paper and list your skills, your qualities and your dreams. This will lead you to discover what it is you need to work on.

Shed your skin

Obviously, we’re not talking literally, not only would that be inappropriate but also pretty messy. We mean more figuratively.
Do you often feel dowdy in your work clothes? Have you enjoyed Summer so much that office wear is horrifying? Or do you feel restricted and uninspired in your work clothes?
How you feel at work can have a massive impact on productivity – so don’t let it! There are simple changes you can make – try a different style of skirt, perhaps a colourful blouse with your pants suit or some fabulous shoes. Finding a way to show your individuality at work amongst the black and grey will not only make you feel better, but also make you stand out to seniors.

Learn something you never knew

Would knowing a foreign language help when travelling with work? How about some basic IT skills to stop you succumbing to the demon of technology? Or wanting to re-train completely? What is stopping you?!
Not only will learning new skills – whether for work or just yourself – will give you a sense of achievement as well as the possibility to meet new people.
Check out our latest training courses to see which new you is waiting right under your nose.

Mummies need new school bags too…

Why should the children have all the fun?!

Something that is always important, regardless of how you feel, is that you are not alone. We have a network of mummies ready to support and assist you with anything you need. With help from our digital mummy club, which offers mums a fantastic referral scheme (and a simple way to earn some high street vouchers before Christmas, to a listening ear (or keyboard) – there’s no shame in asking!