‘How do I convince my husband that coaching with you isn’t just an indulgence?’ Sarah said to me during a coaching consultation. If, like Sarah, you’ve taken a career break for a number of years whilst raising your family and are not contributing to the household bills, this can pose a real dilemma.
From a purely financial perspective the cost of a coaching programme at first glance may look like an indulgence that can be spared.
However, consider this: is taking a few months in the span of your whole working life, to seriously consider your next career move and make sure you make the right choice for yourself and your family, an indulgence or an investment?
Putting it in context
What have you already invested in your career to date? If you’re like many of the mums I have worked with you’re likely to have invested a lot of time, energy and money prior to having your family educating yourself and building up a career that you enjoyed and valued.
So why does this investment in yourself, your growth, learning and development and your future career, suddenly stop after you have become a mum?
As Brene Brown says, in her book Daring Greatly, ‘It’s a terrible myth to believe that once we have children, our journey ends and theirs begins. For many of us, the most interesting and productive times in our lives come after we have children.’
Meaning and purpose of work
In my market research mums have shared how the meaning of work has changed for them since having their children. Many mums have developed skills in empathy, compassion. patience and a desire to contribute to others. Frequently mums have described how their motivation to work has shifted from being based purely around money and status to being a role model for their children and making a difference.
However, despite this motivation, the biggest stumbling block for mums wanting to change career direction is a lack of confidence in their abilities. All mums have described how they have lost sight of their skills, strengths and passions in motherhood which then makes negotiating a new career path a daunting prospect.
So how exactly will investing in a career coaching programme over a few months help you?
Time to focus and get clear on what you want
To return to Sarah, she had some ideas of the business she wanted to set up but had spent three years grappling with these by herself and getting nowhere fast.
When you’re a busy mum finding time for yourself to think is a rare luxury. Coaching gives you this precious time to sort out your thoughts and helps you focus so you can make conscious choices and take action based on who you are and who you want to be.
The unpaid role of a stay at home mum is often devalued and taken for granted. Once you become immersed in motherhood it’s all too easy to get lost inside the role, feel invisible and lose confidence in both who you are and who you once were in the world of work.
Commonly mums forget skills and strengths gained through their former career and overlook those that they have developed since becoming a mother. Coaching gives you time and space to reconnect both sides of yourself, explore your skills, strengths and values so you can regain the confidence you need to forge a new career direction.
Time to ensure you fulfil your full potential
On the day of her consultation, despite having dreams of running her own business, Sarah had secured a job interview for a dinner lady position at her sons’ school. She was ambivalent about this role but was considering it as ‘a start to get her back into the world of work’. Prior to having her family Sarah managed a property portfolio for an investment company.
Don’t sell yourself short! The danger with this short term decision making is that what can be seen as a practical step back into work can, over time, become an emotional trap that further undermines your confidence and happiness as outlined here in a previous post.
Armed with clarity and confidence, coaching will help you avoid this trap and will instead encourage you to make choices that better reflect who you are, what you can become and what you need to fulfil both you and your family.
Now, I ask you, is this an indulgence or an investment?
How about you?
What has your experience been of returning to work after a career break? How have you dealt with any fears or lack of confidence? Please share your experiences in the comments box below, I’d love to hear them!
P.S. Need some help negotiating a new career path alongside motherhood?
Take a look at my ‘There’s More in Me’ career coaching programme. You can fill in the form there and then schedule a FREE consultation to get some clarity on the situation you are facing.
And look out for a NEW More in Me group coaching programme to help mums rebuild confidence and consider career options coming soon!