Beena has gone back to work and she is lucky to have her mother and mother-in-law both help with baby-sitting her baby. Diya lives with her in laws and delivered twin boys. Her older son is three. She will eventually get back to work. Aparajita is expecting her second baby and will take a maternity break of 4 months and will get back to work. Life for these women is about to change across their work and life related domain. They will need to learn to negotiate time, help, activities and energy to strike a new balance and to gain a sense of mastery and control over their lives.
The three women have access to experienced family and friends to guide and advise them. Parenting sites and groups, articles, books, blogs guide, listen and converse. Workplace pressures, 24×7 work cultures, commuting challenges, communication and information overdrive, means there is a completely uncharted territory to navigate. There appears to be an unmet need to help women professionals ease into the work place.
‘Mommy coaches deliver women back to office’? reads the title of a news report in the TOI. The article refers to maternity coaching with an anecdote about a husband who gifts his wife nine days of coaching to help her get back to work. Coaching for individuals and for HR departments and leaders get the workplace ready to enable diversity. Work-life balance, coping with anxieties like personal appearance, efficiency levels, and behavioural changes, are some of the areas the article refers to.
Training, counseling, guiding, mentoring and coaching are terms used fairly interchangeably with a fair overlap on what they stand for. Wikipedia says, training is teaching people to do what they don’t know how to do. New mothers need training to manage health, energy, time and roles efficiently and efficiently. Training is one area that Beena will need help with. Mentoring, says Wikipedia is showing people how people who are really good at doing something do it. Mentors can be successful workplace returnee moms as role models for Beena to learn from. Wikipedia clarifies that counseling is helping people come to terms with issues they are facing. Beena may have anxieties about her appearance, self-esteem, coping mechanisms, sleep. She will need to not merely come to terms or accept, but to overcome and attain mastery over her challenges.
Wikipedia defines coaching, as ‘a teaching, training or development process via which an individual is supported while achieving a specific personal or professional result or goal’. What personal goals will the new mom like to achieve? What kind of help do they need? The age of personalization and customization means that the mom will like for her unique challenges and goals open up an opportunity for individual mom coaching.
Coaching is helping to identify the skills and capabilities that are within the person, and enabling them to use them to the best of their ability. A coach helps with listening, questioning, clarifying, to help Beena shift her perspectives and discover different solutions. Wikipedia refers to coaching as ‘meta-profession’ with applications across a whole range of concerns.
Perhaps when Beena tastes the personalized guidance from her maternity coach, will she become more open to a coach to guide her through all her future journeys – personal, professional, spiritual?