Back to Work After Maternity Leave – Aine’s User Story

MindShift Zone Team,

Why coaching?

‘Upskill Coach was recommended to me by a family member halfway through my maternity leave. And I thought it was probably a good time to try something like this. Because I have a bit more flexibility in my schedule, I was trying to think about ways to keep my energy levels up. And manage to fill my spare time when I had it with things that I wanted to do and enjoyed’. 

‘I was halfway through my maternity leave at the time. I thought it was a good time to take stock and assess how I feel and how I would prepare for going back to work. And develop different coping mechanisms for balancing the various commitments I now find myself with’.

What were you looking to achieve?

‘At the time that I signed up for the coaching, I was struggling to find space for myself within my schedule. I didn’t really know how to balance all of my commitments, personal and professional and managing a new baby. So, I really wanted to just take stock and get some distance from the commitments. And reflect with an objective third party who could give me their insight without any background knowledge of our situation’. 

‘When I started the coaching, I wanted to speak to someone and express the various thoughts that I had about what it was I did and didn’t want to do. To have someone else listen independently and then offer guidance. To help me steer myself to getting the most out of day to day life really. I wanted some help identifying what my priorities were and what my values were’.

‘I find that in my twenties I was more flexible. And I was keen to try lots of different things even if I didn’t really like them. But I feel now that actually time pressures are such that I really just want to spend my time doing the things I enjoy, or the things that serve me best. And so that’s where I find the coaching really valuable. In identifying what my priorities are and what my values are and how to do things that will further these’.

Worried about booking a coach online?

‘I didn’t really have any major reservations. But I was a bit apprehensive that it might be awkward or that I might pick the wrong person. And then I’d be stuck, in a conversation with someone for at least, two sessions or something like that. I was just sort of going through the motions. But actually that’s one of the things about Upskill Coach that I thought was brilliant: That a lot of the coaches offer you the 15-minute introductory call. I actually ended up having a full session with my coach that first day. But it was nice to know that after 15 minutes I could have said, Oh, actually let’s have a think about this, and that put me at ease’.

What did you like the most?

‘For me, the aspect of the coaching that I didn’t really fully appreciate beforehand, which is so valuable, is that the person is independent. They don’t know anything about you or your family or your work or the people that you’re speaking about. Or the situations you’re speaking about. And so they really can bring a fresh approach to reflecting on things and it’s so positive. It’s so proactive. There’s no ruminating on things that have happened. It’s just how can you move forward and get what you want now and in the future’.

‘If I could sum it up, it would be two things. One, the independent ear, and then another would be the positivity that there’s no wallowing, there’s no looking backwards. It’s all about how you can move forward. How to build coping techniques for the next time you have a stressful situation or the next time you have many conflicting commitments’.

‘It’s all proactive’.

‘One of the things I wanted to do was make sure that I could fit in exercise into a schedule with work and the baby. And I thought how’s that ever going to happen? But to have someone tell you, “Oh, well, why don’t you diarise it”? It’s so obvious. But actually, until someone tells you to do something that obvious, you’re not necessarily going to come up with it yourself’.

‘So I think a lot of the methods and techniques for identifying what it is I like or I want to get out of life. When you read back over your notes, you think “Oh well, of course, that’s what I should do”. But I think it really does take a third person to actually force you to think about your life in that way. We’re so used to sort of just being like hamsters in a wheel. And actually, if you don’t take time, and it is an hour usually the sessions, it’s very hard to pause your brain to let yourself think about these things’.

What do I want?

‘One of the big benefits was giving myself space and time to think about what I want and what I need on a day to day basis and how to achieve more about what makes me happy’.

‘This sounds straightforward and it did to me, but actually I never really thought about it. What it is I want in a positive way. I would be very aware of when I was unhappy with the situation or I thought “Oh, I don’t want to do that.” But actually, it’s quite fun to think about what it is that makes you happy and how to get more of that and it really has improved my relationships and actually raised my energy levels. Because when you’re doing things that you enjoy, you have more energy and it’s sort of a cycle’. 

‘My coach also encouraged me to think about skills I had in one area, so it might’ve been work and how to transfer them to other areas like different relationships, where I was finding things a bit trickier. That was a technique that again, seems really basic but actually was brilliant and I found it really useful’.

‘For me the difference between coaching type experiences I’ve had through work and different methods before and Upskill Coach was the platform. It was really useful to have, a base, an online base where you could log in and check on your messages and just work through that platform. Because when it’s just in your inbox, it gets lost amongst all the other emails and you have to search and it’s much harder to remember to do it. Whereas if you have Upskill Coach, in your toolbar, it’s just really easy to log in and make time for the practice’.

Would you recommend Upskill Coach to a friend?

‘Yes, absolutely. I would recommend Upskill Coach to any friend. I think it’s so valuable to pause in your life and have a completely impartial third person to listen to you. To focus on your needs and your wants because within your family and your friends, you don’t want to spend the time talking about yourself because no one wants to hear that really. But it gives you space you really need, to recalibrate and work out what it is that makes you happy and is valuable to you. And then, Upskill Coach itself, the platform’s just really, really handy. You just, you log on, everything’s there. I love the blogs and things that are on the platform as well and it’s great’.

What did you get from online coaching?

‘I hoped to get sort of a fresh perspective. On what it is I wanted, think about where I am now and where I want to get to. Not just in terms of career, but in times of relationships and hobbies and family and all of those things. It’s sometimes hard to see the wood through the trees, but that’s what coaching did for me. And it really allowed me to focus on what motivates me and what I value’.

‘Do you want five different ways of improving how to get what you want out of life and relationships? You’ll get that within six months or four sessions, you’ll get some tangible things and then you have it written down. You can think about it, you can come back to your notes in a year’s time and it’s always there and they’re positive it’s like someone telling me to do exercise or eat healthily. It’s just very it’s very practical, positive, proactive tips for living. And I think once you’ve done it, you don’t lose it. They do give you really good tips, these life coaches. It’s like reading a good book or something, you can go back and look at the tips. So I think that’s the big difference for me. If you only want to do three or four sessions, you will get something out of it’. 

‘That’s what I like about coaching is it’s all about you, you improve yourself and you make yourself happy and then everything else sort of falls into place. So I just thought it was brilliant. I really enjoyed it’.

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MindShift Zone Team

MindShift Zone Team,

Our Mission MIndShift Zone is dedicated to making professional coaching accessible to everyone. Our mission is to connect you with ICF Certified coaches who can help you reach new heights in your care...

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