NCT publication July 2014

Considering a return to work or career change? How a coaching mind-set can help you “have it all” and feel good about it!

I’m Caz Hawley and I moved to the Ealing area a couple of years ago and previously lived in Chiswick. I used to volunteer with Chiswick & Hammersmith NCT, and think it’s a fabulous organisation and valuable support when you’re in the throes of parenthood and the huge change and transition this brings with it. I’m a qualified Business & Personal coach, with a Post Graduate Certificate in Coaching accredited with Chester University, and I work across a variety of sectors and with all kinds of people.

“The only thing that is constant is change” said Heraclitus.Sometimes change can seem overwhelming; particularly after childbirth it is common to feel a loss of identity, and many of us crave getting some of that back and being “me” again; re-gaining balance.
Sometimes it can feel like a full time juggling act, but I always believe if you want something you’ll find a way to make it work, because you want to, and that you can still find time to be a great parent, friend, wife, sister, daughter, as well as re-gaining some “you time”, whether that’s personal or professional, if you really put your mind to it, and think about what’s getting in the way.

Returning to work

I have always been quite career oriented but also knew I really wanted to be a Mum. Returning to work after a break of any kind can be pretty scary whether it’s after a few months or a few years, but I think it’s particularly challenging after having a baby, as so much in your life has altered in a short space of time (& most of us change shape a bit,lose a bit of self-esteem, and feel pretty knackered, not to mention hormones & all the games they play with us!). Often this fear or lack of confidence is connected to your limiting beliefs about yourself, and in your own abilities to be a “working Mum” and to do it well without upsetting those closest to you and becoming a walking wreck… You can also give yourself permission to let go of a few things which are no longer serving you, or useful in achieving your goals, but sometimes it’s hard to recognise those things when you’re caught up in everything else.
If like me you suffered terribly from “baby brain” after giving birth to your little cherub(s), then you’ll understand that just having an adult phone conversation is a major achievement. I managed to gradually transition myself back into “work mode” by initially volunteering for a role with our local NCT in Chiswick, which helped tremendously to re-build my confidence and remind me about the adult world! I then started back to work in the job I’d left, on a part-time basis, building it up gradually; I’m now working part-time again and have fingers in a few different pies. I also had some personal coaching techniques which helped regain confidence, which I thought might be useful to share with you.

My Top Tips & Coaching techniques for confidence and taking control of your future

  • Be kind to yourself. You are doing a great job and need a bit of recognition sometimes; give yourself a pat on the back occasionally, even if no-else does. Celebrate what you have achieved in your life and where you are right now!
  • Speak to yourself (& others) in positive language about what you CAN do, instead of what you think you CAN’T.
  • Ask 5 people” – this is a very simple 360 feedback technique to build confidence & challenge limiting beliefs you may have about yourself. Ask 5 people from different areas of your life the following questions:
    • What one word of phrase describes me best?
    • What do you think is my greatest achievement?
    • What do you value most about me?
    • What one thing could I change for my own benefit?
    • What do you believe to be my greatest strength?
  • Consider a simple coaching model known as GROW. Goals, Reality, Options, Will (to do it). This is helpful to brainstorm either on your own, or with someone else. What is it you want to achieve (Goals), where are you now; what’s going on (Reality), what are all the options you can think of around this subject (Options), and lastly how much “Will(power)” do you have on a scale of 1 to 10 to achieve your goal; how much do you really want it? If you’d like to read more about this model, please look up
  • Remember there is no reality, only perceptions. So don’t get hung up about what you think people think about you, or anything negative people may say to you… they are only perceptions and usually have not factual basis.
  • Modelling – find someone you admire and explore more about how they behave, speak, dress etc. Model yourself on some of their positive attributes… If it’s someone accessible, then talk to them about the steps they take to do x, y or z. Once you break down the pieces, you can try it out for yourself.
  • Reframe – try to stop saying “should” and “ought to” and start saying “want” and “choose to”. Change “but” to “and”. Lastly add “yet” to “I can’t”… You’ll find these small changes can make a big difference to your mind-set.
  • Ask yourself “what am I assuming that is stopping me?” You’ll be surprised how many barriers you put up, most of which can be taken down again. Many are beliefs you hold about yourself which you have built up in your head over time.
  • If there is something you want to change, remember that you probably made the decision in the first place, and therefore you also have the power to change it.
  • Don’t be afraid to try.

Career Change or finding a part-time role to fit your lifestyle

It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not. Often we compare ourselves to others, and think we can never achieve what they have, or be like them, or we may be carrying limiting beliefs about ourselves which were engrained in childhood and we’ve never managed to shake off or re-frame into something different… well the good news is there is absolutely nothing stopping you from being exactly what you want to be…except you!
Be as open and flexible as possible, and remember the power of networking. You may not get your perfect part-time role straight away, but sometimes it’s just good to have a starting point and have taken a first step.

“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start” (Nidu Quebein)

“Believe you can and you’re half way there” (Theodor Roosevelt)

“Everything that has happened to you is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to prevent you from growing…You get to choose” (Wayne Dyer)

“The best way to predict your future is to create it”. (Abraham Lincoln)… I could go on, but I’ll spare you further quotes, despite how much I love them!

Coaching is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s world and is increasingly becoming part of business and individual vocabulary and culture. Coaching is about changing behaviours and beliefs, and expanding comfort zones. Whilst having a coach to work with you can make any experience of change or transition more enjoyable and positive, and help take you to places you may not otherwise have gone alone, reaching goals you may have thought were unachievable, there are also many things you can do for yourself to coach yourself to be the best that you can be, or to overcome limiting beliefs which may be holding you back. If you still find that you would like more support, then hiring a Coach to help you clarify what you want and untangle thoughts, situations and beliefs, can be a valuable investment.

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.

“The only person you are destined to be become is the person you decide to be” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Walt Disney said “If you can dream it you can do it”, and I sincerely believe this.

Caz Hawley(PG Cert in Business & Personal Coaching, Member of the Coaching Circle, ICF, MNCP, MCIPD).
Hawley HR & Coaching Ltd
079202 73361 or 07753 213635

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