How job coaching empowers mothers returning to work after parental leave in Germany

How job coaching empowers mothers returning to work after parental leave in Germany

Germany offers paid and unpaid parental leave for people who have a child here. During this period, most mothers spend time taking care of their little ones with almost no contact with their employers and work. 

So, once they are ready to get back to work after their leave, mothers might struggle a bit, or even feel like they don’t want to go back to their old job because their priorities have changed. In this case, job coaching can be a powerful tool to support and empower mothers in Germany to navigate this transition, helping them re-enter the workforce with confidence, or even to find a new job.

The challenge of re-entering the workforce

Returning to work after a long period of absence comes with uncertainties and doubts. During parental leave, most of us have spent all our time and resources caring for our children and have spent little to no time on ourselves. We lose the ability to talk to people, especially to have professional conversations, and this leads to a loss of confidence.

In a survey I conducted with mothers in Berlin, 67 percent said that their biggest question was how to manage their work life and private life. Some questions that came up concerned balancing family responsibilities with professional commitments, whether to mention Elternzeit (parental leave) on resumes, and how to rebuild their self-confidence in a rapidly changing job market. At the moment, very few companies provide parents with the tools for achieving a smooth transition back to work.

How job coaching can help

A lot of people don’t know that job coaching can help overcome these challenges with a number of tools and approaches that are customised for the client. It is a new concept for most people, because we are used to applying for jobs by ourselves, without any expert input, but job coaching can save a lot of time and nerves. 

With one-on-one sessions, I can take the time a client needs and tailor my advice to them based on what they need. Here are some ways in which job coaching can help you get back to work after parental leave:

1. Personalised career strategies

Many mothers have never thought about their goals, their mission and their vision for their lives. They have got so used to taking care of the needs of others, they often get left behind. So, in job coaching, asking questions like these can really make them think and put all of these thoughts into words. This is the foundation of the work we do together to find their next job. 

2. Skills assessment

We acquire a lot of skills as new parents and this should not be underestimated. If mothers have been out of work for a while, they might forget their skills and achievements. So one of the first exercises a job coach would conduct is a skills assessment, during which we talk about the strengths, weaknesses and skills the person has. This is an important step to achieve the below-mentioned goal of building confidence.

3. Building confidence 

As I mentioned, one of the most significant challenges mothers face during parental leave is a drop in their self-confidence. In the coaching sessions, we work on defining their skills, strengths and weaknesses and do a lot of role playing to practise talking about themselves, their achievements and the projects they are working on. This helps in situations like job interviews, salary negotiations and annual reviews, as well as at networking events.

4. Resume and interview preparation

Of course, job coaching also looks at job application documents after the first three steps have been completed. Addressing an employment gap on a resume can be a daunting task, and so many mothers choose to leave them off their CV to be on the safe side and prevent discrimination. 

A job coach will assist mothers in drafting a strong CV that effectively highlights your transferable skills and experiences. Moreover, you can do mock interview sessions that help you talk about yourself confidently, respond to difficult questions and showcase your suitability for the desired role.

5. Strategies for work-life balance 

One of the key concerns for mothers returning to work is finding the right work-life balance. As a job coach, I work with mothers to discuss their particular situation to find the right strategies. These include conversations to set expectations with the employer, developing a plan to implement at home and setting boundaries at work as well as home. This can really empower mothers to manage their responsibilities effectively, take care of themselves and avoid burnout.

6. Networking and support

The power of networking cannot be underestimated in the professional world and it is something that is often neglected. A professional network can be very helpful in finding a new job. Together with a job coach, you can come up with ways in which to make yourself more visible, make strategic contacts and connect with people that can help you professionally. This kind of network not only provides guidance but can also help mothers feel less isolated.

Seeking out a job coach

People hesitate to pay for job coaching, thinking they can do all of this themselves. Yes, it is definitely possible to do so on your own, but it will take a long time and might not be as effective. So if you are a mother facing the challenges I mentioned, I can highly encourage you to seek out a job coach. The job search process can be a long and emotionally exhausting one, especially for mothers whose capacities are already stretched thin. But it doesn’t have to be. 

Gitanjali More


Gitanjali More

I created The Confused Mother to help expats have a thriving family life and career in Germany with ease. This includes the following services: - online tutorials for Elterngeld, Kindergeld,...

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