If you’re a mum looking for career advice then you’re really going to enjoy the latest interview in this Expert Career Advice interview series.

Today, we’re joined by Anna Colebourne of Naturally Excel Coaching. Take it away Anna!

Firstly please tell our lovely mamas about your coaching/ consulting practice?


My coaching practice is ‘Naturally Excel Coaching’.

I offer tailored one to one coaching that enables my clients to find rewarding and fulfilling careers they ‘naturally excel’ at.

By helping my clients identify their unique strengths, motivations and talents, they become more confident, achieve better results and are more likely to achieve their goals.

I also help my clients discover rewarding and fulfilling careers that fit in with family life. My coaching practice covers career coaching, leadership and development coaching, change and transition and work-life balance.

Question 1:

In 10 days time, I’ve got to stand up in front of a room of 25 people to do a presentation, and I’m so nervous.

Any tips for me on how to sound confident (even if I don’t feel it)?


My first piece of key advice is know your audience. Try to understand their common issues, problems and backgrounds.

People do not attend an event to be lectured. They have come to gain knowledge or find a solution that will help make their lives better.

By discovering what the audience want to get out of your presentation, you will be far more able to make an emotional connection with your audience.

Try to distract your mind from worrying. When your focus is on you, your nerves will kick in and you will be full of self-doubt. When you focus on others needs and seek to find out about them, then an immediate emotional connection is made.

Mental imagery is a very powerful technique you can use to manage your nerves and enhance your performance. The most effective imagery involves all five senses.

First imagine walking into the room. What is the lighting like? The temperature. What are you wearing? Picture yourself wearing that power dress that has brought you success before in your career.

Take a deep breath before you begin. Look into the audience and focus on one or two individuals who are interested in what you are saying and ensure you take time to speak slowly and clearly.

Don’t imagine that everything will go like clockwork. Rehearse what you might do if a problem arises such as someone yawning, experience yourself maintaining your focus and delivery.

Envisage yourself being applauded, congratulated and thanked. Imagine the people in the room smiling and a line of people waiting to speak to you as you finish your presentation.

FEAR is nothing more than a False Expectation Appearing Real. Very rarely what we fears actually occurs.

Think to yourself how those feelings you are experiencing such as shallow breathing, sweaty hands and nerves can be recognised instead as an adrenaline rush which if handled professionally can enhance your performance.

Armed by this and your visualization techniques, you can manage your nerves more effectively and start to re-program your brain to work for you rather than against you.

Question 2:


I’m really struggling to switch off from work when I’m at home (which is exhausting, and isn’t fair to my family).

It doesn’t help that I’m continuously getting work emails on my phone.

Any advice to help me switch off?


The first thing I would say is you need to know your limits. No matter how much work you have, there are never enough hours in a day to achieve everything.

Accept that the world won’t end if you don’t finish something. You’re not a superhero. Just do your best, every day.

It is not possible to be the perfect wife, mother and business professional all the time. If you try to be this all the time, you will only exhaust yourself and make yourself ill.

Secondly, you can’t let your phone rule your life. Being available 24 hours, a day will only make you tired and less effective also for when you do really need to be on top form.

If you can, don’t be available outside your non-working hours and put off your work phone notifications. If this is not possible, put your phone on charge in another room. If someone wants to speak to you and it is urgent, they’ll call you – and you’ll hear it.

Thirdly try to identify if you are problem solving or ruminating. The former is good use of your time. Ruminating, however, involves thinking again and again about something without coming up with solutions or having any new insight.

If you are up all night or your mind is constantly firing off without rest, then something needs to be done. When ruminating, you tend to stay in a particular emotional state and you need to do something positive to change your negative thought patterns.

That’s why a hobby such as exercising, eating healthy food, listening to good music, or anything that can help you refocus your thought patterns to become more positive is going to be very helpful.

As a mother, you will probably have very little time. So if spending some quality time with the children relaxes you, do this instead.

Crucially, create a relaxing ritual that tells the brain that the working day is over. For example, getting changed and having a shower as soon as you arrive home signals to the brain that you have finished for the day. Undertaking household chores like washing up or cooking can also help – as long as you don’t usually see them as work!

Question 3:


I need a confidence boost. At home I feel so strong and capable looking after my baby girl.

But as soon as I get into work, it’s as if I’m a different person and I don’t believe I can do anything.

Why do I feel this way, and can you help me?


I would reassure you by saying what you feel is very common. You need to acknowledge that becoming a mother is an example of a major life transition. Your sense of identity and what drives you has radically changed.

You have given birth to a new life and are finding massive fulfilment in looking after your daughter. You are re-discovering and gaining a new perspective on what is important to you.

After their maternity leave has ended, often women will just go back to work and ‘get on with it’. However if you do not take the time to readjust yourself and absorb the changes you and your family have been through, then you may feel something is not right and depression can occur.

It can particularly hit women who were unhappy in their careers before they fell pregnant. They may feel an immense lack of control or dissatisfaction when returning to the workplace.

You have just undergone a major life transition and work is not as “easy” to just get on with when you have to think of childcare and deal with the emotional issues surrounding returning to work. Maternity leave can accelerate issues as it’s when the cracks in your career that have already appeared get bigger.

Having one to one coaching with an accredited coach like myself can help you reflect on how the changes you have been through since becoming pregnant have affected you. You become more able to recognise how your values, motivations and priorities may have changed.

When we are aware, we are able to make choices and feel in control, rather than being swept along by circumstances. As a result of my coaching, you become more confident in yourself and your abilities and the direction you want to take. Then we put in place a set of goals and actions that can help you find fulfilment and purpose and if desirable, work that you can enjoy and balance with family commitments.

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Thanks Anna!


Thanks so much Anna for taking part in our Expert Career Advice series for mums.

Find out more about Anna and how she can help you here:

Her website

And get social with her here: