Today I’m back with the latest interview in our Expert Career Advice interview series. We’ll be hearing from Career Coach Assunta Cucca of Kokoro Consultancy. She’s offering some great tips for working mums.

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

 

Hello, thanks for having me here.

My coaching practice is called Kokoro Consultancy. ‘Kokoro’ is a Japanese word that has different shades of meaning, but essentially it means heart, mind, emotions, feelings.

It’s a beautiful concept that represents what I bring to my clients: a heartfelt approach.

I believe authentic and genuine conversation is freedom. I help people (and organisations) to listen to their authentic voice, by tapping into their self-confidence, ambitions and strengths, so that they can be free to be who they want to be.

It all starts from here: if you find the courage to be honest with yourself, a new world will open up for you!

My unique approach is based on the belief that a clear mind keeps the body strong. So, my coaching conversations are a two-way communication between mind and body, using mindfulness, yoga techniques and visualisations.

These are just some examples of the areas I coach on:

  • leadership
  • career and change
  • mums/dads who return to work
  • wellness and stress-management
  • communicating with confidence

I also love giving back, hence I am a volunteer coach for the MaternityTeacherPaternityTeacher project, where I coach teachers on maternity or paternity leave who are doing their CPDs before going back to work.

Have a look at my website if you want to know more about my work.

Question 1:

 

After taking a career break to have children, I now want to return to work. Ideally it would be a role that is flexible so that I work only when my children are in school.

However, after being out of work for 4 years, my confidence is super low. Can you help?

 

Firstly, know that many women like you, when going back to work after a break, feel the same. You are not alone. Everyone faces his/her own fears in life, which tends to ‘attack’ our self-esteem.

I don’t agree with the concept of being ‘fearless’. The point is rather to create a partnership with our fears.

If this idea appeals to you, I invite you to stop and take a moment to close your eyes and imagine yourself going back to work, in the flexible job you are aspiring to.

Notice how you feel and what emotions and thoughts you might see arising. You might be hearing a sort of ‘voice’, or recurrent thoughts that make you feel uneasy and fearful and perhaps make you doubt that you can do it.

Well, open your eyes when ready, and name this voice, fear, or whatever it is that you have felt. Literally give it a name (Tom? Hanna?).

Write a letter to it. Get into a partnership with this voice, and explain why you might not agree with it, why you are happy to only listen when it makes you feel comfortable. Explore its motivations: why is it trying to make you uncomfortable? Where is this voice coming from? What does this voice want?

Get closer to it and realise that it’s not you but just a part of you and you can control it. Experiment with this exercise every day until you feel you’ve created a good distance between you and this voice, and you can start on your own path.

Good luck!

Question 2:

 

I’m a 41-year-old mum with 14 years experience as a teacher. 2 years ago I left my school and set up as a private tutor.

However, I’m now at the point where I have to decide whether to go for it as a self-employed tutor or return to teaching. I love the flexibility of working on my own, but also find it lonely.

Do you have any advice on what I should do?

 

It’s difficult when we face the urge to make a decision and we have two appealing options.

But what’s more important to you? What are the values that drive your life? Are you diverging from your values in this situation?

We don’t often reflect on our values, so perhaps this is a good opportunity to do that. Make a list of 10 values, as in the things you think are important to live and work.

Then, out of these, choose only 5. Then, out of the 5 choose only 3. Then, out of 3, choose your top value.

Reflect on this exercise: look at the values you have highlighted. These are the ones that are driving your choices and decisions.

Are you living by your values? Now you can look at the decision you need to make from a different perspective.

Question 3:

 

I’m nearing the end of my maternity leave after having my second child, and I really don’t want to go back to work. I’ve come up with a business idea that I think could work, however, I’m struggling with imposter syndrome, and wondering if I really have what it takes to start a business. Do you have any tips for me?

 

Let’s find out! If you have not done it yet, you might want to try the ‘name your fears’ exercise that I detailed above. Or a good book is ‘Playing Big’ by Tara Mohr who talks about ‘naming your inner critic’.

 

But also, it might be useful to discover what your strengths are. Have you ever done a strengths test? There are a few available online which are free. I recommend trying one, then identifying your strengths and then playing with them.

In which did you score the highest points? And the lowest? They are all strengths, we are not talking about weaknesses here: we all have things we are good at.

Now, once you identify those, reflect on them and see which ones you might need to dial up or dial down to be able to run a business.

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Thanks Assunta!

 

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

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

Her website

And get social with her here:

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