I hope you’re getting tons of value from this Expert Career Advice interview series! Today we’ll be hearing some awesome tips from Career Coach Liz Redway of Peppermint.works.

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

 

Peppermint.works brings a breath of fresh air to the working lives of professionals.

We’ll help you understand what underpins your motivation for your work and your current role.

Through our sessions you’ll be able to clearly define what you are aspiring to, you’ll develop a fresh approach to your goals and how you tackle obstacles along the way.

Finally, you will be able to comfortably take purposeful steps towards achieving success.

Our key areas of expertise:

  • executive coaching to develop leadership skills such as change management, team building, strategic thinking and conflict resolution
  • professional career development coaching for your next career steps
  • coaching women for progression into executive or management roles, when they may also be balancing other commitments such as family life
  • coaching to support the transition back to work after a career break

Our coaching is tailored to each individual. Reassuringly we offer a free introductory taster session so that you can decide if my approach is right for you before committing.

Examples of our programs include:

  • Executive Coaching for success at work
  • Ready to Progress
  • Interviewing with confidence
  • Career Returners
  • Stand-out CVs, Applications and Profiles
  • Looking the part

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?

 

Having low confidence is very common, particularly after having children and a career break.

Start small, make a list of all the things that you are GREAT at. Don’t be afraid to include things like making people laugh or family logistics (which we all know can be highly stressful and take up heaps of energy). Pin it up on your fridge! Ask your family and friends to add to it. Read it every day.

Next make a list of the things you used to be good at. Consider what has changed. Do you feel as though you are out of practice or as though things have moved on without you?

Make a plan to brush up your skills. This could mean:

  • volunteer work (you’d be surprised how many skills you’ll rediscover if you join the PTA, Governing Body or local Scout pack – plus you’ll meet a great support network!),
  • a returners program
  • or some online courses to refresh your skills. All of these are also a great addition to your CV.

One super tip for confidence, particularly when you are going for interviews, comes from a social psychologist called Amy Cuddy. She has done studies which show that the way you hold yourself can influence the way you feel. Check out the TED Talk video by Amy Cuddy below on ‘Your body language may shape who you are’ and then strike a power pose!

You might also want to join our facebook group; peppermint.NETworks, a supportive group of women looking for the self confidence and the motivation to take their next brave steps forward.

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?

 

Being self-employed can be a lonely road. As someone who started out as a freelance HR consultant I have been there.

One thing I continue to find very powerful is my network. Networking comes in all shapes and sizes, and while it can be daunting I’d suggest trying a few local groups to see if any fit with your personality and your goals. You are likely to find a willing support group of people who feel just the same way.

As a coach, where loneliness is a cause to reconsider work, I might try using ‘scaling’ as an approach. The conversation would go along these lines:

1. *Loneliness score*
Rank on a scale of 1 – 10 how lonely you feel ( 1 being unbearable loneliness, 10 being super-happy with plenty of contact with others)

2. *Less than*
Imagine what a score of one lower than your loneliness score would look like – reason out why you didn’t pick this number, in what way are you better off?

3. *Greater than*
Imagine what a score of one higher than your loneliness score would look like – what has changed for you to be at that score?

4. *Top score*
What would a score of ’10’ look like?

5. *Magic number*
What would be the score you need to reach to happily remain self-employed?

6. *Making changes*
What are the changes you need to make to achieve this magic number and remain self-employed? Even small steps adding one number at a time are good here.

7. *Reality check*
Are these changes realistic? When can you start making steps towards your magic number?

I would usually ask my client to explore any obstacles that might get in the way so that we can anticipate and overcome them more easily. While these steps may sound easy, actually taking the time to consider, thoroughly explore and plan realistic actions is a great way to overcome procrastination.

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?

 

First of all, you are not alone!

I’ve been reading recently about the power of authenticity. Don’t be afraid to open up to people and share how you are feeling. For me there has been a great sense of relief and a lightened load to talk about things I have struggled with or found daunting.

Offers of help and reassurance are often forthcoming when you take the risk to show vulnerability. Plus, when you speak from the heart you will find your personality comes across. One thing I have come to understand is that people buy from people, so letting the mask drop every now and then is no bad thing.

Explore your local networking groups (Pop, BNI, Women in Business…. the list is huge!) and get on some courses for start up businesses (local organisations like Wenta or Stanta) and you’ll discover a whole heap of people who are feeling just the same way. This is your new team! Learn together, share your experiences, help each other succeed.

Finally, find a great coach who can support you not just in taking decisions, but in growing your business. The right coach will be able to help you attain your work and business goals far quicker than you might have done alone. Good luck!

Thanks Liz!

 

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

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

Her website

And get social with her here:

Facebook group