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Happy Scientist

Parental Transition Coaching

Wellbeing support to reduce anxiety among pregnant staff and new mums

Research Institute Partnership

A biomedical research institute approached us to support their maternity returners through the motherhood transition, with targeted 1:1 parental transition coaching

“Coaching with Emma helped me explore what was important to me, and reconcile being a present parent to my son while investing in my career.  My advice to anyone considering participating in coaching is to definitely do it; you don’t realise how you may feel after a break from work until you return. This process helps you understand all of those experiences and feelings, and also what drives you!”

Research Scientist,
Biomedical Research Institute

The Programme

All pregnant mums are offered a programme of four 1:1 coaching sessions, each lasting up to 90 minutes. The programme is flexible, with participants deciding whether to take part and when. They also choose what they want to use the sessions for.



The Institute is partnering with Emma Waltham because the EDI Lead was concerned for the wellbeing of their returning mums, particularly during the time of the pandemic. This had led to many changes in the workplace and also women feeling more isolated and vulnerable during their pregnancy and maternity leave. The EDI Lead wanted to provide targeted support to women going through the maternity transition, to help them feel more confident about returning to work and to reduce anxiety.



There was a high take up of 1:1 coaching, with 8 women electing to join the programme in the first six months. The Institute normally has around 10 women falling pregnant among its staff annually. The majority of participants were pregnant or on maternity leave, however women who had recently gone back to work also asked to participate. 


Feedback has been extremely positive, with coachees reporting that the sessions allow them to put aside dedicated time to help prepare and plan for maternity leave, enabling them to enjoy maternity leave and feel positive about the return to work.


One coachee commented: “After every session, I left feeling empowered. I think the time with Emma allowed me to have the time to think and clarify my ideas. Emma is an excellent listener and instead of giving direct advice, she guides the conversation so I can use my own tools to solve the issues I wanted to discuss.” 

Another research scientist reflected on the impact of coaching: "After maternity leave I was unsure of how to combine my new family life and my work. I thought it would be a good idea to discuss potential conflict situations, as well as talking about my career development. The sessions with Emma gave me a new found confidence in myself, my abilities and my skills. For me, the topics developed from one session to the next and I came out of each meeting having the feeling that I had learnt something important about myself. Thanks to Emma I feel a lot more confident in taking on situations that would have made me uncomfortable or even scared in the past."


What the Client Says

The Institute and the coachees have all reported that the programme is providing the support they hoped for, positively impacting on wellbeing as well as confidence, productivity and career progression.


The Institute’s EDI Manager said: “The coaching has benefited our returning mums, helping them cope during this particularly challenging time of the pandemic. They feel a lot of pressure due to the competitive environment and aren't always able to take time out from their research during maternity leave. Supporting the mental health of our post docs is important to us."

Ready to find out more?

We'd love to hear from you. Send us a message and let's start a conversation about engaging returning parents in your organisation.


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