The business case for maternity and returner coaching is clear. Increasing numbers of maternity leave returners are opting out of employment or going freelance in an attempt to balance the competing demands of a high commitment career and being a present parent. In some sectors as many as half of those going on mat leave with their second child do not make a long-term return (Halryngo and Lyng, 2009.) This is creating a (mostly female) talent drain of 30-45 year old professionals who are at their peak in terms of training, experience and value to the organisation (Cahusac and Kanji 2014.) The commercial implications – lost experience, expensive recruitment and retraining costs, and under-representation of women in senior leadership – are potentially disastrous.

Maternity/ Returner coaching is one way to address this issue, by helping returners make a positive transition back to work. Re-engaging highly skilled and experienced parents leads to more diverse leadership teams, an increase in female role models and a workforce better equipped to handle change and transition (Filsinger 2012).  Over 75% of those who have received White & Lime’s MP coaching say that as a result of the coaching, they feel “better able to imagine staying here long-term” than they otherwise would have.


Becoming a parent, whether for the first, second or third time, is a moment of profound change which often disrupts key elements of work identity.  The parental leave transition is arguably the most complex an employee will face during their career and they will need support to thrive, personally and professionally.  At White & Lime our focus is on building confidence and self-belief at this critical time.


Whilst every client is different, typical outcomes from a coaching assignment with White & Lime include:

  • Increased confidence in yourself – owning your place back at the table
  • Owning your strengths and your range
  • Finding your way of best combining a high commitment career with being a present parent
  • Support to work through live business issues with an ally
  • Getting clear on immediate and long-term career plans and how this period can work for you in achieving them
  • Feeling calmer, happier and more engaged through a sense of increased control and choice
  • Higher performance and better relationships with others


Our standard coaching package includes six – eight coaching sessions, with the possibility of extending where appropriate according to business and individual needs. The first session is normally taken before leave, the second session during leave and the majority of sessions are taken on return to work.  Research tells us that nine to twelve months into a return to work is a critical time for women (a time when key decisions about stay or go are taken) and our recommendation is that coaching is scheduled to cover this period where possible.  Some clients choose to save all their sessions until their return to work.  Coaching sessions are normally 90 minutes long and can be taken as a mix of face-to-face and/or phone coaching.  Many of our clients choose phone coaching for the session where they are still on leave.


White & Lime has been providing this kind of coaching to leading financial, insurance and law firms since 2010 and more recently we are working in the media, market research and commercial property sectors.  We are fascinated by the topic of retaining and engaging parents of young children and our team includes an academic researcher who informs our packages.  Clients tell us they appreciate our calm and structured approach, our high levels of empathy due to lived experience and most notably our ability to flex between maternity and returner coaching into broader topics impacting the coachee’s performance.

All our coaches have established track records in the business world and great depth of experience and credentials in professional coaching. White & Lime is committed to the International Coaching Federation’s (ICF) Standards of Ethical and Professional Conduct. For more details of our individual coaches and their credentials see Our Team page.


“I found maternity coaching with White & Lime invaluable. The coaching had a significant impact on re-gaining my confidence levels on my return to work.  Each time, I left the sessions feeling amazing and full of self-belief. The sessions were a mix of working on deeply personal feelings and getting to grips with balancing the logistics of a return to work.  My Coach was incredibly knowledgeable in both. I think this should be made available to all maternity returners, and I would highly recommend to others.”

Mary Dean, Senior Associate, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

I would definitely recommend this maternity coaching to others.  It provides an independent sounding board and the opportunity to discuss options and get comfortable with the way you want to return to work, but what I valued most was the confidence I felt when I returned.  My Coach had a great balance of empathy and challenge.  Without this, I know I would have worked longer hours than I would have wanted: the coaching helped me return to a more sustainable way of working enabling me to advance at work and not resent time away from my baby.”

Gemma Casey, Portfolio Director, LandSec


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