Helping organisations retain their critical female talent

Shine Brighter’s bespoke Returner and Maternity Coaching Programmes help organisations provide practical and emotional support in order to retain their returning female talent. We are proud to be a fully signed up member to the Working Forward Pledge – a campaign and network of organisations committed to making workplaces the best they can be for pregnant women and new parents.

As a mother of 2, I truly identify with the challenges facing parents in this fast-paced, often inflexible, unsupportive business world. I know that Maternity Coaching would have made the world of difference to my own return to work after the birth of my first daughter.

Returner Support Context

Recent research by the Equality and Human Rights Commission found that up to 77% of mothers report experiencing some form of discrimination while pregnant, on maternity leave or upon their return. Currently around 54,000 mothers are leaving the UK workforce each year as a result, and the average cost to replace them is £30,000.” 

Working Forward, September 2016.

Their pregnancy and maternity discrimination research has found that most employers already agree that it’s in their interests to support pregnant women and mothers on maternity leave. And yet, too many new and expectant mothers are let down at work:

  • 77% reported a negative or discriminatory experiences during pregnancy, maternity leave or return to work
  • 41% reported a risk or impact to their health or welfare
  • 20% experienced harassment or negative comments related to pregnancy or flexible working
  • 11% felt forced to leave their job*

*Around one in nine mothers (11%) reported that they were either dismissed; made compulsorily redundant, where others in their workplace were not; or treated so poorly they felt they had to leave their job; if scaled up to the general population this could mean as many as 54,000 mothers a year.

Root causes

Lack of flexibility offered by employers is often cited as one of the main reasons that women leave upon their return to work. The UK has some of the lowest rates of productivity in the developed world, and flexible working is a proven catalyst for higher productivity and engagement.

Another reason is the lack of support available to mothers who are keen to return to work after a career break. Loss of confidence and identity can have a crippling effect. Many parents and care-givers returning to work would benefit from initiatives such as return-to-work and maternity coaching and support in order to help them navigate this often daunting personal and professional transition.

Maternity Coaching and Returner Programmes bring huge business benefits:

  • Retains critical talent and makes significant savings in attrition costs
  • Supports inclusion and diversity aims (gender pay gap, diversity in the workplace)
  • Improves gender balance and leadership at senior levels 
  • Lessens the impact on your organisation, team and managers
  • Encourages engagement, satisfaction, loyalty, productivity and performance which are all linked to wellbeing
  • Reduces potential grievances, legal actions and absenteeism
  • Attracts new talent – especially if it’s a market differential – which improves your female talent pipeline
  • Can be tailored to support fathers, care-givers and adoption-leave returners
  • Offers more meaningful, objective support to employees through external coaching provision
  • Demonstrates your commitment to support employees and balance their careers with life and family needs

Returner and Maternity Coaching:

Motherhood and career breaks have the annoying habit of causing temporary amnesia- particularly around matters relating to identity, confidence and personal influence. My returner and maternity coaching sessions address all these issues in a supportive but practical and non-judgemental way. Through psychometric-based, supportive 1:1 coaching, I am able to reconnect brilliant women with their own unique personal and professional values and strengths. I work with mothers directly or in conjunction with their employers as part of a workplace Returner Programme.

As a firm believer that returner and maternity coaching should result in tangible, practical actions, I adopt a pragmatic yet positive, strengths-oriented philosophy when coaching; providing my clients with a healthy balance of both challenge and support.

I have been coaching leaders, managers and high potential employees from a wide range of industries for over 15 years and am certified to administer and deliver various psychometric assessments, including MBTI,  Hogan Leadership Forecast Series and Gallup’s CliftonStrengths.

Please click here to find out more about my coaching approach and philosophy.


Sample Returner and Maternity Coaching Programme

Returner Programmes:

I also work with organisations to create powerful in-house Returner Programmes that reflect your own unique culture and values. By working closely with your HR department or leadership team, we design tailored programmes to include components such as coaching, workshops, skills refreshers and mentor networks. These comprehensive and entirely bespoke programmes ensure that your critical female talent returns to work with confidence and shines even brighter. Each element of the programme is designed to help participants address the emotional and practical challenges that often present themselves after a career break. Participants are therefore left feeling empowered and able navigate the often ‘murky waters’ of returning to work- therefore speeding up this often challenging transition. A win-win situation for both employees and their employers. 

Sample Returner Programme

Female Talent Attraction Days

We can facilitate recruitment events aimed at attracting qualified female candidates looking to return after a career break. The aim of the day is to not only to showcase your organisation and the opportunities and support you offer to returners but to give candidates pragmatic advice and coaching, whilst building your female talent pipeline. The event usually lasts for 6 hours during which time we offer sessions on flexible working best practice, managing work/life balance, transferable skills gained during their break and how to use them in the workplace, CV advice, preparing to return to work, interview skills and a 1:1 coaching session.

Our aim is for candidates to leave feeling empowered and confident about returning to the world of work whilst getting an insight into your company and what you have to offer.

Gender Imbalance Consultancy

I also provide consultancy to organisations keen to address their gender imbalance and embrace more flexible working practices by:

  • Provoking cultural change at Leadership level
  • Identifying both male and female role models to ensure flexible working becomes gender neutral
  • Striving to design flexibility into roles as standard
  • Better supporting and enabling managers to drive flexibility across their teams
  • Collecting data in order to evaluate the success of flexible working practices

Everything we create is completely bespoke and can be tailored to your organisation’s available time, resources and investment.

Please drop me a line on or give me a call on 07990 578180 if you would like more information regarding any of these products and services.