Maybe you’ve been thinking about how to set goals in your career path. Maybe you’re interested in learning how to communicate your needs at work. Or maybe you’re wondering how to balance work and parenthood—and what balance could even look like for you. 

We spoke with Stephanie Tishler, Maven Career Coach, about what career coaches do, and what Maven members can expect to learn in a career-coaching session. 

What is a career coach? 

Stephanie Tishler: A career coach partners with you to make changes within your space of work. It can be someone with similar industry experience as you, but not necessarily. Different types of career coaches include: 

  • Career search coach
  • Career transition coach
  • Career development coach

For working parents, a core component of career coaching revolves around balancing work and life. Working parents often put themselves on the back burner. I have a mantra: You can’t take life out of work. So how do you manage it, especially if you’ve got a family, a job, and you’re taking care of yourself? Coaches take a look at the whole person and partner with you to make sure all aspects of your life fire on equal cylinders. You can’t have it all at the same time, but you can have it all. 

What can Maven members expect in their first appointment?

ST: A safe space, a focused session on what it is they’re challenged with, and clarity. And then a brainstorm of what might work and a path to get there. 

What are some of the most common questions you get from Maven members? 

ST: The top thing that people struggle with is communication—or lack of communication—and how to say things. This can look like asking for a raise, telling somebody that you need something from them they’re not providing, or being clear with someone who is reporting to you. 

What’s your favorite piece of advice to give working parents? 

ST: It’s a gift to be able to step into a different role when you go to work. It can be refreshing. You have your home life, which is an entirely different use of your brain. Then you get to go to work and focus on something totally different, which can really reinvigorate you. I think a lot of parents who choose to work and have a family want to find that balance, and I think embracing the different aspects of yourself that can come to life can be really helpful. A lot of people say you shouldn’t bring your work home and you shouldn’t bring your life to work, but the truth is: you bring your whole self with you, wherever you go. 

What is the importance of boundaries for working parents?

ST: So many people struggle with this. I used to think the word “boundaries” was negative, but it’s actually not. Instead of thinking about it as a wall, think about it as a map to the door that you want somebody to enter. If you’re clear about what you’re open to and what you’re not, you’ll find that the right type of person will come knocking on your door. It all boils down to expectations. 

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Any words of wisdom for those struggling to balance work and parenthood? 

ST: I think the biggest piece is to get partner buy-in, whether it’s with your colleagues or your spouse. Partner buy-in is articulating your needs and goals to anyone also contributing to a situation, so your colleagues, somebody on your team, your boss, or your spouse. We often don't say what we need, and then we get really resentful and it just builds on from that. 

Time-blocking is also really important, not only for you and your partner to go out and have time together but for you to have time for self-care. It’s also important for you to be able to feel refreshed when you go back to work. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re in a cycle where you’re not getting a break because then you’re just headed right to burnout. 

What is the biggest misconception about working parents that you would like to dispel? 

ST: I don’t believe in the idea of the “mommy track.” It’s the idea that women are on a path to prioritizing being a mother over everything, which can lead to fewer job opportunities. I want my clients to be able to embrace the fact that they’re parents. We have to dispel the traditional ideas that parents are always going to act a certain way all the time. Parents may prioritize their families over work, and that’s okay. But that doesn’t mean work and family aren’t important to them in different ways.  

Want to explore your goals, challenges, or needs with a Maven Career Coach? Sign up to access Maven today and discover a range of expert career and mental health specialists. 

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