Emma Kangis a coach who now lives in Sevenoaks, Kent is Mum to Sophia (3 years old) and Thomas (7 months) and wife to Chris. They moved to Sevenoaks to start a family after living and working in London for 17 years.
Tell us a little bit about what you do…
I’ve always been the go to person for those wanting to chat about obstacles in their lives and without telling someone what to do or how to do it, I encourage them to think and make vital decisions. People feel far more empowered and confident in their choices if they make these themselves.
Coaching provides not only a sounding board but also tools to enable people to get from A (where they currently are) to B (where they want to be).
I’m fortunate that I get to meet so many different people who want to make a change for the better and have the motivation to start somewhere in order to achieve their goal.
Have you always been a coach and how did you start out?
I spent nearly 20 years working within the Media and Music industry within business development and project management, managing and supporting individuals and teams globally.
In 2012, I qualified with CTI (Coaches Training Institute, an ICF accredited training organisation) in and proceeded to also train in Organisation and Relationship Systems Coaching, with CRR Global. I was able to coach alongside my role at Universal Music and then decided to take the leap and focus solely on my coaching business.
My work involves Executive and Personal coaching and my clients are predominantly women in leadership roles and those who are going on, are in the middle of or are returning from maternity leave.
How do you go about juggling a career/mum life?
It is tricky and hard work but I think the key is being true to your values and what is important to you. I write lists and prioritise and I accept that some days do not go according to plan.
I’m fortunate that I have family living close by and I feel comfortable asking for help. At first, I found accepting childcare quite challenging, as I felt guilty spending time away from my children working, but having this as an option does mean I am able to continue a career that I feel passionately about.
I make sure that I get the balance right between my work and my home life and that I remain focused on whichever role I assume at the time, i.e. coaching or being a mum.
Retaining a good balance entails being organised, so personally I find planning is key.
Taking time out to be just me, (neither coach nor mum), is essential. This could be sitting in a coffee shop watching the world go by, reading a magazine, or spending time with my husband or friends. A sneaky spa day is always appreciated!
Do you think most women could benefit from coaching? (maybe elaborate a bit here, give some examples of scenarios that women would come to you for advice)
Coaching creates a catalyst for change. How often do we sit and talk about ourselves at length? However comfortable we may feel about who we are or about what we do in our lives, we all need reassurance from time to time. It’s always helpful to vocalise the thoughts and ideas buzzing around in our minds, in order to take these to the next step and make them a reality.
Coaching enables a person to have a different perspective on topics they wish to discuss. Sometimes stepping out of your comfort zone can achieve great results. With all the different roles we have to play, it can be easy to lose our own identity and self-worth. One of my clients was worried about returning to the work place and being able to resume her senior leadership role that she was fulfilling before she had her children. She needed to remind herself of her abilities and know that she could return confidently and embrace change without feeling as though she had been left behind while on maternity leave.
The most common topic women wish to address is lack of confidence and coaching can help in making the right life choices and decisions. It also helps women find the right balance for them.
Being a parent brings huge challenges and changes which are difficult to imagine before you have children. Some people slot in to parenthood really easily while others find they struggle with this new way of life. Relationships can be affected and being able to discuss this openly in a trusting coaching environment can alleviate any concerns that may arise. Being able to simply download general thoughts can be a great help.
Do you have any tips for mums returning to work and how to adjust?
Number 1 piece of advice is to prepare. This doesn’t have to take up too much of your time but knowing as much as possible before you go back will help to achieve an easier transition. For example, make a list of questions that you can pose to your line Manager, colleagues and stake holders about any change in company culture, strategy, future plans etc. Find out if there are changes to your team or new people that you will be working with. Don’t presume that things will be the same as when you left to go on maternity leave.
I highly recommend using your Keep in Touch days if these are offered. If they are not, request them. As well as catching up with your colleagues for coffee and a natter, make use of these days wisely. Plan who you would like to meet and discuss topics of conversation that you know will be of use to you when you return.
Be honest with how you are feeling and how the ‘ideal’ working scenario looks like to you? Think about the hours you would like to work, your workload and if you need to speak to a Manager about this, how would you like the conversation to go? You may also wish to think about how you would like to communicate your return to work. Set realistic objectives that you know you can achieve.
Once at work, if you haven’t already got one, find a mentor who you can go to for support. Perhaps somebody who has returned from maternity leave and has shared experiences of being a mum returning to work.
Remember to not be hard on yourself if you feel different from how you used to, e.g. nervous, a feeling of low self-esteem, lack of self-identity. This is very normal and most women find that once back at work the anxiety they may have felt soon diminishes. Most women enjoy having some ‘me’ time even if that is a 15 minute train journey in to work or being able to drink an entire cup of tea and completing a conversation with no toddler interruptions!
Returning to work after maternity leave can be a new, enjoyable chapter in your life and balancing your career and being a mum is perfectly possible.
What’s your coaching style?
My clients say that I am warm, personable, non-judgemental and a great listener. My coaching style is straight forward, collaborative and engaging. I ask powerful, thought provoking questions and target areas that need focus and direction swiftly.