UK executive coaching company, Talking Talent (www.talking-talent.com), has launched Talented Dads, www.talented-dads.com, a new range of executive coaching services to help companies support and retain working fathers and working fathers achieve a better work life balance.
These new coaching programmes are being launched in response to client demand and feedback that men in the workplace are being overlooked, particularly in light of the increase in workplace diversity programmes that focus on minority groups.
The coaching covers key issues such as, Paternity & Executive Coaching for Working Fathers, Manager and HR development and Culture & Policy Change. Clients who have tried the new coaching programmes include Barclays, Citi and Vodafone. As one client put it, “”We had effective schemes for maternity but fathers got less attention. At the time, a fatherhood programme seemed a bit left field, but it was great.”
The new fatherhood programmes will be particularly popular this year, as legislation that extends the current paternity leave comes in on 3rd April 2011, and the government has announced it may extend paternity leave further from six to ten months. The coaching will help men handle better all issues around paternity – from communicating they are to become fathers, through to managing their workloads when taking leave, handling the expectations of their clients, colleagues and managers and finding the right work/life balance post paternity leave.
In November 2010, Talking Talent conducted research amongst new fathers and fathers to be which showed there is an appetite for men to take extended paternity leave. The survey revealed that nearly half (46 percent) of fathers would take advantage of the new shared parental leave, which comes into force in April 2011. One third (33 percent) of survey respondents said they don’t plan to use the leave, and 18 percent were undecided. It highlighted too that men have some of the same fears as women when it comes to taking leave from work including financial worries, concerns about handing over their responsibilities and that their career progress will suffer or they may be sidelined if they take more time off.
Chris Parke, co-founder and director of Talking Talent says, “Increasingly, working fathers are an overlooked group within businesses and they need more support. Many men desire to spend more time with the family, but they will often encounter challenges including extreme working environments and unconscious biases around working fathers. The challenge of trying to attain the right work-life balance can lead to low employee engagement levels and issues around career momentum. Our coaching programmes are designed to help companies engage and retain their working fathers, paying particular attention to key milestones such as paternity leave.”
“With the new paternity legislation on the horizon, companies will need to pay greater attention to how they work with men and women who want to take extended parental leave. Yes, they will need to create new policies and be more flexible, but they may need to change their working culture fundamentally to support them. As our research shows more men would take extended paternity leave if it were financially feasible and their career development wouldn’t suffer. Clearly businesses will have a major role to play and need to start thinking now about how the legislation will impact their business and put measures in place to ensure they can handle the changes.”