What do I mean by boundaries? These are the rules of any relationship, what you will and won’t do.
This is usually easiest to do at the start of a relationship – but it doesn’t always go that way.
Perfect example. One of my coaching clients, Sarah, called me in distress last week. She was working with a client who was stuck and struggling. Sarah was going above and beyond to be helpful and supportive. In truth, she was going so far above and beyond that now her client was calling her several times a day and at all hours of the day and night. Sarah didn’t know how to stop this without being ‘mean’.
Right away, I told Sarah that this was not being mean! By not setting clear boundaries she was damaging her client-coach relationship. Sarah’s lack of boundaries was allowing the client to stay stuck and repeat dysfunctional behaviors. But just not answering the phone was not the best strategy.
A better plan was to communicate clearly with her client the boundaries of their relationship and why it’s so important to have these boundaries. She needed to clarify them for herself so that she could explain them to her client. I advised her to set up a scheduled session as soon as possible and set her boundaries coming from a place of honesty, not anger or annoyance.
How did it turn out? It’s not important how it turned out! What’s important was that Sarah saw for the first time why having clear boundaries was crucial. She had never suspected boundaries were at the heart of the problem.
Does hearing Sarah’s story make you think that a relationship issue you are having with a client, a boss or an employee may, in fact, be a boundary issue and not a personality clash?
Comment below and tell me what you are struggling with right now. I will help you see how boundaries are at play and how to fix this so that you can have clear, healthy relationships.