Can we talk about boundaries for a second? Specifically, how the business boundaries we’re taught in coach training programs don’t really vibe in the real world?
As coaches, we’re taught to never go over time in a client session because it’s bad business to give away our time for free.
We’re taught to give ourselves a time buffer before each session.
We should leave time to complete a ritual of our choosing to clear our minds before the next client.
We’re encouraged to have specific hours that we work with clients- and if they’re really interested in working with us, they’ll make it work.
But we know that’s not always how things go down.
Especially as a wellness coach working with people who you know need your help. Clients are hurting, their happiness and livelihood is being threatened by their health challenge – and you know you can help.
So what happens when those business boundaries we’re taught don’t really match up with helping our clients?
When I worked with clients who were newly diagnosed with MS, I felt like a bad coach if I didn’t offer flexible hours for people who needed it. Even though it meant I coached someone when it wasn’t a good time for me.
I would feel guilty if I didn’t run the session a little longer because my client was crying or having a huge breakthrough that I couldn’t interrupt.
I would shuffle my time around to fit someone in, even if that meant some days I only had time to refill my water and pee in between sessions.
My default was “yes, I’d love to help you,” even when my calendar was full.
I was constantly second-guessing the boundaries I learned in coach training. They didn’t seem to fit with my clients, who had a lot of unique needs while they were learning how to regain control of their lives after a diagnosis.
And when I was feeling overtired, I would convince myself this is the work of having your own business — that I should just suck it up and find another time to pay attention to myself. I was making good money – so who was I to complain?
The result was that I burned out because I wasn’t looking after myself in the ways I should. I was putting my client’s time, their energy, and their wellness above my own.
This is common among wellness coaches.
You want to be an example of what’s possible, but find yourself bending your boundaries when it comes to your business and serving your clients.
No one taught me how to cut off a session on time while holding space for a client in tears. There was no manual telling me how to not guilt myself into seeing someone who needs my help even if it’s during a time I need for myself.
I truly thought those types of boundaries didn’t apply to me.
I thought they only worked for business coaches working on strategy.
But boundaries are more important than ever when you’re working with someone on their wellness – especially when you’re also taking care of your own health issues.
Of course, because you want to model upholding good boundaries. But more importantly, because many wellness coaches are living with the same health challenges that their clients struggle with. And, as a coach, you need to look after your own wellness first.
That’s why wellness coaches do what they do. Because they’ve overcome a certain health challenge and want to help their clients do the same – avoiding the same mistakes they’ve made along the way.
It can be tricky to uphold boundaries with your clients while also holding boundaries for your own health and, let’s face it – your businesses’ health as well.
There’s a way to have amazing client relationships while safeguarding your boundaries. You have to look at yourself, your clients, and your business in a completely different way.
You need to-
-Take an honest look at your priorities in business- such as time, money and energy.
-Understand your long term vs. short term goals and hoe they fit with your urgency to provide a service.
-Know exactly why you want to be in business to begin with – like the real if no one were looking why, not the pretty, socially acceptable why.
There has to be a new mind management system put in place before you can effortlessly uphold guilt-free boundaries with your clients.
But once you get that shift, creating and upholding boundaries that apply to you are so much easier.
Good boundaries are a game-changer for your business. You just have to know how they apply to you.