Mastering the Art of Setting Boundaries

You spend a large chunk of your life coaching others toward health and wellness, so it’s important you create a healthy balance that also allows you to thrive without burning out. My advice?

Protect your time!

Your time is precious, so don’t be afraid to guard it…fiercely. Whether it’s setting limits on meeting times, carving out uninterrupted work hours, sharing your availability or prioritizing tasks– be sure to set boundaries that will allow you to perform your best.

Bonus: You model good behavior for clients as well.

The Art of Setting Boundaries: Strategies for Success

Remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup, so be sure to make self-care a non-negotiable part of your routine. Set boundaries that will allow you to pause, recharge, reduce stress and do things that give you energy. Below are some examples.

  • Time Management: Prioritize and protect your professional time. Clearly define work hours, establish focused work periods, and communicate your availability to clients and colleagues. This ensures you can dedicate your best efforts to client sessions while preserving personal time for rest and rejuvenation.
  • Communication Guidelines: Set expectations for communication with clients. Specify how and when they can reach you and establish protocols for emergency situations. This helps manage clients’ expectations and supports a structured approach to your coaching practice.
  • Workload Balance: Discuss and negotiate your workload with supervisors or, if self-employed, set realistic goals for client intake. This prevents overcommitment and ensures each client receives the attention and care they deserve.
  • Personal Life Protection: Make clear distinctions between work and personal life. Inform clients and colleagues of your off-hours to prevent work from encroaching on your personal time, crucial for mental health and overall well-being.
Sample Scripts to Share With Clients

Need a little kickstart? Try the following scripts in your own professional life and share with clients.

Setting Communication Expectations: “Hey team, I’m excited to dive into this project with you all! Just a heads up though, I’m carving out some ‘focus time’ during the day to really nail down my tasks. I won’t be as responsive on the Slack group chat, but please feel free to ping me directly if something is urgent.

Managing Workload: “Morning [Manager], hope you’re doing well! I’m 100% on board with this new project, but I’ve got a bunch on my plate. Mind if we have a quick chat about prioritizing tasks? I want to make sure I’m giving everything the attention it deserves without spreading myself too thin.

Getting Time Back: “Hi [Coworker], hope your day’s off to a good start! I have a few deliverables due tomorrow and realize I need some uninterrupted blocks of time to make it happen. Can we move our catch-up meeting to later this week? I’d appreciate it big time!”

Clarifying Availability: “Hi team, I’m making a conscious effort to prioritize my personal time outside of work hours. Unless it’s super urgent, I’ll be offline and unplugged after [insert end time]. I’ll be sure to address anything sent after this time first thing in the morning.

Setting boundaries with family: “Hey guys, I need some space to unwind after work. Can we hold off on family discussions until after dinner today? I’ve had a hectic day, and I’d really appreciate some quiet time to decompress before diving into anything else. Once I’ve had a chance to recharge, I’ll be more than ready to catch up and chat with everyone.”

Setting boundaries with friends: “Hey boo! I’m trying to cut back on late-night calls. Can we catch up during the day instead? I’ve been finding it hard to wind down in the evenings lately, and I think having our chats during the day would be more beneficial for both of us. Plus, it gives us a chance to enjoy our conversations without feeling rushed 🙂

Setting boundaries with your partner: “Hey babe, I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the household responsibilities lately. Can we sit down and discuss how we can divide them more evenly? I want us both to feel supported and appreciated in our relationship, and I think finding a better balance in our chores could really help with that.”

Setting boundaries with your kids: Hey munchkin, I love our playtime, but Mom/Dad needs a break to finish some chores. How about we have a little break, and then we can dive back into our fun activities?”

For health coaches, mastering the art of setting boundaries is not merely a professional requirement but a personal necessity. By establishing clear limits, coaches not only protect their well-being but also reinforce their ability to guide their clients toward healthier lives. This guide serves as a starting point for health coaches to reflect on their current practices and consider how strategic boundary setting can elevate their coaching practice.

Ariel Belgrave, an award-winning health and fitness expert and business advisor, founded Gym Hooky after over a decade in corporate HR for Fortune 100 companies like JPMorgan and Facebook. Her L.E.A.N Method has empowered thousands of women globally to embrace healthy, sustainable habits. She’s renowned for creating wellness programs that blend HR insights with health expertise, significantly enhancing employee engagement and inclusivity. Ariel’s impact is highlighted across major media, including Good Morning America, NBC, and Women’s Health Magazine. She also contributes to Women’s Health Magazine’s board and is an Under Armour sponsored athlete. F

Find out more about engaging Ariel for speaking opportunities.

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