If you want to be a coach or mentor in your field or niche, the first thing you need to do is set up boundaries.
This will brand you immediately as a leader. You may get all excited with your first coaching clients and spend extra time with them. But what does that say to that person? It says you have all the time in the world for them. It also says you will hold their hand. No one learns from having their hand held. It is like doing your kids homework for them.
You need to set up boundaries because people will tend to lean on you.
They will call you without an appointment, Facebook or email you to say that they have called you. They “need” an answer right away and expect you to be at their beck and call. This will cause you a great deal of anxiety as you become a slave to their “urgent” needs. It is also giving them a “free pass” to nag you endlessly.
If you accept this servitude, you’ll be doing their “homework” for them. But worst… you’ll be destroying the very brand you’re trying to build… that of a leader. You won’t be a leader, coach or mentor, but instead only their assistant, their guy or gal Friday. They may even want you to make coffee, lol.
To be a true leader, you need to give information to your clients and challenge them get to the task of implementing what they’ve learned.
So here are some tips for setting boundaries so you won’t get sucked into that void of being a slave to your clients.
1. Make an outline of the services you provide.
2. Keep a firm price point! This all depends on where you are in your business and what you want to do. You can have a low to high price point.
3. Let your clients know when you are available. This means that you need to create a time frame that suits YOU to meet on Google+ or Skype, or wherever you choose.
4. If your client list is growing to the point where you need to coral them… do a webinar! You can take questions via email or Facebook in advance, and then answer those questions on the webinar.
You will certainly get duplicate and overlapping ones. That can help you set the theme of your webinar. Make the webinar a certain time that suits YOU, record it and offer a replay to those who can’t attend live.
5. You can also schedule a Q&A webinar if you like, and answer various questions live. You can do this as little as once a month. Believe me, people really appreciate the live interaction!
6. You need to understand the “needy” people. This is where you have to be firm. Keep a strong mindset here. If they don’t like you because you won’t spend endless hours with them, you really don’t need their business.
7. Remember… “No” is your best friend. We tend to think if we say “no” to a person, something bad will happen. Well actually, if we simply go along with them, it may turn into a disaster. You’ll be letting them be the leader, and they have no idea what they’re doing. Have your rules in place!
8. If a client won’t play by your rules, politely direct them to go elsewhere. This is your business. You are the leader. You cannot lead unless you have control. It is like being a teacher in a classroom. You can’t have the kids running all over the place. They must sit down and listen.
9. Boundaries need to be set also on how much you want to share of your life. This is a personal issue but one to consider before you set up a learning program for your clients.
10. When teaching a group via an interactive webinar or any other platform, don’t give the floor unconditionally to any one participant. There are some people that enjoy “taking over the conversation.” Limit their time and focus, and make that clear.
Don’t allow people to change the subject, start lecturing or use the opportunity as a time to get the group to help them solve their own particular problems. There is nothing worse than getting on a webinar and having someone out of the blue talk, talk, talk! I’ve seen it happen and it distracts from what the learning experience is all about.
Setting boundaries is not a bad thing, in fact it is an essential one. Boundary setting is keeping things in control and will benefit you in the long run. It is a sign of good leadership and people will actually appreciate it.
I’ve been a psychic consultant for many years. Most of my clients are repeat clients that I’ve had for a long time. They seek my counsel on an ongoing basis because they know I am a leader by virtue of the boundaries I have set for them.
They know I will not tell them what to do, but challenge them to make their own decisions based on the intuitive visions and cues I share with them. They know I don’t tell them “this will happen”, but rather, “this is a likely outcome if you choose to take action A, but I see you could have a totally different outcome by choosing action B”.
Now I’ve had clients that wanted me to simply dictate what they should do, and I don’t do that. Or some have wanted me to give them instruction for manipulating people or situations, and I don’t do that either. Consequently, over the years, I’ve had to refuse to work with some people. It’s rare, though it does happen. But as a leader and a consultant, this is my perogative.
As a leader, you must learn to exercise this sort of control, understanding that some people may not like the boundaries you have set, and choose not to work with you.
That’s okay, too. Coaching, mentoring or consulting is a two way street.
The client-coach relationship must be mutually respectful given the boundaries you have clearly set.
Here is my question to you:
Do you have a problem about setting boundaries? Do you feel like you are being too hard on folks, or do you feel like it is a more productive way to do things? I would like to know if you’ve set boundaries in your coaching or consulting business, or which ones you think you’d like to set but have had difficulty doing.
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