Untangle and grow

A blog by Alison Maxwell

Monday, 7 November 2011

Healthy boundaries - issues in coaching

Boundaries seem to have a bit of a bad press - they suggest no go areas or 'thou shalt not's' - and are a bit anathema to conventional coaching which is often about dismantling personal limitations and self-imposed  restrictions.

Yet everyday life is made up of boundaries - the length of reasonable working day, driving on the left (in the UK), or even the time you expect the kids to go to bed. These sort of limitation are not experienced as onus or burdensome, in fact the opposite is often true...without boundaries we often get into trouble. Just think about people whose personal lives have been sacrificed to the job, or cause a crash by veering onto the wrong side of the road, or parents struggling with an impossible teenager

We all need boundaries to define healthy areas of operation and without them we can feel out of control and even powerless. Paradoxically we seem to need to set limits and boundaries for ourselves in order to find freedom to act.

Stressed coaching clients often present with boundary issues - too much work, not enough time, inability to say 'no'. Putting some limits and even 'no go' areas into their lives therefore can be enormously liberating. Now should they choose not to.. well that is a whole different conversation.

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