Self-Coaching Strategies: Defining Boundaries

Greetings blog readers,

Going forward, I’ll be posting self-coaching strategies via FBG Talks on a monthly basis. Feel free to reach out if you have topics of interest or want to provide feedback, Thanks for checking out our self-coaching blog content; we hope it helps you take care of you.


When meeting with a colleague recently, we discussed an upcoming initiative and the timeline for completion. It was critical for her to clarify expectations and ensure they were in keeping with the boundaries she set for herself. Upon sharing this with me, I immediately congratulated her on her self-awareness and boundary development.

As an executive coach, one of the first requests I have for a new client is to articulate his or her boundaries in a self-coaching journal. It surprises me how many executives have not previously considered identifying boundaries. The process starts by answering a few questions. I encourage you to schedule 15 minutes on your calendar this week and journal your answers to the questions below. They may surprise you.

What does being ‘my best self’ look like?
What circumstances set me up for success?
When I last felt depleted, what specifically led to my exhaustion?

Based on your responses, establish boundaries resulting in more energy and less stress. The breakthrough comes after the boundaries are clearly written and a line gets crossed. Let’s say you set an intention to have dinner with your family at least 4 nights during the workweek, allowing for one night to work late if needed. The following month, you are invited to three after-hours work events in the same week. This immediately creates thoughts and feelings: perhaps the pressure of attending these events, the disappointment of letting your family down or some combination of the two.

When your boundaries are clear and these opportunities present themselves, pause to consider options. Are the events mandatory? Can a co-worker go instead? If it does require more than one evening in a workweek, how can you prepare your family for the change in advance?

Boundaries are important. Articulating them gives you the ability to self-coach and understand your thoughts and feelings in a deeper way. The process of identifying boundaries clarifies priorities and defines the ingredients necessary to be your best self – the person who can give more, be more and do more. In the end, you decide your boundaries and you decide for what reasons they can be compromised.

Setting boundaries is an important way you take care of you.