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3 Ways My Executive Coach Taught Me to Have Better Boundaries

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  • Here's how to create boundaries in professional settings

Source | | Claire Diaz-Ortiz

Last year, when I started working with a new executive coach, she told me outright: I am going to make you send some emails you are uncomfortable with. Her pronouncement came on the heels of the long and sordid story I told her about the many problems with boundary setting that I’ve had in my own professional life. It had gotten me into trouble more times than I could count, I told her, and I needed help.

She promised to do just that. First, though, she reassured me: Everyone struggles with boundaries. And everyone has to work constantly at it to keep building the muscle. Even Brene Brown. Known as “Boundary Brene” to her coworkers, the famed shame and vulnerability researcher has been public about both her strength in setting boundaries and her lapses when failing to do so. When I first saw her speak onstage a decade ago, I remember being impressed when she explained that she required conferences to book her on only direct flights when she traveled to speak. She had little kids at home then, and it was a non-negotiable, she said.

In Dare to Lead, her latest bestseller, she tells a different kind of story. In this one, she is talked into speaking at a conference she doesn’t really want to at terms she definitely isn’t very comfortable with. The outcome is predictable: resentment, frustration, and disappointment — on both sides. Ultimately the experience reinforced for her, more than ever, the critical importance of boundaries.

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