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How Boundaries Make You a Better Coach with Caitlin Peay Smith, Ep. 89 Buzzing with Ms. B: The Coaching Podcast

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Do you struggle to set boundaries when coaching teachers?

On this episode of The Coaching Podcast, we explore how boundaries make you a better coach. 

Caitlin Peay Smith from How to Get Away with Teaching joins me to discuss ways to set limits and how modeling boundaries helps teachers. We also discuss why we should say no to some things and how to say it without feeling guilty.

Whatever It Takes

When I first started teaching there was a huge banner in the cafeteria that said, “Whatever It Takes”. Teachers and coaches are expected to do whatever it takes to get the job done. We are passionate about our work and do much more than required in our contracts. This can lead to overwhelm and burnout.

We’ve created a culture of yes in schools that does not prioritize the staff’s health or well-being. To change this Caitlin suggests we examine our beliefs and get comfortable saying “No”.

How Boundaries Make You a Better Coach

During the episode, Caitlin and I discuss boundaries, which she defines as, “a promise that you make to yourself and that inherently teaches other people how to treat you.” We discuss why telling people no allows you to say yes to yourself.

When you say no to certain commitments, you can show up for other roles and be better prepared for your work. Some folks will be disappointed, but in the long run, you’re taking care of yourself and that makes you a better coach.

Caitlin explains that it’s helpful to reframe limits. Instead of thinking that they take away from your work, see them as protecting you. You’re putting something in place that protects your peace, health, and energy so you don’t overextend yourself. This mindset shift will help you get more comfortable with deciding what you take on at school.

Setting Boundaries as an Instructional Coach 

It can be difficult to set limits. Caitlin shares her tips and tricks for setting coaching boundaries. Below are a few of the ideas she shared on the show. Check out the entire episode to hear all the details.

1. Ask for support 

Coaches are expected to do more than is possible in a day. When you’re given a new task, ask the administration how to prioritize it. This will help both of you evaluate how important the new item is and what can go from your already full workload.

2. Have a hard stop time

Stop accepting calls and checking your emails at night. You deserve a life and free time. Communicate with teachers that you turn off your phone at a certain time. Modeling this behavior may help teachers set boundaries with parents and administration.

3. Schedule office hours

Letting teachers have access to you all the time can be draining. One way to prevent this is to have scheduled office hours. Set expectations at the beginning of the year and revisit the schedule in January to make any tweaks.

4. Say NO and don’t feel guilty 

Educators have internalized beliefs about what it takes to be a great teacher or coach. This makes it hard for us to say no. We need to take some time to reflect and unpack these feelings because they can lead to guilt. Let’s unlearn our beliefs that don’t serve us and get comfortable with saying “No”.

5. Get an accountability buddy

Caitlin suggests letting your buddy know your boundaries and asking them to help you stick with them. For example, if you want to stop working late every day, you can have a friend check in at an agreed time to make sure you don’t stay too late. Our Coffee and Coaching Membership is a great place to find a buddy if you need one.

My Challenge to You

Setting limits and keeping them will make you a better coach. 

I want you to think about if have healthy boundaries. 

Can you name them?

I invite you to find one thing that might be improved if you created a firm boundary in your coaching work. When you come up with an idea for something you’re going to try out, share it on my Instagram, Twitter, or both.

If you want some more ideas for self-care, be sure to sign up for the FREE Self-Care Checklist below.

Ready to listen? You can listen below with the media player, or search for Buzzing with MS. B: The Coaching Podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts!

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Learn more

Thank you for listening to Buzzing with Ms. B: the Coaching Podcast. Want more coaching ideas?

Check me out at buzzingwithmsb.com and on Instagram @buzzingwithmsb.

If you love the show, share it with a coach who would love it too, or leave me a review on iTunes! It’s free and it helps others find this show, too. Happy coaching!

Podcast produced by Fernie Ceniceros

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