Your coaching program can include lessons on business and on personal development. By working on some of their more personal issues, networkers can make significant changes that help them to be even more effective in their businesses. If your people are willing to focus on both of these areas simultaneously, they will likely create better results with less time, effort and struggle.

I use many different personal development concepts in my own coaching. One I have found to be very valuable to network marketers is the concept of setting boundaries.


Putting Up With It

Have you been “putting up” with negative or draining behavior from others on your team? Do people call you at all hours of the day and night to use you as the “complaint department” or 24-hour resource center? Do your leaders make promises to participate in meetings, conference calls or three-way calls—and then not show up? How many excuses do you get when you inquire about your team’s prospecting activity?

Network marketers put up with a lot—but is it a necessary part of the business? Absolutely not. One way to put a stop to this behavior is to install some “boundaries” to protect yourself.

What is a boundary? It is a definition or defined limitation that you put in place to protect yourself from the negative or draining behavior of others. Consider it as an invisible line that you draw around yourself to protect you (and your heart!) from stuff other people do that bothers you and saps your strength, attention and endurance. Installing such boundaries can help you focus on building your business without being dragged down by draining or negative people on your team.

Here are a few simple steps to help you set boundaries:


Decide What You Will No Longer Tolerate In Your Business

What are you no longer willing to put up with from your team? What behaviors have you been tolerating that are causing you frustration or costing you money? Get clear on what is no longer acceptable behavior from people in your business. You have the right to do this; in fact, you are being a great role model for others by doing so.


Inform and Educate People When Their Behavior Is Inappropriate

Most people do not realize it when they are behaving in a manner that may be hurtful to someone else. They aren’t being willfully disrespectful or insensitive, they are simply unaware. As a leader, be willing to educate and inform your people if they are unwittingly out of line.

Obviously, you want to do this with some grace and elegance. One way to gently start a dialogue is to use phrases such as, “I really enjoy working with you, and there is a challenge I want to discuss with you. You may not be aware of this, but….”

Discuss the challenge as neutrally and compassionately as possible. Most people are more than willing to create a change in their behavior if they are approached and treated in a respectful manner.


Make A Request

Once you have informed people what they are doing, be willing to make a request of them.
Ask them as simply and specifically as possible to behave
differently. The more specific your request, the more people will follow and honor it. For example:

“Bob, I would like to request that you call me during my usual business hours to handle this question. Then I will be able to better help you with it.”

“Joan, let me make a quick request. In the future, if you commit to being on a call, please keep your word and show up. I ask this of you because I really want you to be successful.”

When making requests of your people, ask them if they are willing to honor your new boundary. If they agree, it's likely that things will change quickly. If not, at least you know exactly how they feel and you can decide at what level you want to work with them in the future.


I recommend making boundaries one of the first lessons you weave into your coaching program. Ask your leaders to identify what they have been tolerating from the people on their team and where they could set some boundaries. Suggest that they start small and get some practice setting boundaries before moving on to bigger issues with their team.

It can take some patience, grace and even a sense of humor to set boundaries effectively, but it’s well worth the effort. If you’re willing to take on this sometimes-challenging work, your business will benefit greatly—and you will inspire others on your team to do the same. n



Sonia Stringer ( offers
free coaching classes and a
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for network marketers.