How to set Healthy Boundaries as a Mentor

The Mentor Training

By holding space and witnessing someone without judgement mentors help them to feel when they are not able to and thereby regulate their emotions and experiences. Mentors and their clients co-regulate by being calm, loving and compassionate. This allows people to liberate themselves from their “self” stories and narratives by being held accountable.

It’s a close relationship based on trust and commitment towards the client’s growth, and whether it’s the first or 100th call or client, the mentor, the space holder, must have a clear awareness of their own capacity. Healthy boundaries allow the mentor to hold a clean space dedicated to their clients.

Who are Mentors?

When speaking of mentors, especially those who follow The Mentor Training method, we are referring to people who:

  • teach their clients how to turn inward, developing self-knowledge and self-trust that respects and honours the client’s unique experience.
  • help their clients establish desires, goals and intentions using your unique skills in your field as frameworks to map out their path and life.
  • combine their understandings of life, career, spirituality, physical and emotional wellness, personal and professional style, and much more to guide them towards what they most need.
  • give recommendations on supporting themselves in a range of holistic ways sharing handouts, rituals, readings, practices, meditations and more.
  • value rites of passage that every human being moves through at various junctures of their lives and offers them support in moving through the challenges those present.
  • are intuition + body + mind led. Allowing the innate intelligence of nature to inform their approach within a structured psychology-based framework of compassion, trauma-aware space holding and nervous system regulation.
  • facilitate a remembrance of the inner wisdom each human holds that we as a collective have lost.
  • believe and affirm their client’s experience, encouraging self-trust and a sense of safety in their body.
  • value imagination, visualisation, creativity, play, pleasure, rest and fun as powerful tools for transformation and deep listening as the most important coaching skill of all.
  • know when to refer on. Mentors never take on something that they are not expertly qualified in and pass clients on to those who can hold space for some of the stickier challenges of life.

Mentors don’t tell their clients what to do. They don’t diagnose, prescribe or perform.

Mentors bring people home to themselves. And to each other.

There has never been a better time to start a career in this industry or to build on your existing skills as a space holder, coach, facilitator, practitioner or anyone working with people.


In Psychology, we describe boundaries as an invisible line you draw around yourself to identify what is acceptable behaviour, and what is unacceptable behaviour. 

Boundaries can come in many forms and they are meant to protect your emotional space, your energy and your priorities.

Even though setting boundaries can be challenging for some, it is important to communicate these to those around you, including yourself. This is especially important because it’s linked to your self-respect, so if you allow yourself to break these boundaries, you’re more likely to allow others to do the same.

Healthy boundaries are a crucial component of self-care. That’s because “in work or in our personal relationships, poor boundaries lead to resentment, anger, and burnout.” Generally, not setting boundaries for yourself can lead to stress in many aspects of your life. Healthy boundaries can have many benefits, including helping people make decisions based on what is best for them, not just the people around them.

For people with a strong empathic side, like mentors, setting boundaries is a vital skill to learn and practice.

Setting & Communicating Boundaries

The first step to setting healthy boundaries is getting clear on what you need and what you want. Reflect on the boundaries already in place and what’s missing from them.

Figure out what you need from various relationships and in various environments and then communicate them to other people.

Your boundaries are your non-negotiables so don’t start negotiating them. State them respectfully, gracefully and firmly – there is no need to explain. 

Keep the focus on yourself through ‘I statements’. For example, instead of telling your clients ‘You have to stop calling me in the evening’, tell them that ‘I need time for myself and my family in the evenings so I won’t be checking my messages’. 

For many who are not used to setting healthy boundaries, this process will feel uncomfortable in the beginning. For people who tend to put others first, you might even feel guilty or ashamed, to begin with. For others, you might fear rejection or confrontation. 

Don’t expect perfection from the start but practice saying your boundaries. Make a list and practice them alone by articulating them out loud. And then practice on others, step by step, starting with the smallest things.  

Learning to set healthy boundaries is a skill that takes time so allow yourself space to practice, to make mistakes and do it at your own pace. 

You are only responsible for communicating your boundaries clearly, you’re not responsible for the reaction of the other person. False responsibility leads to all kinds of shame and guilt, and the first step is to recognise it and accept it. So say it again, loud and proud.

You are not responsible for other people’s reactions. 

Appropriate boundaries look different for each of us in different environments but it’s important to set boundaries in all aspects of your life.

Your emotional capacity

Before you enter into any mentoring relationship, whether this is your first client or your 100th, it’s smart to have a clear awareness of your own capacity. 

How much time can you offer to this client? What about your other obligations? How do you assure that you’re not stretching yourself too thin? What will you do if things get emotionally demanding? What exactly is “emotionally demanding” for you?

There are many important questions you should ask yourself when it comes to understanding your limits.

At The Mentor Training, we are developing and delivering something that is both new and ancient, we would love to welcome your wisdom into this space.

Learn more about mentoring and why it’s the career move of 2023 by joining a free masterclass Tuesday 28th February at 8 pm BST. Register here.