Adopts appropriate behaviour that respects ethical boundaries within a given group of learnersEffectively managing one‘s own emotions in training situations; respecting ethical boundaries vis-á-vis learnersKnowledge of ethical boundariesUnderstanding and facilitating individual and group learning process

Tools to establish professional boundaries between participants and trainers

Setting professional boundaries as a trainer is a challenging task especially for a trainer who (is) begging his professional path. To be able to do it you have to have practical tools and recommendations.

Why did I choose this tool?

Professional boundaries are an internal compass which helps to understand how to behave in difficult training situation or individual interventions with participants. This tool will provide practical hints and recommendations on how to develop professional boundaries with a group of participants and how the team of trainers can help each other.

How does this apply to being a trainer?

Tools to establish professional boundaries with participants will help you to better understand your role as a trainer. These basic tools help to prepare for challenging situations and create a support system which can help during training.

Main content:

Read through to get some ideas and techniques for Creating & Maintaining Healthy Professional Boundaries in the training settings:

  1. In the beginning of a training course establish a clear learning agreement with the group of participants and clarify your role as a trainer and your availability, when and how participants can approach you for answering questions.
  2. When boundary issues or warning signs appear, address these issues with the participant individually or in front of the group (if it is linked to several people in the group). Be sensitive to their feelings while doing this; emphasize the importance of and your commitment to maintaining healthy boundaries.
  3. Self-disclosure: if you do decide to tell something personal about yourself to the participants, ensure that the information is related to the participants’ goals. Too much self-disclosure shifts the focus from the participants to the trainer and can confuse the participants in terms of roles and expectations of the relationship.
  4. Realize that how a participant interprets your words and actions might not match what you were trying to say. With these sensitive relationships, you may need to frequently clarify your role and boundaries. This will also give the client an opportunity to ask clarifying questions.
  5. Use your supervisor and colleague-trainers as a sounding board when you have questions or concerns regarding boundaries, and especially when boundary issues are impacting your ability to provide quality training service.
  6. Dual relationships: If you had a personal relationship with a participant before becoming the client’s service provider, realize that you must use your professional judgment when interacting with the participant in social settings. Pay particular attention to the participant’s confidentiality as well as his/her emotional security. It is important not to show more attention to the particular participant.
  7. If you are working with a team of trainers, remember to promote and role model positive, open communication and respectful sharing of information. Trust that the team members are fulfilling their roles as service providers, and remember that you cannot “do and be everything” for your participants.
  8. Take care of yourself! Make sure you are getting enough sleep, eating well, being physically active (ex. going for a walk, maybe exercising), reflecting with colleague trainers, communicating with family. Create your rituals, training routine which would help you to have personal time for yourself during training (ex. reading a book, watching a movie during the evening).

Reflection questions:

Which strategies you and your teams of trainers already use in your practice as trainers?

Plan how you will integrate the tools above in your training practice.

Reflect how are you taking time for yourself during the training course?

Think of 3 things, which you could do for yourself (to support your mental health in training situations)?

Author of the article: Nerjus Miginis

In the last decade has contributed to youth work development in Lithuania by co-designing the youth worker certification system, running pilot youth worker trainings, making analysis of youth work implementation in Lithuania (2015). Nerijus has done work in the field of participation, community development and promotion of democracy for the Active Citizens program by the British Council in Lithuania, the CoE Committee of Regions in Ukraine, the Vestfold-Telemark county and NAV in Norway. For the last decade Nerijus is conducting training courses for educators on non-formal education, value education through sport in cooperation with the Lithuanian National Olympic committee (LTOK) and other Institutions. Nerijus is co-founder and expert at the Institute for Policy Research and Analysis in Lithuania. He as a master’s degree in Education Sciences from the University of Vilnius.

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Editor: Donatas Petkauskas

is professional supervisor, coach and experiential learning trainer, having more than 15 years of experience in consulting various organizations and individuals, creating and conducting training course on national and international levels. Donatas has extensive experience in non-formal education, training of youth workers and trainers. He is working in the field of non-formal education since 2003, since 2004 he is a member of trainers pool of Lithuanian National Agency (currently an alumni).

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the tool was developed using training materials found online on the web page : Cloud Front from Ual BertaPhoto from Pexels
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