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