Category Archives: Bodyguard M'hammed Soumayah

Being a Close Protection Operative: Your relationship with the client

Sometimes maybe you wonder what kind of relationship you are allowed to have with your client because of the nature of your profession. You are spending many hours with him, sometimes good moments, sometimes bad. You are the one who is in presence in his important business meeting, or in his ‘’private and personal meetings’’. So what is the role of you in those kinds of situations?

I have been asked many times by new professionals how they can deal those kinds of challenges. ‘’what if my client asked me to go for a drink with him? Should I accept?’’ or ‘’ what if my client ask me to do things that are out of my responsibilities?’’.

If you are a female close protection operative then be prepared to deal with even more difficult situations.

First of all, it is very important and primary action when you accept a job proposal to do all the necessary Intel about your client’s case. Try to learn as many information you can about the client, his/her family and professional background, (in our days with the internet is very easy to gain a lot of information). Do your own research on the threat level, no matter what client is revealing about the threat he/she is dealing you need to do your own threat assessment based on your work education and experience, so you know what situation you are dealing and most important what is the threat level.

Times are hard and security industry is a cut throat work industry…but you must not accept any position just because someone is paying you well. Ask from your client to be honest with you, you are there not to make him reveal his secrets and feel embarrassing but to understand the true risks and take action. There are different risks levels for different people (pop stars, politicians, businessmen).

After you have done your threat assessment ask from your client to have a conversation, explain him the real situation, don’t hesitate that you will make him be afraid. He needs to know exactly what he is dealing with and what else he may need to do, or what different actions he need to take. After he has understood the threat level, explain him what are your responsibilities. Don’t rely on the fact he has worked before with previous close protection operatives and he will know. Also do not expect all your suggestions on security matter that will be taken into consideration from all the clients, some are open to hear from security professionals and trust their opinion, some let’s say will give you just few ‘’tools’’ to work with and you have to adjust to it.

During your working hours you have to be serious and pay attention on your duty, not paying attention to the lady at the bar.

You are not there to eavesdrop when your client has business meetings or any other dates.  Whatever you see or hear during your duty remain secret. This is something you have to mention to your client. We don’t talk about our client’s personal life or professional details to others (remember how unprofessional is for some bodyguards to reveal their ex clients personal hot details to the press after they have been fired or quit, if you were in a need of a bodyguard would you hire someone like them? I’m sure you not). First is not ethical, second is not professional, third it will cost you your reputation in security industry.

Keep secret from others the identity of your client. Even if it is ex client, don’t brag about who your client was. If someone wants to hurt him he will come to you for details. So silence and privacy are the most important characteristic of your job.

As a close protection operative your job is to protect client’s life and image. You are not there to: take your clients clothes from laundry, carrying his briefcase, shopping bags, etc. How can you protect his life when you are carrying his briefcase? How long it will take you to drop the briefcase and take out your gun to shoot if it’s needed? It sound unprofessional but we are seeing it even today that some colleagues are doing it.

Don’t be afraid to say NO when you are asked to perform duties which are out of your role, the client is hiring a bodyguard not a maitre or a battler. It makes you more professional to deny something like this instead of accepting it and put in danger his and your life. He has hired you to provide security services not any other kind of services.

That’s why it is very important you earn your clients professional respect. He must see you as an educated, well trained, experienced and professional person, and that’s only up to you to earn it. If your client respects you then any of your suggestions over the work are will be accepted by him positively.

Keep secret from others the identity of your client. Even if it is ex client, don’t brag about who your client was. If someone wants to hurt him he will come to you for details. So silence and privacy are the most important characteristic of your job.

Now what about your relationship with your client? Should it be strictly professional or also include a friendly relationship?

To be honest being in this profession for 11 years now, I have found it hard to answer it myself. Every one of us, client or close protection operative, we are different, have different social background and if you add to that a different culture then be ready to deal more difficulties.

What I use to do far now is imagine there is a line, on the left is the Strictly Professional, and on the right is Friendly. I decide to operate somewhere in the middle. From my personal experience I found out when I was acting strictly professional the client was ‘’afraid’’, my position there was to make them feel safe but when you appear ‘’untouchable’’ they believe you don’t understand their fear or you don’t feel what they’re going through. It is very important for them to feel you understand them. Is not easy to be the client….Sometimes they will open up and talk to you and you must show you can hear them.

From the other side if you go on the right side and be Friendly…then automatically your professionalism level will be down on your client’s eyes, not because he doesn’t trust you anymore but because your professional suggestions in future won’t be dealing as in a serious way. Have in mind how Psychologists work, they cannot offer professional counseling to people who belong in their family or friends and one of the reasons is that’s because sometimes listening someone who is out of your environment and an expert in that specific part gives his words more credibility and makes him more reliable.

Not to mention if you pass the friendly level, your client will start to ask for favors or do things out of your duties again.

It is understood that you may have to have many hours with the same person, your client. Can you start and have a friendly chat or gossip? NO, talk to him only when he talks to you or you have to say something that include his safety. During the hours you are spending with him you may need to have lunch together, this is ok, but remember to pay at the beginning in case you need to leave quickly. Your relation also with his family members will have to be the same. Don’t look too friendly cause both of you will be emotional involved and maybe it can cost you your viability. Don’t look too untouchable because he will think you don’t care. Have a middle position toward your client which is addressed by professionalism.

Alcohol? Well we don’t have to mention why it is forbidden during your duty hours. But if your client calls you for a drink or coffee while you’re not on duty what would you do? In that case you have to have in mind why he is calling you? Does he see you as a friend or do you think he is flirting with you or he just want to talk about your work? You have to take the decision by using your common sense and professionalism.

And last but sometimes the most dangerous trap a close protection operative may fall is to have sexual relationship with his client or the client’s wife. Remember Kevin Costner in the Bodyguard movie sleeping with his client? Oh yes art sometimes copy real life.

Being emotionally involved with your client no matter how unprofessional we see it, it has happened with some colleagues. We can’t judge someone’s heart, but we must make you aware that in a relationship like this the one who is in a negative position is the client. And that’s because he/she is ‘’depended’’ on you. Just imagine it as a relationship doctor-client. However if you think you found the love of your life, someone else can take your professional place and you can always protect them from another perspective.

Now if you are a female close protection operative then you better be prepared to deal also with some cases of sexual harassment, either from your clients, their family members or even your colleagues. Sometimes there are people who believe that because they hired you to protect them you are there also for ‘’extra services’’ (that’s a belief some clients have in countries with a different cultural treatment on women). There have been cases like those which have been unreported to authorities but a common secret within female professionals. This is something that is up to you how you want to deal with and how far you want to go with it.

Denida Zinxhiria

Athena Academy Founder

http://www.athenaacademy.com

Female Close Protection Operatives Training, Level 1, September 1-9, 2012, Atlanta, GA

Athena’s Close Protection Operative certification is the next generation in Close Protection training. Our course has been adapted to meet the particular training and educational requirements, specific to female close protection operatives.

Basic Training:

Including:
-Principles of Executive Protection/Code of Conduct
-Solo Protector & in a Detail -Physical Security
-Protective Escort -Surveillance & Countersurveillance
-Protective Intelligence & Advance Operations
-Armed and Unarmed Combat/Krav Maga
-Anti-Terrorism (identification and and the terrorist cycle)
-Improvised Explosive Device
-Basic Pistol Training & Firearms Safety
-Event & Estate Security
-Behavioral Intelligence and Attack Recognition
-Dealing with Media & Paparazzi
-First Aid & CPR/AED

Our instructors are from Israel, Greece, and the United States. They brings ATHENA students unparalleled real world experience in protective service operations. Instructors that have served Prime Ministers, celebrities, CEO’s and other influential leaders will be teaching you.
We have an excellent success rate and once the course is completed we continue to work with our students to progress their development and assist their entry into the Close Protection world.

To learn more please visit: http://www.AthenaAcademy.com/

For additional information and applications please e-mail: charla@athenaworldwide.com

Athena Academy official FB page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Athena-Academy-International-Female-Security-Training/267075996663008

Course cost is $2,000 with payment schedules available to those who qualify. Deposits for this course are $500, and full course fees paid 3 weeks before starting date.

Application date open until July 30

Section: Professional Advices from Experienced Close Protection Operatives around the world.

What do you expect?

Some helpful hints to getting your foot in the door.

By Jason Collins

CPS, Security Consultant, CP Instructor

You have taken the time to go through one of the many Executive Protection schools around the world. You’ve sacrificed time and money for this training. You’ve learned the core fundamentals to becoming a bodyguard. Now you are ready to break out and start working in the industry.

How do I do this?  First off, begin marketing yourself…..from this point on, YOU make or break YOUR future.

  • Network, network, network…..get to know potential clients, fellow operators, job opportunities.  The internet and today’s technologies, brings everything you need to begin, right to your fingertips. So utilize it…… your instructors, fellow students and former graduates are always a great place to start.
  • Due diligence and following instructions-  if you are on a job board site and see a job that interests you, DO NOT just apply for it….thoroughly read the post….if it says “in need of a Spanish speaking operator with 2 years experience in south America”, do not apply if this is your first attempt at finding work, you only speak your native language and you have never left your country.  Find out all the facts before jumping into something you have no idea about. Know beforehand, what it is you’re getting into.
  • Be professional…..again, you make or break your future.  You will most certainly be overlooked if you respond to a job bid or post with poor grammar and an obvious lack of professionalism. Sell yourself.
  • Know what you’re looking for … whether you want to go the celebrity, corporate, local or corporate warrior route, due your research. Utilize the resources out there for finding work in that specific niche.         Start small. Make yourself known to local LEO agencies, state and municipal government agencies. Your local mayor, political campaigns, domestic abuse centers and currier services and strike work details are all good starting points.
  • KEEP TRAINING.  I cannot emphasize this enough. Just because you’ve gone through a “bodyguard” school does not mean you’re ready to take on the world…..It is just the beginning….train often. Keep your skill set fresh and evolving. The more you train, the better you become.
  • And finally……apply with multiple agencies, multiple positions and multiple jobs. Always be on “a list” .  more often than not, things don’t “just happen”. Things (jobs/contracts) take time. Logistics and regulations have to be met and followed through. So be on the list so when and if it does happen, you’re there. If you bank everything on one job, you’re going to get discouraged regularly when that job fails to take place.

Hopefully, this can get you on the right track to finding work….always ask questions, be professional, have integrity and don’t burn bridges.

Liza Minelli Settles Lawsuit With Bodyguard

On the 9th of December 2009 Liza Minelli settled her lawsuit with her former bodyguard.  The suit was for $100 million dollars and alleges that Manelli threatened her bodyguard with the loss of his $238,000 if he did provide her with an inappropriate relationship.

According to this report the former bodyguard for Minelli was paid an above average of over $200,000 a year but was battered when he refused to become sexually involved with her.  The lawsuit that originally was filed in 2004 was settled in a sealed settlement agreement.

This begs the question.  Would Minelli have done the same to a female bodyguard?  There is a certain amount of intelligence when the option of a female bodyguard over a male bodyguard just seems to be the best course of action in some cases.

Female bodyguards: A muscled option

It was close to midnight. Sarita Mehra, a senior executive at a multinational company, was driving back home from the office. Suddenly, two men on motorbikes zipped by her, making obscene gestures as they sped by. “It had been going on for days. These men always harassed women drivers,” Mehra told DNA.

The next night, however, Sharma was prepared. As soon as she spotted the culprits, she pulled up by the side of the road. The bikers stopped and menacingly approached the car. What the goons weren’t expecting, however, was the woman seated in the passenger seat getting out and fighting back. She kicked one in the groin, while punching the other’s face.

“We had called the police earlier, and within minutes the men were nabbed,” said Jyoti Singh, the woman who rained down the pain on the eve teasers. Singh belongs to a growing breed of women bodyguards who are trying to make the city safer for other women.

With incidents of sexual crimes on the rise, security agencies are cashing in on the idea of providing personalised security services for women, by women. “Our clients feel comfortable around female bodyguards,” said Deepak Monga, head of marketing and communication, Topsgrup security agency.

However, the service does not come cheap. Priced between Rs 35,000 to Rs 50,000 per month for an eight to 12 hour shift, it is affordable only to high profile clients.

Despite steep rates, the demand in Mumbai and other urban areas is growing. According to industry estimates, there are nearly half a dozen security agencies in the city, employing 30 to 50 women bodyguards each. “We started out a year ago with only a small number. Now we have 60 women bodyguards working actively across India, 45 of which operate in Mumbai alone,” Monga added.

Women bodyguards are also ideal for ‘covert security cover’, when clients don’t want to bring unnecessary attention to themselves.

“A man with bulging muscles will not only scare away potential molesters, but also colleagues and acquaintances,” laughs businesswoman Leena Shah, who has a woman bodyguard posing as her personal assistant. Others like Swati More and Deepa Patnaik guard children of the rich and the famous at schools and playgrounds while pretending to be nannies or maidservants.

Meanwhile, security agencies are busy touting the idea of female bodyguards as a solution to crime against women. “Once the trend catches on there will be a drop in incidents of harassment, and rape,” feels Monga. That remains to be seen, but efforts to make Mumbai a safer place for women seem to have begun.