As this was the first training class of it’s kind, geared towards the nanny industry, I was very excited and nervous to participate. Nervous becasue we knew it would have things in it that would have to be fixed so the following classes could learn from our mistakes and excited to finally have a way to empower myself on the job. However, the training ended up being very on point and even more than I had hoped for.
At the end of each day, there was much discussion about things we would never have thought of, that this class brought to the forefront and really made all the participants think about their daily schedules and duties.
On Monday, following the weekend class, there was talk all across the nanny boards on Facebook about all the ways we were changing our habits and all the information that we were putting in to practice. Simple things, like backing into a parking space, curtains open in certain rooms in the home, driving different routes to school and classes…the changes in our habits were almost instantainious and have continued throughout the nanny community as we talk about what we learned and how much we are looking forward to continuing the training throughout all the different levels.
Thank you so much for offering this training for our industry and I look forward to joining the next class.
Nanny for 28 yrs
You paid thousands of dollars for training and thousands more on equipment, firearms and clothing. Add in the cost of travel, hotels, meals, time off of work and other expenses and you are finally qualified for work, according to you. But what does the Client value in a protector? It may be no surprise that interpersonal skills top the list. Good manners, eye contact, a firm handshake, a timely smile, and an expansive vocabulary are just the tip of the iceberg. Knowing how to negotiate, and more, knowing when to remain silent are also key to a Client choosing you over an ex-WPPS Private Military Contractor.
After decades in the protection industry, it is continually apparent that while “fieldcraft“ is absolutely valuable and indeed essential to a Client’s required prerequisites, it is the “intellectual” skillset with which the Client has the greatest exposure, (and hardest time finding).
Many laugh when first hearing about interpersonal skills in the personal protection industry. They believe that as long the client is safe, nothing else matters. We all know that we are getting paid for that 0,1% chance that may require us to respond to a threat and “save the client”, but the rest of our time will be spent interacting with the client, their family members, employees, domestic staff, and our own colleagues. And just as important are the paparazzi and the public, both of whom have cameras in hand. One wrong comment or gesture and the Client’s embarrassment results in your termination, and possibly a civil action.
Social interaction requires specific interpersonal skills. Your ability to react or reply appropriately is crucial. Using the wrong words with the wrong person and your years in the sand box or skill with firearms won’t save you. You will be fired within seconds. It happens every day and some of you won’t even know why.
Below we will try to give you some tips from ours as well as our colleagues experience and mistakes and even included some comments from past clients.
Your relationship with the client:
If you have any understanding of the industry at all, you know that you are with a client because someone within the client’s entourage has a fear that you have convinced them you can quash. In a combat zone, there is real fear of capture or death. In a large city in America, spy photos of the client out in public, drinking with friends, and in Mexico, Kidnapping. In many instances, you may be with the client 10 to 16 hours a day. So how do you spend that much time with them or their family, under that kind of stress without getting emotionally connected to them? Stick to the old adage: “Be seen and not heard”.
First of all keep in mind that the client is the one paying you, no matter how unrealistic his requests may be, you must adapt to his ‘’wants’’ and ‘’security needs’’. You may not be allowed to do what the job requires or have the manpower or equipment needed but you will have to adapt and do your job with what you have. You may be asked to be in position X and not Y because the client doesn’t feel comfortable otherwise. Consider too that it is also difficult for someone to get used to the idea of having strangers around them with every step they take and with every person they meet. Consider what you are doing that might be adding to or reducing their tension. Talking, staring, where you are standing, your cologne, or your actions can all add to a client’s frustrations.
The professional is one who can work with the difficult client, not the other way around. If you are lucky enough to work for that easy going client good for you, but most of the time you will have to deal with people that will test your limits. Have you ever had a client ask you to protect him but not to be within sight of him?
New professionals usually ask how they would deal with different challenges, like “what if the client asks me to have a drink with him”? What if the client asks you to do things that are out of your area of responsibility?
If you are a Close Protection Operative of the opposite sex of your client, then be prepared to deal with even more difficult situations. Traditionally mixing stress and fear with the comfort a protector can bring and the power and wealth of a client, (or his wife), and an opportunity……
Every one of us, client or Close Protection Operative (CPO), have different, social backgrounds and if you add to that different cultures then be ready to deal with more difficulties.
For many of us who have spent years in this business, (If we are successful enough to still be in this business), we have learned where our boundaries lie. If you are new in the business consider that boundaries exist for all of us. The client has them and so do you. When we are hired to protect a person, we are actually being allowed to step far inside their boundaries but they should not be allowed to step too far into ours. We will see a client in their most private and vulnerable moments, but what happens to our persona as “protector” if they see our weaknesses and vulnerabilities? And what happens if someone outside the client’s circle identifies our weaknesses or vulnerabilities?
How do we identify a client’s boundaries, and how do we educate them on ours? It’s really very simple; we ask. We should consider their social and moral code, their habits, vices and health issues and their fears. Sitting down with the client and discussing their needs and simply asking them where their boundaries are and letting them know ours is crucial to the success of a long term assignment. It may be no big deal for a client to ask you to enter a room where they are using drugs in a party setting or where he and his wife are in bed, but this may be beyond your comfort zone, (your boundary).
What is the difference between professionalism and friendship? Here is a simple rule: “You can’t buy friendship”. If you are being paid, you can’t be friends. If you want to be friends, stop taking the client’s money. Crossing the boundary between Professional and Friend is never successful.
From my personal experience I have found that when I was acting strictly professional the client was uncomfortable. Our task is to make them feel safe but when we appear ‘’untouchable’’ they believe we don’t understand their fears or what they’re going through. It is very important for them to feel we understand them. It is not easy to be the client….Sometimes they will open up and talk to us and we must show them we are listening. This is not friendship. This is part of our job.
If you get too friendly, then automatically your professionalism will suffer in your client’s eyes. Not because he doesn’t trust you anymore but because your laps in professionalism suggests to him that you won’t be taking your job as serious as is needed.
Consider how Psychologists work. They cannot offer professional counseling to people who are in their family or with whom they are friends. They certainly cannot start dating a client.
It is understood that you may share many hours with the client. Talk to him only when he talks to you or when you have to say something that affects his safety. Avoid starting a conversation but always be friendly if the client decides to speak to you. If you are asked a question, try to answer it with a single sentence.
Your relationship with the client’s family members will have to be the same. Don’t be too friendly with them or other staff or guests. Remember who hired you and why. Remember who cuts your check and who ultimately you serve. You should answer to only one person. If you assist or serve anyone else, it must be with the approval of the client and then only at no cost to them.
If you appear too unapproachable or “hard”, you will intimidate those you are serving. Too approachable and the family and everyone else will feel comfortable approaching you. And it will always happen when you need to be focused. Take a middle position with your client which is addressed with professionalism. Again, prior to accepting your contract you must clarify from whom you will be given orders and directions regarding your work.
As a CPO your job is to protect you client’s life and image. You are not there to carry their briefcase or shopping bags, etc. You also should not be carrying the client’s child on your hip, or holding doors open or performing domestic chores. Remember to keep your hands free.
Don’t be afraid to say “no” when you are asked to perform duties which are outside of your role. The client is hiring a CPO not a maître ’de or a butler. It is professional to politely refuse to perform a task outside of your agreed responsibilities instead of accepting it and putting in danger a client or your life. He has hired you to provide security services and nothing else.
The client must see you as an educated, well trained, experienced and professional person, and it is up to you alone to earn his respect. If your client respects you then any of your suggestions concerning his safety will be accepted by him positively.
Alcohol? NO, NEVER, EVER…..while working. But……
What if your client calls you for a drink or coffee while you’re not on duty? In this case you have to ask why he is calling you. Does he see you as a friend or do you think he wants something unrelated to work or to talk about your work? First, remain professional. If your client calls, you respond. Then avoid alcohol at all cost. Consider that in many countries and especially in the United States, if you are in possession of a firearm and you are questioned by police with alcohol in your system, you will be arrested.
Sometimes the most dangerous trap a CPO may fall into is to have a physical relationship with his client or the client’s spouse. Remember that movie where the bodyguard was sleeping with his client? Art sometimes copies life. Being emotionally involved with your client, (or anyone in their circle), no matter how unprofessional we see it, has happened with some colleagues. Understand that if this occurs, the CPO is always at fault. Because the client is dependent on you, they may be more likely to share raw emotion with you or let you all the way in to that last boundary, the personal physical boundary. Take advantage of this vulnerability and you are solely to blame. And if you think you found the love of your life, you will be replaced by the next person the client sees power or an emotional investment in. And who is going to write you that professional referral letter then?
Sexual Harassment is rampant in our profession. Male CPOs are approached by everyone who is attracted to the perceived power of the protector or by anyone trying to get to the client or get into the client’s circle. But if you are a female CPO it is much worse. You will get barraged from both males and females, clients, their family members, friends and then your colleagues. Additionally, sometimes due to culture, there are those who believe that because they hired you to protect them you are there also for ‘’extra services’’. There have been cases like these which have been unreported to authorities but are a common problem within the female CPO industry. Again, that sit down meeting with the client prior to taking the job is strongly suggested.
Your relationship with colleagues:
During our career we will have to work along with people who don’t share the same work ethic, qualifications, training and experience, background, morals or values with us. So whether we like or dislike someone, we shouldn’t allow it to affect our professionalism. Our first loyalty is the client’s safety and the study and mastering of the art and skill toward this goal. Our second loyalty is to the industry to which we have dedicated our lives. Loyalty to our colleagues falls within this, not the other way around.
As we all know, Close Protection is a profession that is unfortunately void of professional standards and requirements. Each country, and even each State has its own licensing or training requirements and in many cases no training is required at all. In light of this, you realize that you have to work to solidify a team with people who bring with them different experience, skills, training disciplines, standards, professionalism, culture, and ethics in the same way a sports team or elite military unit has to work through individual differences to become a uniquely cohesive team.
It is very important that each one on the team promote and maintain a strong working relationship with the others as well as the client, and of course other people who we may be in contact with (house personnel, office staff etc).
Some of the people you are working with may have more or less skill and may be younger or older. So in each situation you must address your issues with them with respect. Never offend anyone no matter the reason, never correct someone while anyone else in present. If you believe they made a mistake you can ask if he would mind a tip or advice. Not many people are open to advice from coworkers. If they refuse your help, respect it and leave it alone. If a colleague makes a sexual advance or even a comment that you are not comfortable with, address it quickly.
In our work it is very important when an issue occurs, to take immediate action to address it. Later you can do your research and as a team and correct it. As in any team, constructive criticism is meant to eliminate future problems.
Try to avoid conversations with your colleagues that include topics which trigger emotional responses like sports, religion, sex or politics. No conversation on these topics can contribute to your client’s safety.
Avoid discussion about family and do not share details about your family, spouse, kids or home life. You don’t know how the information may be used against you or your client later. Can you be blackmailed? Could this affect your client or team?
The only conversation you should entertain is the one that adds to your client’s safety.
Your relationship with fellow citizens and Law Enforcement:
In most countries your authority or legal ability to act is no more than any other citizen. Trying to get a free pass at the club or disturbing the peace will give you and your client a bad image. No you can’t stop the traffic, park whenever you want, stop people from entering in public places or ask to search them.
Many of our colleagues come from a Law Enforcement or Military background, they use to have their own language with their former colleagues and may work along with them or ask for their help. Remember that active Law Enforcement personnel have their own agendas. They are not part of our industry any more than we are part of theirs. Do not ask them to help you do your job. Some may abuse their authority and use it to get close to your client, and may even try to replace you. Be respectful and keep your distance.
Your networking activities
It is common and we see it almost every day in online networks or forums, people who hide behind a “screen” or “nickname” and make negative comments about other colleagues. It is seen by most as cowardly at best to make public comments about someone while hiding behind a false identity and further, without allowing the victim or viewing audience to verify the experience or credentials of the accuser.
Industry forums serve a couple of purposes. The first is to inform and the second is to allow comments and feedback for the purpose of informing. Unfortunately, they have become a place for the unimpressive to gain their 15 minutes of fame. These chronic complainers, seemingly have plenty of free time, (possibly due to their unemployment), and repair their egos by blaming or criticizing others. Yes, there are non-professionals and there are professionals, but a forum is not the right place to show who is who.
For those who like to comment on different articles or posts online (…that includes many of us…) before you hit “send” be sure you:
1) Read the article/post carefully. It is very disappointing to see colleagues who post a negative comment on an article when it is clear that they neither completely read nor completely understood it.
2) Offer a solid answer/opinion based on logical thoughts or facts (or evidence/search results). Recently, someone tried to show their disagreement with an author. Their only approach to a counter-point was insulting the author which actually proved the author’s point. Someone else tried to answer him by copying and pasting parts from the article and offering negative comments on the excerpts, which further proved the subject of the article; that some people in our industry can’t adapt their soldier mentality and behavior to the more polished corporate environment.
3) Answer in a manner that does not insult the writer or others.
4) Re-read and understand the article. Stating a disagreement is fine but following up with information that goes off topic and writing anything other than what is pertinent to the subject will only make you look stupid.
5) Read the article again,
6) Read your answer again from the perspective of your colleagues,
7) Read it once again from the perspective of someone who knows you,
8) If it doesn’t look professional/logical/in good taste or relative to the article provided, DO NOT hit that “send” button or “publish now” ….otherwise again, you will only end up looking stupid.
If you think companies and recruiting agents don’t look at a candidate’s networking profiles? Think again!
The bottom line is this:
If you lack professionalism on any level or lack interpersonal skills in dealing with people you work for, with or around, you will not be able to hide behind your experience, education or other skillsets.
Founder & Worldwide Director
NANNYGUARDS (SM) the world’s first category creating hybrid nanny/manny with security training offered only by Athena Academy
NANNYGUARDS ”Next Generation Nannies”
NANNYGUARDS(SM) and MANNYGUARDS(SM) is the world’s first category creating hybrid nanny/manny with security training offered only by Athena Academy. We provide nannies and mannies with an unparalleled level of situational awareness through our intense training held at our training centers.
Nannies and Mannies learn skills that take their level of expertise to a new level. Not only does a nanny or manny go through an extensive background investigation by our contracted private investigation firm, but they go through a basic four day course that teaches them skills to provide above average ability to protect the children in their charge. NANNYGUARDS and MANNYGUARDS work for celebrities, sports stars, CEO’s, traveling families and every day average families who understand the need for a NANNYGUARD goes beyond celebrity status.
NANNYGUARDS are trained in several disciplines including abduction mitigation, travel security, media and paparazzi relations, evacuation with children, security driving with children and many other security related drills and topics directly related to the protection of children in their charge.
The NANNYGUARD/MANNYGUARD training course is not standard close protection/executive protection training. The NANNYGUARD course is specific to the nuances of caring for a child’s emotional, physical, social, creative and intellectual development while caring for their safety and security.
NANNYGUARDS and MANNYGUARDS bring a level of conscious proactive and situational aware mindset to any family. We believe that no family regardless of wealth should be without a nanny or manny that has anything less than our training. Instead of NANNYGUARDS operating with blinders on, MANNYGUARDS and NANNYGUARDS operate with greater understanding of risk and are keenly aware of how to adopt risk management in families to bring greater peace of mind all while caring for the appropriate developmental needs of children.
-Why Hire a Nannyguard
NANNYGUARDS is a premiere category creating company that not only aids families with nanny placement, through our network of Nannyguards authorized placement agencies, but also provides the worlds first and only nanny safety and security training programs.
Started by a group of security consultants, nannies, bodyguards and private investigators, NANNYGUARDS is an answer for those that would like more peace of mind when hiring a nanny/manny.
Our collective experience in protecting people, working in federal law enforcement, investigating identies and habits of individuals, traveling in foreign countries, training bodyguards and working with children uniquely qualifies us to help shape the next generation of nannies.
Not only are we keen professionals in background investigating all potential Nannyguards, but we also are experienced in teaching, training and providing protective services for individuals and families. Nannyguards is not a security service provider. but a security training group that provide nannies with the ability to look at their child care position from a different point of view.
Nannyguards is borne from the changes ocurring in our world today. With strange, unusual, violent and unforeseen circumstances ocurring on a daily basis, Nannyguards is the answer to ensuring quality childcare. Not only do we surpass every nanny agency in “screening” (we investigate) we also bring the future of childcare through the introduction of increased situational awareness.
Nannyguards offer a distinct service over traditionally trained nannies. With training in ways to protect your family from stalkers, paparazzi, kidnap attempts and more. Not only do Nannyguards have the necessary training to mitigate exposure to negative events, but in the rare event they are faced with decisions on how to ensure the safety of the children they look after Nannyguards are prepared to do what it takes to ensure childrens safety. With training that is far superior in the management of intentional or unintentional acts of harm, Nannyguards are fulfilling their role as overall caregiver.
Nannyguards are provided to families of all types, including: celebrity, executive, reality TV, and dignitary families. Additionally, our services are even used for those families that maybe traveling often times in hostile parts of the world.
All nannies have a responsibility to carefully look after the direct and indirect actions of the children they are responsible for. This includes supporting the physical, social, emotional, creative, and intellectual development of the children of the family.
-What Do I Get In a Nannyguard
NANNYGUARDS are extremely versatile and provide you with the greatest level of versatility among traditionaly trained nannies. Despite the seriousness of our name, Nannyguards are nannies and have all the skills, posture and attitude of any caregiver that looks after children. They are not stoic knuckle dragging gorillas. The fact that they go through our process tells you that these are high caliber individuals. The training they receive means that they can meet unexpected needs you may not know you have. Even if you are not the latest to break out with a reality television series you’re no different then every parent who wants to see that when their children are not with them, that they have every aspect cared for including their safety and security.
When a Nannnyguard is placed with you they firstly evaluate the job of nanny. Secondly, Nannyguards will ask questions and observe other aspects you did not consider, especially those revolving around safety concerns and security exposures. Your Nannyguard will do things such as establishing emergency protocol, disaster preparedness and ensure fire supression materials are nearby. In other words they are prepared for potential eventuality and look after such things as smoke detectors, ensuring chemicals are out of reach from young ones and ensuring that plans are put in place for any known direct threats to the children in their charge. They will also evaluate any vehicle they are provided with and ensure it is in good mechanical care and that it has necessary items for road worthiness. If its not up to par, they will advise you and it becomes your perogative to decide whether you will take the Nannyguards advice. In some cases, depending upon the particulars of your family needs, Nannyguards will evaluate routes to and from schools, research any known sex offenders in your community and work with any other estate security or security details working with other family members.
-Bodyguards OR Nannies?
NANNYGUARDS are experienced nannies with specific training in the protection of children from intentional and unintentional acts of harm. They may work for a family as an employee or as the childrens bodyguard. However, an employer-employee relationship is required if the NANNYGUARD does not have a license to operate as a security contractor in most states of the USA.
Generally speaking, nannies are responsible for the general welfare of children and this includes their security and safety. Our program teaches nannies how to protect children as a bodyguard would, in conjunction with their responsibilities as a nanny. Nannyguards are free to choose whether to market their skills to security companies with proper licensing or market themselves to nanny agencies or directly to families in the capacity of a Child Protection Operative (CPO) or a nanny.
NANNYGUARDS are classicaly trained and experienced nannies with the added training and ability to protect your children from intentional and unintentional acts of harm. Every nanny knows they have the responsibility of caring for the children entrusted to them and this includes the safety of the children in their care. However, Nannygurads take the extra steps to ensure the safety and security of your children by taking proactive measures and countermeasures to ensure they exceed other nannies in safety and security. We take a Nanny to the next level through the introduction of safety and security measures to the nanny industry. Nannyguards are next generation nannies!
Although some of our clients may be celebrities, VIP’s and CEO’s this does not mean that families with less notoriety will receive any less from Nannyguards. The skills and abilities of registered Nannyguards are a benefit to all families with children.
What Makes a Nannyguard Unique
Simply put the training a NANNYGUARDS student receives is quite different from anything in the industry. Nannies are trained to look at their charge differently. In the 21st century our political, economical and social landscape is changing at an alarming rate. You can hardly turn on the television without seeing another tragic event revolving around terrorisim, abduction or abuse taking place. Since Nannyguards is an international company we look at what affects people in geographical areas and cater the Nannyguard Certified Child Protection Specialist (CCPS) training to those needs. This is because issues that once only pertained to countries with long histories of civil unrest and terrorism are happening similiarly everywhere including the USA.
Nannies that attend our training and become Nannyguards and carry our full Nannyguards credential have validated nanny experience. But once these same nannies attend one of our training programs they are more accutely aware to conditions that revolve around safety and security. Nannies become more aware of their surroundings, ruses used to detach children from caregivers, appropriate driving and surveillance detection, and how to deal with situations should they go ary.
To learn more about our Nannyguards services or training program visit http://www.nannyguards.com
Athena Academy announce NANNYGUARDS (SM) a premiere and elite company that not only aids families with placement, through our network of NANNYGUARDS authorized placement agencies, but also provides the world’s first Certified Child Protection Specialist training (CPS). No other agency in the world meets our stringent training and placement guidelines.
NANNYGUARDS offer a distinct service over traditionally trained nannies. With training in ways to protect your family from stalkers, paparazzi, kidnap attempts and more. NANNYGUARDS are not acting in the capacity of a bodyguard, rather a nanny whose training is equivalent to that of a bodyguard but their overall responsibility is the care and keeping of children as dictated historically and in modern times. Not only do Nannyguards have the necessary training to mitigate exposure to negative events, but in the rare event they are faced with decisions on how to ensure the safety of the children they look after NANNYGUARDS are prepared to do what it takes to ensure children’s safety. With training that is far superior in the management of intentional or unintentional acts of harm, NANNYGUARDS are fulfilling their role as overall caregiver.
Services are provided to families of all types, including: celebrity, executive, reality TV, and dignitary families. Additionally, our services are even used for those families that maybe travelling often times in hostile parts of the world.
All nannies have a responsibility to carefully look after the direct and indirect actions of the children they are responsible for. This includes supporting the physical, social, emotional, creative, and intellectual development of the children of the family.
NANNYGUARDS company started by a group of security consultants, nannies, bodyguards and private investigators, is an answer for those that would like more peace of mind when hiring a nanny/manny. Our collective experience in protecting people, working in federal law enforcement, investigating identies and habits of individuals, travelling in foreign countries, training bodyguards and working with children uniquely qualifies us to help shape the next generation of nannies.
Not only are we keen professionals in background investigating all potential Nannyguards, but we also are very experienced in teaching and training, providing protective services for individuals and families, working in high-risk situations and more. Although Nannyguards is not a security service provider, we are a security training group that provide nannies with the ability to look at their position from a different point of view.
Nannyguards is borne from the changes occurring in our world today. With strange, unusual, violent and unforeseen circumstances occurring on a daily basis, Nannyguards is the answer to ensuring quality childcare. Not only do we surpass every nanny agency in “screening” (we investigate) we also bring the future of childcare through the introduction of increased situational awareness.
If all nannies/mannies are experienced and come with good qualifications this makes things equal. However, if the nanny has this background and then goes through Nannyguard certification, all things are no longer equal and we have just raised the bar in childminding services.
Athena Academy offers you the only training in the world that qualifies a NANNYGUARD by completing the Child Protective Specialist (CPS) course. This unique and certified 7 day course will challenge nannies in ways they may have not thought possible. For those who are interested in NANNYGUARD training, please contact email@example.com
Denida Zinxhiria, CPSS
Founder, ATHENA Academy