Our Psychological Safety Policy
How we create psychological safety
At Global Warriors, creating psychological safety is at the heart of everything we do. We know that great development requires participants and partners to feel safe.
Our warriors are trained to skilfully foster a challenging, caring and judgment-free presence that enables people to explore new ways of thinking, feeling and behaving without feeling the need to protect and defend themselves. This enables participants to feel heard, seen and valued, no matter their experience of our work together. Delegates feel confident to share their opinions, take risks without feeling embarrassed, ask for what they need and share ideas for how the content can be changed to further support them.
Each business we work with will have their own Employee Assistance or Support Programme and before our work begins, we make sure we are aware of this so we can direct employees to resources where appropriate.
We know that expanding awareness takes discomfort and sometimes causes emotional reactions. It is natural when we bring outdated beliefs to light, and realise that they do not support our growth and development.
When we confront the way we’ve justified unhelpful behaviours or feelings to ourselves, and perceive for the first time responses we have been unconscious of, we can often feel disoriented or confused. It is these moments of uncertainty that open our potential for learning. Our brains must shuffle existing thoughts, and create new awareness so that new understanding can emerge.
Global Warriors are committed to creating learning environments where delegates feel safe to participate fully, ask questions, share their honest experiences and explore how they feel. We believe that when a learning environment encourages self-expression without judgment or humiliation, our brains can safely interpret learning cues, perceive relationships and patterns and index, store, and access new information more readily.
Alongside the psychological safety of delegates, we assess and consider the physical environment in which we work, as a fundamental pre-requisite. Risk assessments are always completed before programmes begin, and we adhere to careful guidelines to ensure delegates feel safe and supported in the physical space. This is especially relevant to our equine coaching work, but applies equally to in-person programmes. It includes awareness of COVID-19 procedures, sensitivity to physical limitations of delegates, and appropriate adaptations for people with disabilities and additional needs.
1. Before events
With all our programmes we offer discovery sessions to start building trust before delegates arrive. As part of this we focus on discovering and building a shared belief that the programme will be able to meet delegates’ needs. We explore priorities for learning, and how they would like to participate in order to make the most of their experience. We also consider the wider context of their life and work, and how it might support or hinder their learning.
As part of this conversation, we will ask them what they need in order to be fully present, and able to engage with their learning. We will discuss that there may be things they want to share openly in the group, whilst recognising they may prefer to hold other information back. We remind delegates that they always have a choice whether or not to share. We also highlight that because our programmes are designed as development ratyher than training, the focus is less on learning new content and more about connecting hearts and minds. Our aim is that they rediscover and use their strengths, talent, and conviction within their current context to create new possibilities.
If delegates are currently in a situation which they feel might impact their learning or psychological safety within the learning environment, we will talk openly about this with them, and ensure that they realise it is their choice to attend. We will also refer to the Employee Assistance Programme and any other wider support if it would be helpful for them to get additional support.
In rare incidents where this may be necessary, Global Warriors reserves the right to refuse attendance to anyone where we feel it would harm their own or others’ psychological safety in the room.
2. In the learning environment
All our programmes begin with determining how we will create a culture for positivity and learning. We outline an agreement together for how we will support each other during the programme. We use this as an evolving agreement and the cornerstone of our work together. Our trainers use their presence and their vulnerability in the room to create environments where it is OK to make mistakes, and to share openly.
Sometimes we observe through a delegate’s behaviour that something is impacting their ability to fully engage with the programme. In these instances, we will talk separately with the individual, and be curious about what they need to participate. We will remind them gently and kindly of their choice to be there and if necessary, support them to opt out and attend to their needs.
Development often involves a process of “unlearning” which can be confronting, as we explore existing mental modes to allow new ways of being to emerge. If someone appears distressed during a training programme, our facilitators will speak privately to them and make sure they are able to access any additional support they need. We make delegates aware that they can privately message facilitators at any point during or after the programme.
The nature of the work we do is highly personal. We therefore request that the client organisation reminds delegates before entering the programme of their need to engage fully, both for themselves and as a co-creator of the learning culture in the group.
We also recognise that individual group members may experience psychological safety differently to one another and to varying degrees. By cultivating a learning culture of allowing and respect, our facilitators ensure that all participants feel accepted and included, no matter where they are on the continuum.
As part of our programmes, we may provide individual coaching sessions to delegates. This is to support and deepen the learning and allows delegates to raise topics they might feel uncomfortable addressing in the wider group. It supports their learning and helps remove any obstacles or blocks that might impede individuals’ capacity to engage with the material.
3. Post learning environment
Our approach to learning is blended and experiential. We recognise that everyone has different learning preferences, and that part of creating psychological safety involves designing programmes that reflect that range.
We encourage peer support and learning throughout all our programmes. We know each participant will bring their own unique, lived experience. The use of small group work supports the building of connections, encourages sharing experiences and provides a safe place to practice. This supports psychological safety because learners are free to make errors without feeling they will be “put on the spot” by the facilitator.
On occasions delegates may feel that they want more individual support, and, in these instances, we will point them back to their organisation sponsor. We will not engage in any activities beyond the original contract without the involvement of the organisational sponsor.
Our code of conduct
All Global Warriors are registered with the International Coaching Federation. We each adhere to their rigorous code of professional conduct.
Confidentiality is the cornerstone in our programmes. Delegates are encouraged to share only what feels appropriate for them, and what they share is held with complete confidentiality. All participants are asked to adhere to this agreement as part of the initial contracting phase of the programme delivery.
Evaluation criteria are agreed at the outset of each contract. We commit to reporting on themes, but not individual experiences.