Thinking about professional boundaries

19 February 2015

A blog by Cath Barton

A conversation I had recently started me thinking about professional boundaries and reminded me of a blog written by Helen Sanderson some time ago

I was having a conversation about the hospitality role within the circle and we were thinking whether this role could be shared with different people each time the circle meets, so that the role doesn’t fall to one person and everyone can take it in turns to make a contribution.

I offered for one meeting to make a banana loaf (it is rather delicious and I was really pleased to make a contribution) but as a facilitator and full time Community Circles Connector, I was seen to have a more ‘professional’ role and to bake a cake was over and above my role, perhaps blurring the lines of a professional boundary.  The conversation developed with me explaining how important it is for me to feel I make a contribution to the circle, to creating the welcoming atmosphere and how lovely it would make me feel that people were enjoying my cake.

As a facilitator it is our role to ‘hold’ the circle; supporting conversations which lead to positive action, supporting the circle to bond together and to create a welcoming environment where everyone feels comfortable to contribute. Other circle members also take on roles which support the meetings to be productive, such as timekeeper, recorder or hospitality. Through the sharing of roles, everyone has a part to play and a valued contribution to make.

It’s not the responsibility of the facilitator to take on board the actions that are developed through those conversations unless we are able and willing to do so. If I have some knowledge, information or a skill to share that can make a difference, I’m more than happy to do so. If I am able to take on an action or make a contribution, that act supports my own well-being as well as the purpose of the circle.

For me Community Circles supports me to use my gifts and networks to make a positive difference, making a contribution where I can and that is very much a reciprocal relationship as in giving we receive.  Giving and connecting with others are two of the ‘Five Ways to Well Being.’ You can read more about the Five Ways to Well Being and how Rochdale are supporting people with their well-being here know that being part of Community Circles supports my well-being through giving and connecting with others.

I’m really looking forward to sharing my banana loaf; great conversations in good company with a brew and a piece of cake – here’s to making a difference in 2015

Happy New Year

Cath Barton, Community Circles Connector, Rochdale

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