In an earlier post about executive protection, we made it clear that nowhere in our discussion did we use the term bodyguard. Hiring a bodyguard and hiring a firm that specializes in executive protection are two different things.
Let’s explore this bodyguard situation a bit further.
When we think of bodyguards, most of us think about some oversized, mean-looking character whose primary job is to keep people away from their clients when in public. These folks usually have the brawn, which can come into play in executive protection, but often lack the brains, which is what someone who specializes in executive protection is all about.
Possibly the most important difference between a bodyguard and an executive protection agent is in their training.
Many bodyguards are self-taught and have gotten most of their training by watching movies about bodyguards. But all too often, these movies romanticize the profession. They do not teach how to handle and deal with the day-to-day realities of executive protection.
Without the proper training, bodyguards may quickly turn to brute force to protect their client or, in a worst-case scenario, even carry—and use—a weapon. After all, that’s what typically happens in the movies.
While an executive protection agent may be called upon to respond in similar ways, their main job is to prevent confrontations from ever happening in the first place.
And although executive protection agents are well-trained in using a firearm, their training focuses more on anticipating challenges. This way, they know when to remove their client from danger, making the use of a firearm unnecessary.
Executive protection agents have been taught that potential risks, threats, and dangers invariably have indicators. The executive protection agent has the knowledge and tools needed to identify these indicators long before they result in harm.
Executive protection agents are also experts at advanced planning. Although they cannot anticipate every risk or every attempt to do harm, in most cases, with agents in charge, activities unfold for their clients exactly as planned: safely, uneventfully, and well organized.
Bodyguards, on the other hand, primarily react to situations. They are rarely involved in event planning or preparation.
Another thing that separates bodyguards from executive protection agents is the use of technology. Executive protection goes beyond physically protecting someone. It also involves safeguarding crucial information that could put an executive or their organization at risk.
Indeed, according to a 2017 Forbes survey, 84 percent of executives worldwide have experienced a personal cyberattack or electronic fraud incident. For this reason, the protection agent is adept at detecting and preventing potential cyberattacks—not something most bodyguards can claim.
Something you might not expect is that an executive protection agent is also someone with excellent communication skills, verbally, gestural, and otherwise. Often, just the way they act and carry themselves is enough to prevent harm for their client.
Further, good listening skills are essential. Blunders can happen when a bodyguard, for instance, does not understand or misconstrues their assignment. With a trained executive protection agent, misunderstandings or misconstruing plans is not an option.
Finally, a protection agent has good customer service skills. Very often, they will be called upon to greet visitors or answer phone calls. This makes them the first impression someone may have of you, the executive they are protecting.
If you are looking for someone to react to a dangerous situation, get a bodyguard and take your chances.
If you want a well-trained professional to help prevent it from happening in the first place, then call an executive protection agent.
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Chief Executive Officer