Counseling is the means by which one person helps another through purposeful conversation. Counselling is a process in which two people meet to explore personal problems and to identify solutions. Counseling is a process through which one person helps another by purposeful conversation in an understanding atmosphere. It seeks to establish a helping relationship in which the one counseled can express their thoughts and feelings in such a way as to clarify their own situation, come to terms with some new experience, see their difficulty more objectively, and so face their problem with less anxiety and tension.
Counselling attempts to correct performance through face-to-face communication and problem solving. Counselling is one of three important tools a supervisor can use to improve employee performance and behaviors. Employee counsellng is defined as a discussion between the supervisor and the employee about the real or perceived performance deficiency or job-related behaviors
Verbal Counselling: Verbal counseling sessions may take place between employees and supervisors in situations that are deemed less serious in nature. Every effort to determine and resolve the cause of the problem should be made. At the same time, however, it should be specifically stated that the employee is receiving a formal warning. Documentation of the verbal counseling should be made and maintained in departmental files for verbal counseling sessions.
Written Counseling: Written counseling sessions take place between a supervisor and an employee when the behavior of the employee: is a repeated violation and verbal counseling has been administered; hinders the progress of the department in which the employee works; or hampers the progress of the University. Written warnings should be documented on a Corrective Counseling Form (available from the forms section of the Human Resources website). Copies of all written warnings should be distributed as follows: one copy to the employee, one copy to the University’s Department of Human Resources for inclusion in the employee’s file, and one copy maintained in departmental files under lock and key.
Definition of counseling usually involve some or all of the following : Two people are present , The process leads to action on the part of the client, The counselor is a person who listens , The client can be trusted to find their own solutions , Personal growth of the client usually occurs , Resolution of problems is an expectation
Counselling is not usually concerned with: Advice-giving on the part of the counselor, Psychotherapy, Treatment of severe mental illness, solving all life’s problems
When a counseling relationship develops, it is not uncommon to see certain stages being worked through .These may be identified as follow:
1. Getting started
2. Introductory talk
3. Identifying the issues
4. Coping with feeling
5. Identified possible solutions
6. Agreeing a plan
Getting started: Here, the counselor and the client meet and get to know each other. Often, the client will b nervous and will not know what to say. In this stage of the relationship, it is usually helpful if the counselor plays the dominant role and helps the client to relax, settle down and focus on why they are there. In this stage , it is useful if the counselor clarifies the following issues with the client : The frequency with the which they will meet , The time they will meet , When it is anticipated that the relationship will end , Whether or not the two can talk confidentially.
Also it is helpful if the counselor indicates that anything can be talked about. This creates the opportunity for the client to talk about what he or she wants to talk about.
Introductory talk: Most people come to a counselor with only a vague sense what it is thy really want to talk about. Many start from a general conversation about their lives and then work towards specifics. It seems likely that many people do not know what is troubling them until they begin to talk. This stage of the relationship then is a general, opening stage in which the client is encouraged to give the counselor a few personal details. Here, it is useful to use broad, open questions such as: Can you tell me something about your work at the present time? , Can you tell me a little about your background? , How have you found the course so far? , What have you been doing with the establishment up to now?
These allow the client to get talking and often prove the point that: I don’t know what I think and fell until I hear what I say’.
Identifying the issues: At a point during this initial phase of talking, the ‘real’ issues begin to emerge. Sometime, such issues can be brought to the surface by the counselor asking ‘facilitative’ questions that encourage the client to elaborate a little. Examples of such interventions include: How did you feel about that? , What was that like? , How are you felling at the moment? , What did you do then? , What happened when you did that?
This sort of question encourages the employee to say more and helps to focus on the ‘real’ issues.
Coping with feelings: Counselling people often means coping with emotion. Once people in counseling begin to identify the real issues, they often begin to experience emotional release. A considerable process part of the process of helping people in counseling is concerned with the emotional or ‘feelings ‘side of the person. In the UK and North American cultures, a great premium is placed on the individual being able to ‘control’ feelings, and thus overt expression of emotion is often frowned upon. As a result, we learn to bottle up feelings, sometimes from a very early age. Mostly people can be helped if their emotions are accepted by the counselor .If a person begin to cry, for example , it is usually better if they are allowed to do so and if no attempt is made to stop them prematurely. Often, the employee, once having expressed emotion, feels better able to identify a desirable course of action. Things seem a bit clearer after having emotional expression.
Identifying possible solution: Once feeling have been relieved, the next stage involves helping the client ways to deal with the problem. Not everything can be sorted out .Not everything has a solution .The point here is. That the employee has now identified a situation that was unclear or unbearable before. The next thing is to work out a plan to make the situation more liveable.Most counseling theorists agree that it is the employee who should identify solution to problem.
This process can be encouraged by a ‘brainstorming’ session. In brainstorming, the employee is encouraged to think diversely about possible ways of resolving his or her present situation. Nothing need to be excluded at this stage .The employee is encouraged to be creative, irrational and spontaneous as well as thoughtful, logical and sensible. The idea is to generate as many as solutions as possible. Out of this usually comes an ‘obvious’ solution. Obvious, that is, to the employee.
Agreeing a plan: During this stage of the counseling relationship, both counselor and the employee work together to draw up a practical plan of action. The plan should be both reasonable and achievable.
Implementing the plan: This stage of counseling is carried out by the client almost independently of the counselor. It is putting into action of the plan that was discussed in the previous stage. Usually, what the employee need here is support from the counselor. Change is difficult for most people. It often brings with it a degree of anxiety and it is the counselor function to help the employee to deal with that anxiety. It is necessary, then for both parties to think about and if necessary talk about – the closing of the relationship. Once it is decided that it will end, it is often best to set date and to make a break a clean one. Not all the relationship follows the stages in this order and sometime one stage or more is left out. The frame work offered here is a way of thinking about the counseling process and can help to give some structure to the relationship.
Employee counseling is not easy and can be stressful, particularly if there is no policy or procedure to follow.Counselling is a process through which an individual can take out time from their usual daily routine to consider aspects of their life theta need to be changed. The process involves: clarifying the problems that needs to be solved, exploring what can change, supporting them while they make those changes.
Employee counseling can help you recruit, hire and keep valued employees, thereby reducing employee absence and turnover. The result, a more stable productive workforce and reduced operating costs for your organization.
Counseling of employee is one of the most important aspects and the most challenging duty for managers and supervisors.
Prior to any counseling session, there are members of steps you can take to make the meeting more productive and professional. First, and most important, you must recognize the importance of this session, both for the individual employee and for the organization. That means you must do your homework. Doing your homework means you should:
1. Take the time needed to prepare properly. You can’t rush through this stage; it’s not fair to the employee, and he or she will know and appreciate your efforts to do this right. And don’t schedule your time so tightly that you have to hurry your employee through the session, or interrupt the meeting to go to another scheduled appointment. You might want to inform your boss and others about what you are doing in order to avoid interruptions.
2. Know the employee’s work record. This may mean consulting with team leaders and others supervisors, especially if your organization uses matrix teams or similar organizational arrangements.
3. Review the employee’s personnel file, position requirements document (PRD), and previous appraisals–you may have to visit you’re supporting human resources office.
Employee Counseling Guidelines Employee Counseling is defined as a discussion between the supervisor and the employee about the real or perceived performance deficiency or job-related behavior, the employee’s perception of the identified behavior, the supervisor’s involvement in helping the employee correct these behaviors, and the employee’s attempt to reduce or eliminate the misconduct or incompetence.
Ten Guidelines for Effective Counseling:
1. First, and most importantly, PLAN the employee counseling session ahead of time and give the employee some advance notice. Schedule the counseling session when you and the employee will have time to discuss the issues. When you are prepared, the employee will recognize that you have invested time and effort in this important matter.
2. Conduct the counseling session in privacy. Don’t allow outside interruptions.
3. Focus your attention on the employee’s behaviors and performance indicators that led to this counseling session. Discuss only these behaviors and indicators and not the employee’s character, morality, or personality.
4. Be direct and honest. After welcoming the employee, go directly to the reason for your meeting.
5. Remain objective without showing emotion. Even though some employees may be hostile, remain calm, speaking in a measured voice.
6. Keep an open mind. Look for a solution or set of solutions.
7. Allow the employee an opportunity to talk. You must be a good listener.
8. Never characterize the counseling session as “discipline.”
9. Do not speak in a punitive or derogatory manner to the employee.
10. Be sure to thank the employee for meeting with you and make it clear you are available for further discussion or help.
Stress at work: Jane worked for the organization for many years and contributed to the reorganization that was to make the company more efficient. She did not, however, get the position that she assumed would be heirs. She was reluctant to take the job that was offered to her as in her mind it did not acknowledge all the effort she had put in.
Before a decision was finalized she became ill. After four weeks sickness absence for stress she attended Employee Counselling Service where she was able to talk freely about her anger and sense of betrayal. She then explored her options in a calmer frame of mind. Being away from the workplace she was able to admit her fears and face her concerns without worrying that there would be consequences.
Aspects of her personal life were contributing to how she felt and after three sessions she felt she had a better perspective on her job and was able to return and discuss her future in a more positive frame of mind.
Harassment: Kenneth was a well respected and valued member of staff. He enjoyed his job and for many years did not apply for promotion because it would take him away from customer contact. Eventually he was persuaded to take on a new role that moved him to work under a new manager with a very different style of working. She gave him lists of tasks and deadlines, which she pinned on the section notice board. She sat in on some of his meetings and afterwards gave him a list of criticisms. When Kenneth challenged her she said, “Look, while you are here you do things my way. If you don’t like it – get out.” Kenneth stayed out of her way as much as possible, but his work began to suffer as he lost confidence.
At home his wife began to lose patience with his constant moaning about “that woman” and she persuaded him to talk to a counselor.
With his counselor he planned a strategy where he would make a note of the times he felt he was badly treated. He then arranged to meet with his manager and pointed these out, he also explained what he thought was an acceptable way of raising criticism about his work. At first she was defensive, but as Kenneth put his points in a reasonable and constructive way she had to respond in the same way. There are still tensions but they do now have a working relationship.
PHILIP .B ( 1995),Counselling Skills Training , First Edition, New Delhi , Vinod Vasishtha for Viva Books Private Limited.
Nelson-Jones , R .(1981), The Theory And Practice Of Counselling Phyhology, Holt,Rinehart&Winston , London.