Top Ten Tips: Confident Counselling
You don't have to be a professional counsellor to use counselling skills at work. But you do have to have the skills that professional counsellors have. When you have these skills, you have the means to help people with all sorts of work-related problems, ranging from discipline, personal relationships, absenteeism, and career development. Here are our top ten tips for managers who use counselling at work.
1. Value Counselling As a Management Tool
Counselling is a much better approach to dealing with people problems than telling people what to do, or worse, manipulating them to do what you want. It is basically a helping-people-to-help-themselves tool.
2. Use Counselling as the Means to Help People Grow
When people have problems and they are out of step with their work commitments, using counselling is a way to help them become aware of the issues, face up to them, and work out their own solutions.
3. Become a Master Empathizer
Using the counselling approach to people problems allows you to show empathy with others. Empathy enables you and your employee to find a way back to harmony.
4. Focus on "What?", Not "Why?"
When you are working with someone to help them find a way to resolve a workplace problem, "why?" questions, such as "Why did you do this?" and "Why did you do that?" don't help much. Instead, focus on "what?" questions such as "What happened?" and "What could you now do?"
5. Respect Confidentialities
It is vital for people's trust in you to respect what they tell you and not disclose what they say to others. If there are reasons why you have to pass on what they tell you, meet them again to explain why.
6. Make Sure You're the Right Person to be Counselling
Sometimes, a particular people problem may throw up issues for you. For example, you may have strong views about what happened. In these cases, don't get involved. Pass it over to someone else.
7. Become a Master Listener
Your success as a counsellor depends largely on how well you listen to people. You should listen on many levels: with your ears, with your mind, with your body, and with your heart.
8. Have at Your Disposal a Range of Questions
In any counselling session, you should use a wide range of questions to gather information, test your understanding, summarise what is being said, and get at real meanings. You should always ask genuine questions that reflect your desire to get to the bottom of issues.
9. Be Brave Enough to Challenge
Often in a counselling, your role will be to show the person you are counselling that their situation is incompatible with their other commitments. An example is prolonged absence. In such cases, you must be willing, and brave enough, to point out the incongruences and challenge people to come up with a solution.
10. The Best Solution Is Always Their Solution
On some occasions, where people refuse to face up to their responsibilities, you may have to impose a solution and hope they rise to it. However, it is always better to negotiate the counselling process in a way that gets them to work out their own solution which also fits in with yours.
Other Resources for the Counselling Manager
Here 's a great comprehensive website covering everything you'll need to become a confident counsellor.
Use this link to watch a series of 5 youtube videos on Counselling Skills.
Download a 3-page pdf on Active Listening here.
Get more management skills tips for free in our Free Daily Management Tips series here.
Download the 1000-strong collection of skills tips in Management Learning Bites here.