The Process of Counselling: Sequential Steps - Industrial Relations Management

Process of Employee Counselling

The counselling process has three phases: rapport building, exploration and action.

  1. Rapport Building:

    In the rapport building phase, a good counselor attempts to establish a climate of acceptance, warmth, support, openness and mutuality. This phase involves generating confidence in the employee to open up frankly, share his perceptions, problems, concerns, feelings etc. The subordinate must be made to feel wanted and that his superior is genuinely interested in hisdevelopment.

  2. Exploration:

    In this phase, the counselor should attempt to help the employee understand and appreciate his strengths and weaknesses. He should also understand his own situation, problems and needs.Questions should be asked which help the employee focus on his problem. For example, if an employee feels that his problem is that others do not co-operate with him, the counselor may ask questions to narrow down the problem to the employee’s relationship with a few individuals. Then the superior may ask questions to help the employee understand what he does (or says) to his colleagues that is making it difficult for him to win their co-operations. Problem identification is a critical step in planning for improvement. To help the employee make a correct diagnosis of the problem, open-ended questions may be asked.

  3. Action Planning:

    Counseling interviews should end with specific plans of action for development of the employee. The main contribution of the superior in this phase is in helping the employee think of alternative ways of dealing with a problem. For example, in case of an employee whose relationships with colleagues are poor, the superior may suggest “What three things can you do in the coming week to improve your relationship with X?” After helping the employee brainstorm, the superior may also add more alternatives to the solutions already generated.

Finally the superior may render some assistance in helping the employee implement the agreed upon action plan. Often good counseling sessions fail to produce effective results due to lack of follow/


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