The process of employee counselling has three phases: rapport building, exploration and action planning, these are discussed below:
- Rapport Building: Initially the counselor-manager should level himself with his employee and tune himself to his orientations. General opening rituals like offering a chair, closing the door to indicate privacy, asking the secretary not to disturb are all important in demonstrating the manager’s genuine interest in employee’s problems. The counselor must listen to the feelings and concerns of the employee carefully and attentively. Leaning forward and eye contact are important signs of active listening. The employee must feel that he is wanted and the counselors is interested in him genuinely.
- Exploration: Besides active listening, the counselor should help the employee find his own weaknesses and problems through open and exploring questions. He should be encouraged to open up fully and talk more on the problem. This would enable both parties to uncover various dimensions of the problem clearly. Once the key issue is identified, (e.g., inability to get along with colleagues, not being promoted despite hard work, boss does not like his work etc.,) it should be diagnosed thoroughly. Open questions like- why do people pick arguments with you? On what occasions did you try to get ahead in the race? Who are coming in your way and why? – may help the employee visualize the problem from different angles. The whole exercise is meant to generate several alternative causes of a problem.
- Action Planning: Counseling should finally help the employee find alternative ways of resolving a problem. The list of alternatives could be generated after two or three brain storming sessions. The merits and limitations of each course of action could also be identified and the best course of action picked up-keeping the background factors (boss, colleagues, work-related issues, competitive pressures etc.) in mind. The employee should be encouraged to self-monitor the action plan without seeking further helps from the counselor. The counseling sessions could be monitored and reviewed at regular intervals later on.