Counselling has been defined as a process which takes place in one-to-one relationship between an individual beset by problems with he cannot cope alone and a professional worker whose training and experience have qualified him to help other reach solutions to various types of personal difficulties.

Counselling refers to the provision of professional assistance and guidance (by the organization) in resolving personal or psychological problems of employees.

Business organization also gives career related guidance to an employee which is known as career counselling.

Learn about:-


1. Introduction to Employee Counselling 2. Definition of Employee Counselling 3. Characteristics 4. Objectives 5. Needs 6. Functions 7. Methods 8. Process 9. Career Counselling Session 10. Performance Counselling 11. Benefits 12. Pitfalls.

Employee Counselling: Definition, Needs, Objectives, Functions, Process, Benefits, Pitfalls, Methods, Process and Types


  1. Introduction to Employee Counselling
  2. Definition of Employee Counselling
  3. Characteristics of Counselling
  4. Objectives of Counselling
  5. Need for Employee Counselling
  6. Functions of Employee Counselling
  7. Methods Used for Employee Counselling
  8. Process of Employee Counselling
  9. Career Counselling Session
  10. Performance Counselling of Employees
  11. Benefits of Employee Counselling
  12. Pitfalls of Employee Counselling

Employee Counselling – Introduction

Employees face a variety of problems both at workplace and at home. These problems involve economic, social, physical, psychological and religious factors. These problems can affect their performance and productivity. The problem may be between employee and employee, employee and manager and between managers.

Examples: Mr. Mehta having a good leave record is absenting himself frequently from work. Mr. Patel who is a calm and quiet person is getting angry very often with people in the office. Mr. Uppal who is a good worker is not coming to office on time.


The management is concerned with these problems as they are interested in the well-being and development of employees and they would like to deal with their abnormal behaviour which might disrupt work and demotivate other employees.

Counseling has been defined as a process which takes place in one-to-one relationship between an individual beset by problems with he cannot cope alone and a professional worker whose training and experience have qualified him to help other reach solutions to various types of personal difficulties.

Counseling is concerned with bringing out a voluntary change in the client. The counsellor provides help to achieve the desired change or make suitable changes. The client alone is responsible for the decisions, though the councilor may assist the client by his warmth and understanding relationship.

Counseling is the process of helping other persons to find solutions to their problems and anxieties. The person carrying out counseling is known as counsellor and the person being counselled is called counselee or client. Keith Davis defines the term counseling as “discussion of emotional problems with an employee with the general objective of decreasing it”.

Employee Counselling – Definition (By Keith Davis)

Keith Davis has defined counseling as, “discussion of an emotional problem with an employee with the general objective of decreasing it.”


Counselling is a relationship between two persons – a counsellor and the counsellee where the former assists the later with his professional expertise in times of difficulty. In the organizational context, the counsellor is the manager and the counsellee is the employee who takes advice from the counsellor. According to Keith Davis, Employee coun­selling involves a discussion of an emotional problem with an employee with the general objective of decreasing it.

Counselling is a two way process in which the counsellor gives guidance to counsellee and makes him adjust in the environment of the organization. The basic purpose of counselling is to make the employee feel comfortable in adjusting with other employees and the organization’s systems for growth and development.

The following things can be inferred from the definition of counselling:


(a) Counselling is a two way communication process between the superior (counsellor) and subordinate (counsellee).

(b) Counselling deals with close interaction between the two where the counsellor listens to all the emotional challenges or problems that counsellee is undergoing in the organization.

(c) The effectiveness of counselling depends upon how much faith and trust does the employee (counsellee) have in counsellor (man­ager/supervisor). The counsellor has to be very good in reading the emotions and tactfully handling them. For this, the manager may have to be put on skill training by the organization. A suc­cessful counsellor is a successful communicator who can also read the employee’s emotions.

(d) The general aim of counselling is to handle the emotional prob­lems of the employees and establish close relationship with him at the first instance. Gradually, the employee will unlock his feel­ings and seek help from the counsellor. If the employee has not sought any help from the counsellor, counselling is of no use. Counselling is effective only when the counsellee wants the advice from counsellor on his emotional disorders and the coun­sellor is willing to offer it.


(e) The counsellor offers assistance in making him realize his poten­tial fully and inculcates in him a need to understand work envi­ronment better, personal and inter-personal relationships better for improving performance.

Counseling is a process in which a manager or professional counselor guides the employee so as to overcome work related (or personal) issues. The one who counsels is called the counselor and the one who seeks counsel is called counselee.

Employees can discuss their concerns with the counselor (work related problems, personal financial / marital / family problems). The process of counseling focuses on helping employees to reduce emotional problems and strengthening them to face the problem with confidence. The counselor assists the employee to introduce change in his values or attitudes or goals. Thus, the aim of counseling is to help employees deal with the work pressure and other problems effectively.

In other words, counseling refers to the provision of professional assistance and guidance (by the organization) in resolving personal or psychological problems of employees. Business organization also gives career related guidance to an employee which is known as career counseling.


Counseling occasionally is necessary for employees due to job and personal problems that subject them to excessive stress. Counseling is discussion of a problem that usually has emotional content with an employee in order to help the employee cope with it better. Counseling seeks to improve employee’s mental health. People feel comfortable about themselves and about other people and able to meet the demands of life when they are good in mental health.

Employee Counselling – 10 Important Characteristics

Below giving are the characteristics of employee counseling:

(i) Counseling is an exchange of ideas and feelings between two people.

(ii) It tries to improve organisational performance by helping the employees to cope with the problems.

(iii) It makes organisation be more human and considerate with people’s problems.

(iv) Counseling may be performed by both professionals and non-professionals.

(v) Counseling is usually confidential in order to have free talk and discussions.

(vi) It involves both job and personal problems.

(vii) Counselling deals with emotional problems and is not generally concerned with technical, commercial or legal problems which are by nature non-emotional problems.

(viii) Counselling involves discussions and it is an act of communication.

(ix) The main purpose of counselling is to understand or decrease an employees’ emotional disorder.

(x) Professionally trained counsellors are required for resolving serious emotional problems. Managers and superiors can counsel for non-serious emotional problems faced by the employees.

Employee Counselling – Objectives

Objectives of employee counseling are:

1. Provide an opportunity for the employee to discuss his frustration, tension, conflicts, concerns and problems.

2. Understand his behaviour and reasons for such behaviour.

3. Help the employee to realise his potential.

4. Help him to understand his strengths and areas for development.

5. Understanding the work environment.

6. Improve his personal and interpersonal effectiveness.

Employee Counselling – Need

Need for employee counseling arises due to various causes in addition to stress. These causes include: emotions, inter-personal problems and conflict at place, inability to meet job demands, over-work load, and confrontation with authority, responsibility and accountability, conflicts with the superiors, subordinates and management and various family problems, health problems, career problems etc.

Counselling is a basic part of industrial psychology as long as people work with other people in organizational settings. Several organizations are training their supervisory and managerial personnel in interviewing and counselling techniques in order that they may be more helpful in fostering good mental health among employees.

The purpose of counselling in industry is to help employees in overcoming their “neurotic” or emotionally based illness that accounts for a substantial part of employee absenteeism and turn over and their personal problems as well as emotional disturbances that may seriously affect their job performance which proves costly to the organization.

The overall objectives of the supervisor or manager in counselling subordinates is to help the individual to remain effective in his job and performance of his duties and responsibilities in the organization. It is required of every manager to help his subordinates to grow and develop fully. It is natural that subordinates need guidance, coaching, or help of an experienced person.

This role of the immediate superior calls for counselling skills which help the subordinate in the free exploration of his strengths, abilities, competence, interests and other related positive features. Such a skill proves useful in understanding subordinates, assisting them in their efforts to grow and develop, and in improving their interpersonal relations both at work and in the society at large.

Thus, counselling is in effect a process of helping subordinates to achieve better adjustment with the work environment, to behave as a psychologically mature individual, and help in achieving a better understanding with others so that his dealings with them can be effective and purposeful. The basic objective of counselling is overall development of subordinates.

Professional counsellors are appointed in many big organizations. These are experts in industrial psychology who help the employee by way of advice and guidance.

The counsellors help an individual employee to:

(i) Provide empathic atmosphere of genuine concern about his difficulties, tensions, worries, problems, etc. so that he can freely discuss and share his views with counsellor;

(ii) Understand himself better and to gain knowledge about his potential strengths and weaknesses;

(iii) Gain an insight into the dynamics of his behaviour by providing necessary feedback;

(iv) Have better understanding of the environment in which he functions;

(v) Increase his personal and interpersonal effectiveness by assisting him in analysing his interpersonal competence;

(vi) Prepare alternate action plans for improving his performance and behaviour.

The counsellors thus make significant contribution in achieving good human relations in industry. They essentially communicate with the employees by receiving, listening and responding to the messages and try to influence the employees.

For effective counselling, the pre-requisites are as follows:

(i) Open two-way communication between the counsellor arid the employee;

(ii) Genuine concern of the counsellor for providing necessary help to the employee and develop him further; and

(iii) Influence by the counsellor by recognizing employee’s feelings, by sharing his experiences and ideas, by posing questions that stimulate his thinking, and by helping him to solve his problems.

Thus, in order to fulfil the basic purpose of counselling, the counsellor should give sufficient importance to the communication process by listening carefully to what the employee has to convey and by being responsive to the same. He has to generate the necessary confidence in the employee and to assure him of the counsellor’s interest in helping him.

Employee Counselling – 6 Important Functions

The main purpose of counselling is to help the employee in dealing with emotional problems so that they can continue to work well with confidence.

Counselling involves the following:

1. Giving advice is one of the functions of counselling. Counselling involves understanding the emotional feelings of the person and suggest necessary course of action.

2. Reassurance is giving encouragement to workers to face problems or reposing confidence in them that they are on the right path. Statements like ‘Go ahead, you are on the right path’ or ‘You have made good progress’ are all reassurances.

3. Counselling improves upward and downward communication. The management comes to know the feelings of employees even at the lowest level. The counsellor informs the policies and procedures of the company to employees as they discuss emotional problems.

4. The counselee is able to share his emotional problems and releases his frustration as he narrates his problems to the counsellor. The release of frustration does not solve the problem but gives him courage to face the problem boldly.

5. The counsellor does not give advice but encourages the counselee to share his problems and think rationally to solve the problems.

6. Reorientation involves a revision of the worker’s level of aspiration to bring it more in with actual attainment and it is carried out by professionals.

Employee Counselling – 3 Main Methods

In order to be successful, counsellors use various skills and techniques to increase people’s awareness of problems and to decide on appropriate actions.

Some of the most effective methods counsellors use to achieve these purposes are as follows:

1. Non-Directive Counselling.

2. Directive Counselling.

3. Co-operative Counselling.

1. Non-Directive Counselling:

Non-directive or client-centred counselling is the process of skillfully listening and encouraging a counselee to explain bothersome emotional problems, understand them and determine the course of action. The central point in such type of counselling is the counselee and not the counsellor. This technique is mostly used by professional counsellors but managers can also practise it in their organisation.

The role of a counsellor is simply to listen to the person and try to understand his feelings and encourage to discover and follow improved course of action. He should not suggest or reassure any course of action rather he should accept his feelings without any judgment.

He should also avoid blame or praise or doubts during the course of counselling otherwise the role of counsellor will change because it may be possible that the person may not come out with his true feelings and the very purpose of such counselling may be defeated.

The counsellor throughout the interview should attempt to ask discerning questions, restate ideas, clarify feelings and understand why these feelings exist. There exists a fluid and sensitive relationship between the counsellor and counselee that requires minute attention to every detail in the overall situation.

2. Directive Counselling:

As the name implies, directive counselling is a process of directing the employees to solve their emotional problems through advice, reassurance, communication, release of tension. The counsellor deals with the emotional problem of the employee patiently, and then decides with the employee what to do and then motivating the employee to do it.

The counsellor takes an active part in discussing every aspect of the problem and helps in devising the solution and suggests the ways to get it. It is assumed that the counsellor is superior to counselee and knows what to do.

3. Co-Operative Counselling:

Employers make limited use of non-directive counselling because it requires professional counsellors and is costly. On the other hand, directive counselling is often not accepted by modern, independent and democratic employees. This is why that organisations in general use counselling which falls between the two extremes of directive and non-directive counselling.

This moderate, or middle-of-the-road approach, is called ‘co-operative counselling’. It is called ‘co-operative’ because it uses the co-operative efforts of both the counsellor and the counselee. It is neither entirely counsellor-centred nor counselee- centred. In fact, it requires that both of them come forward with their varied knowledge, perspectives and insights to resolve the counsel’s problems in a work-together” setting.

Keith Davis has defined co-operative counselling as “a mutual discussion of an employee’s emotional problem and a co-operative effort to set up conditions that will remedy it.” Co-operative counselling starts with the listening technique of non-directive counselling but as the interview progresses, the counsellor plays a much more important and positive role than he plays in non-directive technique.

The counsellor initiates the discussion and discusses the problem with the employee from his broader perspective of the organisation, thus, throwing various perspectives before the employees for comparison.

Co-operative counselling applies four functions of counselling, i.e., reassurance, communication, release of tension and clarified thinking. It has no room for advice. If reorientation is needed, the counsellor refers the employee to a professional counsellor. If direct action is required, the manager takes the action but he does so in his capacity as a direct superior and not as a counsellor.

Employee Counselling – Process (With Steps)

Efficient counselling depends upon the attitudes, perceptions and skills of the counsellor. If we wish to act as counsellors, but do not have positive attitudes, respect or feelings of the counsellee, ability to communicate, empathize with the counsellee and desire to be of service, we will not be able to do a good job.

The counsellor should have good intentions to help the employees and the ability to do so. The employee may not like to share his problems with the counsellor. He cannot be forced but the manager could convince him of the good intentions to help him and to explain to him what benefits he could get.

The manager/counsellor should take care to fix a mutually convenient time and place free from interruptions for the counselling session. During actual counselling, he should help the employee to identify his own problems and arrive at his own course of action.

The counsellor could do the following:

i. Be prepared with as much knowledge as possible about the individual

ii. Put the counsellee at ease

iii. Avoid criticism and give hasty decision

iv. Do not show your authority

v. Give undivided attention to counsellee when he is speaking

vi. Encourage him to give constructive suggestions and alternatives to solve the problems.

Counselling is undertaken to enable the counsellee to make better adjustments. The manager/counsellor should limit himself to the attitudes and behaviour of counsellee that affects his work and performance. In case of personal and family problems, the counsellee may take professional help as managers are not trained psychologist or psychiatrist. Further, confidentiality of the information provided by the counsellee has to be maintained.

Counselling is an inter-personal communication process where the coun­sellor advises and releases the stress, frustration of counsellee and reorients his thinking.

The counsellor takes up the following steps in doing this:

(1) Rapport Building is the First Step in Counselling:

The counsellor listens to the counsellee and shows his concern about the prob­lems of counsellee. The counselor does not pick up any unneces­sary discussion with the counsellee which may hurt him. He will be having an eye contact with counsellee, note all his expressions patiently and listen to his talks.

Counsellor should not do any other work during that period i.e., not attend to any phone calls, or keep looking at his e-mails etc. Counsellor should build such a rapport with him that he feels the counsellor is genuinely interested in counsellee.

(2) Asking the Counsellee Exploring Questions:

The counsellor should help employee open up with him and come out with his weak points and problems. Once a rapport has been built between the two, employee will speak about his inabilities to do some job, his inability to come up to the expectations of his boss, his inability to get along with his fellow beings in the group/organization etc.

The counsellor should try to visualize his problem from all angles. This exercise will make the counsellor understand the genesis of origin of his problems. The diagnosis of the problem may not be understood in one or two sessions. The counsellor may have to walk a mile more to have exact understanding of employee’s stress.

(3) Find Alternative Ways to Help the Counsellee:

Counsellor should be able to help the counsellee by finding out ways and means of helping him. He should look for alternative solutions to the prob­lems of counsellee. The counsellor should then suggest to the counsellee best solution and its action plan.

The employee is encouraged to work on this action plan and get out of his prob­lem/stress. A timely monitoring is done by the counsellor where he checks whether his plan is working or not. He can review and make some changes if required. He should tell the employee to ask for help as and when required.

As the patient enters the room, greet the person, call the person by name, welcome the client and make him/her comfortable. Introduce yourself if meeting for the first time and tell the person the purpose of the meeting (to understand the health problem and its best management). Encourage the counselee to talk about themselves.

1. Active Attending or Listening:

It is most important step in counselling because the details provided by the client are based on it. Active listening means listening carefully and paying attention to verbal as well as non-verbal signals. Provide in-depth information to relieve fears and worries of the client. Similarly, counsellor’s words, expression and posture/gesture (verbal/non-verbal communication) indicates that attention is being paid to what is being said.

By demonstrating an attending behaviour we enhance the client’s self- respect, establish a safe atmosphere and facilitate free expression of thought by the counselee. Active listening includes reflection of feelings, questioning, paraphrasing and clarification. Similarly, actions of the counselee communicate many unexpressed feeling. Some of these nonverbal activities are counselee entering the room, Voice quality, Breathing, Eyes, Facial expressions, Leg movement and Body posture.

i. Reflection of Content of Feelings:

People respond difficulty to their illness. They may express their feelings as short temper, Irritable behaviour, less interest in daily routine, inability to sleep, loss of weight and feelings of worthlessness and anxiety. Do not try to stop, let the person express their feelings, do not stop patient/family members from crying. Do not take anger personally and try to stay calm.

The counselor must recognise such feelings in a direct, unemotional way. The focus is kept on the emotions of the client and his/her subjective experiences in coping with the situation. Counsellor reflects the contents and feelings of the other persons by responding back the client and communicating a message through empathy, questioning or paraphrasing that conveys that counselor is listening and trying to understand counselee’s circumstances.

ii. Questioning:

Always try to use questions and establish communications so that both the problem and the solutions are clear. Asks questions in order to clarify the situation xxviii and make client aware of all the dimensions of the problem and help the clients to understand the core issue underlying his/her fears or concerns.

Do not ask too many closed questions (closed questions are those questions that can be answered by one word like yes/no). Ask open questions to make communication easier, encourage further discussion add facilitate building of trust and warmth in the relationships.

Use questions containing why with caution as it may easily sound judgmental. If you need to use, why, use it in the middle of a sentence and not in the beginning of a sentence.

iii. Paraphrasing and Clarification:

Paraphrasing is repetition of the jest of client’s feelings by the counselor in their own words. For example, “You seem to be saying that you are afraid that your family is not going to take care of you”. The clients might then agree with the interpretation. If not, the counselor can seek clarification by saying “will you please explain it with more details?”

Utilizsing this technique, the counselor attempts to give feed back to the client; the essence or content of what the client has just said and clarifies understanding of the client’s world. Clarification helps the client to come to understand themselves better. When you ask the client to explain something in more details or in a different way; by doing this clients not only explore their own feelings further, but will also feel that you are trying hard to understand their situation. In the process, counselors also tell the client about the scientific facts not known to them.

2. Interpretation:

Often people avoid focusing on the real problem and talk around the issue. Interpretation goes beyond what is explicitly expressed by the feelings and implied meanings of the client’s statements. Even client is unaware of this. Counsellor redefines the problem from a different point of view to bring out more clarity to the problem and make client aware to the core problem. The counselor also helps client to establish what is relevant, emphasising the important points – for example, “Of all the things you talked about today, it seems to me you are most concerned about…… ”

3. Repeating:

At times of stress and crisis, clients are in a state of denial or feeling overwhelmed. They may not always understand everything they are told. As a counselor, do not hesitate and repeat salient points of the discussion, statements of support or necessary facts. It ensures that the clients clearly understand the problem and requisite action. Client would usually convey that they understand and accept the information.

4. Summarising:

Many people who are stunned by news of the disease may respond by talking quickly and trying to provide more details or ask more questions; than counsellor can absorb or comprehend. It is then helpful for the counsellor to interrupt at times and summarise what has been said. This is like paraphrasing and helps to ensure that each understands the other correctly.

Summarising towards the end of the counselling provides guidance and direction to both counselor and counselee; to deal with practical matters of the problem and decide plan of action. A summary resembles a combination of reflection of feeling and paraphrasing over a longer period of time. At the end of each session, the counsellor should summarise the salient points of the discussion, highlight decisions which have been made and need to be acted on.

5. Confrontation:

Many a time’s clients are so much preoccupied with their fears that cannot see the connection between their behaviour and the responses of the others. Confrontation involves a direct examination of incongruities and discrepancies in the client’s thinking, feeling and/or behaviour.

The counselor tells the client that how their thoughts affect their action and behaviour, which in turn affect the behaviour of others towards them. e.g., Because of fear of discrimination, people withdraw themselves and do not speak to friends and relatives. Friends and relatives in turn also respond by not talking to them.

Establishment of strong relationship and rapport is essential before commenting on such issues. It is a highly intrusive skill hence timing is very important and advice on confrontation must be delivered in an atmosphere of warmth, care and concern.

6. Respecting:

As a counsellor, try to appreciate that people see their problems in unique personal ways determined by culture, social class and personality. Respect client’s views and beliefs and build on them. Show respect, for instance, by asking a client to explain “you feel strongly about this. I don’t know about it. Tell me more about it.”

7. Structuring or Prioritisation:

Structuring means helping the client to see relationship between facts and feelings. It helps clients to determine the important aspects of their concern that needs immediate attention and other less important aspects that can be put off until later. It is essential part of planning and probably one of the most critical skills in counseling.

8. Deciding Plan of Action:

Based on the scientific knowledge, cultural and socio-economic aspect of the client, help the client to explore all the possible solution for the prioritised aspect and choose the most relevant option for action. Encourage client to take their own decision and act accordingly.

9. Concluding a Counseling Session:

While ending the session summarise the salient points and decision taken, congratulate client for their efforts, wish them luck and fix next visit.

Employee Counselling – Career Counselling Session of Employees

Before beginning the counseling services, the counselor needs to study subordinates job responsibilities, education, training and experience, job performance and their past jobs. The interview should be sincere, informal and friendly. The counselor should explain the purpose of discussion to the interviewee and also emphasize on the issue that the interview is eventually a two way communication. The subordinates should be encouraged to discuss their own appraisals about themselves.

The counselor should focus on the strong points and encourage the subordinates for suggest their own developments. He / she should make record on plans, mutually agreed to in the interview.

Career Counseling or vocational guidance, is the process of facilitating a person to make a suitable carrier decision based on his / her individual abilities and expectations in keeping with the job on text. Vocational guidance includes proper psychometric testing and further one-to-one counseling session with the person.

Banks should have a professional career counselor to play the role of catalyst to bring about the desired outcome and groom the employees to cater, to the changing needs in banking.

A career counselor is by qualification and net by position or designation. Counselor conduct psychometric test which includes aptitude / interest / intelligence / personality and adjustment tests. The counselor does not take a decision for the employee, but provides guidelines and facilitates the decision making process. The objective of a counseling session is to narrow down the choices.

Employee Counselling – Performance Counselling (With Steps and Pre-Requisites)

In the present era of performance appraisal, the focus has been shifted from performance measurement to performance development so that there is continuous improvement in performance. The traditional method of performance improvement focuses on incremental improvement, that is, the managers assume that environment, ability, and motivation result in a constant level of performance.

A logical extension of this assumption would be that performance will increase when environment, ability, or motivation improve. In this view, performance increases in a step-by-step fashion — plateaus of flat performance are followed by sharp increases. As contrast to this premise, the premise of continuous performance improvement is that performance can be increased constantly by aligning those forces in tandem that affect performance.

In this context, performance counselling or coaching has emerged as a new tool. In recent years, sports psychology has been used quite successfully in business to illustrate how counselling can be used for effective performance.

Performance counselling is an interactive process between the employee and his counsellor (other terms that are used for the purpose are coach, guide, or mentor) to anticipate the likely problems in job performance, defining proactive actions to overcome those problems, and implementing those actions on a continuous basis.

Steps in Performance Counselling:

In an effective performance counselling, the following steps are followed:

1. Rapport between Employee and Counsellor:

At the initial stage, rapport between the employee and his counsellor is developed so that there is open and free communication between them. Rapport between the employee and the counsellor can be developed by building trust, mutual respect, and empathy. All these result in bringing the employee and the counsellor together by heart.

2. Exploring Information about Performance:

At this stage, the counsellor with the help of the employee, explores about the employee’s current performance, his strengths and weaknesses particularly the key ones, and his key job requirements. The basic objective is to stimulate the employee to define himself in the light of job content and context.

3. To Define Future Goals:

Once the employee assesses his strengths and weaknesses, the counsellor tries to make him realize what his problems are and to make a realistic assessment of the nature of these problems. Though there may be some contextual problems, often people tend to attribute their shortcomings to external reasons only.

The assessment of the problems in real perspective helps to understand their real causes. Based on the understanding of the problems, the counsellor helps the employee in setting his performance goals more realistically.

4. Drawing Action Plans:

The counsellor helps the employee to draw action plans that would result in continuous performance improvement. The pros and cons of each action plan are evaluated and weighed and the most appropriate action plan is selected for step-by-step execution with a time table.

The execution of action plan is monitored by the employee himself and progress made is shared with the counsellor. The action plan is reviewed periodically with the help of the counsellor to take corrective action, if required.

Pre-Requisites for Performance Counselling:

Performance counselling can be made effective tool for continuous performance improvement provided the following requisites are met properly:

1. Organizational Culture for Performance Improvement:

Performance counselling can be used as source of continuous performance improvement if the organizational culture for it is conducive. To make organizational culture conducive, the goals of employees, work teams, and the organization as a whole should be to have a continuous performance improvement. If it is attempted as a fragmented approach, it would not be effective.

2. Continuous Desire for Learning:

Improvement over improvement in performance requires a change in mental set. This mental set can be changed through learning. Therefore, there should be desire for continuous learning on the part of the employees. The role of a counsellor is not only to enhance this desire to learn but channelise it to workplace because, often, learned behaviour is not adequately transferred to workplace.

3. Continuous Dialogue:

Performance counselling is not a one-way process of communication to employee about what he should or should not do. It is a process of continuous dialogue between the employee and the counsellor towards better understanding of the situation. This pre-supposes the existence of a general climate of openness and mutuality.

4. Focus on Work-Related Behaviour:

It is better if performance counselling focuses on work-related goals and behaviours. Discussion of personal issues and personality problems should take place only in so far as it is helpful in understanding the employee’s difficulties in performing his organizational role more effectively. The feedback provided by the council should be objective and not just impressionistic.

Employee Counselling – Benefits

Some of the benefits are as follows:

1. The employee learns to adjust with people and situation better.

2. Improvement in personal effectiveness.

3. Able to overcome personal weaknesses and work effectively.

4. The employee feels relaxed after sharing his problems with counsellor who assures confidentiality.

5. Unburden his worried and tensions.

6. Understand the problems in a better manner and increase the chances of finding his own solutions.

Some of the conditions for effective counseling are as follows:

(a) A climate of mutual trust, confidence and openness need to be ensured at the outset

(b) Climate should be such that it can ensure subordinates free participation in their reviews process, and also in their giving the correct feedback. This is important as counseling is not a one way process of communication, but a two way traffic.

(c) The focus of performance counseling is on counseling development. Employee development should not be considered isolated from other issues of performance appraisal i.e. remuneration and rewards, promotion, motivates etc.

Employee Counselling – Pitfalls

The purpose of counseling is to recognize and help people to solve some emotional problems. The need for counseling arises when an individual is confronted with problems of adjustment which he cannot solve satisfactorily without help. Since an employee brings to work a total personality with him, he carries with him all his anxieties, tensions and disturbances.

These pose serious threats to his work performance because of his inability to concentrate on work. Therefore the need of every employee is to develop him according to the situations in order to give efficient performance.

Counseling is an effective means whereby the superior helps his subordinates by proving right guidance. The rationale behind counseling is based on a highly motivational but nevertheless there are certain pitfalls which make Counseling unsuccessful and unfruitful.

There are certain pitfalls that managers should avoid in order to make counseling work. These include accepting poor performance, failing to get the message across, and inadequately preparing for the counseling meeting, among others.

Counseling-Stages – Focus – Pitfalls:


1. Stage 1 – Preliminary – Establishing Rapport Part I – Exploration.

2. Stage 2 – Intermediate Stage – Provides for an in depth analysis of the problem for ascertaining the causes Part II – Understanding the personality of the individual.

3. Stage 3 – Final Stage – Alternative solutions to be discussed weighing the pros and cons.


1. Stage 1 – Preliminary – Unable to generate Confidence.

2. Stage 2 – Intermediate Stage – Focusing on only once source may be external or internal weeding out potential disturbing causes. Inadequate attention paid to understand the full personality.

3. Stage 3 – Final Stage – Missing out on important causes and Unable to hold up to the schedule.

Counseling focuses on deep behavioral & emotional issues, on life, needs & desires of the counselee and is designed to have the counselee ultimately help himself by becoming more self-responsible. We have often heard the saying that “coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress and working together is a success” therefore is important to keep the motivation level high throughout and avoid the pitfalls that may occur in the process of counseling.