Skills for performance counseling are as follows:
1. Active Listening: It is the most important skill required for effective counseling. Many times once the emotional outburst is over in the presence of a sympathetic listener, the problem in question is neither as big nor as difficult as the thought of earlier.
Listening here means listening with interest and asking proper questions at the appropriate times. Along with this quality to refrain oneself from asking too many indifferent questions and also to give advice has to be followed.
The questions asked should not be judgmental in nature but should be trust-building. The speaker should have confidence that the listener is not making fun of him or her and should trust that whatever is being said is confidential.
In most of the cases, the counseled person just requires someone to listen to them without judging them and also should understand or at least try to understand their real or imaginary problems. The counselor has to have a lot of patience for this.
2. Reflect Thoughts and Feelings: One of the best things a person can do when offering support to another person is to give feedback by simply re-stating what is said.
This is also a good way to encourage a person to talk. It encourages the other person to elaborate on his viewpoints.
3. Questioning: Well-posed questions may help verify understanding, encourage further explanation or help move an employee through the stages of the counseling session.
An open question is one that is used in order to gather lots of information counselors ask it with the intent of getting a long answer.
A closed question is one used to gather specific information – it can normally be answered with either a single word or a short phrase.
4. Paraphrasing: It is when the counselor restates what the speaker said. Often different works are used, and the listener may be using this to draw attention to a particular concern or aspect.
This technique is considered particularly helpful in eliminating or reducing the importance of extraneous material that may cloud the counselor’s assessment of the situation.
Moderation in vocal tone is essential to making this technique work. Often, the way things are said is remembered longer than how they were said. Sometimes paraphrasing is used to clarify.
5. Summarising: It is focusing on the main points of a presentational conversation in order to highlight them.
Summarising clarifies what the client has been saying and puts it into an organized format so that the client is better able to see a clear picture of the situation. Summarising involves reflecting back on the essence of the conversation.
6. Responding: The counselor’s response to the employee is verbal and non-verbal. Verbal responses should consist of summarising, interpreting, and clarifying communicated messages.’
Refrain from smothering the employee by over-talking him/her and avoid constant interruptions.
Non-verbal responses consist of:
- Eye Contact: Maintaining eye contact without staring demonstrates sincere interest. Be sure to consider cultural differences in determining proper eye contact.
- Body Posture: Avoid slouching, but be relaxed. Present an open posture, facing the employee and leaning forward to exhibit sincerity .
- Head Nods: Occasional head nods demonstrate agreement and encourage the employee to continue to communicate.
- Facial Expressions: Facial expressions should appear natural & relaxed.
7. Clarify the Problem: People who have a clear idea of what is wrong in their lives are more likely to discover solutions. One should try to understand the problem from the person’s point of view.
8. Focus on Feelings: Feelings are neither right nor wrong. By focusing on feelings, one can encourage the outpouring of emotion that is the basis for catharsis. Passing judgment on what is said just makes people defensive.