1. The Values of Counselling vs. Those of Business• The aim of counselling is to promote growth and autonomy among the clients and to encourage clients to care for themselves, to be assertive and to develop their potential. But this is not always in accord with particular organizations that do not wish employees to be autonomous. Many organizations want teamwork rather than a concentration on the individual; many require passive employees rather than active ones, and many growth-orientated employees would clash with macho managers. highlights possible conflicts:• "One difficulty with counselling within the organizational context is that the values and goals implicit in counselling are not easily reconciled with the economic, rationalistic models, which underlie organizational procedures and processes. Counselling is generally concerned with providing individuals with a greater sense of freedom, while an important organizational function is the control of its employees."
• Besides possible conflicts between counselling values and those of the organization, there may also be value conflicts within employees counsellors themselves where they struggle with their precise roles and responsibilities.• Which comes first: the individual client or the organization as a whole? Counsellors are trained primarily to deal with the individual and to put the welfare of the individual first. This may conflict with company norms and even policies. Moving from individual counselling, either privately or in other settings, to employee counselling in the work-place can be problematic for counsellors trained this way.• Counsellors and managers struggle to understand and be changed by the world of the other. Not only are some organizations reluctant to see a role for counselling within their ambit but also there are counsellors who view industry as simply against people and are concerned with making profit at the expense of individuals. Clashes in values among counsellors, clients, organizations and society have to be faced continually by work-place counsellors who are trying "to integrate outer-directed business values with the more inner-directed humanistic
Counselling Service• The way the concept of counselling is used or understood within a particular company will determine what the goals of counselling should be, how counselling is practiced, and to what extent the model of counselling presented is really possible.• Majority use counselling in the context of performance review, both formal and informal inspired in one way or another by the idea that the employee may have something to contribute to the proper evaluation of his/her own work and may then be more open to corrective action.• Some use counselling as a part of their training methods, so that trainees may have the opportunity to assess their individual strengths and weaknesses.• The term is also commonly used in the context of career counselling and redundancy (job loss) counselling; where the meaning most closely approaches the one that is adopted here.
1.Traditional Factors• Historically, the original pressures behind the establishment of employee counselling services were linked to the following three things:• The legislation held the employers responsible not only for their physical safety at work but also for what might be termed as emotional damage, especially where that was construed as leading to catastrophic effects in terms of illness or death.• The incidence of alcoholism and drug abuse.• The reaction of Health Insurance Company because it had to pay more in terms of health cost, it attempted to control the situation by correspondingly higher premiums and more stringent exclusion clauses. The agencies responsible for counselling services were also willing to modify this tougher approach for companies, and ran an employee-counselling programme.
2.New FactorsCounselling services are linked to two things:1. The economic recession in the world has put many companies under pressure to reduce and/or redeploys their workforce and at the same time involve much more in people welfare. They have to take a long-sighted view of manpower requirement, to handle redundancies in a manager, to take steps to attract the key industrial employees they wish to retain. 2. To reduce the negative effects of stress on the grand scale arising from pressure, pace and fluctuations of modern life.
3. Dilemmas of a Manager Counsellor• When an independent counsellor is helping a client there is no conflict of interest, because once the contract between the two is agreed, the process is designed to satisfy only the interests of the client.• It is important for organizations counsellor, manager or anybody, to recognize that employers have a legitimate concern with performance. There will be an emphasis on action-positive change and measurable results. The root of the difficulties, which managers and supervisors may experience, can be traced to certain ambiguities in the situation of the manager acting as counsellor. Most of the times, managers are not willing to take up the role of a counsellor for a number of reasons:• They fear that their assessing/controlling role will be undermined (damaged).• They believe that the subordinates will exploit a show of sympathy on their part.• They think that being sympathetic with a person means they cannot make any further demands on him or her.• According to some of them their job description doesnt include social work.• Some managers are reluctant to spend time as counsellors.
• Leadership and management are both said to hinge on the desire and ability to make other people successful. The skills of counselling are subset of the skills of leadership. They may not be deployed everyday but one timely intervention by the respected boss or colleague can make a difference to the individual and he might learn a valuable lesson which will stay with him for the rest of his life and will also help him to make progress. Still there are certain role conflicts experienced by the managers when they are playing the role of a counsellor in an organization. Few of these are:A. Different Priorities• First, managers and supervisors carry a natural responsibility to evaluate, control and improve performance. The companys objectives demand it; the way they carry it out is part of what they themselves are assessed on. Such pressures, from above and below, make middle management one of the most stressed groups in an organization. The calm listening, the reassurance and basic compassion of the counsellor are difficult to come by. The manager cannot refrain from making decisions, from passing judgment.• The manager and the counsellor may easily have different priorities. A manager may need to confront where the relative independent counsellor can afford to wait for the person to confront himself. The counsellor can perhaps afford to accept any one of the three solutions to a problem, but the manager may have to insist on only one. He or she may have to insist on one particular result, one outcome, however much freedom the individual is given to choose the means. The counsellor can usually be more relaxed about goals as well as means.
• The gulf between the two perspectives may sometimes seem too wide to bridge. One might say that the counsellor works for the client, the employee works for the manager-counsellor. But this is to overdraw the difference in perspective. All sorts of people in authority have the same situation, the same dilemma.• Likewise the manager may play now one and then the other role. What has often been missing from the managers own education is training in counselling. But the last thing it is intended to do is to shackle managers in their main duty, i.e., to manage. It is intended to show how they may do both at different times and incidentally enhance their authority as managers.
B. Difference in Power• People often come to a manager because there is something or other he can do for them; there is something in his gift, so to speak. It is not necessary that they might always be seeking counselling. They might be interested in something as simple as can they or can they not extend their sick leave, have a raise, go on flexi time, change their client-base, and postpone a deadline.• From the typical counsellors point of view this may be an enviable(lucky) position. The independent counsellor usually does not have the executive power to bring about a change in the situation, which will be beneficial to the client. Managers sometimes do. They can sometimes nip a problem in the bud simply by doing something.• Another major difference between the power of a manager and a counsellor is that the manager has the power to decide when to counsel and when not.
C. Owning the Problem• Another major problem is that the employee does not start by owning the problem. Perhaps it is the new generation of operatives who dont have the mechanical know-how to look after their own machines. He doesnt see that his own expertise came through experience, by being allowed to try things, by being shown, by experimenting, by learning.• The managers first task would be to make him understand that it is his problem and not someone elses. Counselling is a delicate enough process. The need first to convince someone that they have a problem is even more so. This is typically the case with performance issues.• The redundancy ( job loss) counsellor too may face the same paradox. He or she is easily seen as the agent of the organization, which has given the person their problem, and can be the natural recipient of the welter of feelings which are involved such as, panic, resentment, bewilderment, and
D. Conflicting Views on Confidentiality• The reason most often given by employees why they are reluctant to accept counselling from anybody in the organization, even where there is no line relationship, is that they cannot be sure that what they reveal will not in some way prejudice their employment, either now or in the future.• Managers in their turn may want to refuse confidences because they are not sure they could maintain an unprejudiced personal attitude or an uncontaminated judgment of the individual from the companys point of view. Quite reasonably they may be afraid of having their hands tied, wittingly or unwittingly, by an employees openness about a personal problem.
E. Ambiguity in the Situation• The individual manager might be a caring person, but company culture, policy or procedures are geared in such a way that he or she might be restricted from the outset in terms of the help they may offer.• Such people may hesitate to get involved where the only response open to them is a kind of impotent sympathy which would leave them feeling all the more frustrated.
F. Ambivalence Towards Counselling ( mixed feelings)• This is a more fundamental factor, which makes some people frankly unwilling to be involved in the counselling role. They may hide behind a protest about the kind of ambiguities just discussed but in fact it is more a question of personal ambivalence than role ambiguity. This may be for a variety of reasons:• Some people simply do not have a natural sympathy, warmth or caring for others.• Some would rather describe themselves as pragmatic, by which they mean they dont let their feelings affect their performances.• Some nourish the conviction that people (i.e. other people) are basically lazy or inept.• Some see counselling as encouraging malingerers( ill pretending) rather than building trust and loyalty.
G. Ambivalence in Good Listening• There is another kind of ambivalence, which is rooted, in the genuine difficulty of good listening.• One aspect of it is the struggle anyone will experience when his or her own emotions or values are engaged by what someone is saying. Most of us can really only pay attention to one thing at a time. If our own vested interests are being challenged (however unknowingly) by the other person, we do not normally keep the focus of our attention on what they are actually saying. Good listening—for whatever purpose, be it counselling, negotiating or managing—needs to become second nature if we are not to become entangled in our own reactions.• A second and related aspect of this genuine difficulty in listening is that for many people there is something inherently competitive about talking. If someone tells me they nearly went under a bus, what is the most common reaction? I want to tell them the same thing happened to me. Most people dont listen for long before they start to itch to get in their own similar experiences.• There may be something here, something even more basic in many people, which is a reluctance to listen, from the belief that if they listen they may be forced to agree, that if they see the others point of view they may have to give up their own.