Archive for January 22, 2008

The Keys to Enhance and Enrich Your Counseling and Coaching Sessions

January 22, 2008

It was Sunday two days ago, a much waited rest day for many. Yet I applaud the overwhelm number of people who turned up for the full day training. This showed their commitment and their strength to care for others. This made me inspired too and the energy in the training was amazing. In this session, “Essential Counseling and Coaching Skills”, I was training them to become better Befrienders.

A Befriender will need both the sets of skills to relate effectively to their clients. Because of the fast changing pace and trends of modern societies, the Befriender will have to be more equipped in handling varying demands and client types.

The clients they take on will typically have more multi-facet issues that are interconnected with each other. This makes the counseling and coaching sessions with the clients even more fluid. This further means that the direction of such encounters might take on different dimensions and perspectives. Being even more prepared is so much more crucial nowadays.

Hence in the training, we explored the keys and techniques of making their meet-up session more enriching and meaningful. Some of the keys were:

1. The Importance of Rapport. Without rapport with the clients, you won’t have trust with each other and openness in the counseling and coaching relationship. This becomes the key bridge for effectiveness in the sessions.

2. The Art of Validation. When you first validate and support the emotions of your clients, they become more confident. They also become more aware of what they are going through. Validation becomes more of a ‘forward moving’ determination instead of a ‘getting-stuck-in-the-now’ situation.

3. The Need to Establish Commitment. This seeks to put in the will and determination of the client to following through the plans that were set out. A regular commitment check is crucial to ensure progress is made. I always share this notion in a brief sentence, “No Commitment, No Progress.”

4. A Time To Equip the client instead of spoon-feeding them. It’s always a gray area as to how much might you be spoon feeding your client. If you realize that you are doing things for them instead of guiding or advising them to do it for themselves, then perhaps that might be a time for a re-evaluation of your counseling or coaching progress.

It’s better to equip them with the skills and attitudes of empowerment instead of depriving them of the ability to make things happen without you. It’s never clear-cut, but you can always choose between “giving the fish” or “teaching them how to fish”. The latter is usually better in the long run.

5. The Understanding of  Priority Setting matters so much more. Prioritizing helps both you and your client decide which major issues to focus on and the consequential steps to take. It also gives you a progressive plan as a result.

With so much in demand, you have to start deciding the key scope because there is no way you can resolve all issues at once. Most requires a clear minded exploration of personal priority. Discuss this with your clients, help them grip their situation tight, and begin to set out a priority and a plan for your sessions.

As you proceed in your meeting up with your clients, do keep all these keys in mind together with whatever was shared in the trainings. Do strive to incorporate these skills so that you can enhance your capability as a counselor and a coach. Remember, it’s really about your clients and the lives you are about to change.

Best wishes to you and always Excel Beyond Excellence!