Interpersonal Counseling Techniques
While technical expertise is a critical element of a business counselor’sability to assist clients, human and communication skills are more important.A business counselor who lacks good interpersonal skills will be unable totransfer technical expertise and motivate the incredibly independententrepreneurs who come to the WSBDC for knowledge.Characteristics of Effective Business Counselors:
Skilled at communicating openly and honestly. This includes participatingin active and engaged listening. This is hard work. Counselor needs toconcentrate fully on what is being said, not only to understand thecontent of what is being said, but also to perceive what is not beingverbalized.
Inspires feelings of trust, credibility and confidence from client(s).
Able to see problems and solutions from the client’s point of view.Measure the client’s abilities and weaknesses and suggest solutionswithin the client’s grasp. Will attempt to understand, not to judge, theclient. Able to refer client to another business counselor if communicationbreaks down.
Communicate caring and respect for clients.
Has expertise of value to the client. Has an understanding of worldevents, including changes in the economy, demographics and politicalimplications for small businesses. If the client needs help in a field inwhich you have no expertise, you will refer the client to another businesscounselor.
Can reason systematically, helping client to determine a step-by-stepcourse of action. Assign “homework” when necessary. Understand it is theclient’s decision to follow this course of action or to abandon it totally. Youknow when to let go of a client.
Believe the best counseling approach is “interactive”; both parties worktogether in planning how to analyze and solve the problems.
The Three Parts of Effective Counseling
There are three distinct parts to the counseling process:
Assess client needs through listening and asking strategic questions.
Creating goals and action steps with client.
Follow up with client. The needs and expectations of a client begin with the first contact andcontinue through each session. A checklist of open ended questions to ask