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1. Performance Objectives 2. Interpersonal Counseling Techniques 3. Counseling Settings 4. Center Ex: Web 2.0!
The business counselor will:
The business counselor will display knowledge of Interpersonal Counseling Techniques such as listening skills, empathy and stimulation of conversation, goal setting, reinforcement, perception, creative problem solving, and the ability to handle difficult people. The business counselor will be exposed to face-to-face and distance counseling sessions. The business counselor will learn to integrate clients into the Center EX system.
Your proficiency in counseling techniques will be evaluated by all of the following methods: • Counseling clients, as determined by an assigned mentor. • Correctly answering case study questions concerning interpersonal skills and client counseling techniques. • Understanding of outreach tools and practices including Center EX. • Receiving favorable reports from 80% or more of the clients returning appointment evaluation postcards.
Module 1: Code of Professional Conduct. How You Will Be Trained Complete the following training assignments: •
Read Module 2 in its entirety. Observe, while co-counseling, the techniques used by the business counselor who is working with the client. Record your observations on the counseling checklist. At the conclusion of the client's appointment, discuss your observations with the business counselor. Notice extent of the business counselor’s use of distance counseling technologies. Business counselor will demonstrate use of Center EX system.
Interpersonal Counseling Techniques
While technical expertise is a critical element of a business counselor’s ability to assist clients, human and communication skills are more important. A business counselor who lacks good interpersonal skills will be unable to transfer technical expertise and motivate the incredibly independent entrepreneurs who come to the WSBDC for knowledge. Characteristics of Effective Business Counselors:
Skilled at communicating openly and honestly. This includes participating in active and engaged listening. This is hard work. Counselor needs to concentrate fully on what is being said, not only to understand the content of what is being said, but also to perceive what is not being verbalized. 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 solutions within the client’s grasp. Will attempt to understand, not to judge, the client. Able to refer client to another business counselor if communication breaks down. Communicate caring and respect for clients. Has expertise of value to the client. Has an understanding of world events, including changes in the economy, demographics and political implications for small businesses. If the client needs help in a field in which you have no expertise, you will refer the client to another business counselor. Can reason systematically, helping client to determine a step-by-step course of action. Assign “homework” when necessary. Understand it is the client’s decision to follow this course of action or to abandon it totally. You know when to let go of a client. Believe the best counseling approach is “interactive”; both parties work together in planning how to analyze and solve the problems.
The Three Parts of Effective Counseling There are three distinct parts to the counseling process:
1. Assess client needs through listening and asking strategic questions. 2. Creating goals and action steps with client. 3. Follow up with client.
The needs and expectations of a client begin with the first contact and continue through each session. A checklist of open ended questions to ask
your client will help you identify the problems you will need to address and will help you keep the counseling session focused. Using a checklist, you can help the client identify his or her next steps and set goals. Your role as a counselor is to coach the client into coming up with the best answer for his or her business. Once clarified in the client’s mind, help to formulate goals and action steps. These are best accomplished when written down by client. After goals have been set, it is important to have some method for following up with the client to check progress and answer questions. Demonstrate Center EX and our website with the client so they can receive our services when our offices are closed.
Counseling Settings: Face To Face and Distance Counseling
What an exciting world we live in with all the technological choices! Counseling settings can fall into two basic categories: (1) Face to Face and (2) Distance. Face to Face sessions occur in a variety of places and need not necessarily occur at the office of the business counselor. Distance sessions may include phone conversations, email, internet conferences (such as Live Meeting, GoTo Meeting or other like services) or a combination of the three technologies and possibly others. Text messaging is likely to be in our near future and more technology is surely coming. Our goal of distance counseling is to effectively outreach to our clients who either prefer distance communication or are too far from a SBDC counseling location to conveniently visit us. Our commitment to clients requires we use technology in a prudent way to help meet client needs. Counseling Setting Combination Examples and Possibilities Wyoming SBDC business counselors will encounter various situations where we use multiple tools to counsel clients. Listed below are approaches to conducting face-to-face and distance counseling sessions:
Clients may approach a business counselor in the following ways: o Telephone o Email o Walk-In o Snail Mail (US Postal Service)
Request counseling through Center Ex (see next section)
A business counselor may conduct a face-to-face meeting with a client at the following locations, and others, the counselor deems appropriate and/or effective: o Business Counselor’s office o A Public Library o A Chamber of Commerce Building o A City or Town Hall o A UW Extension Office o B.O.C.E.S. (Board of Cooperative Education Services) Education Center A business counselor may conduct a distance counseling meeting utilizing the following means: o The client may call the counselor’s cell or office phone (Wyoming SBDC is currently utilizing Unlimited Conferencing allowing several clients to call from multiple locations at the same time, using the same number, to conference with the business counselor) o Email o Microsoft Live Meeting in conjunction with telephone o Text messaging
Materials Sharing Counselors should utilize Center EX to share materials with clients. This practice introduces the client to the Dashboard system which may be used to serve the client beyond current functionality. There are occasions where printed materials can be used such as face-toface meetings with no internet access. The materials disseminated should be current to those we share using Center EX.
Center Ex: WEB 2.0!
Barriers of time and place are broken down with web technology, across all organizations. Our digital world is one where clients can, and do, help themselves to information, products and services at all hours in a day. Wyoming SBDC has chosen Center Dynamics as a provider of database and content management systems with the Center EX tool. Center EX allows clients to sign-in to a Client Dashboard and take advantage of: • Online training search and registration (payment capability coming in 2009)
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Auto-generated document recommendations Documents manually referred by counselor, including market research Survey participation Access to Wyoming Business Tips articles Features to come in 2009
Clients access the Client Dashboard sign in screen by surfing to WyEn.Biz, then clicking on Client Sign-in toward the upper left side of the home page.
Center EX - Client Sign-in Screen The sign in screen can be seen below:
Returning clients can access their Dashboard by using their email listed in our system and a password. A password can be sent to them using the Forget your password? option in the middle of the page. New clients will use the New to our network? field at the bottom of the page by entering a zip code and clicking on the Locate Offices button.
Once the client signs in, the Client Dashboard (as shown below) will appear.
There are four navigational tabs on the Client Dashboard: Welcome, Resource Library, History and My Profile. Welcome tab has: • Current training opportunities in client’s area. • Search Events to find all currently available trainings. • Available Surveys created by Wyoming SBDC.
Resource Library tab has: • Recommended documents and links to resources recommended by counselors and auto-generated by our system. • Personal Library, which includes all of the resources the client has used at the Dashboard. • Browse the Full Resource Library allows the client to search our Public Library which is currently populated with our Wyoming Business Tip Articles. History tab has: • Current training opportunities in client’s area. • Search Events to find all currently available trainings. • Available Surveys created by Wyoming SBDC. My Profile tab has: • Current training opportunities in client’s area. • Search Events to find all currently available trainings. • Available Surveys created by Wyoming SBDC. Wyoming SBDC counselors can contact Mark Atkinson (email@example.com) or Cindy Unger (firstname.lastname@example.org) for assistance with our website and Center EX.
Module 2 Training Checklist
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Business Counselor __________________ Read Module 2 ______DATE Training Exercise (checklist): ______DATE Understands Center EX basics ______DATE Understands Distance Counseling tools/techniques ______DATE Co-Counseling ______DATE
COUNSELING CHECKLIST INSTRUCTIONS: Imagine you are the client who is now being counseled as you observe the session. Answer the following questions by circling the number you feel most accurately measures your observations of how the client feels. Then note any comments or questions you would like to discuss after the client has left.
Strongly Agree 5 Agree 4 Not Sure 3 Disagree 2 Strongly Disagree 1
I feel free to come back. My counselor talked in terms I could understand. The counselor listened to me. He/she was a very "human" person. He/she was very patient. I felt I could be open, honest, and genuine with him/her. He/she was a warm, sincere, and friendly individual. His/her tone of voice was encouraging The help was quite worthwhile. His/her remarks made things clearer for me. Overall, the experience was good. Generally, he/she was well-organized. The types of questions the counselor asked were good. My questions were answered to my satisfaction. He/she increased my general knowledge. He/she behaved as if the session was a routine, mechanical process.
He/she insists on always being right. He/she has a condescending attitude.
He/she gives the impression of being intellectually superior to me. He/she talked too much. The counselor understands distance counseling technology. Center EX was clearly explained to the client.