The time to find a counsellor is when things feel stuck. Generally speaking, the goal of a counsellor is to move you and your business forward. This can be especially helpful if you’re just starting a business for the first time. However, business counselling also is helpful for those who have been in business for a long time and just need to re-evaluate and refresh their direction. It can be helpful for individuals, small groups and whole companies. Here are a few specific ways that a counsellor can help out, but the work of a counsellor is by no means limited to these.
Identifying or Clarifying Problems
Until you can identify and understand your problem, finding a solution is impossible. Understanding what you are dealing with is the first step to a solution. A counsellor helps you honestly evaluate your business. The usual starting place for this is an easy-going interview in which you and counsellor explore your problems in a non-judgmental way. The goal is to solve the problem, not assign blame. In a larger business this might also include several interviews with several people or a group interview before it’s over. The idea is not to find something wrong. There is likely already a sense of the problem and there is nothing new or the counsellor would not have been called in. Uncovering and clarifying problems is a collaborative effort between you and the counsellor.
Of course once the problems are clarified, the next obvious step for the counsellor is to work with you to find a solution. A counsellor has no interest in telling you what you need to do. His goal is to help you discover possible solutions to the problems. He then counsels you as you sift through them and find those that are useful and that appeal to your sensibilities as a business person. A counsellor will help you set goals around the solutions and help you find any resources that you need to meet your goal.
Perhaps one of the areas where a counsellor is most useful is around decision-making. Deciding to start a business or to change direction in an established business can be excruciatingly difficult. One of the jobs of the counsellor is to help you do an analysis of the different choices you have so you can make an informed decision. Such decisions might include starting a business, expanding a business, hiring new leadership, merging a business, closing a business, seeking investments or loans, and many other major considerations.
Making Your Business a Happier Place
Often businesses, like families and other relationships, can become stale or even difficult. They lose the spark that motivated its original creation and successes. A counsellor can be very useful with issues of morale and interpersonal relationships within a business. They can restore the lustre of the original vision and help the business find its original excitement again. A counsellor can help dissolve some of the dysfunction that is a product of human personalities and can plague a business. He can work to create a team that works together. He helps the employees and management create a corporate culture that is enjoyable and rewarding. And, after all, with all the hours one spends at work, shouldn’t it be a pleasant time.