Four elements are essential to the creation of an effective counseling program
- Education and Training: Institutional and in units, through mentorship and self-development. The Army must first provide a base line of education to its soldiers to “show what right looks like.” The Noncommissioned Officer Education System (NCOES) has the primary responsibility to educate the NCO Corps on counseling. However, NCOES cannot accomplish this alone. Unit NCO Development Programs can and must conduct training workshops to provide that base of education of what right looks like to our junior leaders.
- Experience: Learn by doing coupled with guidance from more senior leaders. After initial education and training, all leaders must put their skills to use. NCOs must practice counseling while at the same time receiving guidance and mentoring on how to improve counseling techniques.
- Continued support from both the Army and leaders: FM 22-100, Appendix B and C and leaders (through spot checks and random monitoring of counseling sessions) provide the necessary support and critiques that will improve a young leader’s counseling skills.
- Enforcement: Once NCOs have the tools (both education and support) necessary for quality counseling, leaders must hold them accountable to ensure acceptable counseling standards for both frequency and content. This is accomplished through some type of compliance program on unit inspections.