Future Lieutenants,

The counseling itself is a really broad topic. Today I’ll mention mostly from FM 6-22, Army Leadership. FM 6-22 says, “Counseling is the process used by leaders to review with a subordinate the subordinate’s demonstrated performance and potential.”

Counseling occurs when a leader, who serves as a subordinate’s designated rater, reviews with the subordinate his demonstrated performance and potential, often in relation to a programmed performance evaluation.

There are three types of counseling; event counseling, performance counseling, and professional growth counseling. Event counseling covers a specific event or situation. Performance counseling is the review of a subordinate’s duty performance during a specified period. You will use DA Forms, such as, The officer evaluation report (OER) (DA form 67-9), OER Support Form (DA Form 67-9-1), and The Developmental Support Form (DA form 67-9-1A). Professional Growth Counseling includes planning for the accomplishment of individual and professional goals. You will use The Developmental Counseling Form, DA Form 4856.
There are three types of approaches to counseling; nondirective approach, directive approach, and combined approach. The nondirective approach is preferred for most counseling sessions. Leaders use their experiences, insight and judgment to assist subordinates in developing solutions. The directive approach works best to correct simple problems, make on-the-spot corrections, and correct aspects of duty performance. The combined approach emphasizes the subordinate’s planning and decision-making responsibilities.

In a unit, you will find at least 5 % trouble makers or bad Soldiers. They will take a lot of your time if you are not careful. You need to take care of them. At the same time, you need to take care of other 95 % good Soldiers. The balance is your call.

When necessary, refer a subordinate to the agency more qualified to help. Get to know with your unit chaplains. Then you don’t have to worry about pastoral counseling (marital, pre-marital, grief, drug, alcohol, spiritual, sexual harassment, depression, moral, family, discharge, reassignment, legal, stress, etc.).

Chaplain (MAJ) Kim, Sungjean Peter

    • deathstroke13
    • October 19th, 2009

    As an lt how many people can you expect to be the rater of? The book states that most counseling sessions last less than half-hour but if you council your entire plt this could take some considerable time. Do the sqd leaders assist in this process?

    Thank you for your incites

    • CDT Coco
    • October 19th, 2009

    Will I, as a LT, recieve monthly counselings on a DA 4856 from my superior? If I am a PL will do a monthly 4856 for the PSG? Or does the 1SG do that for the PSG? Basically, is the system for officers similar to how an NCO counsels his subordinates?

    • Sigfried
    • October 19th, 2009

    As a 2LT, will I be counseling each indivual in my plt, or just the ones that need help with some issue whether big or small? Also, I understand that the directive approach is the most effective, but I like to use the combined counseling approach because some individuals may not be able to work through an issue without some insight or guidance from a third party.
    On a seperate note, I know we should try and avoid getting too personal and having our subordinate become defensive. Yet, sometimes personal questions must be asked and counseling will have to continue to work through the problem. What is an effective way to deal with a defensive subordinate?

    • kuarmyrotc
    • October 19th, 2009

    For Deathstroke Coco and Sigfried,
    MAJ Heverly here again…”Don’t let your hearts be troubled,” (a little FOX News humor there) you don’t counsel your whole platoon. Depending on what branch you are or even what you unit you go to, you will either counsel your squad leaders, your PSG or possibly both. The reason for the differences is in some circles the thought is that in combat the infantry squad leader works directly for the PL as the PSG takes on a more support/advisory/standards enforcement role rather than a “leadership” role, as far as giving out missions. Now, I have seen it done both ways and both make sense. As a new 2LT, I had mine counsel their PSG on a monthly basis at first (well above the quarterly requirement for NCOs). This served to give the LT some practice in writing the counseling and focus. Focus came from the way I “taught” my LTs to fill out the counselling forms…two fold, what happened and “evaluation” and then what is planned and expectations…flip it over and figure out together what will be done by the rated to achieve the expectations, what the LT was going to do and then make sure your “evaluation” takes place on the previous 4856 at the bottom in the back. The first counselling may take a while longer than 30 min as you lay out what your expectations are, but subsequent ones should take about 30 min.
    Now, the squad leaders counsel their team leaders and they, in turn, counsel the team members. Remember NCOs only require quarterly counselling but the CO and the 1SG can make a decision to increase that “standard.” I have seen team leaders counselled monthly.
    As far as defensive subordinate, counselling is a professional environment that is not “secret.” If you are negatively counselling a subordinate they can be defensive. It is their “job” to sit there and “take it.” Basically, all they need to do is grit their teeth, sign the back that the admin data is correct and submit a rebuttal if they feel that the rater is way off base. I have seen this happen once. The rated felt his rater was being too harsh…he wasn’t and the Soldier was told why. Now, the rater drives this train so it can be as stressful as that person wants it to be.

    MAJ H

    • Jack
    • October 19th, 2009

    I notice that all of the formal counseling in the army seems to be top down counseling. This form of counseling only covers the point of view of the person/people that out rank you. How often, if ever, it there any formal counseling that happens from either your subordinates and/or your peers? Or are the opinions of either of those groups of people considered at all in your counseling? To me it seems like both of these opinions would be helpful in professional development counseling.

      • kuarmyrotc
      • October 20th, 2009

      You don’t counsel your superior or your peers. They can ask you to evaluate them through the MSAF.

        • ManChild:Gibralter
        • October 22nd, 2009

        These would be what OERs are right?

    • Halo33
    • October 21st, 2009

    As a PL how would I address a PSG who has 20 years in service and doesn’t follow the counselling principles like he should? How would I counsel that person if he doesn’t obey or conduct counselling on a regular basis?

    • supercaliburfragbalistic
    • October 22nd, 2009

    I’m of the opinion that a lot of counseling deals with corrective behavior and actions; this in turn would lead the Soldiers to want to avoid or at least develop some barrier between them and their counselors, perhaps becoming defensive during counseling sessions. The book states that a good leadership quality is to be an effective counselor who is easily approachable; this seems counter-intuitive to me since we will probably be telling Soldiers how to improve at what they do. The book also says we need to stay away from “superficial regard to a matter that” you deem important; is this were METL helps us determine if our counseling is over superficial matters or directly related to training goals?

    • Pork Soda
    • October 22nd, 2009

    in re: the 5%, I’m sure that I’ll hear all kinds of stories about them. As a PL, would I let the NCO’s do all the work, or is there a point when should I step in and approach the individual to see if I could fix the situation. I would like to know how involved I should be.

    • Johnny B Green
    • October 22nd, 2009


    In regards to counseling your SLs or PSG, the counseling is done on a quarterly basis? Is the OER counseling done on a quarterly basis as well? I also am curious what advice you would give to a LT when counseling their PSG.

    • ManChild:Gibralter
    • October 22nd, 2009

    I dont see a lot of information on Warrant Officers. Does the WO-4 councel the rest or does the PL Councel all of the Warrants?

    • армейский кадет
    • October 22nd, 2009

    If one of my subordinates has a problem but isn’t willing to open up on the matter; how do I proceed?

    • Dragon
    • October 22nd, 2009

    Thanks for the tip on referring soldiers to different agencies. That would take a lot of stress off of me as an LT with someone who has big problems.

    • Dragon
    • October 26th, 2009

    Who is responsible for completeing your OER on time? Is it something that your rater is supposed to be tracking or yourself? I know that it would be irresposible to not be tracking it yourself, but how closely should we be tracking those individuals whom we rate?

    • stwiegriffin519
    • November 11th, 2009

    Similar to Halo33’s question, how can I sit in front of someone and counsel them when that person doesn’t take me serious. For instance, I have delt with an E7 who said that his job as a PSG was to just babysit lieutenants all day long. How am I suppose to be taken seriously by someone who already has a mentality such as this?

    • Ahhhhh!!!
    • November 29th, 2009

    I know that I won’t counsel my soldiers that aren’t SQD leaders or my PSG, but should I go through counseling forms after they have been completed for these individuals to see that eveything that I felt needed to be covered was covered as a PL, and look at counseling forms for all the PSGs and SLs when I am a battery commander?

    • Blazer
    • December 3rd, 2009

    Do the soldiers you consul sometimes get really upset during? How common if they do?

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