Nondirective Counseling for Managers: A Triadic Role-Play Preceded by Cognitive Structuring

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Nondirective counseling is a seldom used but potentially effective tool for managers to use when helping subordinates and others in making everyday decisions. In management training seminars, the authors experimented with a triadic role-play experience in which each participant alternately took the role of counselor, counselee, and observer. The goals were to have participants learn some nondirective counseling skills and gain an appreciation of the efficacy of such an approach to helping others make decisions. The exercise proved to be largely unsuccessful. Participation was half-hearted and people remained convinced that a manager can be most helpful by giving advice. They simply would not or could not accept the idea that nondirective counseling was even a viable alternative. The authors decided that if the experience could not sell itself they would have to sell the experience. To sell the experience, a model was developed-A Continuum of Responsibility for Decision Making. The model provides cognitive structure and a rationale for the nondirective approach to helping others make decisions. The model is now presented before facilitating the experience. The improvement is dramatic. People eagerly participate and the goals of the experience are invariably achieved. Participants learn how and when to use nondirective counseling and now see nondirective counseling as an effective and viable tool. This article presents both the model and detailed instructions on how to conduct the experience using the model.

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Simulation and Gaming





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