Developing Army leaders: Counseling an important responsibility Sgt. 1st Class Cameron Held, Assistant Inspector General Nov 26, 2009
You have probably noticed that the III Corps and Fort Hood Developmental Counseling policy letter (CSM-05) was rescinded on 2 November 2009. This does not mean counseling has been rescinded. Counseling is one of the most important leadership development responsibilities for Army leaders. The primary purpose of counseling is to improve performance and to professionally develop the rated Soldier. A quality counseling session does not dwell solely on the past; it focuses on the future and what can be done better. It is the responsibility of leaders and Soldiers to work together to ensure goals are set and understood, observations are shared, credit for successes are documented, and recommendations for improvement are acknowledged. Remember, the overall quality and usefulness of counseling is a shared responsibility between the rater and the rated Soldier. Leaders should transition their counseling efforts to comply with the Army standards. Let’s take a minute to explore the Army’s counseling standards and eliminate potential confusion. The current Army standards for counseling are outlined in AR 623-3, DA Pamphlet 623-3 (Appendix C), and FM 6-22 (Appendix B). The following are the time frames for each type of required counseling: Initial counseling: 1. All officers – within 30 days (DA Form 67-9-1) 2. Officers in the rank of WO1, CW2, LT, or CPT – within 30 days (DA Form 67-9-1a, in addition to DA Form 67-91 listed above) 3. Noncommissioned officers (including CPL if rated as an NCO) – within 30 days (DA Form 2166-8-1) 4. Enlisted Soldiers in the rank of PVT through SPC (including CPL if not rated as an NCO) – within 30 days (DA Form 4856) Follow-up Counseling: 1. All officers – mid-point and as needed (DA Form 67-9-1) 2. Officers in the rank of WO1, CW2, LT, and CPT – quarterly (DA Form 67-9-1a) 3. Noncommissioned officers (including CPL if rated as an NCO) – quarterly for Active Army and AGR NCOs and at least semiannually for ARNG and USAR NCOs performing IDT 4. Enlisted Soldiers in the rank of PVT thru SPC (including CPL if not rated as an NCO) – monthly and as needed All counseling: In accordance with the Army Campaign Plan for Health Promotion Risk Reduction and Suicide Prevention, all initial and subsequent performance counseling will include the importance of Soldier, DA civilian, and family physical and behavioral well-being. This will enhance available programs by increasing awareness and reducing the stigma associated with seeking health assistance. Additional counseling: Additional counseling may be required in certain situations. For instance, counseling may be required for a specific event, crisis, referral, promotion, adverse separation, or professional growth. The Inspector General’s Office handles numerous complaints every day. In many cases, the root cause is a lack of communication. Two-way communication is the key to success. Leaders must strive to provide predictability to their Soldiers and families through the communication process. Effective communication between leaders and subordinates enhances predictability, eliminates confusion, and reduces problems created by a lack of understanding. Leaders must focus their counseling efforts towards establishing open and maintainable lines of communication. Soldiers cannot perform to standard if they don’t know the standard. Remember, quality counseling enables leaders to set their Soldiers up for success and access their full potential. For more information on effective counseling and communication engage your chain of command, or your local Inspector General. As always, we’re here to help.