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Dec 20
2016

Avoid Becoming a Guidance Counselor

Posted by: Steve Marr

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From time to time I encounter clients whose circumstances go beyond business issues and into personal counseling matters. I try to be clear with myself and my clients that I am not a counselor; I’m a business consultant and business coach. If I allow a client to move me outside my area of expertise into becoming a counselor, I am likely to do everybody a disservice.

 

The most common circumstance I encounter is when couples are in business together and have significant issues. At times the real issue involves communication problems between them more than business disagreements. In these instances I refer them to Christian counseling to work on their marriage issues. Until they are able to successfully work through these challenges, I can’t really do much from a business point of view. If I become the marriage referee, I’ll simply make a mess for all of us.

Pastor Allen Mellish, my pastor from Michigan, would say if he was unable to work through someone’s issues within three sessions, he needed to refer them to an outside specialist. I think this is a good rule for all of us.

In business I have managed employees who had issues with alcoholism and drug addiction. I’m not a certified counselor in addictive behavior. I would manage the person’s performance from a workplace point of view while at the same time strongly encourage them to seek outside assistance from professionals.

When I address ideas to improve the performance of a client’s staff, occasionally an employer will cite personal issues as the reason for an employee’s nonproductive record. These personal issues can include marriage problems, difficulties with their children or parents, or a wide variety of other stressful issues that interfere with work.  At times my client gets overly involved trying to help employees with these issues. As Christians we need to share loving and compassionate care while at the same time understand that we do not have the expertise to counsel a person in such a variety of issues.

When I find myself wanting to help a person in a difficult situation, I try to listen carefully to the person, offer to pray with them, and when possible steer them to a pastor or appropriate Christian counselor where they can obtain godly biblical guidance.

Paul wrote, “For just as each of us has one body with many members . . . these members do not all have the same function.” (Romans 12:4, NIV) Some individuals who encounter significant issues in their life will require intervention from more than one person. The key is to identify the part of the intervention the Lord would have you do, and leave the rest to God and others who are called to step in. Then the Lord will be able to work more effectively in each person’s life.

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