Counselling Skills

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Counseling is defined as the giving of professional counsel or advice required to resolve a variety of personal or psychological concerns. It is a series of steps and procedures designed to assist clients in adapting to or coping with their current circumstances. Most of the time, the goal of therapy is to help a person understand their emotions and feelings in order to support healthy decision-making (Lees-Oakes, 2017). As a result, fundamental counseling skills focus around the simple yet critical features that can be employed to assist individuals by supporting adaptive functioning and also promoting the examination of difficulties towards decisions and problem-solving chances.  Apparently, the functions of basic counseling include awareness of clients concerning their experiences and situations, decrease worry and anxiety, and also facilitate recovery and adaptation to challenging experiences. However, some contention exists as to whether or not basic counseling skills are necessary for non-medical scenarios. In this case, the question of the viability and effectiveness of training financial advisors using the principles of basic counseling is put into question.

According to the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS, 2015), some of the highly considered skills for potential financial advisors include excellent communication, good interpersonal and listening skills. Other capabilities include the ability to illustrate complex information vividly and in a simplified manner, the ability to network and form strong relationships with customers and lastly, possession of adequate customer service skills. Likewise, basic counseling skills aim at attending to clients, listening skills, reflection, summarizing and paraphrasing of information, clarification, focus, and building of rapport. All these elements are strategically aligned with the core service offered by the financial advisors in this organization.

Financial advising is a profession that needs to be carefully undertaken. This is because it involves client-advisor interaction where personal and otherwise confidential information is shared purposefully to generate solutions for the client. This means that having the professional know-how, an understanding of financial elements and practical solutions is not enough to make the customer open, comfortable and convinced enough to select the options provided. For this reason, other non-financial skills need to be gained for efficient provision of client services. For one, communication skills are vital for success in finance. The financial advisors cannot expect to be good at money counts alone. There is also the need to communicate their knowledge using strong conversations, writing and even through visual presentations. Complex information has to be disseminated in a clear and easily comprehensible way. On top of that, the staff members must also be trained on forming and maintaining long-term trusting relationships with the clients. Such skills are best obtained from basic counseling strategies since it assists in the understanding of diverse personalities, listening, conflict resolution and education among other advantages (Fontinelle, 2017). Combined, the core counseling skills are the keys to the development of unbiased advisors who recognize client types and their needs and assist them to make appropriate financial considerations. Once the customers experience trust, respect, honesty, and acceptance, they are likely to continue seeking services thereby moving the organization towards the accomplishment of its goals.

The Recommended Basic Counselling Skills

Because additional skills other than financial knowledge are required by the financial advisors to reach out to clients’ needs, the major recommendations revolve around customer attendance, listening through silence, reflection, paraphrasing to simplify, clarifications through questions, focus, development of healthy relationships and summarizing.

Attending to Clients

Attendance refers to the provision of full attention to the customer regarding what they are saying or doing. It also involves making them feel valued as worthy persons. Failure to attend is the leading cause for distrust and clients may withhold relevant information. Also, by reading the body language, and the pattern of speech encourages continued conversation. This counseling skill is crucial particularly when it comes to the provision of financial advice which requires disclosure of client information so that a solution can be worked out. The art of attendance involves warm welcoming, making clients feel comfortable and relaxed and also creating an environment that encourages disclosure of valuable information that guides the advice process. Additionally, facial expressions should depict understanding and interest, a skill that the advisors have to demonstrate (Lees-Oakes, 2017). Having this capability increases the staff members’ ability to offer supportive services that all the clients require.

Use of Silence

Silence is a robust communication tool that is entrenched in the basic counseling skills that advisors must possess. Here, the focus is directed towards the need for the staff to give clients control of the content in terms of the speed and goals, listening to the silence and the words conveyed facilitates a smooth discussion process. In the advisors perspective, silence skills encourage client self-exploration, it encourages in-depth conversations and provides time for the consultants to collect and arrange their thoughts. On the other hand, silence is an opportunity for the customers to make connections, develop the issues, and recover from possible emotions and seeking responses from the advisor such as approvals or advice (O’Sullivan, 2017). Evidently, this counseling skill is aligned with the primary services that these employees are tasked to perform.

Reflecting and Paraphrasing

This facet of basic counseling skills is realized by the repetition of the client’s story in a manner that shows a mutual sharing of the emotions and feelings. It is one of the best approaches to communication which engages the two individuals during their communication and interaction. The customer is likely to feel recognized and understood, a factor that is important when financial advice is offered. Additionally, the paraphrasing and reflecting methodology ensure that what the client is putting across has been clearly understood. In the case of any misconception, the client can correct the advisors and further elaborate (Lees-Oakes, 2017). A financial solution that matches customer challenges cannot be realized without a full understanding of these issues, and this essential skill ensures that such encounters are smooth, accurate and specific when addressing the client’s financial problems.

Clarifying and Using Questions

This aspect deals with the use of questions to make sure that the information provided by the customer is understood correctly and that there is no confusion. At times, individuals without this skill may ask questions that make others feel like it is an interrogation session. For this reason, it is recommended that the use of open questions be employed. This approach also facilitates the gathering of more information from the client, explore various thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and opinions about the customer which the advisor can use to develop workable solutions for the same. In some instances, mastering the use of closed questions is required albeit with minimal applications. This strategy generally requires the use of questions that clarify understanding without intrusion (Lees-Oakes, 2017).


This is another basic counseling skill that is important especially when it comes to offering advice to the client. A close look reveals that it plays a crucial role when providing customers with the available financial options or solutions. This is mainly because focusing involves the process of decision-making based on the client’s problems. This approach enables the advisor to prioritize the most important information from the less significant ones. In this way, the chief issue of concern is addressed accordingly. In other words, focusing takes into consideration client’s matters that need immediate action, prioritization, the effect of solving the main issue on other events and also the implications on the client’s overall requirements. A realistic assessment is required so that competence and coping as well as goal setting is attained (Lees-Oakes, 2017).


Rapport establishment is also an essential counseling tool that works efficiently when offering financial advice. If at all the clients do not feel the sense of connection, then the staff cannot effectively assist them. This connection is created via the response the advisor shows towards the client including calmness, sufficient time, preparedness and the establishment of a safe, trusting environment. An example is how to provide a pleasant setting for the seating, offering tea, avoiding intrusion and also allowing privacy. Additionally, the staff also learn the ways in which they can interact well with the client, for instance, remembering the names and important things about the customer. Where necessary, learning how to create rapport is the foundation for communicating empathy, acceptance, keeping calm, avoiding judgemental comments, respect and offering constant unconditional regard regardless of the customer’s behavior and problems. Patience, honesty, kindness and a gentle challenging presentation are equally vital (Fontinelle, 2017). Establishment of rapport ensures that a strong base is formed for client growth and prosperity.


This skill is important as it involves the condensation of the information elaborated by the client. It helps in reflecting the previously explained issues. In essence, the summary aspect combines the main themes and challenges as well as the possible solutions purposefully to clarify the emotions, review the progress made, close the session, initiate the focus and prioritizing elements as well as push the client-advisor conversation further (Lees-Oakes, 2017). By summing up everything the two individuals have discussed, then it is possible to make decisions or close the session as well as remind the client of the useful advice that is provided.


Financial advisors are tasked with the work of offering specialist advice on money management. Their role involves research and recommendations of the best available products and services for consumer use. Due to the complex nature of this job and the level of social interaction required with the clients, the economic know-how is not sufficient. For the staff members to effectively provide financial advice, assist customers in product and service section, and offering guidance and financial support, trust, mutual understanding and active relationships are necessary. These elements foster sharing of information which in turn initiates the provision of sound advice. Achieving this outcome is not easy especially since most social skills are not inborn. As such, the provision of the above discussed basic counseling skills training to staff who deliver the services is the best way to equip them for high performance in their key services successfully.


AGCAS. (2015, August). Job Profile: Financial Advisor. Retrieved from Prospects:

Fontinelle, A. (2017). Top 7 Non-Financial Skills Required In Finance . Retrieved from Investopedia:

Lees-Oakes, R. (2017). Basic Counselling Skills Explained. Retrieved from Counselling Tutor:

O’Sullivan, E. (2017, April 18). Communication Essentials For Financial Planners. Retrieved from Financial Advisor:

April 26, 2023

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