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24
Giving Information
Information is power. Information also makes it possible to address the real
problems and aspirations of people. Being able to access appropriate information
empowers people to perform and solve their problems. Often when we are coun-
seling employees with problems, they lack information as a means of solving
those problems. The task for the manager is to get a clear picture of the problem
situation and help the individual to do so as well. They can help the person do
this by providing the information they need to clarify the issue.
Information is a constructive way of confronting a problem rather than confront-
ing the person. It also provides them with a new perspective from which to see
their situation. Offering these new perspectives often makes the problem o
situation more manageable. You should be aware that giving people information
that helps them clarify their problems is done by helping them find information
for themselves. It is not to be confused with advice giving. Simple advice giving to
individuals is a very ineffective method of counseling that often has poor an
counterproductive results. Finally, giving information should not be confused wit
h
communicating worn-out clichés or amateur philosophizing.
MATERIALS Flipchart and markers
Handouts 24.1, 24.2, and 24.3 for each participant
T
IME 60 to 90 minutes
G
ROUP SIZE Suitable for individual counseling at work, management devel-
opment, and training in groups of 8 to 16 people
M
ETHOD 1. Inform participants that this activity considers the kinds of
information you would give a person that would help
him/her see the problem situations being faced much more
clearly. Information can, for the sake of convenience, be
divided into two kinds:
Information you give that helps people understand
their difficulties better
Information you give that would enable the person to
manage their difficulties much more effectively
In this activity, we are concentrating on the first way of giving
information.
50 Activities for Developing Counseling Skills in Managers
144
2. Handouts 24.1 and 24.2 give an example and show how
giving relevant information at the right time can be very
effective in counseling people at work. Distribute a copy of
Handout 24.1 to each participant.
3. Set up a number of role plays and record on a flipchart under
the heading “Counseling Clive’s Problem.” “How I would
Counsel Clive” role plays should last two to five minutes
each. There are three roles to play—Clive, Clive’s manager,
and an observer. Participants should have the opportunity to
play each role. The three role play individuals should share
and compare their learnings after each role play until all
roles have been played by each individual.
4. After sufficient exploration and discussion, distribute a copy
of Handout 24.2 to all participants and reveal how Clive’s
manager sensitively used information giving to help Clive
solve his problem.
5. Explain to the participants that this type of information
sharing is not advice giving nor is it a way of telling the
client that he didn’t have a problem. And, most importantly,
it is not a way of manipulating the person. What did it do? It
challenged Clive’s “blind spots” and helped him develop the
kinds of new perspectives and perceptions of the “problem”
that would enable him to set fresh goals. Another outcome of
this session was that Clive increased his motivation and
recommitted himself and his energies toward his new goals.
6. Distribute a copy of Handout 24.3 to all participants. Explain
to them that their task is to consider the kinds of information
they believe might help the person in each scenario to see
his/her problem more clearly. When they have completed this,
record answers to the following questions on a flipchart and
consider them in group discussion and then provide feedback.
What information would you give them?
What blind spots might be challenged by new
information?
What new perspectives might information provide?
What is the information that you consider should be
the focal point for the counseling session?
How would you give the information?
Giving Information
145
7. Feedback/summary: Giving appropriate information is a
powerful way to empower people to solve their problems.
Understanding problems and a clearer perspective on them is
increased through the accessing of valid information. Giving
information is not the same as advice giving. Misunderstand-
ing and acting on inappropriate information can have costly
consequences for individuals and their organizations.

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