How can I move into counselling?

I
have 10 years experience as an HR generalist and am currently employed as a HR
consultant working on bid and transition work. I would like to move into the
area of counselling, mentoring or behaviour. How should I progress?

Vic
Daniels, director at Carr-Lyons, writes:

I
am afraid there is no easy answer on this one. It is quite often difficult to
move within HR disciplines by moving job. HR professionals often find it easier
to transfer within their current employment. But having said this, counselling.
mentoring and behavioural issues are very much in vogue, so look at the
advertisements in the national and specialised press and speak to your favoured
recruitment consultants to test the water.

Margaret
Malpas, joint managing director of Malpas Flexible Learning, writes:

In
10 years you have probably done quite a lot of informal counselling, so
identify this experience and make something of it on your CV.  Then you
could try applying for jobs in this area.

In
terms of specific training, you might want to look at the Diploma in
Counselling or NLP courses.  These may help you to be sure that this
really is what you want to do.

Peter
Lewis, consultant at Chiumento Consulting Group, writes:

A
counselling course could help you make the career transition you seek and give
you a platform from which you can build experience. Counselling courses are run
by companies as well as adult education and can be undertaken part-time.

In
choosing between them you first need to think about what sort of counselling
you wish to practise. For example, whether to focus on problem solving or on
enhancing performance and potential. If the latter, you may wish to take an
additional course in mentoring or obtain experience as a mentor. The CIPD
offers mentoring opportunities via its branch network.

If
you decide on a counselling course, you may need to decide whether you wish to
study one counselling approach such as person-centred or psychodynamic, or
study with an organisation that has an inclusive approach which covers all
models, albeit in less depth.

Whatever
course you take, it should be accredited by the BAC (British Association for
Counselling) and, as it seems that you wish to practice in an organisational
context, cover key contracting issues such as confidentiality and timescale.

Once
qualified, you will find that you have a number of options. Some people move
into career counselling, for which 10 years’ HR experience is useful. Companies
in this field often offer work on an associate basis and, importantly, provide
further in-house training. The coaching / mentoring field too appears to be
growing.

You
may also wish to look at the BPS Level A and B qualifications. This will
involve an investment by you but could provide you with extra skills to assist
you in either counselling or mentoring.

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