Army Counseling Responsibilities Counseling is a fundamental responsibility of every leader. Leaders at all levels have a responsibility to assist and develop subordinates. All leaders must be coaches, trainers, and teachers. If leaders do not counsel their soldiers, they are not doing what the Army demands. If a leader fails to counsel, he has failed in a major responsibility and can expect to be held accountable. When evaluating the performance of subordinate leaders, a leader must consider how often and how well the junior leader counsels his subordinates. Soldiers expect to be told how they are performing and have a right to seek assistance and guidance from their leaders. In general, leaders must coach and guide their immediate subordinates. Battalion commanders counsel company commanders who in turn counsel their first sergeants and platoon leaders. Such a process enables soldiers to learn from the experience and knowledge of their leaders. These one on one relationships foster individual growth and improved unit performance. How frequently a leader counsels or becomes involved in referring soldiers to seniors in the chain of command or to agencies outside the unit is determined by rank, leadership position, experience, and skill. For example, a company commander may need to counsel his first sergeant quarterly and a newly commissioned platoon leader every other week. The basic requirements for leadership counseling at different levels of a unit are described below.
Those NCOs with their soldiers daily, mostly staff sergeants and sergeants, must—
Prepare, conduct, and follow up counseling sessions.
Praise, coach, and constructively critique subordinates during everyday contacts and in scheduled sessions.
Identify subordinates who need personal or performance counseling.
Know their own capabilities and limitations.
Become familiar with various referral agencies and follow unit policies for using them.