The initial counseling will be conducted within the first 30 days of the rating period, and will be recorded on the support form and typically will also include a DA FORM 4856 (counseling statement) or a Memorandum to the rated Soldier as an initial counseling is a rather comprehensive counseling session and cannot fit on the support form. If additional space is needed enter the following statement on the support form “See attached counseling statement dated XXXX”
The initial counseling will be a face to face counseling (some exceptions apply in rare cases). It will be somewhat different than the later counseling sessions. The primary function of the initial counseling process is to communicate performance standards to the rated Soldier and let them know what is expected of them. This session will also develop an adequate duty description, responsibilities, and performance objectives. The rated Soldier should be encouraged to provide input into the development of the duty description. The rated Soldier should also be provided a copy of the rating scheme.
Quarterly or later counseling sessions will focus on informing the Soldier how well they are doing. Are they meeting the established performance standards? The duty description and performance objectives should be updated as required during these sessions.
It is also important to realize that the best counseling is forward-focused. Discuss the past and document it as appropriate and then move on to future requirements. The goal is to prime the Soldier for the future, leveraging their past experience.