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Group counselling in the era of change and uncertainty: Navigating forwards Thematic symposium IAEVG 2009 Coherence, co-operation and quality in guidance.

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Presentation on theme: "Group counselling in the era of change and uncertainty: Navigating forwards Thematic symposium IAEVG 2009 Coherence, co-operation and quality in guidance."— Presentation transcript:

1 Group counselling in the era of change and uncertainty: Navigating forwards Thematic symposium IAEVG 2009 Coherence, co-operation and quality in guidance and counselling Jyväskylä

2 Group counselling for IT professionals: ‘Bringing empowerment and networks to the work’ Marjatta Vanhalakka-Ruoho University of Joensuu Ritva Ruponen, Employment and Economic Development Office of Joensuu

3 Context of this subproject Workplace guidance and counselling Our partner: A small scale IT-firm, specialized in developing, implementing and operating systems in GIS-sector Characteristics of the IT-field: technical and economical competitiveness, continuous improvement, expanding opportunities, and demanding challenges in learning In this case: An economically stable firm, most employees had long work histories

4 The application of the structured group counselling model “5+1” model, i.e., five meetings plus one follow-up meeting Each meeting lasted for two hours The group consisted of 12 participants (11 men, one woman); two of them held the position of foreman

5 ‘Bringing empowerment and networks to the work’ The purpose of group guidance: the IT-experts map out the field of their personal and shared work they analyse their shared and individual styles of action, as well as the other factors which influence their work they have the possibility to identify and to plan the next steps in order ‘to act otherwise’ and to make changes in their work.

6 The design of the group counselling The overall design was sketched beforehand, but the meetings were planned step by step based on the experiences of the previous meeting The tasks given beforehand (by ) Expectations: Tell of your expectations regarding this group guidance pilot Career pathways: Tell of your work history and your work at present Assignments of tasks between meetings

7 The topics and tasks of the group counselling followed the steps of the counselling process: Getting acquainted Exploring and mapping the situation Enlarging the perspectives Establishing aims and goals Designing the next steps Evaluating the process

8 The topics and tasks of the first meeting: Getting started Start Career pathways: Discussions in pairs Expectations & working argeement Sources of joy and problems at work: Groupwork & discussion Task for the next meeting: Life-map and the position of one’s work on the map (past, present, future) End of the meeting

9 The topics and tasks of the second meeting: Mapping the shared and personal work Previous meeting, targets of this meeting Zooming on the shared work: Groupwork and discussions Personal relationship to work: listening, talking and discussing in groups of three Task for the next time: Successful and unsuccessful experiences at work orduring the leisure time End of the meeting

10 The topics and tasks of the third meeting: Exploring transferable skills Previous meeting, the targets of this meeting Transferable skills: demonstration Transferable skills on the basis of successful and unsuccessful experiences: in the groups of three Discussions about the individual strengths of this group. What does each one value most? Task for the next meeting: Evaluation of common strengths End of the meeting

11 The topics and of the fourth meeting: Working out the resources and common plans Previous meeting, the targets of this meeting Evaluating the shared competencies and resources: Groupwork and discussions Working out the shared plans: What can we do differently? Task for the next meeting: Working out personal orientations: What can I do differently? End of the meeting

12 The topics and tasks of the fifth meeting: Planning the next steps Previous meeting, the targets of this meeting Reflecting the feelings at present: Narrating through postcards Working out personal orientations: In groups of three Planning the next steps to be shared: Groupwork and documenting Towards the follow-up meeting End of the meeting

13 The follow-up meeting Discussions over the personal and shared work: Discussions in pairs Some next steps: What has been created to advance empowerment and networking?

14 Research methods The participants were interviewed by before the group counselling started. The counsellors’ reports on the sessions were collected, and materials was also gathered from the sessions. At the end of the process, the participants and representatives of the firm were interviewed.

15 Experiences of the participants and group counsellors: Foci of themes in the interview data Expectations changed –These were neutral or suspicious in the beginning Social relations: working as a group –Free atmosphere surprised many –Getting to know each other as individuals –Prejudices towards others diminished –The use of various working forms was considered to be fruitful

16 Experiences of the participants and group counsellors: Foci of themes in the interview data Workrelated issues: Shared expertise –Free discussion about the disadvantages and drawbacks –Information exhange important –Different viewpoints were present Influences on one’s own work -Concern for others increased -Better exchange of information -Better understanding of one’s own work being part of the whole

17 Experiences of the participants and group counsellors Some possible solutions to the drawbacks of the ’ants’ nest’ were developed: –The coordination of projects –Communication about specifications in the tasks/projects –The culture of social interaction Group guidance acted as a starting point – possible results will be seen later ’A pulse of empowerment, the networks were cast’

18 Some observations about the cultural contexts and requisites The social affordances of structured group counselling met the cultural expectations of the IT-experts at this workplace: –here was a need for shared discussions individual expertise, some formal meetings The cultural history and some hierarchical relationships in the firm reflected on the functioning of the group –more persons were present, not only the participants The barriers of the agency at work – some/most of them are not removed by group discussions  there is a need for intentional action outside the group & also managerial support

19 Thank you for your attention!


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