3 Surprising Skills that Counselors Need

Angela Cleveland, a Counselor for more than 15 years, recently wrote a blog on Edutopia where she listed 3 skills that she has used regularly throughout her Career that she never realized would be that important when in Graduate School.

They are:

1. Technology Skills:
Regular email communication with families and staff, creating class schedules, and delivering creative and meaningful lessons are among the basic skills that school counselors should possess. There are fantastic and free technology resources that can transform your counseling program and help you connect with your students to give them important information. One example she gives is PowToon which she uses to create animated presentations with her students to explain what counselors do.

She also recommends Pinterest and Facebook where she recommends joining the group, School Counselor Central.

2. Data Analysis: School counselors regularly use data to determine the effectiveness of their programs, advocate for resources, increase program funding, conduct needs assessments of staff and students, and more. Knowing how to determine what data to collect, how to effectively and efficiently collect it, how to track progress, and how to analyze results are all necessary skills.

One tool she recommends is Google Forms which allow you to send out free surveys and questionnaires. Results are automatically collected in a corresponding Google Sheet. Analyzing the data is simple! For a quick analysis, select “Show Summary of Responses” under the “Form” drop-down menu. This automatically and instantly generates summative graphs, including colorful pie charts and bar charts. Google has made data analysis not only easy but also fun.

3. Public Speaking and Presenting: Public speaking shouldn’t be feared. Counselors regularly advocate for program needs, for resources, and for students. The opportunity to provide information to the students, families, staff, and community is important. Often the most effective way to reach large groups is by speaking directly to them. Knowing how to communicate in this manner allows counselors to reach a larger audience on important topics. From classroom lessons, grade-level transition meetings with parents, board of education meetings, and advocating for students to the community, let your passion for this profession guide you.

Most of us are not fans of public speaking, and many of us have a great fear of it. Angela had always avoided public speaking until she reframed it. She reminds herself that she is speaking on important topics about which she cares deeply. She’s learned to use Google Slides or some other presentation tool to shift the focus away from her and onto the topic itself. She recommends not looking at the presentation as a skill to attain but as a process. The more you practice, the more you will find little tricks that will help you.