Session 5
Counselling methods

Welcome back!

How are YOU? How is your LIFE? 

You are just about to start a second journey, a journey that has the potential to be different and equally meaningful. This part is about action, about your next level and – as always – about:

Who YOU dare to be and which IMPACT you wanna stand for? 

Questions? Just contact us here.

R: The homework check-in | O: The PEACE method | S: Creativity questions | A: Creating accountabilityHomework

R-eality: The homework check-in

For phase “reality”: Learn from the ways in which the counsellee completed (or didn’t complete) the homework

The ways in which the homework of our counsellee did get or did not get completed tells us a lot about the hidden resources and obstacles that lies within the counsellee.

This technique helps us to understand them and to improve the quality of the homework for the next session.

When you begin your session, the counsellor usually asks the counsellee: “So what happened to our homework from last session?”

When your counsellee is beginning to talk, just add a few questions:

  1. “So if you were to give yourself a school grade for your homework, what grade would you give yourself? How well did you do? Would you give it a top grade or would you rather give it a pretty poor grade?”
  2. The grade that you have given: “How do you feel about that? Is it a good grade or rather a bad one?”
  3. “What made you arrive to your conclusion? How did you do well in your homework? Which parts of your homework brought you into “flow state”? What worked? What did you find difficult?”
  4. You then continue your session as usual. When you have reached the point that you have defined the homework for the next session you ask: “In the beginning of our session we have discussed that you found X really worked for you and you found Y really difficult. How can we incorporate more X?” Alternatively: “I see a lot of Y in this homework. Would you agree or disagree? If you agree, what mini-thing can we incorporate into the homework to make Y easier for you?”


Counsellor: “Welcome back. How has your homework been?”

Counsellee: “Completed! Whoop whoop!”

Counsellor: “So if you were to give a grade to your homework, what grade would you give yourself?” (STEP 1)

Counsellee: “Hmm… sort of a B- .”

Counsellor: “B- , in your world is that a good grade or a bad grade? How do you feel about a B- ?” (STEP 2)

Counsellee: “Oh it’s a good grade, but I didn’t give it a A because I could have tried harder. I chickened out here and there.”

Counsellor: “Which parts of your homework really worked for you and which parts did you find difficult?” (STEP 3)

Counsellee: “So my homework was to ask 10 friends about my business idea. What really worked for me was that I am pretty easy going and love talking to people about my ideas. What I found difficult was that negative feedback just make me cringe. I just hate it when my ideas get rejected. I asked a lot about the things they loved about my business idea, but I could have gotten more information about the potential problems.”

[The counsellor and the counsellee continue the session as usual until they arrive at the point where they define the homework]

Counsellor: “So you have now picked your homework. You want to run a pilot for your business idea. You mentioned before that ‘talking to people about your ideas’ is something that you find easy. How can we make use of this strength in your homework?” (ALTERNATIVE 1)

Counsellee: “Well, rather than just running the pilot and looking at the electronically submitted customer review forms I could also just call up a few customers and ask for their feedback directly. I am sure this can give me better insights.”

Counsellor: “That’s great! So I also see the possibility here that you might get ‘constructive feedback’ on problems with your product from your customers which I remember you found difficult to deal with. Would you agree or disagree with that perception of mine?” (ALTERNATIVE 2)

Counsellee: “Agree.”

Counsellor: “Cool. So if you agree to this, how can we improve our homework so that we don’t fall into the trap again? Or: How can we make ‘listening to constructive feedback’ more bearable for you?”

Counsellee: “I think there are two elements: One is that I have to really force myself to not limit myself to one question only when I ask about the potential issues with my product. Instead I should have a couple of more in-depth questions so that I understand the problems just as well as the benefits. I should incorporate these questions into the review and must follow up with them on the phone, too. And … since I know already know that this will be a challenge, I will make my life easier by putting a big fat post-it next to my desk on which I will write ‘There is no failure, only feedback!’. After each call I should also note down the things I learned about my product which – without the feedback of that potential customer – I would not have been able to learn. This I guess will make that process much more bearable.”

O-bjective: The PEACE method

How to come up with really good objectives!

Often times we are not sure as beginning counsellors when we have hit a great objective with our counsellee. So here’s how we make good objectives into great ones!
This is super straight forward! Basically you as a counsellor invite your counsellee to PEACE their objective. Here’s how!

Make it:


  • Eliminate any negations from your objective. For instance: “I don’t want to have a bad salary anymore” tends to be less effective than “I want a salary raise.”
  • Why? Our brain just doesn’t get negations. Imagine: Try to NOT thing of a pink elephant! (Our guess is that the image that pops up in your inner eye is exactly a pink elephant, is it?)
  • Why else? We just stated what we don’t want, but from that we still don’t know what we DO want. For instance: If I list all the things I don’t want in a job, there is a possibility that I still don’t know where to look for the job that I actually want to have.


E-motionally appealing

  • Truth be said: You’ve got to be excited at an emotional level about your objective. A merely rational objective just might not carry you far enough.


  • Yup. That’s our extra goodie! Arc-ify your objective!
  • By that we mean: Make sure that there is a little element of the counsellee having to DARE something. Also make sure that the objective is AT LEAST inspiring to the counsellee and to others.


  • Basically: SMART! Specific, measurable, actionable, timed.
  • Especially with really big goals there might be a possibility that it is impossible to make your objective SMARTer. But at least give it a try and see if the objective becomes better through that.
  • Most times people struggle with making it more measurable: How do you know that you have reached your objective? Beware of objectives that are really muddy and fluffy. If the counsellee cannot see when the objective is implemented, progress is hard to monitor.


  • Make sure it is an objective that does not obviously cause serious harm to anyone outside the counselling setting.
  • Beware of your projections and your own fears! If you are in doubt about the ethics of an objective, feel free to share your doubt with your counsellee, but make sure to ask whether your counsellee agrees OR DISAGREES with your doubt. If your counsellee disagrees, follow your counsellee for now (unless your doubt is so serious that you honestly feel you cannot counsel that person on such an issue).

S-olutions: Creativity questions

Getting more and better solutions!

In counselling one thing that happens is that we start to shift from our thinking around problems to thinking around solutions. Here are some ways to make the brainstorming more fun and more creative!
When in phase S for solutions, feel free to use any of the following creativity questions:

  • Give me 44 ways of how to reach your objective?
  • What would you do, if you had all the money/ all the time in the world / not to deal with xx to get there?
  • What would someone you admire/ someone who did it/ someone you are really close to do or tell you to do?
  • Think of a situation when you already did something similar: What would you advise yourself to do?
  • What’s your favourite animal? A rabbit? How do rabbits solve this problem?
  • If you had only 3h to reach your objective: What would you do?
  • If you were talking to a 3-year-old? What would you tell that kid of how to get there?

… The easy way:  Switch on the counsellee’s favourite song and let brainstorm in a piece of paper!

And always ask: Wow! What else!?

Want more? Well, the list of creativity techniques is endless. We for instance really love blog post (by Koozai) as inspiration.

A-ction: Creating accountability

The quick fix to having really nice homework!

A common question in counselling is: Is it better to have potentially easy homework that the counsellee actually completes or homework that is challenging?

The answer is: If in doubt, go for the easy option. Why? We tend to underestimate the effects of a “failure” to complete one’s homework. It is just too easily correlated with a tiny little bit of a decrease of faith in the counselling process.

When defining your homework at the end of the session, just ask a couple of check-back questions:

“On a scale from 1 to 10, how excited/motivated are you about this?”

  • Then modify the homework until the counsellee is at least a 7 or an 8 e.g. add a reward, a small punishment, make it easier, more exciting, more bearable… whatever you think is needed.

“Who else can you involve in your homework?”

  • A highly underestimated practice is to involve others into the counselling process. It is just so much better to create both a support and an accountability network around your counsellee. Maybe your counsellee can share her/his objective with someone else and make that person an ally during the process. Unsurprisingly: This leads to skyrocketing homework implementation rates.

If your counsellee really struggled to complete past homework: make it more baby!

  • Really, the typically most successful technique to help counsellees that are failing to do their homework is to make it even easier. Yes, it’s a little counter-intuitive, because our instincts are primed to opt for a harder homework now that you need to all catch up.

Some homework

Whohooo! That was fun! Let’s practice!

Continue your ROSA schedule. As mentioned we recommend to meet up once every 10-14 days or more often.

If you like just try out some of the above-mentioned technique or come up with your own! Share them with us if you feel like it!

Stay tuned, the next session is coming soon!