In this final chapter, students are introduced to the role of senior practitioners—practice leaders—when they counsel clients and top executives on strategic issues. Practice leaders spend a lot of time doing this because of their experience.
The role of a strategic communication counsellor is often one of a confidant to a chief executive, a role not always shared by other executives. This is a privileged relationship built on a practitioner’s professional and interpersonal communication abilities, reputation, knowledge of what works and what doesn’t, critical analysis skills, awareness of how the wider world “ticks” and ability to keep confidences.
The chapter also includes a discussion about “professionalism” and how this applies in counselling. The chapter uses van Ruler’s (2005) typology of professionalism models to argue that counselling involves providing evidence-based advice, not “gut feelings.”
Working at this level also involves skills, leadership, managing people, and issues and program planning.
Readers are drawn back to the link between strategic communication in a non-market environment and business planning in the second and third horizons. This is because clients attain a value-added benefit from an experienced counsellor’s strategic advice about longer-term management of issues.
The book’s final chapter exercise asks students how they would counsel a client on an environmental issue concerning the re-opening of a popular Thai tourist destination.
At the end of working on this chapter, students will understand the importance of counselling as a strategic communication function.