Work guidance is a tool for professional growth and the development of work quality. It is a dialogic process between the instructor and the client where the client learns how to study their own work in a reflective way. The work guidance consists of studying and structuring questions, experiences and feelings related to work, the work community and the client’s own work role. In practice the work guidance is studying, evaluating and developing a client’s own work with the help of a trained work instructor. In work guidance the clients think about their role in work and their relationship to their work. The instructor and other possible participants help the client to understand themself and the work better and more clearly.
Work guidance can be provided for units, groups or work communities. The group can, e.g. consist of managers or representatives from the same field. The group can be created from within one organisation or from participants from different organisations. A work community is a whole and the manager also joins the group during the work guidance period.
Before the work guidance is started an evaluation will be made to find out the needs and the situation of the client. During the first evaluation the instructor gets information about the client and their organisation and the client gets information about the theoretical framework of the instructor and also the methods. The clients and the instructor agree on goals, structures, number and length of meetings and the duration of the whole process.
Goals clearly defined before the guidance starts will help to ensure a successful outcome. The goals will be followed up during the process at least every 6 months. To create permanent changes and ways of working takes time and the work guidance process usually takes at least 1–2 years. The meetings are arranged every 2–3 weeks and they usually last about 90 minutes.
Absolute confidentiality is part of work guidance and both the instructor and client are bound by the confidentiality agreement. The instructor is loyal and appreciative towards clients and their organisations.
During work guidance topics under discussion emerge from clients’ work situations, work problems, other clients or cooperation between participants. During guidance the aim is to find a state of deep thinking and pondering where everyone gives opinions, associations and ideas. The aim is not to give straight instruction and advice but to help the clients find their own solutions to the problems by asking questions and seeking specifications.
During the work guidance clients speak about their experiences in work and cooperation. The instructor helps the clients to look at their part in different work situations and to understand everyone’s role and responsibility at work.
The results from the work guidance will be evaluated together with the clients. The most important thing is to evaluate the goals that were set at the beginning of the process and analyse if some of the goals were not reached. If this is the case then the instructor should think about it with the clients and discuss what has barred a certain goal.
When evaluating the guidance provided one can also think about how the instruction has affected work, goals, cooperation, atmosphere at work, and energy at work.