What are the characteristics of a good counselor?
In a very short period of time (usually 15 - 20 minutes) a counselor has to understand the nature of the client's problem, which involves good listening skills and give and take discussion. In the process the counselor establishes a beginning rapport with the client, and then provides advice on how to address the client's problem.
Often counselors have an industry they come from where they have in-depth specific industry knowledge, and they have one or more skill sets as well (accounting, marketing and sales, engineering, manufacturing, etc.).
Many of the clients are involved with startups, and it is useful for the counselor to have general knowledge of startup activities (business plans, marketing and sales, financial projections, incorporation in the State, etc.). Many counselors are current and former business executives, so they are able to field such "universal business questions."
In addition to face to face counseling, we are achieving a substantial increase in email counseling. Here, a client has a specific question that can be addressed through email. Sometimes, a client starts off with the wrong question, and a counselor has to be flexible in establishing that he/she is not only answering the specific question, but apprises the client of other issues that the client needs to address as well.
Our counselors are required to sign an ethics statement. Basically, volunteering at SCORE involves providing confidential counseling, and the volunteer at SCORE is not to use this volunteer work to create outside business opportunities.
In summary, volunteering at SCORE is a rewarding activity, that helps the business community in Colorado Springs. There are also opportunities in leadership roles in our chapter. Finally, we work very closely with the Chamber of Commerce and with the Small Business Development Center.