Academic journal article Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD

Identifying Dynamics of Counseling Leadership: A Content Analysis Study

Academic journal article Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD

Identifying Dynamics of Counseling Leadership: A Content Analysis Study

Article excerpt

Leadership is essential for continued success of the counseling profession (Chang, Barrio Minton, Dixon, Myers, & Sweeney, 2012; Paradise, Ceballos, & Hall, 2010). Counselors have been called to lead in areas of advocacy and social justice (Paradise et al., 2010), school counseling (Dollarhide, 2003; R. E. Lewis & Borunda, 2006), professional identity and professional advocacy (Myers, Sweeney, & White, 2002), and the counseling relationship (Jacob, McMaster, Nestel, Metzger, & Olesky, 2013), among others. Accordingly, authors have increasingly highlighted the importance of training counselors as leaders (e.g., Chang et al., 2012; Paradise et al., 2010; Wahesh & Myers, 2014). Professional organizations such as the American Counseling Association (ACA), Chi Sigma Iota (CSI), the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES), and the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) offer formal leadership training experiences via workshops and fellow programs. The 2016 Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP; 2015) Standards delineate leadership-specific learning outcomes for graduates of accredited doctoral programs (e.g., leadership theories and development), as well as leadership-related learning outcomes (e.g., advocacy) for graduates of accredited master's programs. Yet questions still needing answers are (a) What exactly is counseling leadership? and (b) How do we know that we are training leaders optimally?

Sweeney (2012) defined leadership as actions taken by counselors that contribute to their capacity to serve others in a competent, ethical, and just manner. Yarborough (2011), however, contended that more than a definition is needed to teach and train leadership; one first must identify the necessary ingredients of effective leadership. To date, counseling leadership primarily has been informed by theories (e.g., transformational theory; Jacob et al., 2013) and philosophies (e.g., servant leadership; CSI Academy of Leaders, 1999; Greenleaf, 1977) external to counseling. Although these theories and philosophies are helpful (T. F. Lewis, 2012), theorists have proposed that leadership dynamics present differently based on contextual influences (Eberly, Johnson, Hernandez, & Avolio, 2013; Emery, Calvard, & Pierce, 2013). Thus, external leadership theories, models, and philosophies may not accurately or completely describe how counseling leadership occurs because professional counseling is a distinct discipline from those in which most leadership theories were developed (e.g., business, military). Currently, there is no comprehensive description of leadership that accounts for the professional context of counseling (e.g., volunteer-based; developmental, relational training; professional and client advocacy).

To address contextual limitations of leadership theories, Eberly et al. (2013) proposed that common factors of the theories be used to understand leadership dynamics within a given context. In other words, leadership is viewed optimally as a process involving multiple people (e.g., leaders, followers/dyads, groups) interacting directly and indirectly in various ways (e.g., behaviors, cognitions, affect). McKibben (2016) noted that Eberly et al.'s (2013) process orientation of leadership aligns with professional counselors' attunement to content and process in the counseling relationship. Thus, researchers need to identify the content and processes of counseling leadership before they can be taught and studied as part of a complex social system in which a leader operates. Initial descriptions of counseling leadership include advocacy and social justice (Smith & Roysircar, 2010), mentorship (Black & Magnuson, 2005; Gibson, Dollarhide, & McCallum, 2010; Luke & Goodrich, 2010; Portman & Garrett, 2005), modeling (Luke & Goodrich, 2010), passion (Black & Magnuson, 2005; Magnuson, Wilcoxon, & Norem, 2003), professional identity (Gibson et al. …

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