In order to understand the meaning of guidance, it is to be accepted that the focal point of guidance is 'an individual, not his problem'. From this point of view, before starting guidance, the potentialities and abilities of the individual are studied.
Then that individual is made capable of solving his problems. This is known as an act of guidance. In this way, guidance is a process of all-round development.
Hence, we can say that the guidance is that process which makes an individual aware of those methods for knowing his natural powers.
Jones, Stefflre and Stewart have defined guidance as "the help giver, by one person to another in making choices and adjustments and in solving problems."
"Guidance is a continuous process of helping the individual to develop to the maximum of his capacity in the direction, most beneficial to himself and to society."
Guidance is not a direction. It is also not imposition of one's ideas on others. Guidance is not making decision for others. Decision should be made by an individual himself.
To carry over the burden of an individual is also not guidance. In such situations, to what we can call guidance? Keeping in view these ideas, the definition suggested by Crow and Crow bears very comprehensive meaning:
"Guidance is assistance made available by competent counselor to an individual of any age to help him direct his life, develop his own point of view, make his own decisions and carry his own burden."
In the context of dynamic interpersonal relationships, Carter V. Good has said in Dictionary of Education (1959), while defining guidance, "Guidance is a process of dynamic interpersonal relationships designed to influence the attitudes and subsequent behaviour of person."
Knapp has given the definition of guidance as "Learning about the individual student, helping to understand himself, effect changes in him and his environment which will help him to grow and develop as much as possible."
G.E. Smith, by considering the group of various services for helping an individual, has defined guidance as, "the process consists of a group of services to individuals to assist them in securing the knowledge and skills needed in making adequate choices, plans and interpretations essential to satisfactory in varieties of areas.
"Guidance is a help to the students in making the best possible adjustment to the situations in the educational institutions and in the home and at the same time facilitates the development of all aspects of the personality."
According to Skinner, "Guidance is a process of helping young persons learns to adjust to self, to others and to circumstances."
Nature of Guidance
We familiarize ourselves with the following characteristics after analyzing the various definitions of guidance. This analysis also throws light on the nature of guidance.
(1) As a Process:
Guidance does not occupy independent place. The chief aim of this process is to assist in the development of an individual keeping in view the social needs.
(2) A Continuous Process:
Guidance is a process. Here, it is important to point out that the process of guidance never ceases. It remains dynamic. In this process, an individual understands himself, learns to use maximum his own capacities, interests and other abilities.
He continues his struggle for adjustment in different situations. He develops his capacity of decision-making. Hence, we see that it is a non-stop process.
(3) Related with Life:
The process of guidance is related to life. This guidance contributes formally or informally to life because life experiences both formal and informal occasions.
A person gets informal guidance from his friends and relatives while formal guidance is sought from organised school guidance services and other organised guidance services.
(4) Development of Capacities:
During the process of guidance the individual is assisted in such a way that he makes himself enabled to develop his capacities maximum from all angles.
Hence, guidance stresses the complete development of possibilities present in an individual. An individual becomes familiar with his real image. Hence, guidance is helpful in self-realization.
(5) Individual Assistance:
Guidance is accepted as individualized help. Through guidance an individual's personal development is provided a direction and not to a group. Hence, it is process of individualized assistance.
(6) Task of Trained Persons:
Providing guidance is not the function of all persons because various techniques and skills are to be used in it. Everybody does not possess the knowledge of the same. For this task, trained persons psychologists and counselors are required. Hence, guidance is a skill-involved process.
(7) Wide Scope of Guidance:
The scope of guidance is too wide. Any needy person can be guided. This can include the persons of different age, different interests, various characteristics and persons of different nature. Hence, we cannot draw boundaries around the process of guidance.
(8) Helpful in Adjustment:
Guidance helps the person in his adjustment in different situations. This process allows learning to adjust with different types of problems. In this way, the main characteristic of the nature of the guidance is to provide new energy to the demoralized person by adjusting himself in the problematic situation through the process of guidance.
(9) Helpful in Developing the Ability of Self-Guidance:
The nature of guidance also includes the characteristic of developing self- guidance in a person with the help of guidance process. This enables him in achieving self-dependence by searching out the solution of problems of life.
(10) No Imposition of One's View Point:
It is also the main characteristic of guidance not to impose one's view-point on others. It depends upon the wish of an individual how he acquires benefit by accepting the decision of the guidance worker.
If he wishes, he may deny accepting such decisions of the guidance workers. Hence, it is not a process of imposing the decisions.
(11) Helpful in Preparing for Future:
The process of guidance is helpful in preparing a person for his future. Hence, a person can succeed in preparing himself for future activities. In this way, guidance is a well-wisher of an individual's future.