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Fillable Form DA 4856

A DA Form 4856 is also known as a Developmental Counseling Form. It will be used by the Department of the Army to record the outcome of various counseling conducted on members of the Armed Forces.

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What is DA 4856 Form?

DA 4856 Form, officially known as the Developmental Counseling Form, is a form completed by counselors and leaders providing services to United States Army soldiers. This form is used to document counseling sessions and contains personal information of the soldier, the reason the counseling occurred, discussion points, and a plan for the soldier.

Through this form, leaders will be able to review their subordinates and their demonstrated performance and potential.

Form DA 4856 will be destroyed upon reassignment, separations at ETS, or upon retirement because it is no longer needed by the office.

Army leaders have diligently worked to enhance the counseling form, known as the DA Form 4856. The objective is to facilitate meaningful dialogue between leaders and soldiers, addressing relevant issues.

Widely used within the Army community, the updated form aims to foster trust and transparent communication between soldiers and their leaders. It serves as a documentation tool for various topics, such as performance feedback, recognition, corrective actions, issues disclosure, mentorship, and career guidance.

To provide doctrinal guidance for both military and civilian leaders, the Army Techniques Publication (ATP) 6-22.1 covers the planning, preparation, execution, and assessment of counseling actions. This publication emphasizes adherence to United States, international, and host-nation laws and regulations by commanders, staffs, and subordinates.

da 4856 army counselling form

It also highlights compliance with the law of war and rules of engagement, as outlined in FM 27-10. ATP 6-22.1 is applicable to the Active Army, Army National Guard/Army National Guard of the United States, and United States Army Reserve. Additionally, it addresses Army Civilian counseling requirements, advising leaders to consult their local civilian personnel office.

The publication provides critical information on performance evaluation, leader development, and professional growth opportunities for all Army personnel.

The Army's counseling form empowers leaders to understand their soldiers' physical, mental, and emotional well-being, assess their knowledge on various topics, and ensure alignment with the Army's goals and objectives.

Updates to the Army's Counseling Form aim to provide leaders with a more standardized and comprehensive tool for effective communication and mentorship. These enhancements enable Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) to be proactive in preventing communication gaps and related issues.

Ultimately, the updated DA Form 4856 simplifies the process for NCOs to build strong relationships with their soldiers, ensuring the successful accomplishment of the Army's mission.

da form 4856

Overview of the Form

The Department of the Army has recently made updates to the DA Form 4856, a vital tool for performance evaluation and leader development counseling. This dynamic version allows for seamless adaptation of templates based on the type of counseling being conducted.

For example, when counseling a soldier, an NCO can select different PDFs for situations such as performance reviews or recommending them for promotion. This enhancement highlights the U.S. military's commitment to refining its noncommissioned officer corps, a crucial component of the Army.

The updated form serves as a valuable resource for enhancing professional growth and leader development, ensuring that members of the U.S. military remain at the forefront of their capabilities.

The enhanced DA Form 4856, recently introduced by the United States Army, is a valuable counseling tool that plays a crucial role in military operations. This form is utilized for briefings, counseling sessions, and training with military personnel.

The new version offers a streamlined approach, enabling leaders to efficiently evaluate, document, counsel, and record performance information for their soldiers.

The structured format of the form devotes each section to key elements of counseling, including goal setting, progress reviews, corrective actions, and closing actions. Each section provides clear guidance on topics for discussion, goals to achieve, techniques to employ, and expected outcomes. This ensures accurate recording and documentation of counseling sessions by leaders.

The form emphasizes the importance of developing an individualized plan of action tailored to the soldier's specific needs, ensuring optimal outcomes from the counseling session.

Additionally, it provides guidance on measuring progress and taking corrective action, particularly useful in addressing any performance issues a soldier may have.

Notably, the updated DA Form 4856 includes a space for both the leader and the soldier to provide feedback and input on the counseling session. This fosters effective communication and understanding, leading to improved relationships and more successful counseling sessions.

In summary, the DA Form 4856 offers comprehensive guidelines for successful counseling sessions. This form empowers Army leaders to effectively counsel and train their soldiers, fostering a culture of professional development and growth.

How does DA Form 4856 Benefit Army Leaders?

DA 4856

The Army has recently introduced a dynamic version of the DA Form 4856, also known as the "Counseling Form," to enhance its functionality during counseling sessions.

This updated version, implemented in late 2021 as per the directive of Sergeant Major of the Army Michael A. Grinston, is based on the three types of counseling outlined in Army Techniques Publication 6-22.1, The Counseling Process.

It also includes a fourth type for specific administrative or legal purposes. The form has been updated to comply with current regulations and now includes an updated Privacy Act Statement.

Following extensive testing and review throughout the Army, the new DA Form 4856 has received overwhelmingly positive feedback, with over 99% of users finding it beneficial and user-friendly.

The form features dynamic templates that can be customized based on the nature of the counseling session, such as performance reviews or promotion recommendations. Importantly, it is also accessible on smartphones, making it easy for leaders to access and utilize when needed.

The DA Form 4856 not only offers practical assistance to commanders in managing their counseling programs but also provides sound doctrinal guidance to assist leaders involved in planning, preparing, executing, and assessing counseling actions.

It serves as a valuable tool in various counseling scenarios, supporting leaders in fulfilling their responsibilities effectively.

You may also check out VA Form 21-2680 if there is a need for examination for the veteran's housebound status or a permanent need for regular aid and attendance.

da 4856 fillable online

Guidelines for an Effective Development Counseling Session

da form 4856

Developmental counseling plays a crucial role in the Army's mission to nurture young leaders. However, many soldiers often experience one-sided discussions that are mandated for specific events or to address and document undesired behavior.

To foster clear communication and promote workplace growth, leaders should integrate counseling into a comprehensive development program, ensuring that supervisors and subordinates engage in documented discussions.

By understanding effective counseling strategies, individuals can enhance their skills and contribute to cultivating a healthy organizational culture within the Army.

It is important to understand the different types of counseling. Directive counseling involves giving direct orders or instructions, while discussion counseling focuses on collaborative dialogue to facilitate problem-solving.

Motivational counseling aims to inspire and propel individuals towards specific objectives. The choice of counseling type depends on the situation, emphasizing the need to adapt the approach for different scenarios.

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Beyond career-focused mentorship, it is crucial to consider the holistic concept, which incorporates the Five Dimensions of Personal Readiness: physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and family.

When engaging in counseling, it is crucial to establish mutually agreed-upon, realistic goals. This helps manage expectations, ensuring that both the supervisor and subordinate comprehend the tasks at hand. Additionally, setting goals creates milestones that can be tracked and measured.

For successful developmental counseling, tracking progress is essential. Implementing periodic reviews holds both the supervisor and subordinate accountable. Regular check-ins provide opportunities for feedback and adjustments to plans, if necessary.

Additionally, if there is a need, you may also look at Form VA 21-4138 Statement in Support of Claim, which will be completed by a veteran who needs to establish proof for their claim for benefits.

In conclusion, effective counseling is an integral aspect of the Army's new DA Form 4856. Embracing and implementing the counseling techniques outlined above fosters an environment of growth and development among Army members.

How to Fill Out DA 4856 Form?

Get a copy of DA 4856 template in PDF format.

4856 fillable online

The DA Form 4856 is a developmental counseling form with four parts namely:

Part I - Administrative Data
Part II - Background Information
Part III - Summary of Counseling
Part IV - Assessment of the Plan of Action

Part I - Administrative Data

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Name:Please enter the full name of the soldier.

Rank/Grade:Kindly provide the name rank or grade of the soldier.

Date of counseling:Indicate the date the counseling session took place.

Organization:Enter the name of the soldier's organization.

Name and title of counselor:Provide the name and title of the counselor involved.

Part II - Background Information

This section must be completed by the leader. Prior to filling out this part, it is advisable, if possible, for both the leader and their subordinate to have a review of the previously agreed plan of action.

The leader states the reason for the session, whether it is performance-related, professional, or event-oriented counseling to the counseling official. Include your observations and specific pertinent and objective facts regarding the issue before the counseling was scheduled. Additionally, indicate if there have been any previous sessions for the soldier.

Part III - Summary of Counseling

This part should be filled out during or immediately before the counseling session concludes.

Key points of discussion: Please provide the key points discussed during the session in the space provided.

Plan of Action

This section must be completed by the leader. Highlight the actions required of the counseled to carry out after the counseling session in order to reach the agreed-upon goal. The plan of action should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound (SMART). It is important to include a timeline for implementation and assessment.

If you have selected event-oriented counseling as the reason for Part II (Background Information) of this form, please remember that corrective training as part of the plan of action cannot be tied to a specific time frame. The corrective training will only be considered complete once the subordinate attains the required standard.

Session Closing

The leader must summarize the key points of the discussion and assess the counseled soldier's understanding of the plan of action. This must be discussed with the counseled soldier, who may agree or disagree by selecting the appropriate box and providing remarks if applicable. The counseled personnel must provide their signature and date the counseling session occurred.

Leader Responsibilities

The leader must list the necessary resources and commit to providing them for the counseled personnel. The counselor must provide their signature and date in the space provided.

Part IV - Assessment of the Plan of Action

This section is where the plan of action is assessed for its effectiveness in producing the desired result. This assessment will serve as the basis for any follow-up sessions. Both the leader and the soldier being counseled should complete this section.

Name of counselor: Please provide the name of the counselor.

Name of individual being counseled: Please provide the name of the individual being counseled.

Date: Provide the date when this section was filled out.


This form will be kept as a file of the respective office of the individual counseled.


  • Both the counselor and the individual being counseled should maintain a record of this form, ensuring that all relevant information is documented for future reference and accountability purposes.
  • It is crucial to carefully select a suitable place and time prior to conducting the counseling session to ensure a comfortable and conducive environment for both parties involved.
  • Before initiating the counseling session, it is beneficial to provide a comprehensive outline of the various components that will be covered. This proactive approach not only facilitates a smoother process but also assists in filling out the Form DA 4856 accurately.
  • To streamline the counseling process, it is advisable to organize the available information and draft a plan of action even before the counseling session takes place. By doing so, the counselor can effectively strategize and tailor the counseling session to address specific needs and goals.
  • It is important to note that any information entered into the form will remain confidential and will not be publicly disclosed. Only the progress and outcomes of the counseling will be reported as necessary for evaluation and follow-up purposes.
  • Assessing the effectiveness of the plan of action should be done prior to embarking on the follow-up section. This assessment serves as a valuable source of information for future counseling sessions and helps gauge the effectiveness of the strategies implemented.
  • The leader must not overlook the importance of conducting an assessment based on the resolution of the situation or the established timeline discussed during the plan of action. This step ensures that progress is monitored and adjustments can be made if necessary.
  • Before completing this form, it is recommended to familiarize yourself with the military counseling process by referring to the Army Techniques Publication (ATP) 6-22.1. This publication offers doctrinal guidance to leaders, both military and civilian, who are responsible for planning, preparing, executing, and assessing counseling actions. Trainers and educators throughout the Army also rely on this publication for guidance.
  • Whenever possible, it is beneficial to record the counseling session. Guidelines on how to effectively record the session can also be found in the Army Techniques Publication (ATP) 6-22.1, ensuring that accurate and comprehensive records are maintained.
  • In Part II (Background Information) of the form, the reason for counseling can be identified by understanding the distinctions between the three major types of developmental counseling:
  • Event-oriented counseling focuses on specific events or situations. It can precede events such as participation in promotion boards, attendance at training courses, or preparation for deployment or redeployment. It also addresses noteworthy duty performance, issues with performance or mission accomplishment, or personal matters. Examples of event-oriented counseling include instances of superior or substandard performance, reception and integration counseling, crisis counseling, referral counseling, promotion counseling, transition counseling, or adverse separation counseling.
  • Performance counseling involves reviewing a subordinate's duty performance during a specific period. The counseling session focuses on identifying the soldier's strengths, areas for improvement, and potential for growth.
  • Professional growth counseling encompasses planning for the accomplishment of individual and professional goals. During the counseling session, the leader and the counseled soldier conduct a thorough review to identify and discuss the soldier's strengths and weaknesses, ultimately creating an individual development plan that builds upon strengths and addresses areas of improvement.
  • Whenever possible, it is advisable to schedule future meetings before concluding the counseling session. By doing so, both parties can ensure ongoing communication and follow-up to monitor progress and make any necessary adjustments.

If you want to access more forms, you may check out the related forms below or click here for the full list of forms related to your DA 4856.


What is the DA 4856 Form or the Developmental Counseling Form?

The DA 4856 Form, officially known as the Developmental Counseling Form, is a document used by counselors and leaders in the United States Army. It includes personal information, the reason for counseling, discussion points, and a plan for the soldier.

Why is the DA Form 4856 important for Army leaders?

The form allows leaders to review the performance and potential of their subordinates. It serves as a tool for meaningful dialogue, addressing issues, and documenting various aspects such as performance feedback, recognition, corrective actions, and mentorship.

When will the DA Form 4856 be destroyed?

The form will be destroyed upon reassignment, separations at ETS (Expiration Term of Service), or upon retirement, as it is no longer needed by the office.

What are the updates to the Army's Counseling Form (DA Form 4856)?

The Army has worked diligently to enhance the DA Form 4856 to foster trust and transparent communication between soldiers and leaders. The updates provide a more standardized and comprehensive tool for effective communication and mentorship.

What does ATP 6-22.1 cover in relation to counseling?

ATP 6-22.1 provides doctrinal guidance for planning, preparing, executing, and assessing counseling actions for both military and civilian leaders. It emphasizes adherence to laws and regulations and applies to the Active Army, Army National Guard, and Army Reserve.

How does the DA Form 4856 contribute to leader development and growth?

The form empowers leaders to understand soldiers' well-being, assess their knowledge, and ensure alignment with the Army's goals. Updates to the form aim to provide leaders with a comprehensive tool for communication, mentorship, and relationship-building.

What are the different types of counseling mentioned in ATP 6-22.1?

The types include directive counseling (giving direct orders), discussion counseling (facilitating problem-solving through dialogue), and motivational counseling (inspiring individuals toward objectives). The choice depends on the situation and requires adaptability.

How can leaders ensure effective counseling sessions?

Leaders should set mutually agreed-upon, realistic goals, track progress through periodic reviews, and adapt their approach based on the situation. It is essential to consider the holistic concept, covering physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and family aspects.

What is the structure of the enhanced DA Form 4856?

The form has four parts: Administrative Data, Background Information, Summary of Counseling, and Assessment of the Plan of Action. It includes sections for key points of discussion, a plan of action, session closing, leader responsibilities, and assessment.

How can individuals fill out the DA Form 4856 effectively?

Individuals can follow the provided guidelines, ensuring accurate completion of each section. It's essential to set realistic goals, track progress, and maintain confidentiality. Familiarizing oneself with military counseling processes and utilizing available resources are also crucial for effective utilization of the form.

Start filling out a DA 4856 sample and export in PDF.


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