The short answer is Yes.
Verbal counseling is an effective tool. There is no problem with annotating a verbal counseling session on a counseling form. Say that a Soldier is late for formation on 29 Dec, and I verbally counseled him for this incident. If they are late again on 1 Jan, I would prepare a formal counseling statement addressing both incidents.
Example: Soldier was late to morning formation on 1 Jan. I have previously conducted a verbal counseling on 29 Dec for the same offense.
In my opinion, this action would be both professional and acceptable. The date of the formal counseling should be the date in which the formal counseling was conducted.
A chain of command does not consider a reduction board lightly. Usually when this action is taken, the offense is significant in nature and they have the documentation to support the action. Read AR 600-8-19 for guidance on reduction boards. In my personal experience a reduction board requires significant work and effort. The same result can usually be achieved with much less effort by using the Article 15 process. The fact that your chain of command is willing to proceed with with a reduction board means: 1) They have sufficient evidence and have a strong case built or 2) They have chosen this path because the offense cannot be satisfactorily addressed under the Article 15 process. I would encourage you to seek assistance from the IG and/or JAG office. They can be very helpful in issues such as these.
Looking at this from the Soldier’s perspective
Do not sign backdated counseling statements. Agree to sign the document with the proper date on the counseling statement or simply line through the date on the counseling, enter the correct date, and initial the correction.
Looking at this from the leader’s perspective
Never ask a Soldier to sign a counseling statement that is back dated. Incorporate verbal counselings into your formal counseling statements. If you are going to consider a reduction board make sure you have your facts together and can document the actions you took to resolve the issue at the lowest possible level.
If you have made a mistake, take a sincere approach with your chain of command and try to diffuse the issue. If you cannot diffuse the issue, read the regulation and understand how the reduction board works. Prepare your defense using facts. Do not allow your emotions to cloud your judgment. Seek guidance from the IG or JAG. You can call these individuals anonymously and ask all the questions you may have. Another alternative is to find a senior leader who you trust and ask if you can seek guidance from them.
Read The Mentor: Everything you need to know about leadership and counseling for more information about Counseling, Leadership, Corrective Training, and Separations in the Army.