Is Virtual Career Counseling Right for You?

What comes to mind when you think of virtual career counseling? If you are like me, I imagine a robotic figure programmed to spit out generic answers to my questions. Or a cardboard cutout of a career counselor who, by the silent nature of being an inanimate object, requires me to discover my own answers to the deep career questions vexing me.robot woman

The reality is that a significant number of career counselors and counseling professionals are conducting at least semi – virtual coaching sessions to the satisfaction of both parties.

Let’s start with the basics. How does virtual career counseling work? In conversations with counseling professionals, I found that virtual counseling or career counseling can occur in different ways. These include:

  • Pure tele-therapy or just talking over the phone.
  • Emailing back and forth. Licensed career professionals are bound by their licensing Boards to pay very strict attention to protecting client confidentiality. Phone counseling offers that confidentiality. Emailing with clients is not considered a confidential form of communication, because it is easily hacked.
  • Tele-therapy with visual aids or using tools like Skype, Webex and other eLearning and virtual meeting platforms. VSee is another Skype-like alternative. It is free to download, no more difficult than Skype to use, but hack-proof. The reasons for this are pretty technical, but with VSee it comes down to no third party handling your private information. VSee may be a better choice for those career counselors who must follow Board guidelines of confidentiality with their career clients.

When polled, clients say they like the time savings provided with remote counseling. You can also combine approaches by meeting in person first to establish a connection, and then move forward virtually.

At times I use a combination approach with clients. Our first meeting is conducted in person to establish a relationship and discuss commitments on each side. Then remaining sessions are a combination of phone and Webex .

As you can imagine, there are pluses and minuses for this kind of approach. A clear plus is more availability. A minus can be the connection may not feel personal enough for some.

What are your thoughts on working virtually with a career consultant? Is this something that would work for you? What’s most important to you in the way you connect with a career consultant?

Aly AnlikerAly Anliker, Ed.M

Aly is a creative organizational and career consultant with over fifteen years of experience in Training Management, Executive Coaching and Instructional Design. She has a background in Human Resources and Marketing and has worked in a variety of industries including telecommunications, high technology, manufacturing and non-profit.


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