Empowering Choices in Career Counseling through a Collaborative Approach

By Liliana Rodríguez-Campos and Maha Alamoud

A common purpose that guides career development and counseling interventions is to match the right people to the right environment (Brown & Lent, 2005). Achieving this purpose requires collaboration among career counseling and professional organizations. Collaboration is a process by which two or more individuals actively work together to achieve a common goal. A collaborative approach to career counseling requires professional organizations and career counselors to engage actively in efforts that ensure putting the right people in the right jobs. Successful career interventions that involve collaborations among professional organizations and career counselors can help workers to be satisfied with their jobs and employers to achieve their desired goals (Capuzzi & Stauffer, 2012).

Career counseling interventions generally involve matching a client’s needs to a variety of occupations (to the client’s satisfaction). The Model for Collaborative Initiatives (MCI) by Rodríguez-Campos (2004) can guide career counseling practices. The MCI components are: (a) identify the situation, (b) clarify the expectations, (c) establish a collective commitment, (d) ensure open communication, (e) encourage effective practices, and (f) follow specific guidelines (see Figure 1).



 Model for Collaborative Initiatives - Rodriguez Campos

Figure 1. The Model for Collaborative Initiatives (MCI). Reprinted from Collaborative Evaluations: A Step-by-Step Model for the Evaluator (p. 196), by L. Rodríguez-Campos, 2005, Tamarac, FL: Lumina Press. Copyright 2005 by Liliana Rodríguez-Campos. Reprinted with permission. CM: Collaboration members.

Identify the Situation

The situation is a combination of formal and informal circumstances that determine the nature of the relationship between the collaborative entities (e.g., counselors and clients). The collaborative approach to career counseling relies on how the collaborative entities define and understand the situation. A clear understanding of the situation is the foundation for successful decision-making processes. In career counseling, identifying the situation begins with gaining a broad sense of the clients’ needs and opportunity structures among professional organizations. This requires a careful identification of key stakeholders who will directly benefit from the collaborative approach to career counseling. Examples of stakeholders include career counseling clients and the professional organization representatives. Other potential stakeholders include policymakers, legislatures, and administrators (Capuzzi & Stauffer, 2012).  

Clarify the Expectations

An expectation is the assumption, belief, or idea we hold about a given individuals or process. Clarifying the expectations allows individuals to understand the issues that need to be addressed and the goals that need to be accomplished. Thus, counselors should state the expectations of each particular session as well as the total sessions. This process should be implemented with both clients and employers. It is the counselor’s responsibility to clarify the common goal that will solve clients’ and employers’ problems.

Establish a Collective Commitment

A collective commitment is an agreement among the Collaborative Members (CMs) to implement the collaborative approach without external supervision in order to increase the awareness and the willingness to achieve its stated objectives. In career counseling, a collective commitment requires that the counselor, the client, and the employer actively engage in a collaborative process where everyone is given a set of responsibilities for achieving the stated goals. These responsibilities should align well with everyone’s abilities so that the collaborative approach provides the maximum benefit for the entities involved.

Ensure Open Communication

Communication is a process by which the CMs interact and exchange ideas regarding the collaborative approach activities. In career counseling, both clients and professional organizations need an effective and open communication that ensures clients’ improved performance and organizational enhancement (Capuzzi & Stauffer, 2012). The goal of ensuring open communication is to promote positive changes on the processes and activities involved in the collaborative approach. The essence of the collaborative approach to career counseling is to encourage open communication that satisfies both clients and organizational needs.

Encourage Effective Practices

Effective practices in the collaborative approach to career counseling refer to the planned processes, procedures, and activities by which the stated goals will be effectively accomplished (Rodríguez-Campos & Rincones-Gómez, 2013). This involves understanding everyone’s personality, needs, strengths, and weaknesses in order to ensure an effective contribution to the approach success. In this component, the career counselor plays a leadership role guiding the implementation of the collaborative approach. This encourages everyone in the team to bring more of their potential into the collaboration (Capuzzi &Stauffer. 2012). 

Follow Specific Guidelines

Guidelines are the predetermined principles and directions that guide the implementation of the collaborative approach. These guidelines offer explicit instructions on how the CMs can go regarding achieving the desired outcomes. In career counseling, the collaborative approach should follow specific ethical principles. These ethical principles come from a variety of sources, such as personal ethics, ethics and values within the field of counseling, and professional codes that cover specific issues (e.g., Kidd, 2006).

The MCI provides a theoretical and practical basis for career counseling. Specifically, it provides the field of career counseling a relevant and useful framework that guides a successful practice – and it is intended to contribute to the career counseling literature. The most important advantage of applying the MCI is that it gives CMs the opportunity to build strong and lasting relationships to help achieve common goals. This approach focuses mainly on collaboration among career counseling key stakeholders (e.g., clients and employers) to maximize the benefit for all individuals involved in the collaborative approach implementation. The CMs may benefit from adopting this approach in their career development interventions where collaboration is a key for success (Capuzzi & Stauffer, 2012).


Additional Resources

Brown, S. D., & Lent, R. W. (2005). Career Development and Counseling: Putting Theory and Research to Work. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley.

Capuzzi, D., & Stauffer, M. D. (2012). Career counseling: Foundations, perspectives, and applications. New York: Routledge.

Kidd, J. (2006). Understanding Career Counselling : Theory, Research and Practice. London: SAGE.

Rodríguez-Campos, L. (2004). Collaboration Model: Key components to successful partnerships.  International Journal of Learning, 11. 1545-1554.

Rodríguez-Campos, L. (2005). Collaborative evaluations: A step-by-step model for the evaluator. Tamarac, FL: Llumina Press.

Rodriguez-Campos, L., & Rincones-Gómez, R.  (2013). Collaborative Evaluations: Step-by-Step (2nd ed.). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.




Liliana Rodríguez-CamposLiliana Rodríguez-Campos, Ph.D, is the director of the Graduate Certificate in Evaluation and a professor at the University of South Florida. She is also the former director of the Center for Research, Evaluation, Assessment and Measurement (CREAM). Liliana served as a co-chair of the Professional Development Committee and as a board member at the Michigan Association for Evaluation. Currently, she serves in the board of directors at the Evaluation Capacity Development Group and as the program chair of the Collaborative, Participatory, and Empowerment Evaluation Topical Interest Group at the American Evaluation Association. Email: Liliana@usf.edu



Maha Alamoud, M.Ed., a doctoral candidate in the University of South Florida program of Measurement and Evaluation and a faculty member at King Saud University located in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. She is a certified evaluator and meta-evaluator and a member of The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi since 2013, the nation’s oldest, most selective, and most prestigious all-discipline honor society. She earned the Graduate Certificate awarded to her in 20ll continuing her focus in evaluation since. Her evaluation activities focus primarily collaborative evaluation approaches, personnel evaluation, teaching quality, students’ satisfaction, and decision-making related to institutional quality. Email: Malamoud@mail.usf.edu





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