What will we do when artificial intelligence can provide a good coaching experience?

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By Sara Hope

Our session on megatrends provided a space for exploration around a topic that we cannot fail to be touched by – the rapid impact of megatrends on how we live our lives and show up at work.

The world is changing at an unprecedented rate, largely driven by developments in communications, connectivity, big data and the internet of things. So what does that mean for those actively engaged in the coaching profession and those leaders within organisations they work with?

We began by noticing the different perspectives within the room – what lenses did we all bring in to the conversation, and from where do we get our source of knowledge? How do each of us engage with technological advancements and to what are we at risk of being willfully blind? It quickly became apparent there was a mix of independent coaches, leaders of coaching within organisations, and consultants. But where were the tech savvy disruptors in their early 20s; the provocateurs newly out of university and entering the world of work? Whilst we were able to share experiences of working across cultures, organisational sectors, generations, what were we perhaps not paying attention to that could be limiting our potential to create value for our clients, teams, organisations, communities and wider society?

The impact of big data and artificial intelligence as growing ‘forces’ within organisations sparked a sense of both fear and optimism. What data gets brought into the room during the coaching relationship and how information literate are our clients? On the flip side, what big data do we, as coaches, have about the work we do? The topic of return on investment was mentioned, as was the challenge about truth and our own personal relationships with data.

Addiction to social media, being constantly connected, the use of laptops and phones in meetings – stories continued to emerge throughout the evening – drawing debate about the risks of overload, but also the benefits technological advancements have to offer us. We explored our assumptions, how we might be at risk of defining groups of people and the risks of labelling groups as ‘they’. And a fascinating discussion ensued about AI and coaching. Can a coaching relationship be delivered through AI? Where will people go to get empathy in the future?

There were no answers, which wasn’t surprising. But what was apparent, was the recognition that those engaged in the coaching profession cannot ignore the pace at which megatrends are impacting clients and organisations with whom they work. Being empathic to the challenges and opportunities leaders are experiencing, remaining open minded to possibilities, and playing with the notion of ‘what could be’ are going to be critical for coaching to stay relevant and meaningful.

In the spirit of continuing to be curious and evolve our collective thinking about the practice of coaching, we ended with more questions. After all, surely we need to be living some of the qualities we hold most deeply – asking the ‘what if’ questions, being willing to explore, listening to what’s around us, and suspending judgement?

  • How do we define and present the human value of coaching?
  • How do we work with the development of AI coaching to ensure it stays ethical?
  • What are the other ways we could offer our skills to society?
  • How do you future proof yourself as a coach?
  • Where will coaches fit in the corporate environments of the future?
  • What do organisations want from coaching?
  • Where is the appetite for investment?
  • How do we stay open minded to possibilities?
  • What mechanisms do we use to prove our worth?
  • What do we need to be asking our clients?

Why not join the conversation? Share your thoughts via @apecstalks @convospace.

Image courtesy xdxd_vs_xdxd.

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