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How to leverage AI in coaching without losing that human touch

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Summary: Using AI in coaching doesn’t have to take away your unique essence. Discover how you can use it to drive more results for your clients.

AI has already made its mark in various industries, from healthcare to finance, and now it’s poised to revolutionize the coaching field. But what does AI in coaching actually mean? Is it a friend or a foe?

In the early 2000s, coaches began using the Internet to chat with their clients. Then in 2012, an app called Noom kicked open the doors to digital health coaching. 

From then on, online coaching soared like a rocket, even more so during the pandemic. In the post-2021 period, 43% of coaches have said they expect to undertake 80% or more of their coaching online.

But wait, there’s more: Welcome to the world of artificial intelligence (AI), the coaching sidekick.

AI first dipped its toes in coaching in 2015 when IBM Watson started analyzing personalities. It’s like a super-smart detective who can quickly sift through tons of information to understand what makes clients tick. 

The use of AI in education, including coaching, is zooming ahead like a race car. It was valued at $2.90 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow by 43.8% through 2023 to 2029.

With such awesome technology, coaches can do all sorts of cool things, like using chatbots that talk to clients in a flash or creating tailor-made plans with algorithms.

So whether you’re stepping into the coaching world or seeking to enhance your professional practice, prepare for an exhilarating ride into the future.

Will artificial intelligence replace coaches?

AI can support coaches in many ways; however, it can’t replace them fully.

Imagine a world where robots are your teachers, pals, and coaches—sounds like a sci-fi movie, right? 

Well, some people think it could become real! They’re buzzing about whether AI, like a brainy robot, can replace human coaches. 

It’s like a roller coaster of feelings; some folks are thrilled while others feel like a cat on a hot tin roof.

So, let’s break it down with some interesting statistics. 

A report from Accenture says that 76% of C-suite executives think AI is like the secret sauce for businesses to rock. AI in business coaching is riding this wave. 

AI coaching tools like butterfly.ai zoomed up by 120% in 2020. Tractica says that AI will shoot up to be a $118.6 billion industry by 2025, and coaching will get a piece of that pie.

But guess what? 

In a survey, 67% of coaches said AI just couldn’t give the warm, fuzzy feeling humans can.

AI is like a high-speed train: super fast and impressive, but it can’t replace a coach’s ability to establish an emotional connection and heart-to-heart bond.

However, put two and two together, and you can create an unstoppable team, helping folks learn and grow like never before.

Coaching with AI: The pros

Getting artificial intelligence to do the heavy lifting can save you a ton of time in your coaching business. Here are some ways you can incorporate it into your workflow.

1. Enhanced data analytics

AI has a remarkable ability to analyze data like a detective on a mission. 

Take IBM’s Watson, for instance. It can dissect data to reveal deep insights into personality. And executive coaches can use it like a magnifying glass to better understand their clients and craft a custom coaching plan.

Even research has shown how incredible data can be. A study by the American Psychological Association showed that using data in psychotherapy made the therapy three times more effective.

So when coaches have data insights in their quivers, their arrows hit the bullseye. 

2. Personalized learning plans

One size doesn’t fit all, especially in coaching, but with the right technology, you can customize your coaching programs to suit the client’s individual needs and aspirations. 

Let’s do wellness coaching. An app like TrueCoach can design workout plans just like a personal trainer.

Or if you’re coaching your client on new skills, language apps like Duolingo will recognize how they learn and adjust accordingly.

Research says that customizing learning journeys this way can help people absorb knowledge more effectively.

3. Time-saving and efficiency

Paperwork and scheduling can be like pesky mosquitoes for coaches. However, with AI, it can be like a magical breeze that keeps those annoyances away. 

Tools such as x.ai and Calendly are like virtual assistants that handle scheduling. And companies like Paperbell take care of contracts and payments so that coaches can focus on their clients.

Then there’s Evernote for note and resource organizing, Fathom for automatic note-taking during Zoom coaching calls, and the list goes on. 

4. Augmented coaching techniques

AI is whipping up some cool gadgets and techniques for coaches. Have you ever heard of natural language processing (NLP)? It’s a way AI can sift through text and, voila, give insights into what the client feels.

That’s right, emerging technology can now lend a hand in understanding human emotions. Machine learning can also analyze facial expressions and body language. Picture Sherlock Holmes, but on your computer.

The International Coaching Federation showcased how a company harnessed AI in coaching with a chatbot. This nifty bot helped employees set goals and track growth. Human coaches took this information and put their human wisdom to work. 

The result? Happier and more productive employees.

Coaching with AI: The cons

Crunching data is great, but there are some downsides to new technologies. Here’s what to be wary of when experimenting with AI.

1. Loss of human touch

Empathy and human connection are at the heart of successful coaching. 

Research from McLean Hospital, a Harvard Medical School affiliate, shows that the most effective coaches form human connections with their clients, resulting in better client satisfaction and outcomes. The study highlights that the emotional quotient remains indispensable in coaching despite technological advancements.

When working with clients, you should rely on your intuition and emotional intelligence to understand unspoken needs, address emotions, and build trust—elements that AI currently cannot replicate.

2. Privacy and data security

AI loves data. And we’re talking loads of personal information to keep the gears turning. But there’s always that nagging worry—what if the data ends up in the wrong hands?

If you’re not just wondering why AI ethics are the talk of the town, just remember the 2018 incident with Under Armour’s MyFitnessPal app. A massive data breach that affected about 150 million users. Quite a cautionary tale.

While people are increasingly open to coaching, there is a deep-seated desire for confidentiality, especially when discussing personal challenges, fears, and emotions. There will always be a reluctance to share deeply personal information with an AI.

3. High costs and accessibility

AI doesn’t always come cheap. For the little guys in coaching, the cost of getting custom AI tools might be a stretch.

Deloitte points out that nearly 37% of organizations are backing off from those hefty price tags. And if you’re in a niche where high-speed tech isn’t the norm, you might feel like you’re stuck on the outside looking in.

Worried man and his professional future

Navigating AI: Recommendations for coaches

There’s a certain level of expectation for coaches to keep up and be trailblazers with AI on the rise. So, let’s talk about six must-dos to make this intelligent technology work like a charm in your coaching gig.

1. Educating oneself on AI basics

Get to know it like the back of your hand. Dive into webinars, hit the books, and sign up for courses to get all clued up. Mindvalley’s best-selling AI Summit is a great start.

You also don’t want to miss the chance to hang out in forums, podcasts, and social media chats where folks talk about how the new tech and coaching are like two peas in a pod.

2. Select the right AI tools

Choose tools that resonate with what you want to achieve in your coaching. IBM Watson and TensorFlow are like treasure chests of client data. Insights from these bad boys can flip the script on how you coach.

3. Prioritize data security

When you’re playing with this kind of technology, data security has to be tight. Double-check that any AI tools you use play by the rules—namely, GDPR. Stay on top of your data protection game and tell your clients how their information is being used.

Cisco wasn’t kidding in their 2021 study when they said folks are way more worried about data privacy than before. Oh, and make sure you’ve got a Plan B for data oopsies.

4. Focus on human skills

Here’s the deal: AI’s taking on the number-crunching, but that’s when your human skills need to shine. We’re talking empathy, hearing people, and getting a feel for what’s happening inside. 

Deloitte dropped some knowledge, saying that jobs will be all about soft skills, making up two-thirds of gigs by 2030. And let’s not forget your gut feelings and thinking outside the box. AI’s got nothing on that.

AI is like a speeding train, and you’ve got to stay on it. Keep an eye on the latest trends in industry magazines, tech events, and relevant online groups.

Being open to new business tools, curious about how they work, and keeping things above board can put you ahead of the pack.

Use AI to get matched with your dream client

AI can be a game-changer if you find that sweet spot where this technology’s brainpower complements, not overpowers, the human touch of your coaching.

Stay in the loop by learning how Mindvalley’s AI tool can help you instantly match with your ideal coaching clients, no matter where you or they are in the world.

Join us in the Become a Mindvalley Certified Business Coach free masterclass to discover proven tactics like this to find, engage, and nurture long-term client relationships.

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Written by

Fiorella Madè

Fiorella Madè, a Mindvalley-certified life and business coach, is passionate about helping coaches and solopreneurs define their brand identity and tell their unique stories. As the founder of Identity Lane Brand Lab, she's dedicated herself to empowering individuals to create authentic and impactful brands.
Picture of Fiorella Madè

Fiorella Madè

Fiorella Madè, a Mindvalley-certified life and business coach, is passionate about helping coaches and solopreneurs define their brand identity and tell their unique stories. As the founder of Identity Lane Brand Lab, she's dedicated herself to empowering individuals to create authentic and impactful brands.
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Mindvalley is committed to providing reliable and trustworthy content. We rely heavily on evidence-based sources, including peer-reviewed studies and insights from recognized experts in various personal growth fields. Our goal is to keep the information we share both current and factual. To learn more about our dedication to reliable reporting, you can read our detailed editorial standards.

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Fact-Checking: Our Process

Mindvalley is committed to providing reliable and trustworthy content. 

We rely heavily on evidence-based sources, including peer-reviewed studies and insights from recognized experts in various personal growth fields. Our goal is to keep the information we share both current and factual. 

The Mindvalley fact-checking guidelines are based on:

To learn more about our dedication to reliable reporting, you can read our detailed editorial standards.