In the photo: Anna Gallotti (me!) and Alicia Hullinger, VP of the Thought Leadership Institute at the International Coaching Federation
Recently, I had the honor of representing the ICF Thought Leadership Institute as the Chair at the NYU Coaching and Technology Summit The summit was organized by Dr. Woody Woodward, who undoubtedly played a significant role in bringing together experts and professionals from diverse backgrounds to discuss and explore the intersection of coaching and technology.
The NYU Coaching and Technology Summit is a prestigious event that attracts professionals, scholars, researchers, and practitioners in the coaching and technology fields. The summit provides a platform for exchanging ideas, discussing emerging trends, and exploring the impact of technology on coaching practices.
Here are some of the highlights and main takeaways
Keith Sonderling, Commissioner at the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) says that from a regulatory point of view, we need to avoid distractions from the new technologies since, in the US, the regulation protecting technology against bias and discrimination has existed since the ’60.
He also said something that concerned the organizations using HR managing systems: they are responsible for discrimination and inappropriate use of the data, not the tech provider.
These AI programs’ decision-making process is so quick that it’s impossible to control if it discriminates, but it’s possible to make an audit of the company.
The question is: how to use AI and with what purpose to manage employees?
Tech coaching providers say
First, technology makes coaching tools for coaches accessible to use during the sessions: “Based on the Individual Development Plan, we developed an AI coaching assistant. We are experimenting with it”. “We developed a digital coaching that can complement the human coach. AI coaching supports coaches and coachees in implementing the action plan”.
Second, the coaching platforms are changing the Leadership & Development landscape: now, their tools are integrated into their clients’ HR systems to develop hybrid learning programs.
Third, the collected data inform about the assessment and the learning needs of the employees, but none of these platforms answered the question about how else they will use all these data, for example, the ones they collected from the recorded coaching sessions, the coachees’ action plans, their attendance, etc. ... which is quite concerning!
Nevertheless, some platforms are ready to be transparent and clear about how they will use the data: “Data belong to the client. We need to think about what’s good for the organization.”
How is this rapid evolution of generative AI changing your work?
Within a year, it will be possible to contextualize all the information to make individual coaching. By the way, some platforms are already using AI coaching to complement the human coach. It's going to revolutionize how people learn and interact.
AI will become an autonomous coach and erode part of the market: ahi!
Chatbots are replacing coaches in objective definition and follow-up. They are better than human coaches. We asked some of the coaches to use the chatbot. The coaches were concerned, but the clients were ecstatic. Particularly introverts are more at ease talking with a chatbot.
But coaching for higher executives will probably remain human.
What is really unique about human coaching?
Let's take the AI chess game example to clarify the comparison between the machine and the human coach: AI chess does better than humans, but chess players continue to play with humans because we are wired for human interactions. We need to trust our humanity; it’s irreplaceable!
What about Group Coaching?
The concept of group coaching is expanding because it brings an organizational transformation, develops collaboration, and coachees benefit from the diversity of perspectives. It gives a sense of belonging and connectivity across the company. In many cases, it’s more effective than individual coaching and more scalable.
To conclude, Dr. Woody Woodward, professor of Executive Coaching & Organizational Consulting at New York University and Board Member of the Thought Leadership Institute, said, “The human component of coaching is paramount regardless of the technology. As coaches, we need to understand and work with the technology.”
Thank you, Woody, for this great opportunity!