Coaching is an essential business activity, and more and more businesses see the positive impact that coaching has on organisational development. To summarise, it can help individuals and teams achieve their potential, overcome their challenges, and grow their skills. The rapid rise of new coaching innovations and technology has streamlined the practice, but what effect does it have on the mentored individuals?

The human aspect

Many people feel that as technology advances, it might not be suitable for some of the ‘human’ experiences we have. As a coach and technology advocate, I too can get wary of what technology – and specifically what artificial intelligence will do to human areas such as teaching, learning and coaching. I do also understand the fear that technology could be damaging to coaching. I feel that coaching is predominately a human-centred activity as it has to rely heavily on human qualities such as on trust, empathy, and rapport between the coach and the individual. And so perhaps, a technological approach to coaching could potentially create ethical and professional dilemmas for coaches.

When I was training in coaching, I conducted research into people’s preferences for either online or face-to-face coaching. Interestingly, the findings were mixed. Some people felt that an in-person coaching session at the coaches’ place of work created conflicts of interest, bias, or a sense of manipulation and power imbalance. But on the other hand, some people felt that in online delivery coaches may face other challenges, such as maintaining their competence and credibility in remote settings. They asked questions around the coach’s tech-savviness in the constantly evolving tech sphere. Not unmuting at times or logging off wrongly created a bad impression.

However, I will add, overall, the picture was positive step as more people see the positive ways that technology is transforming coaching.

Coaches who embrace technology can benefit from its advantages and overcome its challenges. Technology helps deliver more effective and personalised meeting sessions tailored to the client’s context, capabilities, and self-awareness. Indeed, one of the most important things a coach can do in a session is to allow clients to access self-awareness tools. I have found myself; this is the most crucial starting point. Good technology tools that can help them ask themselves the right questions, work on challenges, practice their skills and review progress can really enhance a coaching experience.

Advantages of remote accessibility

One thing we all learned in the pandemic and lockdown was how much technology we can use to efficiently work remotely. Not least in delivering coaching and personal development sessions. Technology can also enable coaching to happen at a distance via video conferencing, reducing travel costs for the clients (and increasing convenience for both parties!). But critically, it can enable a more inclusive coaching delivery as people with mobility and personal challenges are more able to access coaching from their own homes.

Measuring and demonstrating the impact of coaching is crucial for both the client and the coach. When I started out in coaching, we had to keep all documents and written notes in a safe, secure place. To ensure we followed up with clients properly, we had to ensure written notes were kept updated and filed – which can be a laborious admin job. With the latest software, coaches can easily track progress against goals, capture feedback, and generate reports – and this can all show the return value of coaching so much more. It’s now great to look at data analytics with a mouse click and review say communication skills target I set, and in a single view look at the client’s situation and improvement. This really enables me to plan the next steps more smoothly.

The usefulness and value of coaching itself is now being recognised – people see the benefits of getting a coach at work to say, develop leadership skills. Recent data shows that the use of coaching software has improved leadership effectiveness by 55%. Coaching is also valuable in everyday tasks that really matter, such as enhancing productivity by helping prioritise tasks, manage time better, and overcome procrastination. The latter is especially significant as it could explain why you put certain tasks off and what is currently holding you back from developing. Coaching in these areas is important as it can help you boost your confidence and motivation to take on new challenges and opportunities.

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Blog by Dr Naeema Pasha

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