Ignited by COVID-19 but empowered – and in some cases driven – by new and evolving technology, we are in the midst of a massive evolution in working environments and approaches.
During this seismic shift, coaching becomes increasingly more critical. For any organization, ultimately, coaching is the key to unlocking performance, accelerating skills development, and helping teams overcome barriers as we move towards our ‘new normal’.
And as we continue to tackle and find our way through these shifts, we are continuing to discover that organizations that focus on building cultures that enable personal and team development as well as support leaders to be the best they can be are more likely to adapt to change and thrive through the challenges.
Technology, coaching, and culture
Interestingly, much of the same technology that is driving and supporting the changes in our workforce is enabling a revolution in coaching approach. We can open up coaching to more people within our organizations by leveraging technology while also empowering the solutions to deliver more benefits than ever before.
Unfortunately, coaching has traditionally been the benefit and preserve of only the most senior leaders.
Still, as evolving organizations discover that a coaching culture throughout the organization can unlock significant benefits, embedded technology in coaching platforms and approaches has become the connector to deliver more services faster and more effectively.
Intelligent and effective use of coaching can allow all-sized businesses to be strategic with their coaching offering across a range of situations. Ultimately, the result is that we’re finally starting to see coaching at scale.
Technology approaches include artificial intelligence and even video networking tools, which can vastly improve coaching, reduce risk, and deliver true ROI whilst maximizing engagement for accelerated and sustainable outcomes. However, there are a few considerations to make wherever you are on your journey to incorporate coaching into your business.
Start to think ‘coaching anywhere’
From the basic level, technology is making it easier to manage the admin of corporate-wide coaching by simplifying the find and select process and, even more importantly, empowering access to coaching.
We are all used to participating in virtual meetings or even ‘Zoom drinks’ with new employees now being hired over Zoom, many never meeting face to face. Quickly these normalities transferred to our coaching environments. Meeting up with a coach in a physical location is no longer necessary to make an effective human connection.
Reports estimate that face-to-face coaching decreased sharply after COVID-19 by 74%, while online coaching increased by 57%, becoming more popular than ever. This ability to be sitting anywhere and connect has opened the world where location and geographic barriers for delivery no longer have the same impact.
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Think about a blended approach to coaching
Engaging with a coach takes time, effort, and commitment. Start to combine coaching with digital journaling, and AI prompts, and participants are more likely to stay on track. This approach allows you to connect with participants on a more consistent cadence, supporting them to follow through with their development plans, actions, and goals.
We still don’t see AI taking over entirely from the very personalized and tailored nature of the work and relationship that happens during a coaching session just yet.
However, there are some self-learning and practice elements involved in coaching programs that can be delivered more efficiently with the use of technology. Things like personality and motivational tests, quizzes, self-assessments, or even 360-degree feedback can be given online and to more people than ever without the need for heavy human interaction.
Experienced and quality coaches are able to work with more people than they naturally would, as coaching can start to happen ‘in the moment’ as bite-sized chunks rather than in scheduled long sessions.
Use technology to discover hidden talent
With insightful approaches, you can start to unearth your once hidden highest potential team members for coaching success, which ensures the best application of development investment. Through brief assessments and AI-guided prompts, participants can take part in self-guided development, demonstrating their commitment.
By focusing efforts on those who are most prepared for and open to coaching, organizations can ensure that budgets invested in development are effectively allocated and motivated individuals are appropriately engaged and ultimately retained within the organization.
Use technology to develop a growth mindset within your business
The use of AI approaches to track participants’ emotional experience ensures assignments are neither too challenging nor too simple and ensures that participants are kept in a growth and learning mindset.
The more an organization can evolve its talent away from a fixed mindset where learning opportunities are limited, and into a growth mindset where teams allow themselves the chance to improve and flourish, businesses can directly recoup a significant impact on their success.
According to Forbes Human Resources Council, “A growth mindset can be highly transformable to any organization. Most notably, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, has embraced this philosophy to transition the tech giant from a ‘know it all’ to a ‘learn it all’ work environment.”
Use technology to refine and maximize your budget
No organization has money to waste. With the transparency that new technology approaches can apply, both organizations and coaches can use the systems to see which participants are on track with their coaching program and which need more support, increasing both visibility and engagement.
Connecting and consolidating project management tools with coaching tools to help coaches support participants when they are not together and encouraging accountability for progress can also help you track performance.
If you have teams or individuals who are not engaging or finding enough benefit from the coaching, this insight allows you to redirect towards programs that are delivering more impact.
Of course, an over-reliance on technology isn’t great either. It would be best to find the right balance that works for your business, but in most instances, the mix of human and machine insight is superior to either alone.
Ultimately, your goal should be about building and driving a strong culture of personal development that eventually helps you to attract, engage and retain the talent critical to business success in today’s climate.
The use of technology in coaching is helping move towards that goal more effectively and powerfully.
Caroline is an experienced senior executive with a demonstrated history of working in learning & development. Skilled in consulting, coaching, facilitation, and operations management. Loving all things learning through various modalities including blended learning, face-to-face, and digital solutions. A driven consulting professional with a passion for all things people.