How to partner with an AI as a coach

Artificial intelligence will be an inevitable part of our work and life. Following up from my recent Nugget on ChatGPT, I wanted to share a few promising ways in which coaches may partner with an AI.

Will AI replace coaches? I don’t think so.

That said, a recent quote from the Director of the Stanford Digital Economy Lab, Erik Brynjolfsson, really hit home. He said: “I like the word affected, not replaced. It’s not ‘AI replacing lawyers’. It’s ‘lawyers working with AI’ replacing ‘lawyers who don’t work with AI’”

I don’t think that the same quite applies to coaches, since the practice is a lot more relationship-based.

Though I do think that formulaic, structured and linear coaching methodologies will definitely be offered at scale, and possibly without the oversight of a human coach, due to the cost benefits.

So in the future I’m sure you’ll be able to tap into powerful habit coaching, health and weight loss coaching, book-writing coaching, accountability coaching, even happiness coaching (utilizing a broad range of effective interventions), and I believe that’s a good thing as it will be hugely beneficial for people who couldn’t previously afford to be coached.

But my kind of coaching (existential, person-centred, phenomenological, complex psychological)… AI can help, but will never be able to replace a human relationship.

So how can it help?

Based on a few recent conversations with colleagues (one of which public), I’ve started the following list of potential partnership opportunities. They are a mix of admin help, business support and direct work with clients:

  • A virtual AI assistant can help you (in a much more engaging way than automated messages) book meetings, send invoices, follow up payments, upload and categorise session notes, flag disengaged clients, and execute various protocols to upload content or on- and offboard clients into programmes.
  • AI could write up a summary of your coaching session and extract the main insights and action points, then send this to the client along with the transcript or recording, and check in periodically as an accountability buddy.
  • AI can write content based on podcast transcripts or videos. It can also create video snippets from long-form content.
  • AI can scan the latest publications in scientific journals or books and offer your a summary of findings based on your specific interests. It could read it to you while you’re having breakfast each morning.
  • Since AIs now pass business school exams they could analyse the state of your business and offer advice and guidance, draft your tax returns, or even give you decent legal advice.
  • Instead of referring clients to a psychometric or assessment, your AI associate could run your client through a process or questionnaire, offer a feedback session on the results, and then send you a summary of that session (including a transcript for quality insurance).
  • When a client commits to reading a book, AI may accompany them alongside the learning journey, offering reflection prompts, practical exercises, a space to think, and further resources or reading when clients express interest to learn more about particular topics.
  • AI may be a powerful reflection tool for coaches. E.g. recordings of coaching sessions may be fed to an AI to highlight significant moments, uncover blind spots (through e.g. picking up on facial expressions, physiology, body language, or tonality). AI can also analyse session transcripts spot patterns in clients’ use of language or logical flaws.
  • Ultimately, in the perhaps-not-too-distant future, I could imagine that an AI could emulate a coach pretty well if we fed it a few decades of digital data, session transcripts, social media output, hours of YouTube content and training videos, email communications, psychometric test results, etc.. Using deep fake technology it could even generate video (this is were it gets a bit scary and I would always want to be really transparent about the difference between me and my AI associate).

The most exciting, and also concerning, possibility is that a client coming to coaching may choose to open up (after the consultation, but before the work commences) and, in addition to telling the coach their story and who they are, open their digital doors to an AI, who would then write up a summary of the client’s personality profile, strengths and derailers, values, beliefs, political ideology, spiritual orientation, family history, medical profile, mental health flags, career path, etc.

It won’t replace the coach, and we’ll have to work damn hard to bracket all the resulting assumptions as to be able to really meet this person, but having access to all this data might be something that both coaches and clients welcome.

Loads of ethical concerns here obviously, but the possibilities are arguably very exciting.

I wonder what you might add to this list? Or whether you’re already utilising AI in some (of these) ways…

With Love

New content: Coaching & Psychedelics #13


Our podcast Talking about Coaching & Psychedelics is back with new episodes! 

After some considerable “life happening”, some restructuring in the team and a resulting hiatus, we’re back with 3 new episodes on the shelf. The first one is with the Programme Leader of the Certificate in Transpersonal Coaching at ALEC, Jevon Dangeli. His embodied presence is a joy to watch, his knowledge and expertise far reaching, and we’ve explored the many meeting points between transpersonal psychology, psychedelics, and coaching.

Find the full episode on YouTube and all major podcasting platforms, as well as a few snippets here.


And that’s it for this week. If any of it resonates, make it swing! I love to hear from people 🙂

And hey, if you’d prefer to get the monthly-ish round up of these Nuggets (including some more personal updates), this is the list to sign up to