Meyler Campbell
27th June 2019

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Masterclass: Carol Braddick

Carol Braddick provides a market overview and share some samples and screenshots to show how tech can support coaching beyond the business-as-usual use of tech such as videoconferencing for virtual coaching.

Much of the world of coaching has been free of technology, up until recently. Some of us already use the communication tools like Skype to do coaching by distance or share content (a TED talk or article). But, that’s probably about it. At work, however, many coachees and their sponsors will be using many more forms of technology – real-time analytics,  

Carol Braddick led a thoughtful, inspiring and challenging session. We had a sobering start, reflecting on our own attitudes to, and use of, technology. It was a great reminder for us to spend enough time doing this as part of the ‘contracting’ process.

She gave us a ‘market tour’ of technology applications, challenging us to think how and where they could be used in the coaching conversation. Coaching ‘bots’ are becoming more commonplace, offering lower cost, more accessible forms of coaching, some without any human involvement; many are at the pilot stage, and are likely to be more directive than we would like at this stage of maturity. But they help with typical topics - career transitions, communication, teamwork.

The coach plays an important role in suggesting the right amount of technology at the right time, to complement the coaching process – it could be an app that sends ‘nudges’ to reinforce behaviour or helps to share personalised content, or a coaching platform that helps to manage the workflow and documentation, or service that offers self-coaching, or virtual reality that helps to visualise some scenarios.

Tech provokes a number of important ethical questions - data usage, potential bias in the design of the algorithms (from the developers being white men in the US), which may limit application across cultures, theoretical rigour. And there are fascinating implications on the coaching environment – will the coachees and coaches feel like there’s too much interference? Will it result in more litigation as it helps to measure the ROI from coaching?

Many of us felt that there had to be more room for technology in the process, and management, of coaching. But that we’re at the early stages of experimentation – fun, exciting and a little daunting for coaches, and improvements on the way on the part of developers. It felt clear that ignoring it wasn’t going to be an option for coaches in the future; it will certainly be a complement, and for some coachees a substitute. Coaches certainly need to be central to the design, development and roll-out of technology.

Chapeau to Carol for guiding us through the opportunities and pitfalls, and for making us think practically about what we’re going to do next.

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