Coaches can leverage digital business tools, including Artificial Intelligence and mobile apps, to augment their coaching practice and reach new audiences.
Digital business tools can help coaches develop and expand their coaching practice
Technology is rapidly transforming the world of work by automating and streamlining specific tasks to promote greater efficiency, creativity, and collaboration. Digital business tools designed to simplify administrative tasks, graphic design, and communication can similarly help coaches focus on reaching new clients, deepening coaching engagements, and exploring new opportunities for professional development. The benefits of these technologies are two-fold: coaches will have more time to focus on coaching conversations and digital platforms, and AI will collect data that strengthens research and understanding of coaching practices. When using these new technologies, coaches will need to understand their ethical use in coaching practice.
With more time to focus on coaching conversations, digital business tools have the potential to expand coaching impact and access. Marketing and administrative tools can help coaches run a successful small business and reach a greater number of clients. Supported by AI tools, coaches can tailor services to meet client needs through unique delivery modalities, context-specific approaches, or a niche coaching focus. Data-driven visualizations can help coaches strengthen their business proposition by visualizing client return on investment. This same data can inform research, validating coaching competencies to support clients in long-term behavior change, confidence, and personal and professional success.
Coaches can develop coaching skills, reach new audiences, and engage clients by using digital business tools that:
- Schedule meetings and simplify business administration
- Market and promote coaching services
- Connect with new and existing coaching clients
- Measure and organize client data
- Monitor and give feedback on coaching conversations
1. Artificial Intelligence can complete administrative tasks, freeing up time for coaching conversations
AI has the potential to streamline administrative tasks, helping coaches prioritize client interactions. Already AI is used to simplify basic administrative functions across various fields. Through its ability to automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks, AI technology can enhance efficiency and productivity. In the realm of data entry, AI algorithms can extract information from documents, forms, and emails, automatically populating databases and systems, reducing manual effort and minimizing errors. Additionally, AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants can handle customer inquiries, provide support, and even perform basic customer service tasks , freeing up human resources for more complex and specialized work. In fields like finance, AI algorithms can analyze vast amounts of data, identify patterns, and make predictions, facilitating faster and more accurate decision-making. By taking on these administrative responsibilities, AI allows professionals in various fields to focus on higher-level tasks, innovation, and personalized services.
Coaches can leverage AI to simplify administrative tasks, allowing them to prioritize client interactions and focus on delivering high-quality coaching services. AI-powered scheduling tools can automate the process of setting up appointments with clients. Coaches can integrate these tools into their calendars, allowing clients to view their availability and book sessions without the need for manual back-and-forth communication. AI chatbots or virtual assistants can handle routine client inquiries, provide basic information, and answer frequently asked questions. Other AI programs manage administrative tasks such as generating invoices and receipts and creating meeting minutes and session summaries. By automating these processes, coaches can save time on paperwork and focus more on client interactions and coaching sessions. AI can also be used to simplify research by curating relevant content for clients. By analyzing clients’ profiles, preferences, and goals, AI can recommend articles, videos, or resources that align with their specific needs, enhancing the coaching experience.
In the future, AI is expected to advance further in assisting coaches with administrative tasks, providing even greater support and efficiency. AI algorithms will continue to improve their understanding of natural language and speech, enabling coaches to interact with AI-powered virtual assistants through voice commands or conversational interfaces. AI will become more adept at personalized automation, understanding individual coaches’ preferences and unique workflows. It will learn from past interactions and adapt to coaches’ specific needs, automating administrative tasks in a highly personalized and tailored manner. AI algorithms will evolve to provide more sophisticated data analysis capabilities. As technology progresses, AI will be able to automate complex multi-step administrative processes by understanding the context and dependencies involved. AI will learn from coaches’ preferences and behaviors, allowing for dynamic automation of tasks like generating customized reports, managing billing, or creating personalized client communication. Overall, technological advancements will provide coaches with more efficient, intelligent, and tailored administrative support, enabling them to dedicate more time and energy to their clients and core coaching activities.
What this means for coaches:
- With administrative support, coaches can take on a greater number of clients or dedicate more time to their own professional development.
- AI tools may remove barriers to coaches starting or expanding small businesses by reducing time and cost for administrative tasks.
2. Coaches can use generative AI to create videos, images, and text for marketing and client engagement
Open access design tools and AI generative programs are helping new audiences create content for social media promotion, newsletters, and online resources. By using pre-set templates and leaning on AI, online programs can help users create custom graphic designs with minimal skill. For custom images and illustrations, DALL-E, from the creators of ChatGPT, creates novel images from text descriptions in a wide array of styles. Digital business tools used to annotate meeting transcripts and compile notes can also repurpose written content for a variety of uses, including template emails, blog posts, and conversational blurbs. Finally, AI can manage predictive video editing, breaking long videos into shorter clips for social media or online courses.
Coaches can use these same tools to create professional-looking logos, newsletters, and graphics to expand their digital presence and engage new clients. By reducing the cost and time associated with design and content writing, coaches can devote more time to coaching. These tools can enhance creativity by providing suggestions a coach might not have initially considered and enhancing content impact through search engine optimization. Finally, AI-powered design tools may create new streams of revenue by helping coaches create exclusive content, including worksheets and videos, that can be monetized and used by clients between sessions.
AI-powered digital business tools will continue to disrupt the future of coaching by reducing common coaching barriers related to limited time, budget, and tech expertise. Coaches who can utilize these tools to free up time for coaching conversations will be able to serve a greater number of clients with increased impact. Expanded marketing and administrative support may also increase coaching diversity as coaches from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds expand their online presence and attract new clients. Clients with unique learning needs, such as neurodivergent workers, may benefit from professional development that optimizes training programs that manage business and life success. By anticipating client needs, learning styles, and preferences, AI may also suggest new opportunities to engage clients through niche coaching services or asynchronous learning options.
What this means for coaches:
- Coaches can use AI to create, repurpose, and reuse images, text, and video for different contexts, including on-demand learning materials, blog posts, newsletters, and social media promotion.
- Coaches will still need to exercise judgment when using AI marketing tools to ensure accuracy and quality.
3. Coaching apps and platforms streamline business and connect coaches to new clients
Coaching apps and platforms have revolutionized the way businesses operate and connect coaches to new clients. These digital tools provide a streamlined and efficient solution for both coaches and clients, eliminating geographical barriers and offering convenient access to coaching services. With coaching apps, coaches can showcase their expertise, create profiles, and highlight their specialties, enabling them to reach a wider audience and attract new clients. These platforms facilitate seamless scheduling and booking processes, allowing clients to find and book coaching sessions at their convenience. Coaches can also create professional profiles, accept client intake forms, send messages, schedule client meetings, and conduct video calls all through one platform. Additionally, coaching apps often offer secure payment systems, ensuring hassle-free financial transactions between coaches and clients. By leveraging technology, these apps and platforms have transformed the coaching industry, providing a convenient and efficient avenue for coaches to expand their reach and connect with a broader client base.
When applied to the field of coaching today, AI algorithms play a crucial role in matching coaches and clients by leveraging various factors and data points. These algorithms analyze client preferences, goals, and requirements, along with the expertise, experience, and specialties of coaches. By considering these factors, AI algorithms can make intelligent and informed recommendations, ensuring optimal coach-client matches. AI algorithms can also utilize machine learning techniques to improve their matching capabilities over time. As coaches and clients interact on the platform, the algorithms can gather feedback and learn from successful matches, refining their recommendations and increasing the accuracy of future matches. This iterative process allows the algorithms to adapt and improve their matching abilities based on real-world outcomes.
As AI algorithms continue to improve, they will advance in their capacity to consider additional data, such as client reviews, ratings, and previous coaching experiences, to enhance the matching process. By analyzing this information, algorithms will evolve to identify patterns and preferences, selecting coaches who have a track record of success with specific client needs or goals. This helps ensure that clients are connected with coaches who align with their needs, increasing the chances of a successful coaching relationship. Once a coach-client match is made, AI will continue to support clients by blending synchronous video calls and on-demand coaching refreshers. Platforms may have pre-recorded prompts and videos for clients to use between sessions or develop AI-powered conversational models to guide clients through deeper reflection. AI will then analyze themes from on-demand reflections or conversations to help coaches adapt to changing client needs.
What this means for coaches:
- Platforms can help coaches connect to new client types and expand their business by highlighting unique skills or focus areas.
- Data can be used to understand team and organizational needs, including potential gaps in resources, staffing, skills, and continued education.
- Coaches can use team or organizational data to create tailored approaches that improve coaching impact and client satisfaction.
4. Online platforms centralize client data to improve client engagement
Online service platforms streamline business and data collection by centralizing services in a single location. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the healthcare industry actively shifted to online services, allowing patients and doctors to review patient medical records, send messages, schedule appointments, and connect through video calls. Similarly, well-being professionals, including personal trainers, nutritionists, and yoga and meditation leaders, use online platforms as a primary digital business tool to organize client information, process payments, post videos and courses, schedule meetings, and communicate with clients. Combining services into a single platform helps professionals organize, process, and understand data to improve their business. AI-enhanced platforms can analyze client data to suggest changes in line with current and future needs, reduce waste and inefficiencies, and increase profitability.
AI-powered platforms can assist coaches in monitoring and tracking clients’ progress by analyzing data and generating insightful reports. These tools can help identify patterns, measure goal attainment, and provide valuable feedback, enabling coaches to make data-driven decisions and offer targeted guidance. Some coaching platforms are already using AI to gather both qualitative and quantitative data from coaching conversations. Coaches and clients can then see the data presented in charts and graphs that visualize client progress or new focus areas. Team coaches are using these tools to visualize individual and team performance that informs both individual and group needs. For organizations and HR leaders, AI-driven coaching platforms can provide aggregated insights on client performance and coaching ROI while maintaining coach/client confidentiality.
Coaches will be able to leverage AI-powered tools to gain deeper insights into client progress, behavior, and patterns. Using this information, AI will be able to recommend resources and coaching strategies. Because AI learns to recognize patterns, more sophisticated AI will be able to anticipate potential challenges and provide targeted resources and training to help teams prepare for emerging needs. AI has the potential to transform coaching and learning and development programs by analyzing team skills and capabilities and then creating tailored training to bridge gaps and prepare for the future of work.
What this means for coaches:
- AI-driven coaching platforms will help coaches prepare for sessions by organizing client information and providing real-time data on client needs and progress.
- Data visualizations, including charts and graphs, can be used as learning tools that help coaches partner with clients to focus on specific areas.
- Coaches can track client performance and growth as a way of measuring coaching efficacy and showing client return on investment.
5. Audio-visual technologies can help coaches practice coaching conversations and get real-time analytics on their skills
An emerging use of AI tools scans audio and visual inputs to provide insight on human behavior and support learning. In education, AI is being used to preserve indigenous languages, improve learning outcomes for students with disabilities, and identify the thinking pattern of students to enhance educational outcomes and support lifelong learning. For professional development, AI-powered apps can enhance professional speaking by analyzing pacing, tone, eye-contact, and body language, providing real-time feedback for users. Other apps use spoken inputs to help language learners practice conversations in their target language.
Real-time audio-visual analysis and feedback are being tested to analyze coaching conversations and evaluate coaching presence, identify critical moments, and provide input on missed cues. These technologies can be applied for coach education to help coach trainees practice coaching conversations. Beyond generating themes, AI analyzes how much time is spent listening vs. speaking, using closed or open questions, and maintaining eye contact. For coaching supervision, AI has the potential to support seasoned coaches by analyzing repeated themes, tracking changes in tone and body language, and providing summarized reports after sessions. Before using these resources, coaches will need to ensure confidentiality and client data security when using online tools to process client data or coaching conversations.
The potential for these emerging technologies is immense. Because AI can process more information than the human brain, AI coaching supervisors can support coaching presence and identify important themes that may have been missed during discussion. As part of the summary generation feature, AI will then help coaches prepare for their next session by reviewing prominent, reoccurring, and missed themes. As an educational tool, AI can create tailored approaches to learning and feedback which help coach trainees gain more practice in key areas. AI audio-visual tools will also be able to create large data sets that can be processed to validate coaching skills, approaches, and competencies, adding to greater credibility and impact in the field. This data will be even more useful for understanding non-Western coaching practice. According to the 2023 ICF Global Coaching Study, the number of coaches in Asia, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe increased above global averages. AI audio-visual analysis will evaluate if coaching approaches are universal, understand how coaching tools may be modified for different cultures and client contexts, and provide insight on how coaching competencies and training should be adopted for coaches worldwide.
What this means for coaches:
- AI can generate reports on eye contact, body language, tone, and sentence structure to help coaches identify strengths and areas for growth in communication and coaching presence.
- Coach training programs can use AI to help trainees gain practice hours and focus on specific coaching skills and competencies.
- Coaches will need to explain clearly to clients how coaching conversations are used and stored in order to protect client confidentiality and data security.
More Resources for Coaches
Digital business tools can help coaches prioritize client interaction and professional development by streamlining administrative tasks. Using generative AI and template-based design tools, coaches can reach new audiences through content creation, promotion, and marketing. These tools create unique opportunities to support coaches as small business owners by reducing cost and time barriers to client engagement and business administration. Digital business tools also offer new opportunities for parents, caregivers, those with chronic illnesses and disabilities, and full-time students to balance coaching with other life obligations.
Coaches can use the following questions to reflect on how digital business tools might support or change their current coaching practice:
- In what specific areas do coaches feel overwhelmed or burdened by administrative responsibilities? How can AI tools assist in streamlining these areas and reducing the workload?
- How can coaches effectively communicate with clients about the role of AI tools in the coaching process, ensuring transparency, trust, and clear boundaries?
- How can coaches ensure the privacy and security of client information in a digital coaching environment, especially when data ownership and control may be ambiguous?
- What are the potential limitations or blind spots of AI chatbots in the coaching context, and how can coaches address these to ensure the highest quality of coaching outcomes?
- What are some specific goals or areas of improvement where digital business tools could potentially enhance a coach’s effectiveness, efficiency, or client outcomes?
Learn more about how technological innovation is supporting coaches:
- International Coaching Federation Coalition for Technology in Coaching
- 101 Coaching Supervision Techniques, chapter by David Clutterbuck: “39. Using AI in supervision”
- Technology and Innovation in Coaching podcast, Association for Coaching