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Ovida: Innovating through AI to promote self-reflection and supervision in coaching

Ovida is an AI-powered software platform that helps coaches engage in self-reflection and sharpen their skills by transforming verbal and non-verbal cues into objective feedback.

Wisdom Weaver

AI enables objective data for self-reflection and coaching supervision

Ovida is an AI-empowered software platform that gives coaches feedback on their sessions to enable self-reflection as an extension of coaching supervision and mentoring. Leveraging AI tools for language and non-verbal analysis, Ovida expands these technologies to analyze coaching skills such as active listening, asking questions, building trust, and maintaining coaching presence. Ovida empowers coaches to self-reflect and evaluate their effectiveness in client sessions, offering insights on areas for improvement and skills development. This integration of AI and coaching enables coaches to elevate their practice and deliver better results for their clients.

Ovida’s Co-Founder, Alex Haitoglou, shares his vision for the future of coaching and the role of AI:

“In AI, we are seeing a massive acceleration worldwide in the need for people to have better soft skills: those communication skills that are vital, especially for leaders, and highly linked to retention, growth, business growth, and employee satisfaction. In the field of coaching, specifically, the ability to be empathetic, ask the right questions, and help build relationships of trust are core elements of a coaching skill set. We know there is a need for people to learn these soft-skill traits. At the same time, it’s not very easy to do so. First of all, people need to be motivated to learn. After that, what is important is self-reflection, an ability to measure what they’re doing — to have some data on how to quantify professional and personal growth, then to get feedback from experts and then undertake deliberate practice, not just practice.”

Alex Haitoglou

Recognizing the significance of deliberate practice and objective feedback, Ovida combines data, self-reflection, human expertise, and deliberate practice to transform coaching. This integration of AI technology and coaching allows coaches to gain deeper insights into their practice through the analysis of objective data.

Technology can help coaches develop soft skills and maximize their impact

Ovida’s AI-driven platform is designed to enhance and maximize coaching skills and impact. An increasing number of professionals require strong communication and soft skills, but these skills are not always easy to develop and maintain. By combining continuing education with mentorship and supervision, Ovida streamlines coaching development, enabling coaches to receive immediate feedback and enhance their efforts. Coaching supervision tools such as Ovida have the potential to transform the future of coaching practice. Some coach training programs have already embraced Ovida’s software to improve the soft skills of new coaches.

Alex explains:

“With the emergence of technologies such as ChatGPT, humanity’s ability to analyze language and create ways of interacting has arrived three to five years faster than anyone expected. We see a lot of changes coming and a lot of different uses for AI to help train people — and coaches specifically — to communicate better. AI can also relieve the burden on coaches by handling repetitive tasks.

For example, we see a world where an AI co-coaching bot can do an initial interview, asking people, ‘Hey, what do you think? What would you like to get out of this?’ along with other questions repeated in initial intake coaching sessions. AI co-coaching technologies can also perform follow-up sessions to analyze coaching discussions. These are the main areas where we see a lot of change, a lot of difference. And it’s an amazing time to be able to interact with this technology. I mean, we’re literally doing things that even 20 years ago were science fiction. So that’s quite incredible.”

Alex Haitoglou

Read the rest of his interview:

Interview with Alex Haitoglou, Co-Founder of Ovida, on how technology is helping coaches refine their skills for greater impact

What key factors will shape the future of coaching in relation to emerging technologies?

“First of all, there are societal factors, such as a need for soft skills, communication skills, and people that can actually speak to and connect well with others. There are also global trends with a larger number of Gen-Z workers — who have not had a lot of experience with face-to-face interaction — coming into the workplace. People in the workplace are growing in their collective awareness of the importance of wellness and relationship building, rather than simply clocking in and out of the job. We are seeing the need for work-life balance and a growing awareness of how the cultural skills of managers have a profound impact on the performance and well-being of employees. These factors influence business growth. I think technology will touch every part of the coaching discussion. We at Ovida would like to use AI to help all coaches be the best they can be for their clients and themselves.”

Alex Haitoglou

How does Ovida support coaches through technology?

“There’s a big discrepancy between what we know is the best-in-class standard of soft skills development, that is self-recording and self-reflection, and what is happening in the coaching world. Most coaches, even with decades of coaching experience, will only have recorded and reviewed 5-10 of their own coaching sessions in their career. Many of these will be as part of the ICF process. Ovida is aiming to make this process of recording, self-reflection, and progress simpler and more secure, allowing all coaches to incorporate it as part of their work. This process of self-reflection, data, human feedback, and deliberate practice is literally the blueprint for adult learning and growth and has been used extensively in most fields of human learning – for example, in every sport, in education, in medicine, to name a few. Effectively, our passion is to apply the same well documented principles that have existed for a few years now into coaching and help coaches continuously grow.”

Alex Haitoglou

What is unique about how Ovida blends AI and coaching supervision for coach training and development?

“We are helping create a private, secure environment and tools for coaches to self-reflect, as well as look at objective data. With AI helping us analyze coaching sessions, we can also link this feedback (with consent) to a human expert. At Ovida, we think the human element is fundamental, whether it is to train coaches or whether it is to interact with clients. We don’t see this being completely replaced anytime soon, though some of it, i.e., the transactional part, will be partially replaced by AI. So, Ovida is uniquely using AI to help improve the human side of coaching and does that in a simple way that every coach can follow.”

Alex Haitoglou

What emerging technologies are you keeping an eye on that could have a significant impact on the future of coaching?

“Large language models, such as ChatGPT, will evolve in their ability to process data. Now it analyzes text, but very soon, it will also analyze video and audio. For example, if we had anonymous data from a lot of different coaching discussions in an organization, or even 1-1s, we could easily extract the key themes that are coming through. This information could help a business address issues within its work culture, understanding not just what its employees say in surveys but what is actually happening. AI can generate objective data on any coaching discussion, and any type of trusted discussion, which is very hard to do currently without bias. Additionally, the way machines can analyze non-verbal elements, such as body language and tonality, is improving exponentially, allowing new opportunities to train and improve our own ways of communication with others, and specifically key coaching skills.”

Alex Haitoglou

How do coaching platforms like Ovida help democratize the field of coaching?

“Twenty years ago, business coaching was available only for C-suite and board members; it was not accessible to everyone in an organization. Coaching existed to help leaders improve and learn. For the rest of the organization, coaching as a resource was completely unaffordable. Over the last three to four years, coaching platforms like BetterUp, CoachHub, and many others have managed to bring this even a level or two down beyond the board. One-on-one coaching is simply too expensive for organizations to cover, but a human using emerging technologies can reach a greater number of people and charge less. Ovida specifically is aiming to democratize coaching skills development, allowing all current coaches to grow faster, but also leaders and managers to acquire coaching skills at scale. Additionally, Ovida allows supervisors and experts to be able to help a lot more people with their coaching skills journey by significantly reducing the cost of each interaction and making reviewing sessions a massively faster process than today.”

Alex Haitoglou

What skills are needed to succeed in the future of coaching, considering the integration of emerging technologies?

“The two key skills for integrating emerging technology and coaching are curiosity and adaptability. I was in a room full of coaches at an event last month. When I asked how many of them used ChatGPT, I was pleased that everyone raised their hand. Now, when asked how many of them were using it professionally in their coaching practice apart from just playing with it once, almost all the hands came down. So, there is definitely something about being curious and also about being flexible with how we use this technology in coaching. We can help coaches understand the many tools available to enhance their practice and also how to unlearn the ways they have operated in the past that could use a technology refresh. Ultimately, curiosity and adaptability are the two most important things that will help the coaching field advance.”

Alex Haitoglou

What ethical and regulatory frameworks do you envision for the use of emerging technologies in coaching?

“We need to be exceedingly conscious and cautious about how we use data, especially within anything that could be personally identifiable. Privacy here is crucial and can be easily — even by mistake — violated because of the way AI works. So, having an open discussion about privacy, and having clear rules about knowing when I’m interacting with the machine versus when I’m interacting with a human being, are essential. Being able to have the right to be forgotten and the right to be able to take things out will be key for ethical regulation in AI., I think these are some of the areas where we need to have regulation.”

Alex Haitoglou

What message would you like to convey to coaches about the future of coaching and emerging technologies?

“I would invite coaches to reflect on how emerging technologies can help them grow and deliver better results for their clients. Coaches have the opportunity to dive into the present technological revolution, to be part of the debate and part of the discussion. Many people assume this change is far away, but it’s not. It’s here. We’re much better off being inside the discussion and the debate as an industry and as individuals, seeing what is possible and shaping what it looks like rather than leaving it to outsiders. So, if anything, I would call coaches to engage, learn, grow, and shape how AI will influence the practice of coaching.

Finally, I invite people to get over the first apprehension that everyone has when looking at themselves coaching. Start reviewing and self-reflecting regularly on your own coaching sessions. This is the gold standard for improving communication and is well documented in research. Be open to sharing real sessions with mentors and supervisors. Although it can be uncomfortable in the beginning, supervision is fundamental for advancing and growing as a coach.”

Alex Haitoglou

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