Tuesday, July 4, 2023

S.T.E.M vs. S.T.E.A.M. ~ The advantage of being Simply Human

We are pleased to share an article entitled “S.T.E.M vs. S.T.E.A.M. ~ The advantage of being Simply Human” written by Sandra Hill.


Are you adding more ‘techie’ words to your vocabulary? Or do you find yourself updating your phone, computer and other devices just to keep up with the constant technological upgrades?

If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, welcome – you are now part of the most technological and revolutionary age of mankind. If you answered “no” or “I don’t know,” well, you might want to get acquainted to the concept of Pandora’s Box, because just like in Greek mythology, mankind continues to be curious, seeking to find what is behind ‘the next door.’

By all accounts, the global pandemic definitely helped to expedite this new age. Technology was everywhere, from Google Meets, Microsoft Teams, Teams and Zoom to Digi-Health, online grocery apps, etc. With more users, technology seemed to work overtime to improve connectivity speed, upgrade hardware/software and increase user friendly apps so people could work smarter, not harder.


➜ It seems like yesterday that the Jetsons were on television with their flying cars. Now we have electric, hybrid and autonomous (self-driving) cars.

➜ On the TV show Star Trek, personnel were seen using teleporters, communicators and facial recognition long before eye/facial recognition/ fingerprints on phones and in some workplaces. We also saw the first use of what were called holodecks (areas for recreational interaction with holograms), which were the precursors to virtual reality glasses.

Today, the rise of chatbots and electronic assistants like Siri, Alexa, Cortana and many others have paved the way for a wealth of meditation or health and wellness apps.

As a human species, it seems as though we initially dipped our toes in, and now, we have become fully immersed in the tech world. But not without some pain points that have the potential to wreak havoc to our lives, both personal and professional.

For coaches, regardless of their niche, there is a lot to take in. Like anything, too much of a good thing can cause problems. And, in the wrong hands or used in the wrong way, technology can be our downfall (hence the Pandora’s Box analogy).

We live in a world inundated with Artificial Intelligence (AI). There are many definitions and types of AI, but for the purpose of this article, consider AI to be the process of using automation (programming) to complete repetitive tasks in a manner similar to a human’s. The use of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) all work together in a cohesive manner.

For the coaching industry, there can be a multitude of issues as well as advantages. AI can be a game-changer for coaches, regardless of the niche. Here are some specific examples:

➜ Coaches could receive more accurate and faster insights that could have a downstream impact of a much greater dynamic interaction with clients. (Programs and systems already exist that help coaches with monitoring, note-taking and client tracking.)

➜ Discovery calls could be automated to provide for a deliberate/intentional as well as insightful understanding of a client’s needs. (Currently, chatbots, virtual assistant software and apps inundate the marketplace.)

➜ AI could be used to create virtual coaches available for 24/7 coaching services. (Health, wellness, and meditation apps seem to have cornered the market.)

➜ Back-office functionality such as progress report tracking, billing and collection as well as scheduling appointments could become automated features via an app or system.

➜ Remote coaching could be improved with the use of virtual reality goggles which could create the illusion of the coach and client being in the same place.

➜ AI could provide coaches with a competitive edge and facilitate scalability.

Some coaches have already taken advantage of AI enhancements. These might be pricey, but the dollar investment (according to some) was relatively low compared to the profitability and productivity of coaches.

On the flip side, though, AI is not always user friendly. If the coach is not familiar or comfortable with technology, errors in use can occur unless the coach is willing to expend more funds. Other possible mishaps are:

➜ The expense associated with maintaining or upgrading AI applications. (It won’t be cheap.)

➜ Some AI applications are not user friendly for people with disabilities and/or physical challenges.

➜ The repetitive nature of AI applications such as various types of chatbots. Case in point:

  • You answer some questions designed to get you to the right person, only to find they cannot help you. So you have to repeat this process until you get to the right person.
  • Because your query or requested needs are not in the catalogue of the chatbot, you get caught in a loop of choosing a response that most closely fits.

How many times has this happened to you when you contact customer service, want to get a quick answer, or need help? Do you find yourself wanting to talk to a ‘real person’? That seems to be the way of coaching sometimes.

S.T.E.M. coaching can only go so far. Human interaction cannot be programmed. Human emotion cannot be programmed. Humans have S.T.E.A.M.

Sometimes, being simply human is what is needed in order to tailor your response as a coach to the specific needs of the individual.

Just as each person (except identical twins) has a unique genetic makeup (DNA) and different fingerprints (except for the two percent of the population who are born with no fingerprints – a condition known as adermatoglyphia), prospective clients have differing needs, wants and desires. A one-size-fits-all coaching approach will not work for a not-so-one-size population.

So, yes, AI has the potential to make vast improvements to the coaching industry but like anything in the wrong hands, things can go awry. Take for example, the latest AI app that allows people to write and create content without doing so. ChatGPT is one such app.

I temporarily downloaded the app and asked the question: What is the future of AI in the coaching industry? Here is the response from the app:

“The future of artificial intelligence (AI) in the coaching industry is an exciting one. AI has the potential to revolutionize the coaching industry by providing coaches with more accurate and faster insights, enabling them to provide better, more personalized services to their clients. AI can automate mundane tasks, freeing up coaches to focus on more meaningful activities. AI can also provide powerful analytics and insights that can help coaches better understand their clients’ needs and develop more effective strategies.

“AI can also be used to create virtual coaches, which can provide the same level of service as a human coach, but without the need for physical presence. AI-based virtual coaches can provide personalized coaching services to clients located anywhere in the world.

AI-based virtual coaches can also be used to provide 24/7 coaching services, allowing clients to receive coaching services whenever and wherever they need them.

AI-based virtual coaches can also be used to provide more accurate and personalized coaching services. AI-based virtual coaches can use natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) to better understand a client’s needs and provide more tailored advice. AI-based virtual coaches can also use predictive analytics to anticipate a client’s needs and provide advice accordingly.

“AI-based virtual coaches can also be used to provide more efficient coaching services. AI-based virtual coaches can automate mundane tasks, such as scheduling appointments, collecting payments, and tracking progress. This can enable coaches to provide more efficient services and deliver better results to their clients.

“Overall, the future of AI in the coaching industry is an exciting one. AI has the potential to revolutionize the coaching industry by providing coaches with more accurate and faster insights, enabling them to provide…”

Launched in November of 2022, ChatGPT seemed to be an instant hit. However, two months later, as this article went into a final edit, the app is now being banned by educators. Who knows what other bans might take place.

Using apps like ChatGPT, which is supposed to get better as more data is analyzed, could pose a threat to the coaching industry. Pandora’s box has been opened. It is now time to monitor and possibly apply some safeguards. Otherwise, the coaching industry could take a major negative setback just as it is gaining momentum.

My CAPTCHA signature from here on out is: “I am NOT a robot; I am a human.” How about you?

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