Technology will disrupt the coaching industry. Are you ready?
I attended the ICF Converge17 Conference at the end of August where we had a booth to introduce coaches to Coachmetrix. We met hundreds of people throughout the course of the 2+ day event and had a ton of great conversations about the state of the coaching industry. It was an awesome experience.
Overall, coaches were very receptive to the features and benefits that Coachmetrix provides. However, I noticed a sense of unease and concern within myself as I thought about the collective conversations. At first I thought it was specific to Coachmetrix, but then I realized it was much deeper than that.
Here’s what I noticed.
Coaches lag professionals in other industries when it comes to technology adoption
Coaches, compared to professionals in other industries, I believe, are behind the 8-ball when it comes to adopting technology. Coaches are still generally using outdated processes and techniques to support their businesses. They continue to inundate their coachees with emails, word documents, spreadsheets, access to multiple systems and paper based action plans to support their executive and leadership coaching engagements.
When it came to measurement, it was more of the same. I asked one coach how she measured the success of her coaching engagements and she crossed her fingers and held them up for me to see, indicating that her strategy was “hope” and “luck” – that no one would ask for results. Others mentioned that they focus only on coach satisfaction surveys – the lowest form of measurement that evaluates reaction and not behavioral change.
Anyone can do that. There’s no differentiator for those coaches in an industry that is becoming more diluted.
In a conversation with another coach where we were discussing how Coachmetrix works from the action planning to the pulse feedback processes, his response was, “Isn’t that a lot of work?”
How else do you create an environment for leaders to make behavior change if they don’t even have an action plan? If it’s paper based, it’s more time consuming.
These examples might slip under the radar now. But advances and ongoing acceptance of technology in our industry will soon shine a light on those still clinging to outdated practices.
That leads me to the second trend I noticed at ICF Converge17, and this one should grab your attention.
Coaching will be disrupted by technology
If you are slow to adopt technology, it will be easier for you and your business to get completely disrupted by what’s coming. The second major trend I see in the executive and leadership coaching industry is the combination of app-based tools along with inexpensive, transactional coaches that will enable mass adoption of coaching at all manager levels across an enterprise. This will dramatically change the landscape of coaching for those coaches who have a coaching-only model and charge by the hour.
Fees will continue to be driven down. Coaching will become more transactional. There will be less to differentiate how coaches work.
If you are hiding behind the excuse that coaching is all about the conversation and connection between the coach and coachee, you are especially at risk. Because the transactional coaches that get combined with the app, also believe the same thing. In fact, many enterprise clients who are adopting the app + coach model are pretty darn happy with the results they are getting.
I agree that the coaching conversation and connection with the coachee is most important in coaching. But if the processes that surround your coaching practice aren’t cutting edge and relevant, you saying the coaching conversation is the most important aspect of coaching isn’t any different than the transactional coach with an app saying the same thing. Except that they have an app that makes working with them more efficient.
Our clients will expect more than just the conversation. They will want easy access to resources, tools and tips. They will want a smooth onboarding process and progress reporting to prove that coaching works – even if the coaching is for mid-level managers.
Everything that surrounds the actual coaching conversation can be optimized with technology and is available for disruption. If you are doing any of the following, you may find your coaching practices behind where they could be.
- Emailing word documents prior to a coaching sessions for coachees to complete and then email back
- Emailing coaches notes
- Using paper for action planning
- Lacking an action planning process in leadership or executive coaching
- Conducting remote coaching sessions via phone instead of video
- Giving your clients access to two or more online systems (where’s my password…!?)
And, if you are watching the trends in artificial intelligence (AI) and how rapidly that technology is progressing, some of the actual coaching conversations may be disrupted too. But, let’s save that for another blog post.
How to apply these technology tools in your coaching business
I know you are busy right now. That’s good. But you have to dedicate time to shape your business beyond next week, next month and next quarter. You have to consider the impact that technology will have in the coming two years and beyond.
Is the industry going to change overnight?
But, you might find yourself slowly competing for an engagement here and there with the app + transactional coach model.
Are you ready? Are you experimenting with new ways of supporting your coaching practice? Are you trying new technologies to evolve your business?
If you aren’t, now is the time to start.
In that process, give Coachmetrix a shot. Our cloud-based product connects coaches with their coachees, creating a coaching platform to drive accountability, transparency and behavior change measurement to impact people’s lives for the better.
Coachmetrix is a technology designed for the coach to optimize their coaching practice. Instead of being an app that competes against you, it’s an app that enables you to compete with the app + transactional coach model.
Your first project is on us, so there’s nothing to lose.