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“Transactional Coaching”: Will this type of coaching survive in the AI Era?

By Atip Muangsuwan

"Transactional Coaching": Will this type of coaching survive in the AI Era

“Someone once said to a coach, ‘Who you are… is how you coach.’
I (as a coaching supervisor) would say, ‘Who you are… is how I supervise.’ “

Atip Muangsuwan
CEO Coach and Coach Supervisor

Recently, I witnessed 2 coaching demonstrations that happened in different events. But they both had something in common which was… they demonstrated what I call, “Transactional Coaching”.

What do I mean by “transactional coaching”?

Transactional coaching is… a coaching approach that the coach only focuses on “coaching the what” for their client. The coach only focuses their coaching on the problem-and-solution or goal-and-outcome or behavior-change of their client. They don’t coach the “whole person” of their client. They focus only on the “doing” rather than the “being” of their client.

Referring to one coaching demo where the coach claimed that their client would get to their outcome/result in no time. The other coach from the other coaching demo claimed that their client would strongly commit to their action steps after getting their insights from the coaching session. (The coach focused on the doing rather than the being of their client.)

What I noticed from both coaching demonstrations was that … the coach had put a lot of pressure on their client in order for their client to come up with… the specific date and time of executing their actions with the kind of question: “What specific date and time are you going to do and complete your action?” And some other follow-up questions that anyone witnessing those coaching demos could sense a great deal of pressure in their client.

By applying pressure on the client with a hope for their accountability on their actions rather than exploring and using their own motivations or yearnings, there’s no guarantee that the client would execute and follow through with their actions as they promised with their coach!

There should have been a balance use of “challenge” and “support” for the client. However, the coaches in the demo sessions were using mostly “challenge” in their approach. If a coach is not careful about a balance between the two, they would put too much pressure on their client when they focus only on using the “challenge” approach.

This is one of the reasons why coaches have brought their coaching cases to my coaching supervision with the question like… why their coaching client kept postponing their session and eventually, was disappearing on the coach.

This is mainly because their client couldn’t withstand the pressure received from their coach and from the transactional coaching that they received.

Talking about the “transactional coaching”, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) or coaching-bot can now perform this kind of coaching. So, if we, coaches, want our coaching to stay ahead of the AI Coaching, we must stay away from the “transactional coaching”.

We need to shift from “transactional coaching” to “transformational coaching” for the benefits of our clients and of the coaches ourselves.

If we keep using “transactional coaching” approach, then one day, we might lose our edge to AI coaches. And eventually, we might become extinct just like dinosaurs. 

If we don’t want to become extinct, instead we want to thrive and stay relevant in the AI Era, we’ll need to do some shifting like the following of my recommendations:

  1. Shifting from “Transactional” approach like goal setting, problem-solving, solution finding, behavioral/habit changes, achieving results/outcomes, (which AI coach can now do), to more of “Transformational” approach like “Holistic-life” transformation (rather than looking to change only in one specific area of life), Consciousness Shifts, Wisdom-based approach, and “Who you are… is how I coach” approach.
  1. Shifting from… “Behavioral Change” to… more of “Holistic Change” (at personal level) and “Systemic Change” (at team, organization, community, society, country, and world level)
  1. Shifting to a point where not only can you coach leaders, but you also can teach them how to coach their people and help them establish coaching culture in their organizations.
  1. Shifting your coaching skills from “coaching the what” to more of “coaching the who”. And from “coaching the who” to more of… “who you are… is how I coach” approach.


    The only skill that would differentiate coaches is… “The ability to read and understand their client deeply and thoroughly.” (“Who you are… is how I coach” approach)

    This same ability would also differentiate “human coach” from “AI coach”.

  1. Shifting from model-based coaching to wisdom-based coaching to self-awareness-based coaching.

There will be widely use of “AI coach” globally. However, what would differentiate Human coach from AI coach is… “Wisdom-based coaching”. AI coach will have super high level of intelligence. However, they won’t have “Wisdom”— the ability to understand human insightfully and empathetically like human-to-human.

In addition, AI coach will never have the so-called, “Self-awareness”. Because self-awareness is the only gift that is reserved for human only. When human coach uses this gift to coach their client, this could cause “self-awakening” in their client.  

Coaching is both a science and art. When we study theories, principles, models and frameworks of coaching, it’s a science. But when it comes to executing coaching in the real world with real clients, it’s an ART! I call it, “The Art of Coaching”.

If you’re a coach and not only do you want to survive, but also to thrive in the AI Era as a transformational coach, then let’s discuss in one of my coaching supervision sessions!

 

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