It seems to me that the growth in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will drive up the need for coaching. In particular coaching around the soft skills of empathy and caring.
As Machine Learning and the growth in big data become ever more applied to the everyday, it's increasingly the case that people can, and do, get lazy about remembering and giving. Every day I get reminded, via Facebook, about a friend's birthday or anniversary. And thanks to Moonpig.com I can easily send off a card with a professionally authored, caring message to them; job done! And the clever prompt "People who liked this also like this" – thanks to Amazon – makes it a no brainer to choose a suitable and thoughtful present that’s just right.
As well as Machine Learning taking the thinking out of remembering and giving, so AI is taking the human element out of emotional expression. AI software can now scan the pattern of words and phrases in emails, instant messages, written statements, and such like, to determine the author’s sentiment and intent. The investment that major players are making in machine-based cognition – see Microsoft Cognitive Services – is evidence of the extent to which human intuition is being deconstructed and codified.
Facial expression recognition software, like Facebook's recently acquired FacioMetrics, will take the guessing out of conversations and interactions that are increasingly being conducted via digital and mobile channels. Skype and Facetime and other virtual venues are growing as means to dialogue, conduct business meetings and interview candidates.
The likelihood is that ‘machines’ will only become more pervasive in helping us determine the emotional content of social, personal and business communication. The question is will we potentially lose the skills to communicate empathetically? Will original and authentic expression be neither?
In that future, might it be that returning to the natural, human way of expression and understanding will become a rare competence that will need to be taught and practised.
What might be the role or the need for coaching in that new world?