Imagine a future where your digital coach preps you each day to help you be your best self; curious, focussed, productive, confident – and with purpose.
Well, that future is with us right now…
Digital or Artificial Intelligence (AI) coaches have come a long way in the past few years and will continue to transform how we learn and grow in the modern workplace. Future thinking coaches are utilizing technology to enhance their coaching practices. In his report Coaching at Scale: AI democratizes Leadership Development, Josh Bersin states it is not possible to compare the differences between human and AI coaching – it would be like comparing apples to oranges. Instead, you engage a human coach periodically to dive deeper into issues, while the AI coach will give you fresh insights on-demand when you’re unable to access your human coach. The AI coach is confidential and comes judgment-free. Bersin comments, “the strengths of human and AI-based coaches are complementary as they are good at different things”.
Human-AI Coaching is a powerful combination that will lead to peak performance.
A Peak Performance Mindset
A mindset is simply our beliefs shaping how we see ourselves and the world. Our mindset influences how we think, feel and behave in any situation. A Peak Performance Mindset is a conscious decision to ‘unhook’ from the default autopilot. It aligns your values, beliefs, and self-talk to work with your authentic self. All of this will enhance your performance, motivation, agility, focus and resilience.
Adam Grant defines coaching as “a collaborative, solution-focused methodology that aims to enhance the coachee’s personal and/or professional life experience, goal attainment and well-being”. Coaches help people gain clarity on their values, understand assumptions and biases, and how the stories they are telling themselves affect their behaviour and decisions.
Throughout this article, we will use Noa Coach as the example of an AI coach designed to work with human coaching. Noa Coach was developed by executive coaches using the latest behavioural neuroscience to build the skills needed for a Peak Performance Mindset. A human coach can build on the AI insights and ultimately peel back more layers to lead to success. Often our thinking gets ‘stuck’, and if the AI coach can’t quickly support insights and new thinking, the human coach can intercept and dig deeper through high precision targeted questions.
Our mindset is like a powerful and sizeable Arctic iceberg; much of the activity is happening unseen to others or well beneath the surface of what we see at a glance. There are four skills related to a Peak Performance Mindset that human and AI coaches like Noa can help enhance:
Ben Crowe, mindset coach to professional athletes, says it takes no more energy to dream big than to dream small. Identifying and setting meaningful goals can be incredibly powerful. Self-efficacy, motivation, and autonomy are linked to goal setting (Locke & Lathan, 2006). Research found that when people wrote down their goals and were accountable, they were significantly more successful in achieving them than those who only thought about their goals. Noa Goals engages you in a friendly chat to help you review your goals in a brain-friendly but comprehensive way. None of us can 100% control outcomes or the result, but those with peak performance mindsets choose what they would like to focus on and how to get there. Human and AI coaches are very successful at helping others identify goals and develop healthy habits to achieve their desires. Current research discovers that human coaches and AI coaches help people set and achieve goals more successfully than individuals working alone. However, longer-term AI is more successful due to its on-demand, cost-effective and scalable nature.
As humans, we have varied emotions, from joy to despair and everything in between. And this is a good thing. Think about the last movie or book which triggered feelings of sadness, fear, or any other emotion. Humans experience a full range of emotions; they ebb and flow like the tide or the seasons. Negative emotions are a very necessary part of life. Recent research by Dr Brene Brown and Dr Susan David indicates the importance of leaning into the more negative or unpleasant emotions and learning from them. Brown states, “when we name an emotion or experience, it doesn’t give that emotion or experience more power, it gives US more power”. Unpleasant emotions are often labelled as the enemy due to our reactive behaviours to these feelings. Human coaches will check in on how their clients feel; great coaches do not brush feelings aside or try to make things better; instead, they explore what the emotions are telling their clients and collaborate on the best course of action. The Noa Coach Reset solution helps individuals observe their feelings at any time of the day, encouraging them to name their feelings, gain perspective, and choose to respond in a manner aligned to their core values and of which they will be proud when the situation has diffused.
Both human and AI coaching are successful when they help people get “unstuck” or help people see things clearly and even have ‘aha’ moments of discovery. Emotions are a critical piece of that moment. Although all emotions are useful, we know that when trying to make decisions, be creative, think laterally and solve problems, we need to be feeling more positive emotions. Human coaches often bring their energy and build relationships with their clients to help this process. AI coaches like Noa Coach have used the neuroscience behind these insightful moments to facilitate this same environment. Integral to Noa Coach Insights coaching solution is the research conducted by Barbara Fredrickson, specifically, her Broaden and Build Theory of positive emotions. This theory suggests that positive emotions lead to novel, expansive or exploratory behaviour, which is critical to our improved knowledge and social relationships. Central to Fredrickson’s view is that emotions lead us to actions. Experiences that evoke negative emotions hook us in, grab our attention, and narrow our perspective to address whatever threat we face. Fredrickson found that pleasant emotions help us think more openly, creatively, and laterally, allowing us to be more open to new ideas and think more deeply about issues. Noa Insights takes people on a solution-focused journey to enable them to step back, look at where they want to be, have that critical moment of insight, and plan how to get there.
Dr Todd Kashdan suggests the central ingredient to a fulfilling life is curiosity. Human and AI coaches invoke curiosity in their clients. Curiosity is an important driver toward emotional intelligence and intellectual humility, both much needed skills in today’s workforce. Noa Coach has built-in brain-based wellbeing challenges to help users be more emotionally and cognitively curious. In addition, the Noa chats are designed with thought-provoking questions to support users to self-reflect, embrace humility, and gain perspective. Research suggests that being curious might be the social glue that strengthens our relationships. So, to bring together human coaches and AI coaches, Noa Tribe community has been designed for all participants to learn and contribute through sharing ideas.
We should not be wary of technology or dispute the virtues of AI over human interaction. Both have distinct and clear advantages. However, combining an AI coach with a human coach is the key to your success and making real behavioural change. All the elements of Noa Coach are designed to work together to develop skills leading to a peak performance mindset.
If you would like to know more about the Noa Coach platform or the Peak Performance Mindset Program, please reach out to Meg Price or Ainsley Jeffery at email@example.com
Meg Price is the Co-founder and Director of Noa Coach. She is currently studying for her PhD, focusing on Organisational Neuroscience and Emerging Technology. Meg has a passion for helping people thrive at work and is a sought-after facilitator and coach, health advocate and technology nerd.