How to Thrive as a Coach in a Digital World

Continuing my “catch-up” reading series! Got a bit behind but anywhere, the next entry is How to Thrive as a Coach in a Digital World by Sam Isaacson. I have to confess that I started to read this last year as I took it on holiday. To be honest, I am not sure what I was thinking as whilst reading more work-related books on holiday is a laudable aim, in the end I just wanted to read books that required less thinking!

Initially I struggled with the style of this at first. Each chapter starts with a fictional piece presenting a possible digital future for coaching. So coaching remotely, coaching using avatars etch and the book follows the story of a coach and client navigating the digital world. The following chapter then explores the fictional scenario in more detail, so thinking about such things like risk, data breaches, technology to support coaching management and so on. This style actually grew on me as the book progressed. The chapters are well structured and each one has a time to read indicator which, lets be honest, is pretty helpful with our busy lives, and a summary at the end entitled “tldr”.

I think I also struggled with this book initially as I was thinking in a rather limited and narrow way about how coaching could and would be influenced by technology. I basically lacked imagination, which given I have a role around digital is quite embarrassing to admit! Isaacson takes quite a futuristic exploration of coaching from looking at the impact of AI, augmented reality and robot coaches to really challenge our perceptions of how and when technology will impact the coaching profession. Without spoiling the narrative, he also questions the future of the coaching profession if we don’t adapt and embrace the rapidly changing digital world.

How to Thrive as a Coach in a Digital World looks at many aspects of the application of technology to coaching, starting with where we are at the moment, so using Zoom or Teams for coaching, using email to manage our coaching sessions etc to taking this much further to demonstrate both the opportunities and challenges of applying digital to coaching. I would recommend this book for helping imagine a future world, where extensive data about our clients can be pulled up immediately in our vision, where robot coaches or AI can take on a myriad of coaching tasks and ultimately to enable us to think where does our value as “real” coaches lie in a changing digital world.

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