Monday, January 24

Be the human: a role for coaching in a progressively AI world

We have all seen and heard the statistics.

In the next five years, an estimated 85 million jobs may be displaced due to the shift in labor from humans to machines. Half of the current world workforce will need to be completely renewed by that year. Almost all business leaders (94%) expect employees to learn on the job, developing new skills once hired.

Annual publications such as the World Economic Forum (WEF) Future of jobs report (from which the above statistics are drawn), Deloitte’s Human capital trends report and International Labor Organizations World employment and social prospects report, they all highlight the same facts: the workplace continues to evolve rapidly, and the global Covid-19 pandemic gives it a new turbo injection.

Does this mean that all human capital can and will be replaced by technology?

Alison Reid, director of personal and applied learning at the Gordon Institute for Business Studies (Gibs), responds with a resounding “No.”

Does it mean that artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to increase human capabilities and that we need to adapt and evolve at a breakneck rate to acquire the new skills needed? A strong and emphatic “Yes” from Reid.


The WEF supports this argument by pointing out that while we may lose 85 million jobs in the next four years because machines can do things much better than the humans who built the machines, 97 million new jobs will emerge that are “More adapted to this new division of labor between humans, machines and algorithms.”

The skills required for these new jobs are, most importantly, uniquely human.

In the top 15 skills for 2025, highlighted in the report, a tech-related skill makes its debut only at number seven.

The highlight is analytical thinking and innovation, followed by active learning and learning strategies; solving complex problems; critical thinking and analysis; creativity, originality and initiative; and leadership and social influence (see table below).

Source: Future of Jobs Survey 2020, World Economic Forum

The use, monitoring and control of technology, and the design and programming of technology, are as follows.

Resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility, ranking 9th before the pandemic (the report is from 2020) must surely have jumped a couple of notches since then.

Knowledge is not equal to intuition

With technological development steadily advancing at an astonishing rate, are we inevitably heading to the uniqueness of Vernor Vinge, reiterated by Ray Kurzweil and Stephen Hawking, where machines and AI are continually improved until the human race is no longer needed and subsequently ends?

As digital life increases human capabilities, experts debate a lot about the extent to which these networked artificial intelligences can amplify human efficacy, but they also threaten autonomy, agency, and human capabilities, Reid says.

He adds that whatever ultimately happens, these technologies will be designed by humans. “As Erik Brynjolfsson, director of MIT’s Digital Economy Initiative, puts it: ‘We need to work aggressively to make sure that technology matches our values.’

Reid argues that already in our current world and definitely in our future world, perhaps paradoxically, increasing humanity in a positive way is a currency that is urgently required and sought.

“The jobs that AI can’t do better than humans involve qualities like communication, empathy, creativity, strategic thinking, questioning and imagination,” he says.

“We often refer to these collectively as ‘soft skills’, but they will be the hard currency in the job markets of the future.”

She quotes the economist Herbert Simon, who said that in an information-rich world, the abundance of information can create poverty of attention.

“Knowing is no longer enough,” says Reid. “It is the filtering, the quality of intentional focus on what matters in one’s context, the cultivation of creative insight, and the application of knowledge in purposeful action that is so critical.

“This is also how we build our internal capacity for continuous change,” she says.

Catalyzing the extraordinary

Reid believes that coaching can unlock the potential of human beings to be more human; He describes it as the “art and science of catalyzing extraordinary potential.”

“Coaching evokes perceptions and changes or expands perspectives. It is about unlocking capabilities and harnessing the best possible version of an individual, ”he says.

“It works in a contextually relevant, unique and empathetic way, therefore it is not about providing generally applicable best practice principles, as teaching would do, but rather considers the person being trained as a unique individual. Therefore, the capacity that is established in that individual is also unique. “

In recent years, the coaching industry has emerged as a serious growth sector, with the International Coaching Federation 2020 report estimating the market size in 2019, for the United States alone, at $ 15 billion. By next year, the federation expects it to have grown to $ 20 billion.

Reid says the growth he has seen is due in part to recognition of the impact of coaching in creating real change, but also to an awareness of the growing importance of developing specific collective human intelligences for the future.

“We meet many executives in our own coaching programs who have shared their transformative experiences in confidence. But there are also CEOs of large corporations who are very public about their advocacy of coaching and who are employing coaching themselves: Bill Gates from Microsoft and Bob Nardelli from Home Depot, for example. “

Human-centered skills will differentiate workplaces

“An organization will not be competitive in the future if it does not focus on human-centered skills now,” says Reid.

She argues that while automation achieves incredible speed and efficiency, especially in repetitive and programmable activities, it cannot replace the “hot cognition” needed in an operation.

“This is the authentic, value-based, emotional, compassionate component of human beings that ultimately gives these tasks purpose, meaning and relevance,” says Reid.

She believes that coaching develops prosperous and productive people who drive and lead growing, sustainable and ethical businesses that contribute to a healthier and more sustainable world.

“Neither technology nor luck will solve our greatest challenges. In the end, we, as human beings, will have to. We better learn how to do it, ”says Reid.

“At the core of coaching is this: optimizing and harnessing the best of our extraordinary collective capabilities as human beings for a better world. Made human to human, and human to human. “

Presented by the Gordon Institute of Business Sciences (Gibs).

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