skip to Main Content

Reflections on AI Coaching #2 – Types of AI coaches

Before I recall the past and ponder the future of AI coaching I should explaining in very basic terms what AI Coaching is. AI Coaching is a computer program that simulates a human coach. In other words, it is a software system that interacts with a human coaching client to simulate the process of providing a coaching service. There could of course be many incarnations of such an entity ranging from an actual physical coach robot that looks like a human, to a non-embodied conversation system. The most pragmatic vehicle for AI Coaching at this stage is a chatbot. A chatbot is the ideal technology for coaching since it specifically aims to simulate human conversation, and that’s what coaching is about – conversation.


There are numerous classifications of chatbots. We can distinguish between rules-based (retrieval) and generative chatbots. Rules-based chatbots have a  mostly hard-coded decision tree that follows a specific conversation script. Generative chatbots  on the other hand are able to create conversations in-the-moment based on what the user just said and the history of the conversation. Chatbots can also be classified as being open or closed domain. Open domain means the chatbot can talk about anything while closed domain chatbots can talk about only very specific things like pizza orders. Finally there are short versus long conversation chatbots where the length of the conversation determines the amount of context the bot has to remember.


Up to now most chatbots for coaching were rules-based, closed domain, short conversation bots. ChatGPT changed all of that,  most dramatically in the generative aspect of the conversation. By “understanding” what a human has said, ChatGPT can generate a comment or question that is relevant to the context. The use of large language models also means that the domain of conversation is far more open than before. One can talk to ChatGPT about almost anything!


The implications for AI Coaching is quite dramatic! Until a few months ago the idea of creating a generative, long, open conversation AI Coach was a formidable prospect for AI Coach developers. That all changed almost overnight. It is however not as straight forward as it sounds. In the posts that will follow I will explore this further.

Back To Top