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Reflections on AI Coaching #3 – How to create an AI Coach

When I set out to create an AI coach five years ago I realised I had no guidelines to follow. A google search of “AI coaching” at the time gave no useful results and the nearest relevant notion of e-coaching referred to using communication technologies in human-to-human coaching. I realised I would have to create my own framework to guide my AI coach designs. This led to the Designing AI Coaches (DAIC) framework that was published here:


This framework argued that the most pragmatic approach for implementing an AI coach is to use chatbot technology with embedded “good” human coaching attributes, behaviours and importantly ethics. This framework has served me well and was instrumental in creating the first version of Coach Vici years ago that we used in the first research studies. Looking back now Coach Vici 1.0 was a very basic chatbot coach that, staying true to the DAIC framework did only one thing – goal attainment – in a very structured manner.


With the arrival of ChatGPT I think my DAIC framework can be enhanced by removing the limitation on have a narrow coaching focus. The generative nature of ChatGPT that is informed by all the publicly available coaching models and theories means that numerous types of coaching approaches can now be used to address many of the typical coaching topics and goals. The rest of the DAIC framework still holds true however – an AI coach that uses ChatGPT will have to stay true to proven coaching and adult learning models and theories, behave in an ethical manner and mimic “good” human coaching attributes and behaviour. And this is where we must tread carefully. ChatGPT does not have a coaching mindset and manner by default. In fact, it has a hard time not to dish out advice and solve problems, precisely because that is why it was created. The challenge therefore is to carefully harness the power of generative AI in the service of coaching by controlling and moderating how ChatGPT is used in AI coaching. At this stage direct unfiltered use of ChatGPT for coaching is not a good idea.


At we are hard at work to perfect art of harnessing ChatGPT in the service of coaching, staying true to the original AI Coaching design philosophies described in my DAIC framework. So when you decide to use a generative AI chatbot coach, be sure to ask which design philosophies, evidence-based coaching theories and models were used to create such an entity. And if there is no transparency then you should be concerned…

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