First, a confession. Writing as someone who reluctantly traded in her old-school Nokia for a smartphone only five years ago, I'm not particularly known for my embracing of new technologies. However, I do have curiosity on my side, so while I have no qualms about agreeing with those Generation Z family members who disdainfully denounce me as a useless technophobe, I'm also willing to learn, particularly in the arena of my professional practice.
This willingness to learn and to lean into our curiosity as practitioners is highlighted by our lead article in this issue of Coaching Today, The future is now: an experts guide to digital coaching. As leaders in the field of digital coaching, Professor Jonathan Passmore and Dr David Tee, point out that given the development of the coaching industry we need to reconsider how we work in the future, and the coming decade looks to be one where adaptation will be key.
So, it was in this spirit of inquiry that leads me to my second confession. I opened up Chat GPT and instructed it to write a 500-word article on the impact of new technologies on coaching in the style of Diane Parker’s editorial column for Coaching Today. I watched with a mixture of fascination and horror as the words, supposedly my own, farmed from the outer reaches of the internet, rewoven and regurgitated – appeared on the screen before me.
The reasons for my experiment were twofold. First, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about and to prove to myself that I am less of a Luddite than my teenage nieces would have me believe. Second, given the current anxiety around AI and its impact on the workforce, I wanted to know if a chatbot could do my job for me. Will I – a living, breathing, thinking, feeling, writing practitioner – eventually be rendered redundant?
There are, of course, implications on the future of our work in all areas of practice. The creativity described in supervisor Michelle Lucas’s Shifting the paradigm: reflective practice beyond journalling; the nuanced integrated approach to student counselling described by Val Watson in her interview with Géraldine Dufour, Two heads are better than one?; and the unravelling of the ties that bind between mothers and daughters in Julia Vaughan Smith’s What lies within all have the potential to be impacted by AI in the future, I’m sure.
For now, I confess I was somewhat disappointed (and more than a little relieved) by the results of my ChatGPT experiment. Technically, the words were all correct and in the right place but as far as I could see, there was very little of me in there. It was all rather dry, dull and devoid of any personality or humour. The software gave me a skeleton, but it was very much left to me to flesh out the bones, which I did, gladly.
And I was quite frankly baffled by the biography the software offered at the end of my column. According to ChatGPT, I am a forward-thinking coach who embraces the power of technology in her practice, (who) specializes (sic) in leveraging technology to enhance coaching experiences and drive meaningful change. Now, that’s hilarious. Maybe ChatGPT does have a sense of humour after all!
Do you have a story to share? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas – I would love to hear from you.
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