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Coaching People with AI Chatbots
How to Provide Personalized Feedback at Scale
As AI continues to advance, chatbots are becoming capable of serving as "coaching companions" that can provide customized feedback and advice. By partnering with AI chatbots, leaders can scale their coaching in a personalized way. Leaders can have structured yet naturalistic conversations with their team members at any time to discuss performance, growth, and development.
For example, a leader could ask an AI chatbot to review a team member's sales metrics and customer evaluation data, then provide 2-3 recommendations for how they can improve over the next quarter. The leader can then have an initial conversation with the chatbot to discuss the recommendations, ask clarifying questions, and determine how best to personalize the feedback.
Once the leader has this preparation, they can schedule a call with their team member. Starting a real-time video call allows the personalization of in-person discussion. The leader shares the recommendations from the "coaching companion" chatbot, explaining the data and examples behind the suggestions. But instead of just delivering the feedback, the leader then initiates an open-ended dialogue. A successful coaching conversation should be a two-way discussion, where the team member also shares their own goals, needs, and ideas.
With a collaborative approach, the leader and their team member can agree on one recommendation to focus on and set some milestones for acting on that goal. They should also schedule regular check-ins, putting meetings with the chatbot as well as one-on-one calls on the calendar. At each check-in, the leader and chatbot should provide encouragement and support for the progress that's been made as well as updated perspectives that keep the coaching relevant.
Other ways leaders can leverage AI chatbots for coaching conversations:
Ask for talking points before a one-on-one meeting and choose a few to personalize. Discuss the points the chatbot suggests to then open up a broader dialogue.
Have team members self-schedule short calls with the chatbot coach to get reviews of their recent performance data and updates on their development plan whenever they need it. The chatbot can provide accountability and help spot any signs that the plan needs adjustment.
Assign a chatbot coach to new team members or those taking on new responsibilities. The frequent interactions and personalized feedback can quickly help the individual ramp up and gain confidence in their new role.
View conversations in the chat platform to look for trends across the team. See what types of recommendations the AI chatbot frequently makes or topics that often come up in discussions. Determine if any broader training or changes would benefit the group.
Using AI to enhance human coaching is a powerful combination, as long as leaders make relationship-building and emotional intelligence priorities. An effective coach moves beyond just functional feedback and creates an open environment where team members feel motivated to grow and develop their skills as part of a shared purpose. Leaders must set this vision and culture, with AI chatbots playing a supporting role. But by scaling personalized discussions in this way, leaders can bring out the best in their teams in today's digital world.
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