It may have taken 26 years, but I was delighted to attend the EMCC’s first UK based conference on 16 January – the topic was ‘future proofing your practice’.  There were many enjoyable elements to the day, the networking, the breakout sessions but the shining star of the event was key-note speech by Dr Nicola Millard who heads up the Global Innovation Team at BT. To answer the question above, according to Dr Millard – the answer is we won’t be but as coaches we should expect, in the not too distant future, to be working alongside AI.

‘AI is stupid – we are not stupid’

“Machines are good when there’s a lot of data.  Computers are incredibly fast, accurate and stupid.  Humans are incredibly slow, inaccurate and brilliant.  Working together they are beyond imagination.”

Allegedly, Albert Einstein said that.

In superhero terms we’re not looking for Robocop but more of Ironman.

Dr Millard shared a recent survey where 81% of organisations said, ‘improving employee productivity was a top priority’, with 9 in 10 business executives saying mobile and collaboration technologies had improved the productivity of their workplaces. Dr Millard set out to define what exactly was meant by productivity in today’s VUCA world, quoting Collaboration and Innovation as key measures.  She set a challenge to the coaches in the room, ‘How do we as coaches encourage innovation’ and bring ‘different’ thinking into organisations, using Dr Millard’s words, ‘leaders need to be better at conflict and creating diversity of thought.  Collaboration, it was good to hear it doesn’t happen by magic – it happens by purpose and has nothing to do with technology – now there’s an interesting thought.  Generally, collaboration tools fail because there’s no strategy or lack of training or purpose. Coaches should be working with leaders to create purpose and innovation.  Are we ready for this?

So, what about our physical space – the office is alive and kicking because we are at heart social creatures.  A good Wi-Fi connection is also now part of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.  An interesting fact… the use of email increases in open plan offices because people don’t wont others to hear their conversations!  Collaboration is a combination of face to face and virtual contact.   Although not an enterprise grade application WhatsApp is currently the biggest tool for collaboration in both our home and work lives.  We may be told by IT not to use the app for work but, hey we’re only human, so we do it anyway.

Valerie Stevenson is a senior level Executive Coach and practitioner who has experience of working for and with both UK and Global based clients. Valerie’s style focuses on strengths and key areas of development often using psychometrics to create greater self-awareness, aimed at helping clients reach their full potential.