choice Magazine

Exploring the Limits of Artificial Intelligence in Human Coaching with Tim Brody

August 14, 2023 Garry Schleifer
choice Magazine
Exploring the Limits of Artificial Intelligence in Human Coaching with Tim Brody
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Will artificial intelligence ever truly replace human coaching?" This provocative question guides our enlightening conversation with Coach Tim Brody. Drawing parallels from his recent article Artificial Intelligence May Not Be So Intelligent, Tim makes some compelling arguments about the limitations of AI and the irreplaceable value of human empathy in the coaching paradigm. Get ready for an eye-opening exploration as we navigate the vast intersections of technology, AI, and human coaching with one of the best in the field.

As we delve deeper, we examine the profound impacts of the pandemic on societal behaviors. Tim shares valuable insights on the rising antisocial tendencies, reflecting upon the anti-vax movements, divisive protests, and the crumbling of our social structures. Yet, in this era of disconnection, we reaffirm the essence of human connection in coaching. Join us as we contemplate the potential of AI to replace human-to-human coaching and the vigilance required to use AI responsibly. Wrapping up the episode, we express our gratitude to Tim for his contributions and Gary Schleifer reminds you to sign up for your free digital issue of Choice Magazine. Don't miss out on this enriching conversation, crafted with the intention to ignite your curiosity and challenge your perspectives.

Tim retired from the Royal Canadian Air Force in 2012 as an HR Officer with a specialty in Dispute Resolution and team building.  

He takes great pride in relating how he was part of a small and elite team that trained the first unit ever to deploy into a theater of war with an embedded collaborative skill set. As a result of his career experiences, he was inducted into the Order of Military Merit. 

After retirement from the RCAF he worked with the RCMP as an internal mediator and coach.  Tim has complemented his undergraduate degree in Justice Studies with a graduate degree in Counseling Therapy.  

His process style is a blend of Germer & Neff’s Mindful Self-Compassion with Rick Carson’s Gremlin-Taming method. 

He has recently published a book for children, based on the Gremlin-Taming process. 


Watch the full interview by clicking here.

Find the full article here: https://bit.ly/Btp-brodie

Learn more about Tim here.

Grab your free issue of choice Magazine here - https://choice-online.com/

In this episode, I talk with Tim his article published in our June 2023 issue. 

Garry Schleifer:

Welcome to the Choice Magazine podcast beyond the page. I always make it sound like the Twilight Zone, if those of you that are listening remember what that was. Choice, the magazine of professional coaching, is your go-to resource for expert insights and in-depth features about the world of professional coaching. I'm your host, Garry Schleifer. I'm thrilled to have you join us today. In each of our episodes, we go get this beyond the page and dive deeper in some of the most recent and relevant topics impacting the world of professional coaching, exploring the content, interviewing the talented minds behind the articles and uncovering the stories that make an impact. Choice is more than a magazine. For over 21 years, we have built a community of like-minded people who create, use and share coaching tools, tips and techniques to add value to their businesses and, of course, what we all want as coaches to impact our clients.

Garry Schleifer:

In today's episode, I'm speaking with Coach Tim Brody, who's the author of an article in our latest issue Technology and AI. Will it Support or Replace Human Coaching? This article is entitled Artificial Intelligence. May Not Be so Intelligence.

Garry Schleifer:

Little bit about Tim. He's retired for the Royal Canadian Air Force that's the RCAF as we know it in 2012, as an HR officer with a specialty in dispute resolution and team building. He takes great pride in knowing how he was part of a small and elite team that trained the first ever unit to deploy into a theater of war with an embedded collaborative skill set. As a result of his career experience, he was inducted into the Order of Military Merit Congratulations. After retirement from the RCAF, he worked with the RCMP Royal Canadian Mounted Police as an internal mediator and a coach. Tim has complimented his undergraduate degree in justice studies with a graduate degree in counseling therapy. His process style is a blend of Germer and Neff's mindful self-compassion. And, if you remember Rick Carson's gremlin taming method, he's recently published a book for children based on the gremlin taming process. Yay, what a great collaboration. Rick's an awesome guy. Thanks so much for joining me today, tim from Nova Scotia, canada, another Canadian. Welcome. Good to see you again, my friend.

Tim Brodie:

It's always a pleasure. It always puts a smile on my face whenever I get a chance to talk with you, gary. It really is wonderful.

Garry Schleifer:

Yes, thank you. I feel the same way. So tell me, why did you decide to write this article for Choice Magazine?

Tim Brodie:

Well, I write for Choice as often as I can. Yes, you do, and we thank you for that. Yeah, it's just such a great magazine to be published in and it's having an impact on the world that I'm hoping to emulate. So that's why I chose this specific article, because I really think it's a timely conversation that we need to be having right now, and we need to start having this conversation with a bit of trepidation and a bit of backward glances at really who we are and where we came from, and start slowing down the process. I think, yeah.

Garry Schleifer:

Well, the title. Why do you say I'm looking at the article? Artificial Intelligence may not be so intelligent. Tell me more.

Tim Brodie:

Yeah, Do you know? I started off the piece with a short story on how a mother was so pleased that her son with autism had the experience with Siri that he had, and, in that regard, I could see artificial intelligence really being a tool that helps folks that don't have strong capacities to connect and have interpersonal relationships, those kinds of folks that have something biologically that's blocking them. That's not the kind of people that we have as clients in the coaching paradigm. For the most part, though, and in that regard I think that the artificial intelligence is akin to the experience of sacred. You know, it's a replacement for something that was natural, pure and really, really good.

Garry Schleifer:

Cool and oh, what a great. So that was a replacement for sugar, right? Yeah, so, and think about it now. Now, laying it over the context of the conversation about AI and coaching yes, we can have that, but we will always go back to sugar as as the pure if we, if we become purists in in our cooking or eating or whatever, yeah, yeah, that's a good analogy, like that, Tim.

Tim Brodie:

Well, and it's interesting that the research is now again investigating the link between saccharine and cancer. So, you know, in this regard, I really, I really think that it bodes well for coaches to be able to clearly articulate the distinction between artificial intelligence and the coaching paradigm, and I think that it all revolves around the notion of empathy. You know, because, as as a coach, it's abundantly important, in fact it's our primary tool to be able to be in a coaching relationship is a strong reliance on empathy. And while artificial intelligence can mimic the nature of empathy, its fatal flies is an internal bias. And the internal bias from artificial intelligence comes from the way that it was created itself. It was created artificial bias. That the artificial bias in in art of the bias and artificial intelligence by using the syntaxes and the binary system of zeros and ones. And so artificial intelligence is very, very linear and it's very, very logical.

Garry Schleifer:

But it doesn't feel.

Tim Brodie:

In fact, that binary nature of artificial intelligence mirrors how our minds work and in the coaching paradigm, that's not where we want to go. Rick Carson, a dear friend of mine, someone who I admire greatly and one day, if I can say I'm half the man, half the coach and half the therapist is, I think I'll have achieved something. But Rick, rick says this the brain doesn't know things. The brain knows about things, the heart, the heart knows things. As coaches, we don't want to be up here, we want to be down here, where we truly know things. You know, a great example would be a conversation between you and I, gary. We can talk about the difference that you can change the environment in my room here, though we're hundreds of miles apart, simply by telling me your story. We can talk about the way that my heart feels and the hair stand up my arms when I hear you talk about your yearnings, your loves, your innermost feelings. This is the kind of things that coaches need to be able to articulate to their clients. This is why we will always be better than artificial intelligence, especially around the coaching paradigm and the healing professions.

Tim Brodie:

I want to tell you just a really short story about one of my clients who had a really, really difficult experience, and I remember, as he was telling me about the darkness and he had some powerful, powerful, painful stories, I was listening to them and I went into an automatic mode of preservation because I was hearing his stories and then I started presenting opportunities for perspectives. Well, can we look at this a different way? Can we look at this a different way? Or how about that? Can that be looked at as learning? And this fellow it was really early in my coaching career he looked at me and said you need to slow down, you need to know with me rather than know about me. And that's the power of coaching, that artificial intelligence will never be able to get to. When we slow down, we know with our clients. We sit with our clients and experienced our suffering and, as a human sitting with them, we share that experience and the tears that come are for them, not for us, a computer will never do that.

Garry Schleifer:

Yeah, true. Well, thank you for that story too and for the article. I mean it's that the whole. It was just fabulous. You spoke at length about Carl Rogers and his principle unconditional positive regard in the piece, but you gave only passing mention to Perotles and Frankel. What did you want to say about them around coaching?

Tim Brodie:

Gosh, look at, for all the coaches, look at. I get this. I, you know, for over a decade I practiced exclusively and in a coaching paradigm when I was working in the military. You know, I was told if it, when you're coaching one of one of our fellow members, if they trip over a mental health issue, you have to take them to a psychologist, and that, and, and I do that, and I practice the mantra that that coaching isn't therapy, is therapeutic, but it's not there. I practice that all the time. After I left the RCMP, though, I wanted to know what's behind that door that says authorized personnel.

Garry Schleifer:

And so.

Tim Brodie:

I went back to, went back to school, went back to graduate studies and and got that master's degree in counseling therapy. And what was really intriguing to me was that the very first book that I read, biopsychosocial elements in in therapy. It spoke about the the varying worlds in therapy right now, and in the very first chapter, on the very first page, there is said coaching, coaching is is one of the components. And so I started looking back on all the coaching models that I I've learned and I started to realize that their fundamental foundations were exactly the same as the fundamental foundations that I was studying to become a counseling therapist. There was there was Rogers, who I think the sun, the moon rises and sets on. There was there was Fitz Pearls, who, who spoke about Gestalt therapy, and there was there was Victor Frankel, who created Logo Therapy, and I started to see how those coaching models actually came to them. So, for instance, pearls who, who created Gestalt Gestalt's a German word that really doesn't have an English translation.

Tim Brodie:

But it talks about no, but it talks about how, when we put things together, for instance, we have a piece of a puzzle, but when we put the piece of the puzzle in, we're actually looking at the whole picture. And so Gestalt therapy was centered on increasing a person's awareness, their freedom and their self-direction, and it's not oriented on the traditional notion of of of solving a problem. It's it's strongly embedded in the notion of mindfulness, simply noticing what's going on in the world around you. And so I started considering that in my my coaching perspective. And then I I read in depth about Victor Frankel and I really want folks to understand the Gestalt system or theory of looking at the bigger picture of humanity and how we fit and how our clients strive to fit into this bigger picture of humanity and the salvation and the pathway through. And that came from Victor Frankel. And so for anyone that doesn't know Victor Frankel, I read his book. Yeah, answer for me. Oh, so incredibly powerful.

Tim Brodie:

But Victor Frankel in in, in short was a man who suffered through the Holocaust in terms of camp, his entire family safer, I think, one cousin were wiped out, his wife was. His wife was killed. He survived that long experience by bringing up the image of what he called his beloved, his wife, and they'd have conversations and very early in his book he says the statement Others experience. In the concentration camp he learned that the angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory. What's the infinite glory that the angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of?

Tim Brodie:

He answers the question and and he gives one of the greatest insights, I think, in the human experience. He says the angels are lost to perpetual contemplation of love. Man's salvation is in love and through love. Later on, when he he left the concentration camp, he was able to able to create something called logo therapy, which is looking back on your experience to try to find the meaning of it, so you can transfer from post-traumatic stress and post-traumatic growth and you can move forward. But this whole notion of love being man's salvation, when it comes to the coaching paradigm, I want to ask you something Do you have a single client that you haven't fallen head over heels?

Tim Brodie:

Yeah, right, you know you know, and and and there's a fundamental difference that artificial intelligence will act like it can do that Right, but the heart just doesn't connect. And if man's salvation is in love and through love, that's that notion of the unconditional positive regard that Rogers said is so powerful. We have to be able to show our clients that unconditional positive regard and convey that we feel it. So there's not a single client that I don't have, that I have, that that doesn't know. They just mean the world to me and I'm the fortunate one to be in relationship to witness their human growth. Exactly it's my blessing.

Garry Schleifer:

Yeah, it's like we said earlier, before we got started recording. It's like I absolutely love coaching. I can't call it work, because I love what I do and I love my clients and I love watching their, the impact for them, the I like to call them the aha moments. It's more than that. It's and you know when they come back and tell you what happened as a result of X, y and Z just absolutely amazing that you know, but that brings up a really good point to him. That that's for me as authenticity. Right, but is it really possible to for coaches to have authentic empathy with every client experience? And if, if not, isn't it artificial?

Tim Brodie:

You know, that's a really great question, gary, and that's something that I really struggled with for the longest time, and that the struggle started for me when I was in Trenton. Trenton was that the base where we received all the sad flag great boxes that were coming back from Afghanistan, and in the program that I worked in, we had the Padres that were working in close company with us and they they'd be with the widows for the most part of the of our soldiers that were coming home in coffins, and so this, this pottery, once gave me the secret to that. He said you know, when I'm standing out on the on the tarmac and the planes landed and the rent comes down on standing beside the widow and standing beside the children, and the emotion might be overwhelming being, he said, if the tears start coming to my eyes and I look at the widow and say, I know exactly how you feel, that would be a sympathetic perspective, because now I'm feeling my own suffering. He said, though, if the tears come to me as I'm looking at her and and my, my thought is, I have no, how, no idea how you feel, all I know is, I said, suffering, that's an empathetic experience, and so if I haven't actually had that other person's experience, I can still recognize the suffering, and then the difference in sympathy and empathy is simply a matter of curiosity. Let me see how it looks through your eyes. I guess there's one other important thing that I really want to add on to this to tie this notion about the curiosity into the, the, the aspect about artificial intelligence, and it's this, and this is a warning I really want people to hear this morning. I guess it was about a year ago, you know, I graduated from the University, I guess about four or five years ago now, and I've got a private practice and I've gone to a number of other professional associations and I constantly get literature from the American Psychological Association. Okay, and I was reading a study through that periodical and what it said was intriguing.

Tim Brodie:

Typically in our social spectrum we have on tops, maybe four to five percent of our population that are anti-social. You know they're sociopatocyclopast and people that just don't like the social fabric and structure. During the COVID crisis, that number increased almost five-fold. Consider what that means for our community and our society at large.

Tim Brodie:

This started to show up in things like the anti-vax movement, the protests and the folks that were wanting to tear apart social structures and social organizations. The numbers started to move back down and the researchers went and spoke with the people who had shifted from their prior perspectives into one that was more social and engaging, and they asked them what's the difference? What happened? And all of them said the same thing we got off our computers, we got off the social media. We walked out the door and we saw the sun was still shining, things were still precarious, but our neighbors were barbecuing and the kids were riding the bikes down the street and we started to realize that we're still part of a better thing and social media was creating a vacuum. Now look, here's the paradox we're talking over social media.

Garry Schleifer:

Right, exactly, hello, zoom.

Tim Brodie:

Yeah, this is going to be going on over social media, but when it comes to the notion of being a coach who's with someone who's suffering, check into this notion. What's the message that your clients are feeding in? How can you help them to reconnect with the fabric of human society? And how can you get them to walk out the door? See the birds are singing, the sun is still shining and, boy, that barbecue that neighbors got smells real good. I wonder if they could be here. Yeah, so it's reconnecting with people again, and I got to tell you, whether you're coaching over the computer or over the phone or over the back fence with the cold beer, that human connection simply cannot be beat. It's the real McCoy.

Garry Schleifer:

Yeah, exactly. Well, you know. My final, almost final question I think I already have the answer to in your perspective, but it goes to what's right on the cover Will AI replace human to human coaching?

Tim Brodie:

Last words, I think the danger is that if we let it, it's a real up and comer. But we have to make sure that we keep our eyes open and realize our heart is more important than our head.

Garry Schleifer:

You know what I've been saying? That too, if we let it. So here's AI over here doing all its thing and, you know, going through what it does to become this little marvel we have, but in the end, we still get to say what we want it to do and win. So I think a lot of people's fear is that AI is going to take over. Well, okay, if we let it, that's right. Right, like that's right. Ai has been around for a long time. It was let more rudimentary than it is now automate. Come on, who hasn't been on a chat thing with their internet provider or something, especially during COVID, and chatting with these things? Right, those are just going to get better and more intuitive and help you in a way, like you spoke about that child, that autism. It's tirelessly answering the questions that someone with that suffering with that disease, would have, right? So if we let it, I'm going to keep that one in mind because I like to say, in the end, it's still a machine. There's a plug. We don't like it, pull it out.

Tim Brodie:

And I think, as coaches, it's even more important than that that we find our voice and we broadcast it very, very loudly to and spreading the message that human contact, human interaction can be mimicked.

Garry Schleifer:

But never replaced, never replaced mimicked or never replaced. Boy, you got lots of phrases for me today.

Tim Brodie:

Yeah.

Garry Schleifer:

Well, you know, and that's why we did this issue, because I was sort of controversial but I was open to the possibility of experts such as yourself saying oh yeah, eventually it could, but I like that mimic not replace like it's saccharine mimics sugar, but it doesn't replace it. And many times we've gone back to our roots, to go back to the be the purist right. The original is always the best, it is so. Yeah, it is. So. We are, gary, they are there will never be another one of you or you.

Tim Brodie:

You're the original, thank you.

Garry Schleifer:

Right, there's no saccharine timbrody. No, there is not. Sweet Sweet is all get out and naturally so and perfectly imperfect. There we go, great Tim, yes, what would you like our audience to do as a result of the article in this conversation?

Tim Brodie:

Oh, look at if you're in the coaching profession and everything that you do. Make sure that your clients know how much that this human connection means to you, get them to amplify it. Just just keep it up. Yeah, connect with each other, be kind to each other. Yeah, we have a.

Garry Schleifer:

We have a commercial and I surgery commercial. And the last part she says and be kind to one another, right, it's like. So true, it's not hard to do. We have the ability to empathize, sympathize. Use it to the best of our ability, use it for good. That's it Right. Thank you so much for joining us today, Tim, for this episode of beyond the page. What's the best way for people to reach you and to find out more about that book?

Tim Brodie:

This book? Yeah, look it's. If there's a couple ways you can reach me, you can. You can get my email and check out my videos and my phone number on my my my website is the brodiesca, yeah, or if you want to get this book and I am so immensely proud of this book, hold it hold it up nicely to the screen Tim shame or self promotion, tilt it a little bit a little bit puzzled there in the park helping kids.

Tim Brodie:

Yes, uptimes awesome yes, yes, and, and that is Rick Carson. I was gonna say, only there wasn't you. No, it's Rick Carson. Rick. Rick has given loving support to this book. He's flying up to Halifax in August for the book launch and and Nancy Reagan is going to call to host the evening and Dave Carroll is going to play some great music and we're gonna launch the book. You get the book at timbrodiecom and you go there. You'll see a couple pictures of my grandkids too.

Garry Schleifer:

I'm so proud yeah, that's great yeah thank you so much, tim thank you for being here and for writing, continually writing, for choice.

Tim Brodie:

I we love everything you do for us, so thank you thank you, gary, thanks, thanks for everything you do for the world. The world's better because you're in it thank you.

Garry Schleifer:

There he goes with that empathy again. That's love it. That's it for this episode of beyond the page. For more episodes, subscribe, be your favorite podcast app, like Apple and Spotify. It's easy to find us. And don't forget to sign up for your free digital issue of choice magazine, if you're not a subscriber yet, by going to choice-onlinecom and clicking the sign up now button. I'm Gary Schleifer. Enjoy the journey of mastery.

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