choice Magazine

Beyond the Page Podcast ~ How Artificial Intelligence Can Support Coaches’ Professional Development

September 12, 2023 Garry Schleifer
choice Magazine
Beyond the Page Podcast ~ How Artificial Intelligence Can Support Coaches’ Professional Development
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Imagine merging the worlds of artificial intelligence and life coaching—sounds intriguing, right? Today's guest, the remarkable Carla Benedetti, has done precisely that. An international systemic trainer and coach, Carla has breathed life into the realm of AI by introducing it to the art of coaching. Her fascinating journey into the world of technology led her to conceive the Mentor Coaching System, an innovative tool designed to enhance communication skills for both coaches and managers. This conversation explores the essence of effective questioning, an integral part of both coaching and AI, and emphasizes the importance of heightened awareness in our interactions with AI.

Carla Benedetti is a highly experienced and internationally recognized Systemic Trainer and Coach passionate about personal and professional development. She has seamlessly developed specialized courses, blending traditional yoga principles with modern coaching tools to foster personal growth and well-being in organizations. Carla's adaptability to diverse cultural contexts facilitates effective communication and training. Since 2017, she has collaborated with HEC Paris on global coaching and leadership development programs.

An AI enthusiast, Carla successfully founded a community-lab startup in 2020, driving innovative AI models catered to HR and people development processes. Two years of research and development she led to her flagship application, "THeach," the Mentor-Coaching System® aimed at enhancing communication skills for coaches and managers.

In this captivating discussion, Carla shares insights into her pioneering work at the intersection of AI and coaching. She explores the AI tools available to improve coaching sessions, from fostering conscious collaboration between humans and machines to detailing the BetterUp app—a marketplace for coaches and clients that offers a wealth of wisdom. Carla's Mentor Coaching System® empowers coaches with scientific readings and observations from their coaching sessions, fostering self-development and continuous learning.

As we explore the profound implications of AI technology in coaching sessions, Carla underscores the significance of ethically using technology with awareness. She highlights how human intervention is crucial in determining the beauty of AI aesthetics.

Watch the full interview by clicking here

Find the full article here: https://bit.ly/BTP-CarlaBenedetti

Learn more about Carla here

Grab your free issue of choice Magazine here - https://choice-online.com/
 
In this episode, I talk with Carla Benedetti about her article published in our June 2023 issue.

Garry Schleifer:

Welcome to the choice Magazine podcast, Beyond the Page. choice, the magazine professional coaching is your go-to source for expert insights and in-depth features from the world of professional coaching. I'm your host, Garry Schleifer, and I'm thrilled to have you join in and listen to us today. In each episode, we go beyond the page of articles published in choice Magazine and dive deeper into 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 20 years, we've 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, to impact their clients. In today's episode, I'm speaking with Systemic Trainer and Coach, Carla Benedetti, coming to us today from Rome, Italy, who is the author of an article in our latest issue. Looks like this if you're looking on a video. Technology and AI~ Will It Support or Replace Human Coaching? The article Carla submitted is entitled AI Mentor How Artificial Intelligence Can Support Coaches' Professional Development. A little bit about Carla, she's a highly experienced and internationally recognized Systemic Trainer and Coach with a passion for personal and professional development. Carla seamlessly developed specialist courses blending traditional yoga principles with modern coaching tools to foster personal growth and well-being in organizations. Carla's adaptability to diverse culture context fosters effective communication, and training. Since 2017, she's collaborated with HEC Paris with global coaching and leadership Development programs and AI Enthusiast now this is a new term, an enthusiast. She successfully founded a community lab startup in 2020, driving innovative AI models catered to HR and people development processes. Two years of research and development led her to the flagship application. Now is it THeach, THeach ? Yes, so capital TH each, and we're going to hear , registered trademark aimed at enhancing communication skills for coaches and managers. Carla's international speaker on coaching and AI and organization, so I'm doubly blessed to have you join me today. Thank you so much, Carla.

Carla Benedetti:

Thank you, Garry, for inviting me. I'm very excited.

Garry Schleifer:

Thank you, yeah, me too me too, because you know I was reading this article I really felt what was it? It's like I know we mentioned your product and we don't normally do that in a coaching article, but a) you're a coach and b) it just made sense for you to mention. It would be an obvious miss if you didn't. Because of the work you do, the work you're doing and the tool you created to support that, it just kind of made sense to roll it all in. So thank you for doing that and for writing. So what made you decide to write for choice?

Carla Benedetti:

Well, thank you. First of all because it's a great magazine and also you published the issue on AI, and I think it was the perfect timing because it's not too early for people you know to say, oh artificial intelligence in coaching, and it's not too late, so we have time to get into it. So I was very happy when I saw this new issue coming, so I decided to publish it. It was not the first article you published for me, but, this is the one that I really find attached to, because it's the result of research and something very, very important for me. So, thank you, I really appreciate it.

Garry Schleifer:

And as an AI enthusiast, I guess that would go right into what you're doing. But before we get into the actual article, what did you personally learn as a coach while studying AI? How did it affect your coaching, your life?

Carla Benedetti:

Yeah. So, if I may, I would like to say a few words about how I started to get into technology and AI. So it was 2015 and I started studying and going into technology and AI because I wanted to see how coaching could be supportive or any technology in organization. You know there is this new processes going on in organization that need to bring technology, AI, so I wanted to study how coaching could support the process. So what happened is that I started studying because I'm, you know, a good girl, so I want to study to understand how AI works, actually. And the more I went into it, the more I became enthusiastic and I decided to switch and to start working on how AI could help us to make coaching even more effective. So I changed perspective completely and I started studying seriously. I started in MIT. I decided to learn how really AI works. So this is how I started and what I learned when I was studying with these serious people in technology is that there is some similarity. So the first thing that I noticed that, in order to get the right outcome, you need to ask the machine, the AI, the right question. So this is the prompting and everybody now talking about AI especially the word, they say oh, you know, you need to know what to ask, which is true. So what is different is that in while in AI, we already know what we want, or we should know. So the more you are clear about what you are expecting from the machine, the more easier for you will be to ask the right question, which is obviously done through code, while in coaching, we don't really know the outcome and we are not supposed to know if we want to reach a specific outcome. We are not really doing good coaching. So the difference, the similarity, is that you need to ask the right question. The difference is that you don't really know the outcome. In coaching, you should know the coaching, the client stuff, but in AI, you need to know. So what I learned is that what is really important is our level of awareness, and I think this is really the challenge for coaches when we start dealing with AI awareness, because everybody now talks about AI, there are many people who are very well informed. Many people just talk, and b ecause of ChatGPT everybody starts playing with it. And there is a lot of confusion. So I think that one challenge that we really need to be aware of is knowing what tools we are dealing with, what is the purpose of the tool something similar to the tools we use in coaching and to know how to get the best out of it. I think this is very important and get some clarity about what AI is, because it's not just AI.

Garry Schleifer:

You're right.

Carla Benedetti:

And it's not true that in few years time they will be able to replace human being. Forget it. That is Hollywood.

Garry Schleifer:

It's not happening. You answered the big question I asked everyone that wrote for this. Will the robots take over coaching? And you've already answered.

Carla Benedetti:

Well, I can go deeper into that if I can. So what we have now in our daily life, it's called narrow AI. Narrow because every single model, every single, let's say, machine is, has been built, designed and trained to perform some specific ability or tasks that usually we do as human, but that only that specific task. So what we have now is all sorts of AI, but also sort of narrow AI. So if you go to ChatGPT and you ask the machine, the AI, could you please tell me what is going to be the weather tomorrow in Toronto? What do you expect? The AI will say you know what? I don't have access to real-time data. I'm a language model and if you ask the weather forecast to help you to write an email, you won't get any answer because doesn't even answer. So, what we need to, I think, to remember or to know, is that every single AI can do something, and what we see now is that everything is evolving very fast by that specific area, not everything. So when we talk about machine replacing human being, we are talking about general AI and that is a theoretical concept. That means that one day and it will happen probably I don't think I will see it. It will happen eventually if we don't kill it ourselves before doing it, if we don't extinct, but it will happen. It means that general AI, it means that we build a system like us that can just do everything. I can do any intellectual ability as human being now Everything, and can you imagine that? So it's not just having different AI by having one robot with all the system that is really replacing us. Now think about cars, the you know the self driving cars.

Garry Schleifer:

Oh, right yeah.

Carla Benedetti:

Can you buy one now? No, you cannot. They're not in the market.

Garry Schleifer:

Well, I watched our car go hands free, and all by itself.

Carla Benedetti:

Yes, but you cannot really buy it. It's not really in the market. You cannot go to a shop and say I want a self-driving car. They're not still available to the public. You know, when they started working on self-driving cars, in the late 80s, wow, and you know, the first one was, I think, Mercedes, and the other one, I mean Tesla, Tesla. When did they start working on that? Well, they started working on it in 2014. And it's still not available. So we have, you know, rockets going to space, but the car is not still there. Why? Because it's so complex. The car is a car with all sensors, plus cameras, and it's collecting data from the environment and all that data is given to the big AI system to process. So this is very complex. There are so many challenges and it's a car. You cannot predict traffic. You cannot predict if people are walking around, right, if the weather changes, is the car really adapting?

Garry Schleifer:

Immediately. I can't see those cars working that well in a snowstorm in the prairies of Canada.

Carla Benedetti:

Yeah, exactly, that is a great example.

Garry Schleifer:

No, reference points.

Carla Benedetti:

No, so that is the thing. And it's a car. Can you imagine a human being? So maybe one day, maybe one day it will happen. But I mean, when you see Sarah, all these robots, it's just all of it. Yeah, so let's stick to what we can do now, exactly, so.

Garry Schleifer:

Speaking of that, so what do you see is happening and going to happen in the near future in the coaching world in terms of AI?

Carla Benedetti:

Oh, very exciting. I think that there is a lot going on and I am a coach also and as a coach, I would suggest all coaches to get prepared, because it will be one day and we cannot fall behind, right and that is going to happen. So one day, AI will be there everywhere and if we are not prepared, we will not, we might lose clients, we might lose profits.

Garry Schleifer:

Right.

Carla Benedetti:

So what is happening is that there are many tools, some of these simple, some more articulated, with different purpose. So we need to know what we are looking for, we need to test, we need to become aware. My startup, the purpose of my startup, which is the age technology, humanity.

Garry Schleifer:

Oh, there we go. I was waiting to have that broken down.

Carla Benedetti:

Yeah, technology and humanity is the ideal habitat, so my purpose is to build AI models to help a conscious, conscious relationship and collaboration between people and machines. We need to become conscious about what we are dealing with, because government rules regulations fine, and I'm from Europe, we are very yeah to regulations, but the thing is is already out of control. I mean, any kid, smart kid, with all the open source can build a machine. So what we need to work on is us is to grow as human being. This is my idea. So what is happening in coaching is that it's good to study, it's good to play with chat, gtp, but that is not the only form. There are tools to translate. Sorry, yes, or to translate.

Garry Schleifer:

Yeah, translate.

Carla Benedetti:

Transcription, transcribe or to do checklist for our mentoring. So we need to distinguish. Is it checklist? Is the AI really doing something with me? For me, is it a marketplace? I know that you are on BetterUp .

Garry Schleifer:

Is that true? Is it?

Carla Benedetti:

Correct, so BetterUp, for example, is a marketplace where coaches can meet clients and at the same time, you receive some extra services to make your job easier.

Garry Schleifer:

Very easy.

Carla Benedetti:

That is one way right. So you have other stuff. What I built, personally came from my experience as a mentor, and I noticed that what sometimes is very difficult for coaches, especially the beginning, is to really notice what is happening. I mean, do you agree with me?

Garry Schleifer:

Yeah, totally, sometimes Been there, done that.

Carla Benedetti:

We don't know this. No, so what? I hear from young coaches very often when I do the mentoring and I ask what did you notice? What was the challenge here? Very often when they find difficulties, they say you know what? The client wasn't ready, the client didn't want to go deeper, he doesn't really understand what coaching is. And I say, well, maybe it was you.

Garry Schleifer:

I was wondering. When I was reading that in your article I was like yeah.

Carla Benedetti:

I don't think it's clients, I'm afraid. Maybe it's us maybe something is missing. So the idea was to create a tool that is not replacing me as a coach. This is not a purpose. I don't think it's really possible for now. It's not replacing me as a mentor, but what it does. It gives me the scientific reading, observation of the coaching session and, together with my ability as a human coach, I can really improve the effectiveness of the coaching. Because that is the purpose. Yeah, and now we cannot really measure coaching, at least for now. What we do is assess the client before coaching and assess the client after coaching. What is happening in the session? Mystery, in fact, ICF, if you go for MCC and I'm not very lucky, because every time I need to move further, they change their rules. So I say, oh my God, now it's my turn and I need to study. But it's right, I agree with them.

Garry Schleifer:

Right, yeah things change.

Carla Benedetti:

You've been coaching at PCC level for three years for years, whatever 20. Who is guarantee us and yourself that you've been keeping improving your coaching? Maybe you keep doing the same stuff. So I agree this tool is a tool to help ourselves as coaches or school to have feedback constantly as a very cheap price, and also to learn, thanks to the machine, to be able to observe fact what happened during the session. You spoke for 70% of the time. It's not telling me that is right or wrong. It's just telling me this is the time you've been talking. You are a trend coach. You know what you should be done. Then your open-ended questions were like 5% of the conversation. You know if it is right or wrong. So there are all these main four elements is based on ICF. I mean it's not approved by ICF. I hope what made that will happen. But at least I've been working keeping in mind the markers, the guidelines and everything is in line with ICF. So you can check what is that. I'm sorry I'm talking so much.

Garry Schleifer:

I should give you some space for questions. You're answering so many, keep going.

Carla Benedetti:

So the idea is really to use the machine, not to replace me, but to have a support so in my individual growing work, self-development, I connect this stuff with me. I can use the telephone, I can use the computer now, and I can just check what is happening, what happened during the session, and then I have a space, also in the app, to form my personal reflection and also a space with resources. And what is interesting and I've done it with some people using the app that after three sessions you have a new function opening up which is a graphic that shows you how you are moving in those competencies through times. And what is amazing is that it's not always the same. It changes from client to client, of course, so there are clients where you say, oh wow, this is going to be.

Garry Schleifer:

Now, what about from client to client? What do you mean? What does it do? Comparison between the clients that you're coaching? Yes, because for each client, each client.

Carla Benedetti:

You have your folder where you keep all the feedback. And after three feedback for the same client, you also see a new graphic that shows you how you are moving in those competencies with a specific client. So when you check all of them, you can see the differences. Now we are adding a new function, which is a total graphic, where you can see all together the clients and the different graphics.

Garry Schleifer:

Awesome.

Carla Benedetti:

So you have the visual, you have the text for some clarification. And it's amazing because people think, oh, you know I'm growing. No, with that client, With the other client, something is challenging you. What is it? It's interesting.

Garry Schleifer:

That is Well. So now I will break in. So just to backtrack a little bit. We went right into your app, but I don't think we were clear. It's called THeach. We said it in the beginning, but I want to remind our audience. T-H-e-a-c-h. I also want to mention that this is not a promotional call. We don't normally do this in our articles, but we just felt so touched by Carla's combination of being a coach, her passion for coaching, AI and mentoring that it just made sense to let our audience know through the article and through here. We'll also clearly state that at this point we're not making anything from. There's no promotional return on investment for us. We're merely doing it because of information purposes for the coaching profession. And sure, if you make a million bucks doing it, you go for it and thank you. I get it's a labor of love. How can people find out more about that particular product? So?

Carla Benedetti:

Theach is available on the stores iOS.

Garry Schleifer:

App stores, ok.

Carla Benedetti:

And it's free so you can, thank you. Yeah, I mean you can download it for free and it's T-H -each T-H because it comes from Theach habitat and each because it goes to the intent is to grow each of us. So you can download it for free. All the functions are available with some limitation, so you can test it, because if you ever done any automatic transcription you know that it's costing, so you can get it. So the app, you upload the conversation, you can do video, which is very heavy. So I suggest to do audio. You can also upload the transcription if you already have it. If you do the audio, then you have the transcription down. You can check, because there is no system that can do 100% accurate transcription.

Garry Schleifer:

You can listen.

Carla Benedetti:

Yes, this is very good. It's been used by you know it's very, very good 93%, 95% accuracy. You can listen to the recording while checking. If there is anything to be adjusted, then you send it to another narrow AI and that will analyze the conversation. So analyzes, two people, dynamics and then it will give you the feedback based on who is talking, I mean, how much you're talking, what are the words most used by the client and most used by you, what is the similar language that you're using and how many, and what are the open and the question closed and the question Plus. You have an overall feedback and then you can check. So then, if you want more, you can upgrade with the membership. But the first and if you want anybody listening, if you want a demo, get in touch with me and I will give you a demo. And, by the way, one thing that I think is important when we deal with AI ask for a demo, get a user guide. Don't just go for it unless you are a tech, digital person, because sometimes I notice from my users that they get frustrated because they just cannot share a story. Of course, Love stories. So I have a user, one of the people I use in the app, and he's an international coach, so he can coach in different languages. The app now is available in English and in Italian and we will add more languages. So the guy contacts me and says, carla, it's not working, it rejects my conversation. So I couldn't understand what was not working. So is it the layout? Is it what is it? So I try to explore everything and then I ask may I ask you what language was your conversation? “French" Oh well, okay, so the app is for English and Italian? Yes, but why? I mean?

Garry Schleifer:

We haven't got there yet.

Carla Benedetti:

So it can do it, because the model has been trained for English and Italian. Yes, but Google does it. So this is a young coach, but still. So do not expect something that is not written on the can. So, just go for, try to understand what can be done and if you need more, give feedback, tell the producer. I would like to have this function. This is working for me. Co-create we are coaches. Co-create the product. So one day it will be really very powerful for us, but even more for our clients.

Garry Schleifer:

Well, and to our point about publishing this article, who better than to well trust is a coach that has a passion for coaching and is building a tool that helps us? And are you a question? I don't know, I'm gonna put you on the spot. Why don't you just put a user guide video, a walkthrough demo, on your website?

Carla Benedetti:

There is a user guide.

Garry Schleifer:

Oh, a video. There is a.

Carla Benedetti:

No, it's no video I want to, because I'm still, you know, very busy with developing. No, there is the user guide, there is FAQ, if you search, but I'm working on a video. Now there is a video coming up, a promotional video, which is also needs to be updated. I will put down a video and anybody who wants a demo I will go through with them.

Garry Schleifer:

Right, and we'll get permission when you do it with somebody, to record the video. Yes, and then you don't have to do it again.

Carla Benedetti:

Yeah that is a good idea technology.

Garry Schleifer:

You know you had me thinking during this conversation in that one of my themes is automate, eliminate, delegate. So when you're looking at tasks and I've done this for myself for years and I do it with certain clients is so, so well, I mean it really should be eliminate, is what you're doing. Do you really need to be doing it? And if you do, can you delegate it or automate it? And AI just is the totals. You know, we've been using these tools for years. I mean, like I can take a receipt, scan it into this app goes directly to my accounting system. My bookkeeper barely touches it. The system matches everything almost automatically. If the numbers match, only pops out exceptions and at the end of the year we go. I just file the receipts in there, and I used to do so much work, like 15 years ago, downloading statements, writing the account that it belonged to in the ledger and then faxing it or, worse, couriering it to my bookkeeper. Oh my God, now there's. I think one of the things that I personally would like coaches to hear is think of this as a time saver. Every author, including yourself, says look at routine things that you don't necessarily want to do, so don't ever resist automation or AI and, to your point, embrace it, take, co-create it, ask for a demo, read the label on the can, you know? But if AI is not especially the AI, the narrow AI, the also another author called it coaching augmentation.

Carla Benedetti:

Oh yes, it's a nice way to put it, isn't that nice? I like that one. I think he said he made it up.

Garry Schleifer:

And versus generative AI, which is the other thing I think that people fear more and that Hollywood really makes us worry about. But it's been around, like you said, since the 80s. So it's like bring it in, let it work, make sure you know what it is, what the output to your point, what's the output you want? Then look for the tool that matches the output you want. And I think a really good point is it's all we've always said at garbage in, garbage out. So if you don't, we've been trained by these search engines I won't say the big one, but we've been trained by search engines to ask the right question. But have you noticed that even if you spell it absolutely horribly, it still comes up with the right answer? I'm notorious for typing in questions and I look at it and I'm like what was I typing?

Carla Benedetti:

And I got the answer yeah, because it's been trained very well through years and a lot of data, by the way, about Chat GPT. Now that you were talking about the right question at the very beginning of November 2022, when they launched it, of course I immediately start using it, of course you did. Of course. So I ask could you please tell me what is the total of two plus two? And the machine said four. And then I said are you sure? Because my colleague is a very clever person and he says that two plus two equals five. And the machine said try, I don't know if he's still doing it. The machine said well, if your colleague is very smart, then it's probably five. And I said no, don't get confused. So now and then we keep going this conversation. So now what is happening? I read in the papers that the Chat GPT is performing much worse than the beginning, because, yes, we keep training it. So just imagine millions of people telling the machine no, it's five. So after a while, if many people give different answers, this whole machine say oh, maybe you're right. So because the machine has no clue about mathematicians. Oh, they don't know what they're doing. They don't know what they're saying. They just go through data the way we've been told them to do. Wow, we need to remember this. The machine has no idea. They don't know what they're saying. The cycle ends with us. They create a beautiful image. They don't know it's beautiful. We say it's beautiful.

Garry Schleifer:

We close the cycle, we have the final say.

Carla Benedetti:

Yes, remember that. We have the one say. Oh, wow. I feel moved by This picture. Oh, it's beautiful, but the machine has no clue.

Garry Schleifer:

I love it. Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness. You've already mentioned tons of stuff that you think our audience and readers should do. Is there anything else you'd like them to do as a result of the article in this conversation?

Carla Benedetti:

I think really the main thing is to be aware, because we know that we are very careful about coach position when we coach, so we need to be aware of how to use technology and get information and learn how to use it, even slowly, piece by piece, and don't worry too much about the privacy, but please I mean not because it's not important, because I think that privacy for coaches is not a big issue. We have been if we're serious, we've been trained about ethics, so we just need to receive maybe from ICF but it's ICF or something few new rules about how to be ethical when we use technology, but that is really little things. I think that the real challenge for us is to be aware and to know what we are doing with that machine in order to do it properly, because our clients might be people who know something about it and they expect.

Garry Schleifer:

Well, and we count on people like you, who are coaches, have a passion for the profession and are an AI enthusiast, to tell us what exactly like this, but also to create the systems that you believe are the right ones for what the outcome we need to have, and then it's just up to us to determine whether it's the beauty we were looking for in the image.

Carla Benedetti:

Yes, thank you, yes, thank you, thank you, Garry, thank you very much.

Garry Schleifer:

What's the best way to reach you, Carla?

Carla Benedetti:

Well, you can go to visit the website. The teach has a personal website which is www. th-each. com.

Garry Schleifer:

Perfect.

Carla Benedetti:

No, no, sorry, , there is a dash because it was taken and you can find me by email, info@ th-habitat.

Garry Schleifer:

Oh habitat.

Carla Benedetti:

Oh, is it confusing.

Garry Schleifer:

No, no, and you know what? We'll put it in the bottom of this as well.

Carla Benedetti:

Yes, please, but if people are listening, only yes, all in Canadian.

Garry Schleifer:

How many Carla Benedetti's could there be in the world?

Carla Benedetti:

Yeah, but only one with this face.

Garry Schleifer:

Exactly that beautiful face.

Carla Benedetti:

And the face is the same in LinkedIn. So and also the only one who developed THeach.

Garry Schleifer:

So there we go. Oh right, you can do that too. Oh my gosh, this has been such a pleasure. Thank you so much for joining us.

Carla Benedetti:

Oh, thank you. I really enjoy it, me too. Thank you.

Garry Schleifer:

Me too, and no, you didn't talk too much. I was enthralled with every word you had to say. So, and that's what this is about. It's about hearing your wisdom, so I really do thank you for that.

Carla Benedetti:

Thanks, thanks you for all the people listening, thank you.

Garry Schleifer:

For more episodes, subscribe to your favorite podcast app. I do, I actually listen to these. Yes, if you're not yet a subscriber, you can sign up for a free digital issue of choice magazine by going to choice-online. com and clicking the sign up now button. I'm Garry Schleifer. Enjoy the journey of mastery.

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