Randstad: How will AI elevate career coaching strategies?

Career coaching is often considered a deeply personal and one-to-one exercise, so you may feel skeptical when I tell you the future of this type of workforce development will be enhanced by AI.

That AI-powered future of coaching may not be what you’re envisioning, however. Technology will make coaching more tailored and accessible to more people, empowering talent in all kinds of roles and not just high-potential talent or leadership.

In recent years, AI has transformed many aspects of talent management and acquisition, and its potential has yet to be fully realized. From sourcing and screening candidates more quickly to identifying the adjacent skills of employees who can be redeployed to assessing the flight risk of executives, AI today increasingly uses data to generate insights at an unimaginable level. So it’s natural to see the technology promise being applied to coaching, which historically has been a very people-powered service.

But that’s exactly why AI will be so important to the process. By tailoring coaching to individual needs and goals, AI will enable participants to be more focused and ready to make the most of their experience. It can make resources accessible to more people and at their convenience to improve outcomes using the power of data for better feedback and growth.

Generative AI, which will massively transform content creation and curation for coaching, is one of the most important developments in this area. By automatically creating exercises and compiling study content easily, career coaches who use AI will be able to focus more on personal interactions and less on tactical tasks. And since these tools use the feedback of all participants, the materials will be even more relevant and impactful.

As coaching platforms proliferate and continually harvest data from their participants and elsewhere, coaching content will constantly evolve to address both participant needs and the changing market. These tools not only allow companies to expand their coaching offerings but also help stakeholders support the development of broader groups of people.

For instance, CareerVillage.org, a non-profit that provides career information and advice for underrepresented people in the U.S., is using AI to reach those who historically have lacked access to such resources. Working with a coalition of more than 20 career development organizations, the organization has developed an AI-powered platform that helps people ages 13 and up to find work opportunities and prepare for their careers. The technology provides career activities for youth and adults through real-time chat.

The convergence of coaching and L&D accelerates

Beyond this, AI’s impact will also help employers empower and develop their people more quickly and effectively. Closer integration of coaching with the learning and development function, which is also fundamentally changing from AI’s proliferation, means workers will acquire the right skills and the know-how for applying them in the most effective manner. Technology will provide detailed skilling and development plans to help people navigate the many choices they face throughout their careers.

Both coaching and skilling will benefit immensely from AI’s ability to recommend and map out the learning and development that people will need to not only adapt to evolving job requirements, but also thrive in a rapidly changing digital economy.

As analyst Josh Bersin points out, some platforms will be able to provide users “a curated view of learning based on role and activity.” This level of personalization on a massive scale has never been possible before, but the power of data and AI is facilitating this shift.

This transformation will also enhance talent acquisition. Organizations will rely less on searching for candidates with exact hard and soft skills they need because AI’s impact on coaching and learning will be so effective. For many roles, employers will be able to develop those skills internally or hire for potential and aspiration, using tailored development programs to help employees fit into their new roles.

Human empathy teams with AI

AI’s impact on career coaching will be significant, indeed, but it can never truly replace people as coaches. Technology can create and curate content, develop personalized lessons and analyze huge datasets to improve outcomes, but it’s incapable of replicating the real empathy and reassurances a person brings to a coaching relationship.

Coaches will, however, benefit from the increasingly powerful AI tools available to them, and their role will remain one of providing the essential human feedback people need to grow. Career coaching remains a people-centric activity despite the advent of AI. What will change, however, is the elimination of some tactical work needed to create fulfilling talent journeys.

At the same time, organizations must be mindful of when and how to leverage AI in their coaching strategies. Because AI may bring inherent bias, coaches will need to recognize such shortcomings and take steps to mitigate them. Championing the ethical and conscientious use of technology should be part of any long-term strategy.

As AI adoption accelerates throughout the HR function, career coaching will be profoundly affected by the changes ahead. The good news is that more than ever, people will receive much more personalized and tailored advice and support based on data and powerful analytics. The result will be a more informed and insightful workforce, and that will benefit both employer and employees.

About Randstad Enterprise

Randstad Enterprise is the leading global talent solutions provider, enabling companies to create sustainable business value and agility by keeping people at the heart of their organizations. As part of Randstad N.V. — a global talent leader with revenue of € 25.4 billion — we combine unmatched talent data and market insights with smart technologies and deep people expertise. Our integrated talent solutions — talent acquisition (RPO, MSP, services procurement/SOW and talent BPO) delivered through Randstad Sourceright, and talent development and transition (talent mobility, career coaching and outplacement) delivered through Randstad RiseSmart — help companies build a skilled and agile workforce that moves their business forward.

For more information, visit www.randstadenterprise.com.