Is AI a threat to the coaching profession?

Could the rise of AI be putting coaches at risk? Could this new technology replace coaching jobs in the near future?

The coaching industry has boomed into a multibillion dollar industry in the past decade. Whilst technology has undoubtedly had a positive impact coaching, could AI-powered tools ultimately replace human coaches, at least in certain elements of their roles? Let’s take a look at the threats AI poses to coaches and the coaching industry.

Why AI could be a threat to coaching professionals

Artificial intelligence has been developed for decades, but it’s only recently become mainstream. ChatGPT, released in November 2022, opened the eyes of millions of people around the world to its capabilities, and language models are just one of many branches of AI.


You can prompt ChatGPT to be a life coach, for example, and within seconds be engaging in a positive, productive conversation. And there are already benefits of AI coaches, primarily around their processing power, accessibility and affordability. But how long will it be before AI plays a larger role in the industry?

Is AI a threat to coaching in the short term?

AI and language processing technology is likely to develop rapidly in the coming years as an arms race amongst some of the worlds largest companies ensues. But what about right now? In its current state, does AI and language models such as ChatGPT pose an immediate threat to coaches?



We predict the threats and opportunities that AI creates will balance themselves out.

Reasons why AI is not a threat (just yet!)

Existing AI coaching apps and ChatGPT have some shortcomings compared with a human coach. This means coaches are unlikely to lose existing paying clients to AI unless their clients are seeking to cut costs. These shortcomings include a lack of sentience, real life experience, and the human connection associated with a coaching relationship. There are also some technical challenges, such as some AI tools “forgetting” previous conversations and “hallucinating.”

Access to AI coaches may increase uptake of real-life coaching. Studies have shown that AI is effective at helping individuals achieve their goals when compared to individuals with zero coaching. This means individuals might start using an AI coach or ChatGPT, see benefits and decide to invest in a human coach.


Coaches can save time and create more output using AI. There are thousands of AI-powered tools out there, many of which are useful to a coach looking to increase their productivity, scale their content output or supercharge their marketing.

Coaches can use AI to be a better coach. It’s not just admin and content that AI can help with. More and more professional coaches are using AI in their client work to help them process data and offer enhanced guidance. This is known as AI-assisted coaching, and it’s combining the best of both worlds.


Coaches can harness the power of AI to scale their impact. Tools like Coachvox AI have been developed specifically for coaches to be able to clone themselves with AI. This means a coach can better market their services, engage with their audience, service their clients and even monetise their AI.

A coaching session using AI. Is AI a threat to the coaching profession?

Is AI a threat to coaches in the long term?

The short answer is yes. And the onus is on coaches to protect their position within the industry by creating unique value propositions and asserting themselves strongly against AI and other human coaches.


The key reason AI will become a real threat in the coming years is that the advantages human coaches currently have over AI coaches will diminish. These advantages are:

Human connection: Many people seek out coaches not only for advice but also for the human connection. Coaches often provide emotional support, empathy, and understanding that AI cannot replicate for the time being.


Contextual understanding: Human coaches can understand the nuances and complexities of a person’s life situation. This can lead to more tailored and effective advice until AI models advance sufficiently to factor these in.


Ethics and privacy: A human coach can navigate ethical issues, maintain confidentiality, and respect boundaries in ways that might be challenging for AI. On the flip side, some may regard the technology as more trustworthy.


Experience: Human coaches bring their personal experiences to their coaching, providing insights and understanding that AI, which does not have personal experiences, can’t offer. However, with that, AI is able to offer unbiased opinions, unmarred by previous experiences.


Accountability: While AI can remind you of your goals, a human coach often plays a significant role in holding clients accountable for their commitments. In the future, we may feel more accountable to AI or mechanisms will be in place to replicate that accountability feeling.

As AI technology continues to advance, we will see some of the current gaps between AI and human capabilities narrow. For instance, AI will become more adept at simulating empathy and understanding nuanced context, thereby providing advice that feels more personalised and emotionally aware.


There may also be a reduction in the need for humans to speak to other humans as societal shifts, particularly with the increasing use of digital communication, could potentially change how we value human interaction. Some people may become more comfortable, or even prefer, interacting with AI for certain tasks.


Under these circumstances, an all-knowing, affordable, 24/7 access coach is an appealing offer.

What can coaches do to stop themselves being replaced?

Understandably, coaches may wonder about their place in this AI-driven era. However, rather than viewing AI as a threat, forward-thinking coaches can view it as an opportunity to redefine and enhance their practice.


Here are some ways coaches can stay relevant and competitive in the years to come:


Embrace the human touch: There’s an inherent value in human connection that’s difficult for AI to replicate. In our lifetimes, some individuals may never take to having relationships with AI. Coaches can focus on the aspects of their work that require genuine empathy, emotional intuition, and personal experience.


Leverage AI as a tool: Coaches can use AI to augment their practice. For example, AI can handle administrative tasks, provide additional resources for clients, or offer non-judgmental spaces for clients to explore their thoughts. This could free up more time for coaches to focus on their core strengths and deliver a more impactful coaching experience.

Continuous learning and adaptability: The field of coaching, like many others, is continually evolving. Coaches can stay ahead of the curve by staying informed about new technologies, methodologies, and trends in their field. This might include understanding how AI works and exploring its potential applications in coaching.


Differentiation and personal branding: In a world where AI is increasingly commonplace, what makes a human coach unique? Coaches can work on defining their unique value proposition – what sets them apart from others. This could be their personal approach to coaching, their specialized knowledge in a particular area, or their ability to create deeply transformative experiences for their clients.


Collaborate and innovate: As the saying goes, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” Coaches can collaborate with AI developers to create hybrid coaching models, combining the best of AI and human coaching. This could lead to innovative services that are more efficient, effective, and personalized than ever before.


In summary, the rise of AI in the field of coaching doesn’t spell the end for human coaches, but rather signals a time for evolution and innovation.

Final words

It’s important to remember that as of now and in the foreseeable future, AI, including language models like ChatGPT, don’t have consciousness, emotions, or personal experiences. ChatGPT can generate text that seems empathetic or insightful, but it doesn’t actually feel empathy or have insights. It’s following patterns learned during training.


As coaches navigate the AI-driven changes in our modern world, it will be crucial to consider both the opportunities and challenges they present. The future will likely see a blend of AI and human interaction, each playing to their strengths and offsetting the other’s weaknesses. It’s an exciting frontier, full of possibilities and considerations, and these discussions are a vital part of shaping that future responsibly.