The concept of coaching has been around forever. As we evolved as humans through the ages, coaching has been valuable to our own evolving humanity. Entrepreneur and professor Raphaelle Laubie writes that the concept comes from the Socratic idea of maieutics: “The term ‘coaching’ can be outlined by the processes of communication and listening that reveal individuals to themselves,” she says.

We coach and learn from another all through time, all through our lives, through our communications and interactions. In summary, coaching is our passageway to creation, innovation, technology, and our evolution of self-improvement and advancement.

My own teachers and athletic coaches helped create a foundation for my learning and growth. Even when I look at my favorite movies, coaching is evident: In “Star Wars,” Yoda’s role is to coach and help others improve and stay on the path of the force. Our personal ROI is obvious in our own advancement, but companies struggle to show actual ROI from coaching. The question they should ask is, what are employees learning, and are they applying it? This process takes time, as employees are evolving every day, trying new techniques and ways of thinking. Here are four different paths to ROI through coaching and self-improvement.

Coaching Is Analytics.

Like you do with other training and development programs, you should track and manage coaching through an LMS. The system will track progress and follow-through, along with other analytics, to measure the behavioral changes throughout the coaching engagement. Track and analyze coaching outputs as measures of progression.

Coaching Is AI.

As we learn and grow, our needs evolve, and artificial intelligence (AI) can be the perfect matchmaker to connect coaches and coachees based on their goals, needs, communication styles and areas of learning. AI takes away the manual process of trying to find a coach and instead provides you with the names of coaches who fit each employee’s personalized learning path. While AI will never replace coaching, much like analytics, it is a support system for the coach and coachee.

Coaching Is Technology.

Coaching will always be a human experience. Someone wants to learn something, and someone else can teach them. Technology makes these services accessible so no one is left behind. Blockchain technology, for example, demonstrates the coach’s legitimacy, and analytics and AI can create a better user experience. As coaching evolves, technology will evolve, too. Technology is even playing a role in athletic coaching. Everyone needs to advance, and the path to advancement is through coaching and technology.

Coaching Is Learning.

Education can never stop, as our evolution will never cease. All companies need to embrace coaching to fulfill their dreams and goals. While technology helps with many of the mundane and manual tracking tasks, it will never replace the human experience. Remember, technology should be learning from us as we evolve.

Most of the skills employees need to learn can be introduced in training sessions, yet those skills are really only learned once they’re on the job, with the help of a qualified and skilled coach. It is this personalized learning at scale that ignites ROI by taking the learning and turning it into actions and outputs. A good coach actively helps coachees acquire new skills and abilities related to their personal and professional goals.

Coaching ensures that fragile, uncomfortable new skills are actually tried in practice. As coachees become better and better at using their new skills, they become more confident, happy and empowered. In many ways, fidelity is an important outcomes of coaching. Coaching also helps to compensate for the skills and abilities that were not present at the point of hire, which is critical, as our jobs will always evolve. We must have coaching resources available for employees to continue to change, create and innovate. In the words of Yoda, “Always pass on what you have learned.” In the end, we are all coaches helping others learn along the way. Embrace it, as it is our salvation.

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