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Decorative: AI is helping coach tech providers create personalized development pathways that adapt to client needs. Image description: woman looking at blue lights

Technology offers new opportunities for adaptable and personalized development

Technology’s transformative potential lies in its ability to deliver personalized development services that meet the evolving needs of clients and organizations.


Coaching clients seek personalized development that is customized to their changing requirements


Emerging technologies can support digital coaching conversations and flexible engagement


Technology can help scale and adapt coaching services to serve a large and diverse audience

Wisdom Weavers

Personalized technologies are shaping consumer demands for online development  

As AI advances, personalization is becoming the norm , with consumers now expecting custom experiences across various industries. Machine learning is already being used to support individualized learning plans, tailor online shopping experiences, and plan customized vacation itineraries. Looking at consumer habits, McKinsey found that roughly 70% of consumers expect some form of personalization, and 76% will get frustrated when they do not find it. Previously in the coaching field, widespread scalability and personalization were difficult to achieve and manage; however, AI-driven technologies present new opportunities to meet diverse client needs. Coaches who use technology will be able to engage with clients through new channels, offer different forms of client engagement, and complement coaching with other development modalities.

Personalization in digital coaching spaces varies based on client type. Digital coaching startups are gaining a foothold in the market by creating bespoke development solutions that combine one-on-one coaching with other types of development support. Coaching platforms like BetterUp, CoachHub, and Ezra use their extensive library of reflection, learning, and coaching resources to curate custom support for their organizational clients. Custom experiences often integrate with the organization’s learning and development strategy, support both synchronous and on-demand learning, and are tailored to support organizational goals. On an individual level, platforms facilitate personalized coaching engagements through AI coach and client matching. CoachHub reports that AI matching takes into consideration the client’s unique goals, development needs, and interests, creating matches with a 99% success rate.

AI can help coaches understand client learning styles and communication preferences

Coaching is already a personal engagement, but client communication preferences and learning needs are shaping coaching delivery. Digital coaching apps are creating new ways for clients to connect with their coaches in real time and through asynchronous messaging. Referencing user expectations in other industries, Wisdom Weaver Anke Paulick emphasizes, “A smooth client experience would include a client’s preferred channels, be it voice, written, or different media usage. And there are already people who can create experiences like this.” In online learning spaces, adult learners are already accustomed to platforms that support flexible learning options, different media preferences, and learning styles. When developing her coaching platform evoach with co-creator Rebecca Rutschmann, Anke wanted to empower coaches to adapt AI tools to support custom client engagement.

Adjacent to the coaching industry, health and well-being apps use personalization to engage users and support motivation for long-term behavior change. A review of health apps found that personalization was among the top three strategies used to support mental health, chronic illness management, and physical activity through mobile health apps. Extending this analysis to stress management, the authors found that personalization was integrated into other persuasive strategies, giving users personalized reminders, micro-nudges, and reflection tools. Global demand for mental health and well-being apps is growing, with Deloitte reporting a 32% increase in global spending on mental health apps between 2019 to 2020. The report notes that organizations are major investors in mental health and well-being apps, indicating that workers will increasingly expect similar levels of personalization from other development modalities.

The popularity of self-paced learning tools and behavioral apps may shift coaching to a hybrid human-tech default where clients expect a combination of one-on-one coaching and digital maintenance between sessions. Some clients may benefit from different types of coaching communication, including timed reflections, nudges, or micro-learning opportunities that maintain engagement and commitment to goals. Communication preferences between generational cohorts can also mean that younger coaching clients expect a variety of digital development approaches, while older clients may prefer to keep things simple. In the absence of a human coach, Wisdom Weaver and coaching chatbot developer Nicky Terblanche finds that introverts and extroverts have different communication preferences. He describes a recent research study where he “compared a voice chatbot with the text-based chat,” finding that “the introverts preferred to talk. It would be great to have a future where technology — different modalities of technology — are available to do coaching. But we also have the knowledge and understanding to match it to the person so that it’s an optimal experience.” Assessing client communication preferences and learning styles during client intake could help coaching providers create new modalities to support different user types.

Workplace disruption is driving the demand for personalized development and on-demand coaching

Recent disruptions have highlighted the importance of context-specific development and “in-the-moment” coaching. Workplaces are adapting to changing technologies, a growing global skills gap, and varied development needs across generations. Jonathan Passmore highlights the role of disruption in shaping focused coaching engagements, “The pandemic impacted both attitudes around work and learning, with a shift to hybrid working and more personalized, ‘in-the moment’ development, and less expectation of ‘in-person’ development interventions.” As the Senior VP at EZRA, Jonathan highlights that Ezra is experimenting with short-term coaching engagements that can be activated to help clients adapt to emergent needs.

With organizational clients working to scale development opportunities and engage employees, Anke observes that corporate clients want personalized coaching that integrates with other development approaches . With the adoption of advanced AI-like machine learning and large language models, she shares, “People are talking a lot about individual learning and coaching development paths. Now, for the first time, we have the chance to integrate digital coaching into personal learning and development paths because of the wide adoption of modern learning management and learning experience systems.” Coaching platforms are already experimenting with Learning and Development (L&D) integration, on-demand coaching libraries, and personal coach bot assistants. To address changing client expectations and retain a foothold in the market, Anke believes that individual coaches will need to employ technology that can support on-demand and personalized development needs.

Looking to the future of personalized development, advancements in machine learning and large language models present new opportunities to engage with clients and adapt coaching approaches throughout a client’s career. Wisdom Weaver Tim Harrison shares that machine learning can create a “theory of mind” around a client that tracks values and beliefs through coaching engagements and AI interactions. Tim highlights that as these tools progress, they will support human coaches in identifying when clients express a new value, change an opinion, or make a statement that conflicts with their core values, facilitating deeper conversation. When combining machine learning with career-specific micro-coaching engagements, AI could provide coaches with a client development history that supports conversations around the progress and challenges of transitioning to a new role.

A Call to Action for Coaches

Client needs and expectations are changing to prioritize development that is flexible and aligned with personal needs and values. Coaches are at the forefront of this transformation, creating solutions that help clients balance development with daily obligations, and empowering them to express their unique development needs. Coaches can embrace opportunities for on-demand engagement by curating resources, reflection activities, and pre-recorded messages. Adopting AI-powered technologies can also offer personalized client support through tailored reminders, micro-nudges, and coach-like chatbot conversations. By adopting new technologies that reinforce development goals between sessions, coaches are meeting their clients in the context of life and elevating the impact of personal development.

As more organizations invest in large-scale coaching services, coaching platforms and individual providers will need to consider how to balance organizational needs with client autonomy in the age of AI. The data and algorithms that support personalization can also risk exposing client data, spreading misinformation, and ignoring individual client autonomy. Coaches can champion client autonomy while partnering with L&D in a way that fosters holistic transformation for clients and organizations.

As a coach, we invite you to consider how your influence extends beyond coaching sessions. You have the power to adopt tools and practices that honor client autonomy, catalyze growth, and create ripple effects that transform lives and workplaces alike.

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