Coaching for Connection and Change

“Today I had a pretty productive day. I got 98% of my work done at my internship. When I needed help I asked a faculty member and they helped me really well and I enjoyed that. Today was a good day!“

Every day in our coaching we connect with young professionals who are using our app in connection with the internship programs On-Ramps to Careers, in DC, and Collective Impact, in San Francisco. The above journal entry is a real example of the way in which our users communicate with us, their coaches, providing us with tangible information about how each individual intern is progressing, which we then report to their supervisor. 

Our coaches do two things that are essential for meaningful connection and lasting behavioral change. 

First, we help the person being coached define clear goals for themselves; and then we check in with them every day to help them stay mindful of the goals they are pursuing. 

We have found that our coaching keeps our users focused on a target habit, skill or behavior, but furthermore the cycle of feedback between coach and user keeps their attention on the situational cues that reinforce or sustain certain behavior in their daily lives. 

For example, many of our students choose the target behavior “Pause before responding aggressively or defensively.” This is one of the most popular target behaviors that our young users choose to work on first. It’s also one of the most challenging, and most rewarding. We have seen a number of our users master this skill and no longer act out aggressively or defensively. 

My role as motivation coach is to keep the team member that I am coaching focused on that particular behavior that they are trying to change. My feedback is designed to help them define each goal in measurable terms, and break it down into small attainable behaviors that helps them identify and learn to manage both internal and external cues. 

In our demonstrations and small customer engagements to date, approximately 249 people have used our process, there have been 361 instances where the person being coached believe they mastered the behavior (said Got IT!) and there have been a total of 1,775 coach to student exchanges recorded in our database. 

We have learned a lot from our user behavior. In any group of users, some will take advantage of the system because they need to, others, usually the highly motivated, use the system because they want to, and others will only intermittently engage in the process. We’ve seen that the process works best when the person being coached has a sense that their organization expects them to participate in the process, such as in the case of the high school interns and other small teams. 

In preparation for our major commercial launch, these lessons learned are shaping the way we price and deploy PerfectCoaches to the organizations and coaches who will use it. There are two flavors, so to speak. In one approach, the coach interacts with the user, using the suggestions from AMI, our Artificial Intelligence tool, as a coaching aid. In another approach, users can interact directly with AMI, with the human coach in effect supervising AMI and occasionally coaching the user directly.

As we learn more about our users and how they use our coaching, as well as how they react to the feedback and how they use it in their daily lives, we will continue to report on our findings in this blog. 

Next in our Blog: Changing our most stubborn habits

By Mia Cortez