Leading the World by Supporting Christian Coaching

Ethics 101: Could a Life Coach be Replaced by a Robot?

Well, the answer is yes. The real question is at what quality can this happen.

Those of us in the ethics community have been discussing how Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be used – and is being used – on certain websites and in software to help humans wrestle with life issues. So far, these systems are using keyboard input to intake what the person is looking for. However, voice recognition and virtual reality (VR) is not too far away.

My goodness, am I going to be out of a job?

Hmm. Don’t think so.

Like many things being introduced into our world, it only pervades a market if people actually are buying it. There is little evidence that AI will be able to replace good old human intuition. The limitations of AI-based coaching are many. The robot can think, but it cannot feel. A robot will only be able to coach a client to a limited extent. The best that a computer-coach might do is recommend off-the-shelf solutions and perhaps refer the client to another professional (or another online service). Systems based on AI can point a person to many alternatives, including a coach. This could be a good thing for us coaches and for the promotion of the coaching industry as a whole.

However, I wonder about the ethicality of robots recommending solutions based on data input from humans trying to sell their wares. Indeed, a robot needs to be held to the same standards of quality, integrity, and fairness that every professional should adhere to. Who will monitor this? Dunno.

In the end we humans must all answer to God. We will all stand before Him to receive rewards for our righteousness and generosity. There will be no robots standing before the Bema judgment seat (2 Corinthians 5:10). AI-systems might be smart, but they have no soul. Perhaps the most ethical thing you can do is coach with soul.

Michael J. Marx, MBA, EdD, PCC, CPCC.

About the Author:

Michael is a Certified Professional Christian Coach with CCNI specializing in business coaching and corporate consultation. Dr. Marx currently serves as the leader of the ICF ‘Global Community of Practice on Ethics.’ He also serves on their Independent Review Board and on the Ethics Code Review Team. Additionally, he is immediate past-president of Christian Coaches Network International and the author of Ethics and Risk Management for Christian Coaches (2016).

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