It’s Human Coach vs AI/Robot, Score: 17 to 0

Tell ya what a robot/ai will never do

(My response to The Robots That Manage the Managers, Wall Street Journal)

The other day… (the story goes)

Coachee Text: Hey Paul, you around today?

Me Text: Yeah, call me later

Coachee Text: Ok

Me Text: We’re eating leftover pizza, shall I come over when I’m done?

Coachee Text: Just leaving the office should be home soon (7:21pm)

(my Spidey sense is telling me this is an SOS call)

Me text: Coolio

Coachee Text: Home! Please bring something to drink.

(Spidey sense confirmed)

Robots don't have Spidey sense, nor can they bring a good quality sipping whiskey.

(Humans: Spidey sense, whiskey 2, Robots 0)


I get there and we establish our alliance, add some jest and affirmation in some playful ribbing of each other. We settle in on some good alliance and agreement (he feels and knows I’m present for him), and he inquires if I can work with him on a big decision regarding his vocational path, without his family and personal considerations/fears being in play. Bring on the agenda!

(Humans: love, humor, empathy, presence 4, Robots 0)

Photo by  Wenni Zhou  on  Unsplash

Photo by Wenni Zhou on Unsplash

I say, tell me some more. (I’m curious and I need more information to hopefully hear/get the root of his agenda.)

He proceeds to explain the situation and then his two big options, (A) one which offers how he really likes to work plus potential high growth and higher risk, versus the other (B) centered on providing economic safety for his family.

During his telling of his story, he’s a bit anchored in fear. (Aren’t we all?) I’ll spare you the details, but on a hunch, I make mention of how it sucks when the impostor gets in the way. I relate a story about myself to let him feel he’s not alone. I hit pay dirt with him!

(Humans: curiosity, intuitive hit 2, Robot 0)


We do a plowing of his own strengths and experiences, and of his support- both familial and external, that he has in place. His badlands turn into promised lands with rich soil. What-ifs are wonderful things. He gradually takes his mindset from his impostor, that taints the facts of each opportunity to that of doom, and aims it towards his own growth, set in his own strengths and, in what he loves to do aligned with his values. I want him to feel for himself, what I see and feel in him. He re-frames his facts of doom into present opportunities, you know, where you look for ways to make it happen instead of reasons to give up.

I check in for where he is, by asking him again about his two options. Tell me your two options again please? (I want him to go back to them in his current mindset, and I’m hoping and optimistic he’ll recognize, he’s different than just 40 minutes ago.)

He does, and then he says, which should I do?

I say, let me tell you what I just observed, then I’ll ask you a question. Here, I might have gotten a little FU’ look from him. He-heh…

(Human: understanding nuanced emotion and banter that reveals gratitude 2, Robot 0)

I responded by saying something along these lines:

Hey, I just heard and watched you tell me about option A, it was succinct, clear, you were upbeat, sitting tall and had a spark/fire. Option B, you could barely get your words out and they were so jumbled and confused, like you didn’t really want to say option B at all.

(Human: understanding emotional shifts relative to different futures in conversation 2, Robot 0)

So, then I asked, which of these do you think you should do? He made a comment that, I sounded like his wife. (She was in earshot, chuckled and then she said, “See.”) And then, I got that smile from him. It had the same spark as when he was telling about option A earlier.

(Human: giving the power back to the person after they given it away 1, Robot 0)

And then, I went a bit further, which one’s your promised land?

(Human: understanding, empathy and joining alongside someone in their dream 3, Robot 0)

The rest of our time was spent, him using me as I served him, as a sounding board for him to figure his next actions and in his way, to move towards happiness and his promised land.

He had all the answers. To see them, it just came down him needing an extra set of eyes, ears and heart, and then, someone willing to him give theirs. And that, well, that is belonging.

(Human: giving love 1, Robot 0)

The End

Photo by  @gebhartyler  on  Unsplash
Paul Haury2 Comments