Managers are busy people. They often have large teams of direct reports to evaluate, observe, answer questions from and report on – not to mention their other job responsibilities. One-on-one coaching often falls by the wayside, yet it’s a hugely important tool for managers to use to engage and retain employees and even to improve organizational performance.

SwissCognitiveHow can managers make the most of the time they have to provide the most effective coaching and feedback to their employees?

Two new training provider partnerships are exploring the possibility of using artificial intelligence (AI) to help. Last month, Mandel Communications announced a partnership with Orai on a free communication coaching app that uses AI to provide instant feedback on speech, including clarity, the use of filler words, pacing and energy. This feedback is based on computational linguistics research and a data set of, according to co-founder Danish Dhamani, “thousands of people with different accents, different languages … speaking across the world.” The app also includes Mandel’s communication skills training and the ability to send recordings to users’ managers and coaches for continued development. The company also offers the ability to create custom content for a company’s specific messaging.

Also last month, ScaleX and Specialized Sales Systems announced a new “coaching as a service” partnership for sales and business development representatives. The service uses ExecVision’s speech analytics software to record sales conversations and then one 30-minute coaching session per week to provide feedback. The companies are also exploring the use of AI to provide automatic feedback, freeing up some time in those coaching sessions to focus on the development opportunities a computer still can’t provide. “We can essentially deliver asynchronous coaching,” says Specialized Sales Systems managing director Matt McDarby: coaching that’s “self-powered, self-serve, but still has the power of the [human] coach behind it.” […]