The Rise of AI Coaches in 2024: A Game Changer for Agencies

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In the fast-paced world of business, finding expert guidance and support can be a game-changer for agency owners and entrepreneurs alike. The idea of offering personalised, expert support to every client 24/7 without being tethered to a computer or phone is an appealing prospect. The emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) is making this a reality through the introduction of AI coaches.

What is an AI Coach?

AI coaches are virtual assistants powered by artificial intelligence designed to provide customised coaching and advice. Trained on data and expertise, they offer personalised guidance and support 24/7, going beyond the capabilities of traditional chat tools. The key differentiator of AI coaches is their ability to understand user needs, ask contextual questions, and provide tailored guidance just like a human coach.

The Development of Ask Rob Anything

The speaker, with over 30 years of agency experience, is developing his own AI coach called "Ask Rob Anything." This AI coach is trained exclusively on the speaker's entire body of work, including courses, tools, podcasts, and blogs, totaling over 1200 pieces of content. The goal is to leverage this wealth of knowledge and make it accessible to a wider audience.

Challenges and Triumphs

The speaker shares the challenges faced during the development process, including initial setbacks with a different platform. Despite these hurdles, the vision of creating a cost-effective tool for accessing expert knowledge persisted. The journey towards developing Ask Rob Anything highlights the importance of quality and personalised training to ensure the AI coach's effectiveness.

Potential Use Cases of AI Coaches

When forming your senior leadership team, consider individuals who bring diverse skills and perspectives, demonstrate leadership potential, understand strategic insights, and are a cultural fit for your agency. While the roles within the team may vary depending on your agency's size and needs, their ability to contribute, challenge, and take ownership is essential. Even if you're a one-person agency, starting with a trusted partner or mentor can be a step in the right direction.

The Future of AI Coaching

The blog discusses the potential for AI coaches to evolve further, incorporating more personalised and contextual advice, expanding into various industries, integrating with wearable devices for real-time feedback, enabling coach-to-coach collaboration, and providing guidance through multi-step journeys and conversations.

Conclusion

The conclusion highlights the tangible benefits already observed from utilising AI coaching platforms, indicating the potential to revolutionise the way businesses operate. As AI coaching becomes more mainstream, the potential for agencies and businesses to provide highly personalised, niche advice on demand is becoming a reality. The blog ends with an invitation to join the waitlist for the launch of "Ask Rob Anything," encouraging readers to stay informed about the AI coach's developments and potential applications.

The emergence of AI coaches presents a new frontier for businesses to offer expert support and guidance at scale. With the potential to revolutionise the way agency owners, entrepreneurs, and businesses operate, AI coaching platforms like "Ask Rob Anything" are set to redefine the future of client support and expertise delivery.

Click on the image below to learn more about AI Agency Coaching Platform, AskRobAnything.

AskRobAnything

Questions and Answers

1. What are AI coaches and how do they differ from traditional automated tools?
>AI coaches are virtual assistants powered by artificial intelligence that provides customised coaching and advice by understanding the user's goals, needs, challenges, and pains. Unlike traditional automated tools, AI coaches engage in two-way conversations and provide tailored guidance based on the user's context, resembling the approach of a human coach.

2. What are the potential applications of AI coaches in business and other domains?
>AI coaches have the potential to enhance client service and support, facilitate personalised learning and training at scale, capture and disseminate industry knowledge within teams, and provide continual guidance to individuals and businesses.

3. How does developing an AI coach, such as "Ask Rob Anything," benefit businesses and individuals?
>The development of AI coaches like "Ask Rob Anything" enables the democratisation of specialised industry knowledge, offering easily accessible guidance distilled from decades of expertise. This provides a cost-effective avenue for accessing expert advice and resources.

4. What are the key considerations for overcoming the adoption challenges of AI coaching?
>Educating the market about the unique value delivered by AI coaches, emphasising personalised guidance, contextual advice, and scalable expert knowledge is crucial for driving widespread adoption. Additionally, integrating AI coaching seamlessly into daily workflows is vital for leveraging its full potential.

5. In what ways are AI coaches expected to evolve in the future?
>AI coaches are anticipated to enhance personalisation, contextual understanding, and integration with wearable technologies. A collaborative network of AI coaches sharing insights and specialised expertise is expected to emerge, expanding the support for diverse industry requirements. Furthermore, AI coaches are expected to guide users through multi-step journeys and conversations, adapting guidance for the best outcomes.

6. How can individuals and businesses embrace AI coaching for their growth strategies?
>Embracing AI coaching does not mean replacing human coaches but supplementing their capabilities and extending personalised support to a wider audience. Integrating AI coaches into regular routines for strategic guidance, performance improvement, and continual learning is vital for leveraging AI's potential for growth strategies.

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Links to the tools I mentioned in this episode: 

 Full Episode Transcription

Rob Da Costa:

Do you ever wish you could provide personalised, expert support to every single client 24/7 without being chained to your computer or to a phone or on a Zoom call? This thought is something that I've grappled with over the past year. Imagine if you could provide advice at scale. What if subject matter experts could support a hundred or even a thousand times more people without spreading themselves too thinly? Well, advances in artificial intelligence are making this a reality. Through virtual mentors and coaches, AI coaches showcase the art of what's possible when combining human intelligence with the expertise of machine learning. They allow seasoned professionals like you and me to train customised coaches using decades of content, data and experience. In turn, these AI coaches can provide tailored coaching and guidance twenty-four seven now I've been developing my own AI coach, focused exclusively on supporting agency owners just like you to grow your agency in a profitable, sustainable and enjoyable way. Now, I've had a few full starts, but now we're on a robust platform and we're actually beta testing. My coach called AskRobAnything, which is trained on my entire body of work.

Rob Da Costa:

Now I'll be sharing more about my journey of building ask Rob anything later in this episode, including all the mistakes I've made. So stick around to learn more about the rise of AI coaches and how this emerging technology can transform your expertise, sharing and supporting your agency and your clients.

Rob Da Costa:

I'm Rob Costa and this is the agency Accelerator podcast. As someone who has stood in your shoes, having started, grown and sold my own agency, I know just how it feels in the ups and downs of agency life. So this podcast aims to ease your journey just a little by sharing mine and my guests experiences and advice as you navigate your way to growing a profitable, sustainable and enjoyable business.

Rob Da Costa:

Okay, so that intro was quite a bold claim and of course, we are seeing AI absolutely everywhere. I don't really want to jump on the AI bandwagon too much today because I can't claim that I'm an expert any more than the fact that I use a lot of AI tools to support the running of my business. But I have been really interested in developing an AI version of myself, which I've called AskRobAnything. So let's kick this off by giving you a bit of a definition of what I mean by an AI coach, because it's a term that you might not have really heard much yet, but trust me, you are going to hear a lot about it in the forthcoming year. So AI coaches are like virtual assistants powered by artificial intelligence that provide customised coaching and advice by understanding the user's goals, needs, challenges and pains. Now they are trained on data and the expertise to provide personalised guidance and support 24/7 rather than just using the general web as their source of information and advice like chat, GBT and all those tools do. Now, the really interesting thing about an AI coach is that they don't just answer your question, but a good tool is going to ask you questions and dig into the challenge that you've got to understand the context before it gives you an answer. Just like I would do if I were coaching you face-to-face, one-on-one.

Rob Da Costa:

So that's what an AI coach is. Now, over the past sort of year or so, obviously, AI has been going at a crazy rate of development and rapid advances in capabilities in NLP are allowing for more natural language conversations to take place. And indeed, an AI coach will be trained on your communication style as well. Just like Ask Rob anything is my goal of you using a tool would be that you would get an answer in terms of content, but also in terms of style and delivery, in exactly the same way as you would get an answer if you were talking to me. Now, this deep learning in how AI coaches work means that they can interpret the user's needs, ask questions, and then provide the right advice and the right context. And of course, growth in computational power makes real-time coaching interactions possible. And there are lots of exciting things coming down the line that I'll tell you about that I think are going to make it even more humanlike in our interactions. So I know this is obviously of interest to me, and maybe it's of interest to you because you might want to have your own personal coach, but let's look at some other use cases that might inspire you to think about how you could use an AI coach actually to support your clients.

Rob Da Costa:

So, first of all, we can use a coach to enhance our client service and support by automating lots of those commonly asked questions and making the answers available to our clients anytime, any place. Twenty-four seven. Now, if you have a community of some kind, like I do, like I have myself running agency membership, then you can obviously provide expert guidance to your community members. Again, if you provide any kind of learning to your audience, then you can continue that support afterwards by delivering personalised learning, training and coaching at scale. Another really interesting use case is to capture all the knowledge that you have as the agency owner and then make that knowledge available to your team whenever they need it. So now you've got a way of sharing your knowledge with everybody else without them always coming to you to seek advice and guidance because then they'll be able to get it from your AI coach. And of course, an AI coach will be able to share tools, templates, advice and documents. And this is something that AskRobAnything does and kind of what makes it rather different to other sort of AI tools and more generic tools that are out there.

Rob Da Costa:

So, talking of Ask Rob anything, let me tell you a little bit about my story of building my own coach. Ask Rob anything. As well as some of the trials and tribulations along the way. So I've been hard at work creating my own AI coach specifically for my agency community, and I'm calling him or her. I'm not quite sure what I should say. Ask Rob anything because kind of it says what it does on the tin. I want you to be able to ask me anything, anytime and get a decent answer. Now, AskRobAnything is trained exclusively on all of my content, all of my courses, all of my tools, all of my templates, all of my podcasts, and all of my blogs.

Rob Da Costa:

In fact, so far, I've uploaded over 1200 pieces of content and questions and answers. The goal of this tool is to leverage my 30-plus years of agency experience and make it accessible to a much wider audience than I possibly can when it's just me directly sharing that advice. So, in the background, the way this works is you upload your content, it translates that content into kind of the typical question that would be asked and then the answer. And then I can monitor what people are asking in the background cheque, whether I think the answer is a good answer and I can edit the answer. If not, and of course, if I see people asking questions that are not based on the content I've already uploaded, then I can upload content on that. What makes this really unique is it's not just answering questions, as I said earlier, it's coaching you. So it's digging into the challenge you have, and then it's providing an answer, and where appropriate, it's sharing videos, it's sharing tools, it's sharing templates, and then it's showing you how to actually complete those templates. For example, now, I've had a bit of a false start with this because I'm a bit of a tech geek and I love playing with new tools.

Rob Da Costa:

And last year a tool came along that promised to be able to do this. So I started developing that tool. But like a lot of things, I guess, in marketing, but specifically with AI, there is a lot of hype at the moment and sometimes the platforms aren't quite living up to the hype. They're what they hope it will be in maybe a year's time, but it's not where it is today. And so that led me to a bit of a full stop where I had to switch platforms because the platform I was using really wasn't delivering good enough answers. It wasn't enabling me to kind of edit and train the AI tool in my style and to answer questions that I wanted in my way. So I had to switch platforms and kind of start again. But now I'm on a platform that is exciting.

Rob Da Costa:

I've got direct access to the founders of this platform and I've seen the exciting roadmap that they have coming down the road. Now, what I've learned about this is it's not about the quantity of content that you upload, but it's about the quality of training that you give the tool. And like I say, I'm trying to train it to not only give you an answer but give you an answer in exactly the same way I would as if you were having a one-to-one coaching session with me. And so I think that the opportunity for these AI tools is really exciting, both for me helping people like you, but also for you helping your audience. Now, when I started creating AskRobAnything, I had two use cases in mind, but it actually turns out that there's a third one as well. So let me share with you those two use cases first of all. So first of all, I want to create AskRobAnything as a standalone tool, as a standalone coach that will enable you to access my knowledge at a very cost-effective price. Think sort of like 20 pounds a month as opposed to 1000 pounds a month if you were working with a coach, one-to-one.

Rob Da Costa:

So that's the first sort of use case and that's my plan. We haven't launched it yet, but that's my plan with the tool, which will happen kind of in the spring of 24. The second thing that we are doing already is I want it to be a supplementary way for my self-running agency members to access me. Of course, it doesn't replace me, but it does mean that I'm available to them. Ask any question, big or small. If they can't find something in the resource library, then they can ask Rob anything and he will share with them the content that they're looking for. So not only is it a great way of supporting them, but it's also a great way of searching the content in my program using AI. Now, the third slightly surprising benefit and use case of putting AskRobAnything into action is the fact that by putting all of my knowledge of 30-plus years, as I said, I've put over 1200 pieces of content into the system so far.

Rob Da Costa:

The actual coach is helping me answer my client's questions quickly, and obviously, I can't remember everything to do with 1200 pieces of content. And to be honest, the types of questions that my audience is asking and the answers that ask Rob anything are giving are 90% of the way that I would answer the question anyway. So it's really saving me a lot of time. So if someone asks me a question now, I put it into AskRobAnything, it gives me an answer, then I edit that answer and then I share the question with the audience. Now, obviously, I want my audience to go straight to AskRobAnything and know that it's a trusted partner it will give them accurate advice and it won't hallucinate like chat GBT and so on does, and it will share the correct links. I've obviously got to kind of build awareness and get people comfortable with that. And that leads me to the next section of this podcast, which is all about adoption because this is the really challenging part to get people thinking about adopting and creating an uptake of using an AI coach. I know how powerful these tools are, but that doesn't mean people will adopt them right away.

Rob Da Costa:

And there's a whole lot of education that needs to happen. After all, if it's not clear why someone would pay for an AI coach rather than for example, using chat GBT for free, then of course they're not going to do it. But of course, as you all know from listening to this, the answer is in the quality of the content and the coaching approach, rather than just answering and of course sharing tools and templates as well. But we have to educate the market, and I'm always really wary about being the person who educates the market because you need a lot of clout to do that. But of course, it's not just me that's doing it. And I do believe that as this year progresses, the idea of having an AI coach will become more and more mainstream and more accepted. And when I've spoken to some people who are more visionary than me about this, they believe that we'll all have coaches on our phones and on our computers, whether that be a health coach, or a fitness coach, or a food coach, or a business coach, or a life coach. We're going to all have these AI versions that are supporting us in our whole lives.

Rob Da Costa:

Now, on the other hand, I also know that as an agency owner, it can be really isolating and it can be really complex. Scaling a business on your own. There are so many moving parts to do with clients and hiring the right people operations growth and planning and everything else. And even when you've got partners, it's tough to find expert guidance available all hours just to bounce ideas off. As I often hear, it can be lonely at the top. And of course, not everyone can afford their own expert business coach. And that's why I'm implementing an AI coach trained exclusively on the ins and outs of building a profitable agency. And I believe that it's going to be a game changer for all agency owners of all shapes and sizes.

Rob Da Costa:

But as with any solution, you need to integrate using something like this into your regular routines. So if this sounds inspirational to you and you are thinking about using a coach, or you want your clients to, and trust me, you will at some point. Here are a few tips so if you're using your coach through a web browser, then make it your home page and start your day checking in with your AI coach, checking on priorities and the challenges ahead for the day and then let their outside lens help strategize and prioritise with you. If you share your daily KPIs or your monthly KPIs with your coach then it can give you recommendations on improving them. And of course, you then need to make sure you are implementing them because it's not going to sit there and make you do that. You can debrief with your coach on recent wins and losses and concerns to get constant better guidance and improve the way that you do things. Something that I think is coming down the line that's going to be really exciting is that your AI coach can almost nudge you to do things so you can enable notifications on it. For example, if you were setting your goals for the week, it could check in with you on a Wednesday and say, how are you getting on with those goals? And then on Friday, you can debrief with your coach to talk about what worked and what didn't work and how you might improve that the following week.

Rob Da Costa:

And I think once we get into the habit of using our coach, then pretty soon chatting with your AI agency mentor and coach will feel second nature, providing you guidance advice at every step of the way to accelerate your agency's smooth growth and not to feel like you are alone. But of course, we need to form new habits and that means using your coach every day. Now, as I've said, I'm not suggesting that AI coaches will replace humans, and I think the ideal scenario in 2024 and beyond may well be a blend of AI and human coaching where you can afford it. But as I've said, not everyone can afford 1000 plus pounds a month for a coach. But most people can afford to spend, say, 20 pounds a month on an AI coach. Given my positive experiences so far of developing AskRobAnything, I can see more agencies creating their own customised AI assistants trained on their content and their data, not only for their clients but also for their teams. One thing that I've been able to do is get my VA team, my remote workers who clearly don't have the knowledge of my business as I do, to use AskRobAnything to help create social media posts and to help write emails, because it's doing it in the style of Rob, which is fantastic. So that's a benefit you'll be able to have with your teams like roll out a knowledge base that can share the intimate knowledge you have and give them access to that same knowledge.

Rob Da Costa:

So it's all super exciting and I think there is unlimited potential for the idea of creating an AI coach. So let's just wrap this up by sharing some thoughts about AI coaching. Now, first of all, there might be a better or a different term than using AI coaching. I'm not even sure having AI in the title helps very much because everything is AI, this, that and the other, right? So anyway, there might be a different category that appears, but I'm using that term right now. I certainly believe that AI coaches have an exciting future ahead as this technology continues to mature and develop. So here are a few ways that I see AI coaches evolving. So, first of all, I think we're going to keep developing more personalised and contextual-based advice. With advances in natural language processing, future AI coaches will become better at truly understanding the context and each individual's unique needs, goals, challenges and situations.

Rob Da Costa:

This will allow the advice and guidance provided to be highly tailored and very specific. And this is what really excites me about AskRobAnything because it doesn't just answer questions, it coaches you to dig into your challenge in more detail and then guide you with a very specific solution. And this is only going to get better. Now, I think the second point is the fact that the AI idea of coaching is going to expand across more industries. I think there are some pioneering industries that are starting to adopt AI coaching, and I hope the marketing agency space is one of those. But over the next few years, as I've said, we're going to see a proliferation of AI coaches across many more fields, from healthcare to finance, from education and so on. And I feel that I am at the beginning of this journey in the agency sector and we've got to get you guys comfortable with the idea of having an AI coach and most importantly, using it as part of your everyday workflow. So what are your thoughts on that? What do you feel about having an AI coach? I'd love to hear from you.

Rob Da Costa:

So do drop me an email, I'll put my email address in the show notes, but it's just robert@dacostacoaching.co.uk, I'd love to hear from you. Thirdly, I think AI is going to get integrated into everything. It's going to get integrated into wearables and biometrics. I think the potential for future AI coaches to move beyond just conversational interfaces and connect with wearable devices to factor individuals' real-time health, emotional state, stress levels and more into recommendations is going to be really exciting. And you can just see how everything is going to sort of integrate together into this one big holistic solution. I think there's going to be coach-to-coach collaboration. As more AI coaches are developed and put into practice, I could see networks emerging, allowing different AI coaches to collaborate and share insights on complex issues, drawing from their specific expertise.

Rob Da Costa:

So that's going to be kind of really exciting and maybe a little bit scary as well. And then the last point is more journey-based guidance. I think as AI gets better, it's going to move away from a simple one-question, one-answer, and it's going to get much better at guiding you through multi-step journeys and conversations, anticipating challenges and adapting guidance for the best outcome for you. So that, again, is really exciting. I think the next decade is going to reveal all sorts of advancements in how AI can mentor, teach and support at scale. However, accessing specialised expertise and customer advice is already tangibly benefiting many people today. The people I have in my beta group and also my membership who are using AskRobAnything are already giving me really great feedback, as well as obviously feedback on features they'd like to see coming down the line. So while things are going to advance, guys, it is here today.

Rob Da Costa:

And that is really exciting, both from my perspective, but also from your perspective, and our imagination kind of is the limiting factor of how we could use this to best help our customers. So, as you can see, in conclusion, AI is already really revolutionising how I run my business. I admit that I am a tech geek, so stuff like this really fascinates me. But as I said, I'm already getting great feedback from my community and my beta testers. Now when you think about this, I used to just do one-to-one coaching and when I did that face-to-face coaching, I could have maybe a maximum of 20 clients at any one time. Now I coach through my group coaching programme, the self-running agency and maybe I can reach 100 agencies that way. But just imagine how many people I can impact through AskRobAnything. 500,000? 10,000? This is what's truly exciting and I'm excited to see where this technology goes next and find even more ways for me to embrace it, but also for you to embrace it.

Rob Da Costa:

AI coaching platforms provide a way forward for seasoned professionals like myself and you to exponentially share our knowledge and better support our clients, our community and other people on their growth journeys. By training an AI assistant or an AI coach or mentor like AskRobAnything. Using all of my content I can perpetuate my expertise to guide others twenty-four seven and it truly doesn't need me to be there. So no more me scrambling around and working hours to make sure I'm responding to everybody in a timely manner. And whilst AskRobAnything specialises in working with marketing agencies and marketing agency ownership and growth, imagine what's possible when agencies start to build their own AI coach to support their clients. The opportunity to receive highly personalised, niched advice on demand already seems like science fiction, but AI coaching is making it a reality. Well, I hope sharing my firsthand experience of creating AskRobAnything, the good, the bad and the ugly shows how attainable and practical it is to leverage AI. And I hope it's inspiring you to think about how you can use it with your clients.

Rob Da Costa:

Whether you are a one-person agency or a 50-person agency, I think it is really exciting. Now if you want to be the first to hear about the developments of Askrob anything and indeed be the first to hear when we go live, then make sure you've joined my waitlist which can be found at anything waitlist so that's dacostacoaching.co.uk/AskRobAnything waitlist all one word. So anyway, hope you found today really useful. If you did, please make sure you have hit the subscribe button. Share the episode with your colleagues and I'd love you to leave a review because as you know that helps me reach more people or makes the algorithm show the podcast to more people. But other than that, have a great rest of your week, and I will see you next Thursday for the next episode of the Agency Accelerator podcast.

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