The Fourth Industrial Revolution & Its Impact on Coaching

The 1st industrial revolution was when we began using water and steam-powered mechanized production. The 2nd was when electrical power created mass production.  The 3rd was when electronics and information technology was used to automate production.  And now the 4th is a fusion of technologies that are blurring the lines between physical, digital and biological spheres.

But what does that really mean for us?

This fusion allows massive amounts of data to be available to us than ever before.  So much data in fact that we will not be able to physiologically or capacity-wise process it and use it accurately without modifying our organizational structures and behaviors.   The 4th Industrial Revolution will impact everyone’s jobs.  It has been touted that it will eliminate 6% of today’s jobs, and new jobs will emerge such as data translator roles between data sources and business units.

Although I am not in any way shape or form a futurist or an expert in the Industrial Revolution, I do know it is having and will continue having an impact on the coaching services industry in regard to the topics identified by our clients and the identified requirements from our customer organizations.

5 potential development topics on the horizon for coaching engagements

A new twist on inclusion in the workforce.

The new jobs and skill changes will require leaders to be more adept at determining the full extent of their team members capacity and potential. This will go beyond a conversation around job descriptions and positions to fill.  Leaders will have to frequently realign people and jobs to address the fusion of technologies, the massive amounts of data available and the speed of the trends that are coming without disrupting business.

Advancing ways to support all types of customer interactions.

The new “customer requirements” will generate a need to support customers in a multitude of ways and in ways we haven’t even thought of today.  A culture of continuous innovation to address these new customer demands is expected to become more urgent. Leaders cannot mandate innovation, listening to customers and interpreting appropriate solutions.  It has to be developed in people with the right base skill set.

Disrupting digital replacement of human interactions by focusing on meaningful conversation and healthy verbal conflict.

As we have seen in the more recent generations, the use of technology has replaced person to person communications. The downside is clearly seen in the vast possible interpretations and misplaced meaning making when we only use technology to communicate.  We have already seen a need to choose the vehicle for communications more wisely.  And will begin to see more emphasis on creating an opportunity for a more healthy person to person communications. Leaders will need to purposefully develop different skills to navigate these upcoming challenges.

Increasing agility in leaders to address the velocity of innovation and the constant surprise of what is next.

Yes, the world trends are coming in and moving into mainstream or out faster than we have ever seen. Leaders who are often surprised by something that will impact their business tomorrow will become obsolete.  The visionary executing leader will be one that anticipates change and adapts quickly.  The new leader will be intent on developing the right network to see these changes early and bring them to the attention and creativity of their teams to assess, determine impact and address or not address quickly.  The new leader will inspire innovation at all levels of the organization.

Effectively challenging assumptions and norms inside and outside of organizations.

The amount of economic, social and environmental change will then create a need for organizations to constantly review and challenge the way things are done now.  We say we do this today, but how often do you the leader ask the questions to challenge and/or test your ways?  Is it annually?  Quarterly?  Every few years?  Will this be enough to stay current in the future under the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

These topics are ones that I expect to hear more frequently from our executive leader clients and customer organizations.  The coaching approach will not change much but the discussion topics may change dramatically.  We look forward to asking the best questions we can to assist leaders in challenging and developing themselves and their skills to act more often with the future than react after the future is here.

At Kinetic Insights, our PathFinders are skilled in helping leaders unleash the greatness in themselves and in their organizations. Call or email us for a quick discussion that just might put you and your team on the path to significant change.

Gail A. Froelicher, CEO and Founder of Kinetic Insights, is an experienced executive with a proven and consistent record of established and emerging technology businesses. Throughout her 30 year career she has been successful in key leadership positions by motivating and developing teams that stress quality, integrity and respect for associates and business partners. View full bio