Avatar photo

The Metaverse and coaching  

Facebook has recently renamed as Meta, as the internet moves towards the ‘Metaverse’. But what is the Metaverse and what are implications for coaching?

There’s been a lot in the median about the metaverse since Facebook rebranded in October 2021, with tech blogs, podcasts and TV programmes getting very excited about this next evolution of the internet. We have been familiar with searching the internet with Google, and typing in the website we are looking for. More recently we have been able to do this by talking to Alexa, Siri, or Google Assist, so we no longer need to interact through a keyboard.

Through the metaverse we will interact with the internet through avatars in a 3-D virtual world, as if we were a character in a computer game living a second life! Living life through an avatar, an alter-ego, a virtual representation of ourselves, sounds strange and almost ridiculous. But this could have some advantages, we are free to design our online self, we are free to change ourselves when, and how we want. This might be quite liberating.

Some time ago I bought a music speaker with the virtual assistant Alexa. At first, I wondered why would I need this, what will I do with Alexa? After all it came bundled with the music speaker and I didn’t set out to buy it and didn’t want it initially. However, over time it has become very useful, for example, “Alexa, play…”, “Alexa, what’s the time?”, “Alexa, tell me a joke…!” This got me thinking about virtual coaching, could Alexa coach, could a client coach themselves using Alexa, and is Alexa the next iteration of coach development?

Now with the start of the metaverse, will our avatars become the way we coach in the future? Will we meet clients in the metaverse and coach via avatars? Some coaches will say that this is impossible, there is no way that we can develop the rapport and trust needed to coach when we are in a virtual world of avatars. The history of coaching has been face-to-face, one-to-one, so understandably there is resistance to consider the possibility of coaching in the metaverse.

But let’s consider how coaching as changed since Covid and the lockdowns. Before Covid I would travel to meet clients and talk face-to-face. I would drive, catch a train and fly across borders to be in the same room. But with lockdown, face-to-face was no longer possible; everything went online, coaching was via Zoom, Teams, etc. This has now continued for the best part of 2 years, and as coaches we have managed, we adapted, and clients still benefited.

So, when forced, as coaches, we can evolve. Can this be the case with the metaverse, can coaching adapt and evolve to follow the new iteration of the internet? We are at the very start of the metaverse, some coaches will dismiss out of hand the possibility of coaching via an avatar, others will see what develops and consider possibilities of how coaching can adapt as it did when locked down.

Ian Day is course director at the University of Warwick, running the part-time coaching course, from foundation level to postgraduate certificate, postgraduate diploma and full masters. At Warwick our Coaching Programmes, encourage people to consider possibilities and make decisions which are best for them and their clients. Join us for this dialogue, check out our Coaching Programmes by clicking here…