Digital update

road through rocky landscape

24 February 2023

By Ivan Beaumont, EMCC UK Director of Digital

This month I wanted to share an update on the three key developments that have my attention right now. These are the future of the EMCC UK membership software and website; cyber security; and Artificial Intelligence.

EMCC UK membership software and website

We have a project underway to update our Association Management Software (AMS) and integrate it with a reliable, flexible and secure digital content management system (CMS). The AMS provides us with membership, event, communications, reporting and financial management, while the CMS (the website) allows us to create, edit and publish content and bring personalised experiences for all of us.

We’re just completing our due diligence processes prior to the Board choosing which AMS/CMS solution to proceed with, and we expect this to happen in March. You are likely to see significant changes toward the end of 2023 as we begin to go live, and we’ll be sharing regular updates as we progress.

While this project runs, we’re also exploring a further future integration in the form of a community engagement (or member experience) platform that will give all our members the opportunity to connect, interact and collaborate. Our business strategy is to build a strong sense of community for everyone, and our digital strategy will help make this possible.

If you would like to learn more, or get involved in these projects, please get in contact with me: [email protected].

Cyber security

Cyber security is forever in the news. It’s rare today not to notice an occurrence of data disruption or information theft (through social engineering) and the major impact these events have on big name organisations and their customers. However, there are precautions we can all take, and burying our heads in the sand is not one of them.

I recommend you use the free Cyber Essentials Readiness tool developed by IASME for the National Cyber Security Centre. This interactive website will help you look at your own cyber security status and identify improvements. You can then complete the Cyber Essentials certification assessment, as I’ve done with my own business.

My second recommendation is IASME Cyber Assurance, which covers information rather than infrastructure security. This assesses security risk, incident management, data protection, backups, policies and operational management against good practice. The combination of Cyber Essentials and Assurance certification is something that coaching, mentoring and supervision organisations should investigate as a priority.

We’ll share more on this topic through webinars and conversations with cyber security experts later this year. In the meantime, I can recommend a book: Cybersecurity for Coaches and Therapists, by Alexandra Fouracres, an EMCC accredited coach and cyber security expert. It’s a great read.

Artificial Intelligence

Finally, my very favourite topic, Artificial Intelligence (AI). It really is everywhere. However, it really isn’t like a human yet, and we can still classify it as weak or narrow AI that performs specialised tasks. It’s been difficult to avoid news articles about ChatGPT, which was created by research laboratory OpenAI, and made available in November.

ChatGPT generates chat from a huge amount of pre-2022 data. It can even write your essays for you – apparently very convincingly. However, it is full of human error, has access to falsehoods and inappropriate content, and can be biased as well as making false statements, and therefore can’t be trusted. It has a way to go, despite its popularity.

If you do play with it, please don’t share your personal information. Also, do confirm that what it tells you is true before you pass it on, because – for example – it can make up references to articles that don’t exist! This obviously opens up a debate on whether it passes the ethics and GDPR compliance tests. It hasn’t been designed to do that.

I can’t end this topic without a quick mention of AI and Coaching. Strategically, we need to be explorers, and what I mean by that is being curious, and experimenting with things that may enhance our own practice. There will be things that we can then decide to exploit.

For example, AI Coaching can collate diagnostic data, analyse it and create some useful hypotheses. It will be able to read the online room if you are a team coach (i.e. facial expressions). It can send out nudges (reminders), make suggestions, take notes, or record and transcribe sessions. An AI coach will be able to follow simple linear coaching models and approaches such as GROW and Clean Language, making solution-focused coaching accessible to far more people.

The world of coaching has shifted a lot in the last few years, and the AI dimension will continue at pace. I’ll be watching with interest, but we must be cautious, and use this technology ethically and safely.

If you have any questions or wish to chat about any of these topics, please get in touch with me: [email protected].

Image by Robin Worrall on Unsplash