AI coaches teach “questions” rather than answers: Exploring how to improve organizational culture

I heard the news on that Coach A, a pioneer in Japanese coaching, has released “AI Coaching”.


The author is the third generation of a 71-year-old small and medium-sized company that operates a precision processing business in Miyagi Prefecture, but when I took over the family business in 2015, I was wondering what business succession means to inherit, and what is most important for business development. I thought deeply about what things were. At that time, the answer he came up with in his own way was organizational culture. Read more on


According to Funkyadjunct, Originally, our company didn’t have many meetings in the conference room, and many decisions were made by casual chats here and there.I felt that this free company culture was a source of strength, so I took the plunge and changed the positions and hierarchical relationships within the company. By abolishing the system and intentionally creating an atmosphere that was conducive to conversation and increasing opportunities for dialogue and small talk, business performance improved and the system became capable of creating innovative technologies. Given this author’s background, I chose organizational culture as the theme for this article.

Learn “coaching” after business succession. Surprised by the appearance of an AI coach.

Coaching was helpful in making decisions and formulating management policies at the major milestone of business succession. Through a program called DCD (Driving Corporate Dynamism) provided by Coach A, an executive coaching firm, I experienced dialogue with a coach for the first time and learned about coaching myself. The position of president of a small to medium-sized company involves a lot of work, including miscellaneous duties, but in my case, I value dialogue with employees the most. One-on-one conversations with all employees are helpful in discovering their potential and supporting their growth. It’s also an opportunity for me as a coach to learn and realize a lot, and I’m working hard to improve my skills as I believe that the president’s coaching skills will likely determine the future of my company.


For me, who thought that coaching was all about dialogue between people, it was shocking news that Coach A was releasing AI coaching. We therefore spoke to Yoshiyuki Suzuki, President of Coach A, which provides coaching in Japan and five locations around the world, including the United States, to achieve organizational change.


“Up until now, our company has mainly provided services to executives and managers of large companies, and we have supported the reform of many organizations. Mr. Akabane is aware that when the top management changes, the organization changes. As I said, the larger the organization, the more important it becomes for not only the boss but also many people in the organization to understand coaching. Our desire for more people to experience this change has grown stronger,” says President Suzuki. And continued like this.

“In order to realize our company’s purpose of delivering the value of dialogue and coaching to people all over Japan and around the world, we knew that in addition to people, we needed to utilize some kind of technology.On the other hand, this is also true, Mr. Akabane. As we have realized, the skills of the coach are also important.To achieve results through coaching, we need highly skilled coaches.We have approximately 130 people working as coaches and provide high-quality coaching. “We believe that by combining human coaching with machine coaching, we can maximize the effectiveness of both services and achieve organizational change on an unprecedented scale and speed.” (President Yoshiyuki Suzuki)

Things changed after the appearance of ChatGPT What the AI ​​coach teaches us

President Suzuki has been experimenting with various possibilities and gathering information for more than 10 years. I think the AI ​​industry can be divided into before and after ChatGPT, just like before and after. Although there were apps for interacting with AI before, they were not at the level where you could have deep conversations with them. However, the situation changed completely after ChatGPT appeared in 2022. I immediately felt that this could be used.


President Suzuki met a Finnish AI coaching development and provider company at the Davos conference in 2023, and began joint development of a Japanese version.

If you ask a question to ChatGPT, it will usually give you an answer and bring you knowledge, but what the AI ​​coach gives us users is a question, and what it brings is a change in behavior.


“Question” – People unconsciously ask themselves questions all the time. From the moment you woke up in the morning, what was the weather like today? What should I wear? What should I do next? What should I eat for breakfast? We will not answer each and every question that arises from within, but we will take action.


For example, what is the weather like today? If you ask me a vague question, the first thing I’ll do is open the curtains. What’s the temperature today? If that’s the question, I might open the window. Another question is, what is the daytime weather like when you go out today? If so, I would probably check the weather forecast on my smartphone or TV. If the type of question changes, the behavior will change.


Even in business settings, we continually repeat unconscious and conscious questions and actions. By asking questions, we gain new perspectives and insights, which lead to behavioral changes. If the quality of the question changes, the quality of the action will also change. Through this repetition, self-actualization and organizational change are achieved, and a culture is fostered. Considering coaching in this way, it seems that the value of asking questions is guaranteed even if the role of asking questions is replaced by an AI rather than a human.

Furthermore, according to President Suzuki, AI coaches have the following advantages:


Coaching tailored to company-wide organizational issues can be provided to the entire organization, regardless of the number of employees. It can also provide opportunities for dialogue on topics that people tend to hesitate to coach. Daily sessions and reflections can help you organize your thoughts in real time. A huge amount of anonymized coaching data can be provided as a report on ongoing corporate issues.

Questions arising from techno-anxiety: What are the conditions for a leader?

As the term “techno-anxiety” suggests, it is a normal reaction to feel anxious and wary about the introduction of new technology, and in a sense, it is also a healthy reaction. Although I myself don’t want to lag behind the evolution of technology, I feel confused because I want to be cautious about the wave of AI in everything.


Now, the question arose within me: “What is the purpose of using coaching, and what kind of person do I want to become in the future?” To change his perspective, we asked President Suzuki, a coaching professional, three questions.

–What do you think are the requirements for a leader?

“A person who sees the future with high resolution and takes action by involving those around him to achieve his goals. A person who can actively work on various changes in the environment.”

–What do you think are the requirements for global human resources?

“A person who can meet others with completely different assumptions, understand and understand their own assumptions and the other person’s assumptions, and overcome hesitation and confusion.As each of us lives in a society, each of us is different. In a global society where we are bound in some sense by different assumptions, it is important to have mutual understanding with people from different social backgrounds.”

──What exactly is coaching?

“The process of gaining the perspective and understanding needed to achieve goals through dialogue.” AI coaches may unearth unknown possibilities from within us. Only you can actually take action and change yourself. The important thing is not whether the coach is human or AI, but the quality and experience that matters. In the interview with President Suzuki, we talked not only about the use of AI, but also about philosophy, religion, world history and culture, and it was a fun time full of intelligence and education that made us forget the time. There is a genre of Korean drama that I am very familiar with, called time slip fantasy, in which the main character travels through time and space, and that is exactly the impression I had of President Suzuki. He felt that this person was someone who had seen both the past and the future. As he sees up close a global leader who looks out over the world and the future in high resolution, he feels like he is starting to take shape a little more in terms of what he wants to become.