It’s still pretty full-on as a new parent in a new environment. Can’t believe how quickly time passes! 

Leah is 14 months old this week and already running around like a champion! It’s the age that I was most afraid of, simply because of the accute danger of my heart actually melting of cuteness 😉 

I’m immensely greatful every day that I get to work from home and can give her a big hug each time of the day. Though it’s also easy to feel guilty for not spending more quality time with her when she’s so close, and poor thing doesn’t understand that I’m just passing through to fetch a glass of water, and not coming to spend the rest of the afternoon playing with her. 

Professionally, I still haven’t launched the Coaching Lab publicly, so that’s the big work project on the horizon along with the design of my Unit for the Cambridge Masters. Three amazing volunteers have kindly knocked on my door (thanks so much or your support, Ambika, Yozana and Jan!!!) to help me with content production, and I want to do this launch right, so am planning a lot more than I used to. It’s not my forte to deisign a campaign, but I’m trying to find the fun in it, and I really think the Lab deserves to be launched with a bang and lots of attention. If you can/want to help me spread the word in some way, do get in touch, I’m cooking up a few ideas of how this can be a community effort. 

I’ve also recently cut together a video edit for the website and was reminded how much I love sampling, cutting, mixing, and arranging stuff. It’s used to be strictly music, but this process worked pretty similar ways. I even found an old beat I produced around 20 years ago that really worked. It’s when you find yourself doing something in the evening that you really “should” be outsourcing, instead of taking the opportunity to sit on the couch for an hour or two to relax… that’s when you know that you really like something. Amateur or not. Doesn’t matter so often! 

Similar thing right now. It’s late on a Friday and I should really take some time off while the baby is sleeping, but it’s pretty meaningful to me to connect with you, and it’s been a little while since I’ve said hello to this list (keep in mind my weekly email list is still active and I’ve been suprisingly regular and haven’t skipped a week since it’s inception – proud daddy!), so… 

Hello 🙂 Hope you’re well and flourishing!
As always, here are some Nuggets from my mind to yours, and a bunch of new content!
If any of it resonates, make it swing! I’d love to hear from you! 🙂 



ChatGPT: Threat or ally?

Advances in Artificial Intelligence are going to cause the next major paradigm shift. A bit like the Internet changed everything, but on a much larger impact scale, and much faster!

You may or may not have heard about ChatGPT, an AI chatbot that’s been made open to the public to talk to. It very quickly drew in my attention and it’s clear to me that this is a major development.

Google called in a Code Red, and even got the original founders involved to consult on a strategy as it threatens their entire business model.

Imagine, instead of googling something and then having to spend time sifting through the results, you could just ask some follow-up questions, filter results intelligently by just saying what you want, even have the AI draft you an application letter or book you an appointment for something…

Perhaps you ask it to cut down the word count of your essay by 30%, write a pumpkin-themed love poem for your cat Milkshake, or (and this is real) pass your business school exams, or give you decent legal advice?

I’ve talked to a prospective client the other day who said that ChatGPT played a major part in helping him not feel lonely, because he has someone intelligent to talk to about philosophy and science, something that the people he knew just had no interest in at all.

What struck me most, as a coach, is how this AI helped this man learn and develop himself, by being in conversation, and offering both knowledge and literature to feed into his curiosity. This guy seemed to have a relationship with this AI. And he is really grateful for having ChatGPT in his life. The future is now!


Of course it’s gonna take some time until AI is going to be able to help us learn like a coach does, and currently it’s actually experiencing some concerning behaviour, but I reckon in much less time than you might think, chat-based AIs will do a better job than inexperienced coaches do. Starting with well-defined, goal-oriented coaching engagements (this is already the case in some studies), in the not-too-distant future I’m sure it’ll be hard to tell whether you’re chatting with a person or with an AI.

And even when you know its an AI… imagine someone were to have access to millions of coaching conversations, able to analyse, in a nano second, what question might be the most helpful for someone like you in your situation…

I mean, they can’t love you, but they can add tremendous value to your life and career. And they will have read every piece of philosophy, every book, and every research study ever written!

It’s easy to feel threatened by that kind of technology, but think about how technology like the Internet, or Zoom, or even just automated booking systems have levelled up your work…

And now imagine what you could do if you were to utilize the added value that AI had to offer, or even partner with an AI when coaching a client (or any other job, really)…

This is fascinating stuff, and it’s gonna change your world. So I’d encourage you to

 1) take these developments very seriously even if its functionality may seem basic right now,
 2) start thinking about how AI may benefit your job, rather than how it might threaten it, and
 3) talk to your colleagues about this. We grow through conversations, and we generate many of the best ideas in collaboration.

And lastly, maybe you can help me with something:

Who do you think is at the forefront of AI & Coaching developments? I’d love to invite them onto the podcast! We’ve got Jonathan Passmore booked already but there are too many things I want to ask him about already so I’m looking for someone who thinks about nothing else at the moment, ideally.

Everything we’ve been taught was a lie?

In 1969, a healthy 39-year-old man pretended to hear voices and got himself admitted to a closed psychiatric ward in a US hospital. Subsequently, he acts normal but struggles to get released due to his diagnosis of schizophrenia.

The man was a researcher and academic David Rosenhan. He reported half a dozen other such cases in his ground-breaking study ‘On being sane in insane places’ which changed the face of psychiatry and, to this day, is cited hundreds of times each year and is part of the curriculum of pretty much every psychology degree. It even inspired the famous movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest with Jack Nicholson.

Now, the thing is: he made up all the participants of the study and completely misrepresented the circumstances of his own admission!

The following is from a recently published article from History of Psychiatry, and as far as abstracts of scientific journals go, this one’s as engaging as it gets!

  • “The publication of David Rosenhan’s ‘On being sane in insane places’ in Science in 1973 played a crucial role in persuading the American Psychiatric Association to revise its diagnostic manual. The third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) in its turn launched a revolution in American psychiatry whose reverberations continue to this day. Rosenhan’s paper continues to be cited hundreds of times a year, and its alleged findings are seen as crucial evidence of psychiatry’s failings. Yet based on the findings of an investigative journalist, Susannah Cahalan, and on records she shared with the author, we now know that this research is a spectacularly successful case of scientific fraud.” (full article –full story)

Same goes for another hugely ground-breaking study: the famous Stanford Prison Experiment by Philip Zimbardo, in which participants were supposedly randomly assigned as guards or prisoners in a study with little instructions, and the whole thing had to be stopped due to the ensuing violence only a short time into the experiment and suggested human nature to be rather dark. 

But as it turned out, the guards had received precise instructions from Zombardo on how to behave and the whole thing has been thoroughly debunked now.

My colleague, friend and former student Nick Brown, “self-appointed data police cadet” with an excellent blog, recently also pointed to “multiple studies debunking the classic interpretation of the bystander effect, following the revelation that plenty of people saw Kitty Genovese being attacked, but the cops couldn’t be bothered to turn up.”

There are plenty more examples, and it can really undermine the trust in truth and knowledge, which is especially challenging in a world full of deep fakes, misinformation, and increasingly polarising worldviews. So let me say this:

I’m a fan of science. I believe that it’s the best method we have to create knowledge.
And there’s plenty more solid science out there than fraudsters.

But two pointers here:

First: Science is pursued by human beings, and hence not free from human error, unconscious bias, or blatant fraud for personal gain. We got to stay critical. And that can be difficult when it comes to complex datasets. But that doesn’t mean that everything we’ve been taught was a lie. We just need to re-evaluate some things, and the scientific process may take longer than we’d like it to (in the above case, it took 50 years).

And secondly: When you’re talking to someone who’s sitting in front of you (e.g. a coaching client), they might just be the outlier to whatever theory or knowledge you’re tempted to apply.

Psychology is not, and cannot be an exact science. A 95% confidence interval that the results of your study are not due to statistical error are good enough in social sciences, and it’s an accepted statistical method to eliminate the outlier from your data set (since, fair play, they usually mean someone’s misunderstood the questionnaire scoring). But then again this outlier just might be very different to all the other people studied…

And so I don’t think we can, with any certainty disregard someone else’s experience. It’s always worth being curious, and bracketing what we think we know about the world, just for a little while, so we can really listen to people. We sure need more of that in this day and age.

How to partner with an AI as a coach

Artificial intelligence will be an inevitable part of our work and life. Following up from my recent Nugget on ChatGPT, I wanted to share a few promising ways in which coaches may partner with an AI.

Will AI replace coaches? I don’t think so.

That said, a recent quote from the Director of the Stanford Digital Economy Lab, Erik Brynjolfsson, really hit home. He said: “I like the word affected, not replaced. It’s not ‘AI replacing lawyers’. It’s ‘lawyers working with AI’ replacing ‘lawyers who don’t work with AI’”

I don’t think that the same quite applies to coaches, since the practice is a lot more relationship-based.

Though I do think that formulaic, structured and linear coaching methodologies will definitely be offered at scale, and possibly without the oversight of a human coach, due to the cost benefits.

So in the future I’m sure you’ll be able to tap into powerful habit coaching, health and weight loss coaching, book-writing coaching, accountability coaching, even happiness coaching (utilizing a broad range of effective interventions), and I believe that’s a good thing as it will be hugely beneficial for people who couldn’t previously afford to be coached.

But my kind of coaching (existential, person-centered, phenomenological, complex psychological)… AI can help, but will never be able to replace a human relationship.

So how can it help?

Based on a few recent conversations with colleagues (one of which is public), I’ve started the following list of potential partnership opportunities. They are a mix of admin help, business support, and direct work with clients:

  • A virtual AI assistant can help you (in a much more engaging way than automated messages) book meetings, send invoices, follow up payments, upload and categorise session notes, flag disengaged clients, and execute various protocols to upload content or on- and offboard clients into programmes.
  • AI could write up a summary of your coaching session and extract the main insights and action points, then send this to the client along with the transcript or recording, and check in periodically as an accountability buddy.
  • AI can write content based on podcast transcripts or videos. It can also create video snippets from long-form content.
  • AI can scan the latest publications in scientific journals or books and offer your a summary of findings based on your specific interests. It could read it to you while you’re having breakfast each morning.
  • Since AIs now pass business school exams they could analyse the state of your business and offer advice and guidance, draft your tax returns, or even give you decent legal advice.
  • Instead of referring clients to a psychometric or assessment, your AI associate could run your client through a process or questionnaire, offer a feedback session on the results, and then send you a summary of that session (including a transcript for quality insurance).
  • When a client commits to reading a book, AI may accompany them alongside the learning journey, offering reflection prompts, practical exercises, a space to think, and further resources or reading when clients express interest to learn more about particular topics.
  • AI may be a powerful reflection tool for coaches. E.g. recordings of coaching sessions may be fed to an AI to highlight significant moments, and uncover blind spots (through e.g. picking up on facial expressions, physiology, body language, or tonality). AI can also analyse session transcripts to spot patterns in clients’ use of language or logical flaws.
  • Ultimately, in the perhaps-not-too-distant future, I could imagine that an AI could emulate a coach pretty well if we fed it a few decades of digital data, session transcripts, social media output, hours of YouTube content and training videos, email communications, psychometric test results, etc.. Using deep fake technology it could even generate video (this is were it gets a bit scary and I would always want to be really transparent about the difference between me and my AI associate).

The most exciting, and also concerning, possibility is that a client coming to coaching may choose to open up (after the consultation, but before the work commences) and, in addition to telling the coach their story and who they are, open their digital doors to an AI, who would then write up a summary of the client’s personality profile, strengths, and derailers, values, beliefs, political ideology, spiritual orientation, family history, medical profile, mental health flags, career path, etc.

It won’t replace the coach, and we’ll have to work damn hard to bracket all the resulting assumptions to be able to really meet this person, but having access to all this data might be something that both coaches and clients welcome.

Loads of ethical concerns here obviously, but the possibilities are arguably very exciting.

I wonder what you might add to this list? Or whether you’re already utilising AI in some (of these) ways…


Break through?

Coaches often talk about “breakthroughs”.

I remember watching the Tony Robbins docuadvertmentary on Netflix a few years back, amazed and somewhat concerned about how everyone in it was talking about breakthroughs, as if that’s the expectation as part of these events.

How disappointing when you’re committing yourself to a process looking for a breakthrough, and then nothing happens…

The term “transformation” seems to have similar connotations as per some of my recent Coaching Uncaged conversations (e.g. Simon Western or Tatiana Bachkirova). It can set the expectations unrealistically high and add a tonne of pressure.

I know all this, but nonetheless, last week I had my hopes up for such a breakthrough, looking for a sudden and dramatic shift in my relationship to consistency and strategic action.

I was the client in my own Coaching Lab, and my coach for the evening, Siawash, charges his clients upwards of £100.000 for a 1:1 business coaching journey, so I figured I’d put myself in that space and really go for it.

I won’t get into the specifics (if you’re curious, the recording of the session is available to Coaching Lab members), but what it got me thinking about is the word “breakthrough”.

It feels pretty aggressive to me now that I think about it. And I don’t think I want to break through my clients’ paradigms. In many cases that’s quite dangerous actually, and most of the time there’ll be loads of resistance if anyone were to try.

After all, such paradigms exist to protect ourselves, and if attacked (by e.g. an attempted breakthrough), defences usually tighten, regardless of who does the breaking.

Instead of breaking things, I think it’s much more helpful, and effective, to offer an invitation and let the person or part decide what they want to do with that. An invitation to look at something from a different perspective, to try on a new suit, or to get to know some part of yourself that makes you feel really uncomfortable – it can be hard to un-see, or un-experience what follows.

And most importantly, it’s empowering and taps into one of the most important aspects of psychological wellbeing: Autonomy (Ryan & Deci, 2000Ryff & Keyes, 1995).

I didn’t get my breakthrough last week, but I was invited to consider who I would be with and without certain narratives around business and leadership. Food for thought, and valuable ground for reflection.

But to be honest, if Siawash had attempted a “breakthrough”, I think I would have told him, one way or another, and with all due respect, to fuck off! 🙂

Curious as to what you think about this…

Extraordinary expectations – extraordinary results?

I’m still drawing from my recent Coaching Lab session with my podcast partner and High Performance Business Coach Siawash Zahmat as part of Coaching Lab #36, during which I was his client. 

One question he asked me at the very start of the session was: 

        “What would make this session extraordinary for you?”

I had already come in with pretty high expectations based on him charging extraordinary fees, and this question really invited me to dream even bigger about what could change based on this encounter.

Based on my experience, it really made me think about how to set, manage or expand clients’ expectations when they come to coaching. 

On one hand, I appreciate that it can be super helpful to invite people to think bigger, to create an experience of a future where huge shifts will have happened for them and they live their best lives, and just for a moment to drop all of their stories about what might hold them back, to create a powerful vision of their future. The sparkle in someone’s eyes based on such a line of inquiry can move mountains, shift the entire focus of the conversation, and also make someone enthusiastically part with whatever you charge them for coaching. 

On the other hand, a question like that can also set unrealistic expectations (especially if you’re asking about this session, rather than from the coaching relationship as a whole). When the results don’t end up being particularly extra-ordinary, the breakthrough doesn’t occur, and the client is more or less in the same space after the session (keep in mind that most of the time, the big shifts happen in between sessions, and they take time), setting high expectations without managing them can end up in frustration and even blaming oneself or the coach for not fulfilling the potential that’s inherent in such a session. It’s a risky question to ask in that way. 

So the key here seems to be to introduce or follow that sort of question up, by putting it into the context of the coaching agreement. Something like: 

“Now that we’ve got a powerful vision to work towards, and arrived at a best-case example for our time together (and beyond), how can we use this to inspire you? How lightly or tightly do you want to hold on to this vision? What’s our time frame for letting this transformation take place? What do you bring to the table that’ll help you? What’s in the way? How sedimented are these obstacles? Where might we start to take one small step towards this?” And so on…

In my business coaching session, it wasn’t followed, because we only had the one session, and working on complex issues takes time, and so I’ve left somewhat disappointed. 

Well, good thing that I know coaching, and I knew the coach well, and I’ve not paid for this session, so it’s easy for me to walk away having taken lots of learning about coaching. 

In a real life setting, asking such a powerful question (without considering the potential impact from multiple angles) may backfire, and add a lot of pressure to both the coach and client. I hear the stories from coaches regularly in supervision, and experiencing it myself was a powerful reminder about why reflecting on whatever powerful tool you’re being encouraged to use by coaches out there is an important part of our practice. 

Yes, it is great to set a big dream and an extraordinary vision, but we also need to be careful with this. It can, on occasion, do more harm than good.

What I’m listening to

Years ago a (very very) good friend decided to pass on all of his vinyl collection to me as he moved continents and could no longer justify carrying them all with him each time he moved. It’s mostly french HipHop and I’m still finding absolute gems in there. This one’s perhaps my favourite and while it’s been a favourite of mine for a long time, I’m enjoying rediscovering this album: 


New content

Loads of new content again since I sent out my last Nuggets. 

Coaching Uncaged Season Finale!

I can’t believe it’s been another season of hosting Animas Centre for Coaching’s flagship podcast Coaching Uncaged. In this final episode of Season 13 we decided to turn the tables and so the Founder and CEO of Animas Centre for Coaching, Nick Bolton, stepped into the hosting chair to interview mefor a change. I share my journey as a coach and supervisor, my perspectives on some of the key questions facing coaching, what the future might bring, what drives my own work, what I’ve learned from two seasons of interviewing thought leaders in this industry, and many more topics. Enjoy!

You can watch or listen to this episode.

New episodes out! Coaching & Psychedelics #13
Our podcast Talking about Coaching & Psychedelics is back with new episodes!!

After some considerable “life happening”, some restructuring in the team and a resulting hiatus, we’re back with 3 new episodes on the shelf. The first one is with the Programme Leader of the Certificate in Transpersonal Coaching at ALEC, Jevon Dangeli. His embodied presence is a joy to watch, his knowledge and expertise far reaching, and we’ve explored the many meeting points between transpersonal psychology, psychedelics, and coaching.

Find the full episode on YouTube and all major podcasting platforms, as well as a few snippets here.

A coach’s journey of trust, passion and focussing on strengths

I’ve made myself available for an interview to the good folks at Animas Centre for Coaching recently as to support their community of coaches by telling my story, and the wonderful Brinsley Kazak offered me a beautifully held space and lots of questions to explore my journey into coaching and how I operate in this space. You can watch the interview here.

In Animas’s words:

Yannick’s vast experience resulted in an abundant conversation full of timeless and thought provoking nuggets for every coach.

Topics include:

– Describing himself as a coach
– Defining Existential coaching
– Trusting and doing what you love
– Working through selling and money beliefs
– Scaling his business
– Focusing on strengths
– Joining Animas and ICCS
– Not having a traditional niche
– Coaching someone with more experience
– Owning the Coach title
– Pricing his services
– On remaining accessible
His biggest lessons and influences

Coaching demos gallore!

Did you know we’ve got over 30 full-session coaching demos in The Vault of the Coaching Lab now?! All of them include a 45-minute coaching session as well as 45 minutes of reflections and conversations with the coach and client, and feature a huge range of different approaches, from existential to positive psychology, business coaching and mentoring on ethical sales to somatic body work, Internal Family Systems Coaching and psychedelic integration work.

They’re available to our Coaching Lab members only, but everybody can find an overview of all recorded sessions, including a brief synopsis and many detailed Lab Reports here.

I’m still running a pre-launch promotion exclusive to Nugget readers until we launch publically in April. Just use coupon code “NUGGETS” when you check out at www.GoCoachingLab.com to claim a 30% discount.

Learn NLP from a true master of the craft

This isn’t my content, but I really like and highly respect Devon White, who created the NLP Practitioner Certificate for our friends at the School of Positive Transformation, and I believe it’s super super valuable for any coach and communicator out there.

You may remember that A) Devon was one of the teachers I recruited for the Accredited Certificate in Integrative Coaching and his demo and style just blew me away, and B) we’ve invited him to showcase his “Consciousness Wizardry” in the Coaching Lab on 2nd May 2023.

Now I should add that NLP is a little controversial as it can feel somewhat “culty” and lacks a proper research base. Nevertheless, it’s got a super interesting history as its founders Bandler and Grinder (who have since gone separate ways in dispute over commercial issues) set out to imitate the most effective and successful therapists at the time and package their interventions into replicable techniques and exercises, which obviously offer a lot of value. It also offers the potential for anybody do open up a lot of psychological depth for quite vulnerable people, where I think a lot of bad reputation comes from. So when you find someone you trust to teach you about NLP concepts, you may have hit gold; and I believe this course is quite the nugget (pun intended).

If you’d like to learn more about the training, and sign up at the incredible launch price then hop over to the course website here. The “course introduction video” (about half-way down the page) is well worth checking out.


Catch me live

  • 4th April: Coaching Lab #37 – Psychodynamic Coaching with MCC Julia Rogers. Come grab a ticket or sign up as a member.
  • 26th April: Talking about Coaching live: We’re still broadcasting our podcast recording sessions live on Facebook. Next time we’ll go live is scheduled for 26th April. 
  • 20th-22nd September: IPPA World Congress of Positive Psychology – My abstract got accepted and I’ll be talking about Coaching & Psychedelics at this exciting conference in Vancouver this summer. – https://www.ippaworldcongress.org/
  • Feb – April: AC Live 6-Session Coaching Lab – I’m coaching someone for 6 sessions and you can be a fly on the wall for these sessions. We’re 3 sessions in now, but the recordings are being made available so I reckon you could still join us


And that’s it. If you’re reading this, I appreciate that you’re still with me and I hope you enjoyed these Nuggets. If you can’t get enough, I’ve uploaded all past editions to my website’s blog and you can sign up to get weekly Nuggets here! And again, if any of it resonates, make it swing! I’d love to hear from you 🙂

With Love

Yannick Jacob

As a coach, mediator, coach trainer & supervisor and as a creative, critical thinker who’s determined to introduce effective programmes to schools, companies and individuals, Yannick helps his clients explore their world, build a strong foundation of who they are and as a result grow, resolve conflicts and embrace life’s challenges.