By Cloé Caron

In 2014, I launched my own coaching business, o2Coaching. It was the start of an extraordinary adventure, an opportunity to make a real difference with engaged, passionate, and sophisticated clients. Since then, we have supported hundreds of organizations in the strategic development of their leaders, both women and men, and their teams. My clients often call me the ‘CEO Whisperer,’ recognizing my strategic impact on organizations.

This perspective, developed through strategic coaching, development, and support, along with my books, podcasts, and other resources, gives me a deep understanding of leadership trends and needs. Clearly, I don’t have a crystal ball, but it seems evident that it is crucial for our current and future leaders to position themselves well in this world where AI is becoming increasingly significant if they want to remain relevant and play their roles within our organizations and society.

Here is my assessment and projection in terms of leadership.

Assessment of leadership evolution over the past decade

1. The 1950s-1980s were dominated by a hierarchical and authoritarian leadership style. Leaders were often seen as undisputed authority figures, making unilateral decisions and giving directives without consultation. The focus was on control and centralized management of human resources.

2. Approaching the 2000s, there was a shift towards a more participative and collaborative leadership style. Leaders began to recognize the importance of consulting their teams and promoting participative decision-making. The emphasis was on employee empowerment, delegation of responsibilities, and fostering a more inclusive work environment.

3. Since 2014, I have observed that organizations are seeking tools that help their leaders move towards transformational and adaptive leadership, focusing on inspiration, motivation, and creating a common vision. Leaders are becoming change facilitators, encouraging innovation and adaptation to new technologies and market trends. There has been a growing recognition of the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in leadership, as well as the need to develop emotional and social intelligence skills. Are leaders prepared for tomorrow?

What does the future hold for leaders?

4. Undoubtedly, the leaders of tomorrow must be able to adapt to new technologies and harness their benefits. However, as we move towards an increasingly automated future, it is imperative to question what will truly distinguish human leadership from artificial intelligence. What essence of leadership will remain intact amid these rapid and pervasive technological changes? What will be our Unique Strategic Contribution (USC) as leaders in this changing landscape?

But what will really differentiate us from AI? What essence of leadership will remain? What will be our USC as leaders tomorrow?

5. Beyond developing ‘intellectual’ skills such as critical thinking, complex problem-solving, and creativity, it will be even more important to master our human qualities and abilities. The deep capacity to inspire, create meaning, and motivate teams in a rapidly changing environment will be prerequisites for effective leadership.

Are we well positioned to be the leaders of tomorrow?

6. A close examination of current leadership practices reveals that we must act now. Despite remarkable progress in leadership over recent years, many leaders still rely too heavily on their technical expertise, which I call the ‘skills gap.’ Too often, the focus is primarily on tasks, forgetting that we lead humans. It is important to recognize that the human aspect of leadership, what I call the qualities of a leader-coach such as empathy, active listening, and emotional connection, will be our calling card for establishing trust and achieving meaningful results with teams.

What tasks can we delegate to AI to focus on our leadership essence, our USC?

7. With AI, Patricia or Patrick no longer need to worry about:

  • Developing a staffing system.
  • Analyzing data for strategic decision-making.
  • Managing planning and resource allocation.
  • Preparing reports and financial analyses.
  • Predicting market trends and identifying opportunities.
  • Monitoring and managing team performance.
  • Handling logistics and supply chain management.
  • Analyzing risks and developing mitigation strategies.
  • Managing recruitment processes and candidate evaluations.

8. However, it will be important for leaders to focus on:

  • Making complex ethical and moral decisions.
  • Emotional leadership and managing interpersonal relationships.
  • Creating and communicating a strategic vision for the organization.
  • Developing company culture and a sense of belonging.
  • Conflict resolution and mediation within teams.
  • Creativity and innovation in solving complex problems.
  • Inspiring leadership and motivating teams towards common goals.
  • Adapting to unforeseen changes and managing organizational resilience.
  • Developing skills and continuous training for employees.
  • Interacting with external stakeholders and representing the company in diverse contexts.

Are You Ready? Are Your Teams Ready?

Here are the 5 tools to prepare now:

  1. Equip leaders to develop a strong ability to make sense of their complex ethical and moral decisions by providing ethical frameworks and clear guidelines to guide their decision-making in ambiguous or difficult situations.
  2. Develop leaders’ ability to cultivate emotional leadership and effectively manage interpersonal relationships by offering emotional intelligence training, personal development workshops, and coaching sessions to strengthen their empathy, active listening, and ability to understand and manage others’ emotions.
  3. Provide leaders with tools and methodologies to create and communicate a clear strategic vision for the organization, including storytelling techniques, strategic brainstorming sessions, and participative strategic planning processes involving team members.
  4. Develop leaders’ ability to cultivate a strong company culture and sense of belonging by implementing team-building initiatives, employee recognition programs, and practices of transparent and open communication.
  5. Equip leaders with mediation and conflict resolution skills by offering conflict management training, coaching sessions in problem-solving, and negotiation skills development programs to help them effectively manage tensions and disagreements within teams.

With the advent of artificial intelligence and automation, leadership must adapt to leverage these technologies’ advantages while mitigating potential challenges. The best way to remain relevant is to focus on our essence as leaders, on human skills like critical thinking, complex problem-solving, and creativity, as well as on our ability to inspire and motivate teams in a rapidly changing environment.

It is important to recognize that the human aspect of leadership, such as empathy, active listening, and emotional connection, will remain crucial for establishing trust and achieving meaningful results with teams.

What does this mean for the next 10 years at o2Coaching

As we celebrate our 10th anniversary, our commitment to our mission is stronger than ever. We continue to aspire to actively participate in the cultural transformation of organizations by guiding leaders, both men and women, towards excellence. Our goal remains unchanged: to inspire change, encourage excellence, and generate a positive impact in the lives of our clients. Similarly, we are committed to offering you the very essence of our added value. Our expertise lies in our ability to collaborate closely with you and your team, shaping strategic thinking, continuous development, and personalized coaching approaches. Together, we will overcome leadership challenges, turning obstacles into opportunities, and empower you to new heights of success!

Thank you for your loyalty and support throughout these incredible 10 years. Together, let’s continue to transform lives and inspire change.