Averse as I am to the idea of Life Coaches, I do see how focus on a person’s goals can help motivate and direct action. The problem with coaching is quite simply the cost. It’s an expensive non-scalable resource that won’t fly in any other context than the higher ends of the management spectrum.
I therefore rather like the eCoach idea under development by the Fraunhofer Institute for Communications Systems in Munich. It uses mobile phone TXT messages to keep you on track with whatever goals are selected. This could be study for a course, weight loss, exercise…whatever. It sounds to me as if this gets round the ‘pay through the nose for a friend’ accusation with Life Coaches.
The system is adaptive, pushing out more motivational messages if you start to slack. It does rely on the honesty of the participant to provide data on progress, but then again, you’re only fooling yourself if you cheat. I do think there’s a future for this type of motivational PUSH using technology.
I have always believed in the spaced practice model of e-learning using reinforcement techniques across time to shunt acquired knowledge and skills into long-term memory. Everything in the psychology of learning says this should work. The only problem is one of habituation, where you start to ignore what’s delivered.