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AI vs. leadership coach: Who can help you develop your leadership skills?

AI vs. leadership coach: Who can help you develop your leadership skills?
Published: October 30, 2023
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Written with Cassie Cuppek, senior consultant at Impact Americas.


We thought it would be interesting to pitch ChatGPT against one of our consultants, Cassie Cuppek, asking them both the same question: How can I develop my leadership skills? What we wanted to know was, would the advice differ? Would we be able to tell the difference? What nuances would there be?


How can I develop my leadership skills?


ChatGPT’s answer

As an AI language model, I can provide you with information and guidance on how to improve your leadership skills, but I cannot directly develop your leadership skills. However, I can offer some suggestions and resources that may help you in your leadership development journey:

  1. Seek feedback: One of the best ways to improve your leadership skills is to seek feedback from others. This can help you identify your strengths and areas for improvement.
  2. Read leadership books: There are many great books on leadership that can help you develop your skills. Some recommended titles include "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey, "Leaders Eat Last" by Simon Sinek, and "Drive" by Daniel Pink.
  3. Attend leadership development programs: Many organizations offer leadership development programs that can help you build your skills and knowledge. You may also consider attending conferences or workshops focused on leadership development.
  4. Practice self-reflection: Take time to reflect on your leadership style and how you interact with others. Consider your strengths and weaknesses, and think about how you can improve.
  5. Seek out a mentor or coach: Having a mentor or coach can be invaluable in helping you develop your leadership skills. They can provide guidance, support, and feedback as you work to improve.

Remember, leadership development is a journey, and it takes time and effort to build your skills and become an effective leader.


Cassie’s answer

I am a firm believer that people development can happen at any time ­­– whenever, wherever, with whomever. There is always the potential for learning and development, but it requires one to act.

There is no secret formula for leadership success. There are plenty of resources that will offer tips, tricks, and advice on developing leadership skills. It will not matter how many books you read, how many podcasts you listen to, and how many training events you attend ­– information like this is only a small part of development.

Knowledge inputs are most useful when they’re acted upon, reflected on, and used as starting points for seeking feedback from others on your leadership practice. Observing others and noticing what is going on in the environment around you is also a key part of this reflection process.  

Armed with feedback and insights from a wide variety of people, you gain a window into your leadership that can be combined with methodologies and tools in order to carve out a way forwards. Then you must act, reflect, seek feedback, find tools, and go again. Developing leadership skills is a process that requires intention and action.

You acted by asking the question ‘How can I develop my leadership skills?’ So, how will you act next?



Leadership practice isn’t a noun, it’s a verb: an ongoing, active process to which there is never a finished product. There is no such thing as an ‘effective leader’ who has no further work to do. And what this work looks like will be different for every leader.

The quality of our leadership does require knowledge but more so, it depends on our ability to know and understand other human beings. It requires human skills like empathy, listening, and the ability to notice things and act on them quickly. Really good leaders are those with a keen sense of self-awareness, a strong understanding of those around them, and, as Cassie explains, the ability to take action. These human capabilities are all muscles that are strengthened the more they are used, and the more they are flexed in concert with each other.

ChatGPT does a great job of synthesising and regurgitating existing information, but in practice it won’t actually help you transform your leadership. And as for comparing it to a leadership consultant with decades of experience and human insight... it won't show up to sit in the room with you, it won't be there to generate quality dialogue or to deliver expert, in-the-moment facilitation. ChatGPT has incredible knowledge but no experience, and ultimately that won't help you shift the dial on your leadership capacity. 

In a business world in which it is becoming increasingly difficult to discern what is and isn’t created by a machine, read something written by humans. Download our eBook on global leadership insights.