The ongoing digitalization and automation of coaching practices is rapidly changing the landscape of coaching and (health-related) self-improvement. The introduction of a new class of support technologies---"e-coaching systems"---promises to deliver highly personalized, timely, around-the-clock coaching in a wide variety of domains and to a broad audience. At the same time, the introduction of these systems raises a number of practical and ethical concerns regarding, for example, privacy and personal autonomy, that deserve careful consideration. Unfortunately, constructive conversations about these technologies are hindered by the lack of a precise understanding of what constitutes an e-coaching system and how e-coaching systems differ from other types of behavior change interventions. The broad and inclusive definitions that have been offered in the recent literature facilitate a systematic underestimation of the impact that the introduction of e-coaching systems will have, by allowing discussions to include examples of systems with which people are familiar but which lack the level of sophistication and independence needed for a genuine process of coaching. As a consequence, specific concerns that arise with sophisticated, adaptive systems that form their own perspective on a user's health and behavior and from that perspective shape persuasive interactions, remain out of focus. This paper aims to remedy this situation by proposing a more narrowly construed definition of e-coaching systems.
- Behavior Change Support
- E-Coaching Systems