During the summer I’ve gone on a little about how I’m loving CoachAccountable for my coaching. Now that it’s released and in the wild, the time is right to do some storytelling on why.
Today I’m going to talk about Metrics, CoachAccountable’s way of managing goals and progress in terms of real numbers. Here’s an example of what a Metric that’s well in progress looks like:
At the most basic level, Metrics are but graphs of numbers plotted over a span of dates, nothing you couldn’t do in Excel. But coupled with reminders, target trend lines, and annotations Metrics are so much more for guiding awareness, making goals real, and motivating progress.
Here’s how this shakes out in practice in a real coaching relationship.’
In 45 seconds you or your client create a Metric. Doing so looks like this:
At a glance this may look like a lot, but read it through and you’ll see that all you’re doing is declaring what you’re going to track, when you’re going to track it, and what’s your target, if you have one. Regular reminders can be optionally set with a few clicks, and you’re done.
“What gets measured gets managed” is a famous quote by Peter Drucker, and because you’re reading this I’m going to assume you already know this and believe in its wisdom (if not, google it for some good reads). As a coach one challenge in coaching our people is to get them to follow through with the plans we’ve made during the 6 days that fall between sessions (or whatever interval you coach at). Measuring progress is one potential point of follow through failure, and minimizing that failure is a real win.
This is where CoachAccountable starts to beat out Excel. Reminders delivered by text or email right on schedule enable your clients to reply right then and there with the stat of their progress: no system to log into, no need to fire up Excel, not even need to be at a computer if they’re using text reminders or have email on their phone.
The second bonus of this? Awareness. They’re in the middle of their week since your last coaching call, and days before the next one. But the system is reminding them that “Hey: this is something that’s important to you. How’s it going?” The prompt to reply with a figure is powerfully orienting. “Ah. Someone cares about this. I care about this.” Follow through and performance in the matter is again so much more than just a good idea crafted with a coach days ago.
It gets better.
With time and the entry of data points, a graph is built, and superimposed on it is the target trend line, a graphical representation of how intention is stacking up against real performance. If you’re on the wrong side of your target, the graph shows red. On the right side, green. Quickly it is clear when there is stagnation, and when there are bursts of productivity. Look again at the graph above: you better believe my client was getting a little uncomfortable in early August and that the very visual representation of reality was goading him to redouble his efforts and get back to green.
It gets better.
On any data point your clients can make annotations, a simple note detailing what’s going on now relevant to the data point (easily entered by text or email, of course). I encourage my clients to add a note as often as possible, a little reminder of what’s working when things are going well and what’s happening when things aren’t. Over time a story builds that’s more than just numbers: trends reveal themselves, common pitfalls reveal themselves, things that really work reveal themselves. In my client’s graph above we saw the two flat periods what when he was spending too much time offline with his fiancee, and that when she was away for a few days his business really hummed. He was able to have a super straight conversation with her about separation of work and play (he has a home office), and she, dear that she is and committed to his success, was fantastic about working out arrangements and structures to serve that end.
It even gets just a little bit better.
As you might have already guessed, your client tracking his or her progress in this manner gives you an instant and up-to-date view of how things are going. Read the graph and its annotations and you’re right there in their world, able to proffer up insightful guidance and analysis, focusing laser like on what’s working and what’s not. You look like a genius to your clients, offering up just what they need from your elevated awareness of their progress. You skip a lot of the progress report that eats up valuable time on your calls, and skip any hemming and hawing your client might do to save face in an off week. You have a leg up in your job of giving your client value, and they are grateful for it.
And that, in total, is why Metrics are awesome. If you haven’t used them in your coaching yet, give them a try with a free 30 day trial of CoachAccountable.
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