The CoachAccountable Blog

What's new with the CA platform, tutorials on using it, and customer spotlights.

Archive for September, 2016

Media Embeds in Worksheets and Elsewhere

It can be nice to offer your client assignments that are in essence self-contained lessons, where in learning materials are presented right in line with the questions or tasks to work through.  Say for example you want them to watch a video and, as they do, answer some questions about that video.

This scenario calls for a Worksheet Template with embedded media.  Let’s take a look at how this works.

When creating a Worksheet you’ll find the Embed Media button in the WYSIWYG toolbar, forth in from the right:

It's a video-like icon, but don't let that fool you: you can embed audio media as well.

It’s a video-like icon, but don’t let that fool you: you can embed audio as well.

Give it a click and you’ll be presented with options for specifying the media you wish to embed:

Choose from your library (if you got any embeds there) or specify a new one.

Choose from your library (if you have any embeds there) or specify a new one.

If you have any embeddable media within your Library Files you’ll be able to choose from there.  Otherwise you can specify some other embeddable media by pasting in the link or embed code, just like elsewhere in the system.

Note the “Caption” field here: this is so that CoachAccountable can give a fallback link to the media for when <iframe> embeds aren’t allowed (most email providers for example strip out HTML <iframes> entirely, so a link with the caption you specify is a nice way to make the Worksheet be more complete in that context).  If you’d rather the system NOT provide a link to the media file outside of CoachAccountable, just leave the caption blank.

Once inserted the embeddable media shows up in your Worksheet just like anything else, and you can build a Worksheet around it, like in this example:

Note the call out to a specific time in the video--the video being right there let's your clients easily go there to answer the question.

Note the call out to a specific time in the video–the video being right there let’s your clients easily go there to answer the question.

Your client’s experience of filling out a Worksheet with embedded media is just how you would expect it: the media is there and they can easily access it while answering the questions:

You should try filling out a worksheet with this song playing as you do, it's kinda nice!

You should try filling out a worksheet with this song playing as you do, it’s kinda nice!

Supported Media Embeds

From where can you embed media?  CoachAccountable recognizes and supports most of the major video and audio hosting sites, and even a few that are a little more niche:

  • YouTube
  • Vimeo
  • Wistia
  • Viddler
  • TED
  • educreations
  • Cubby
  • Sound Cloud
  • Audio Acrobat
  • LibSyn

Have your media hosted with some other service and you want CoachAccountable to support it?  Let me know!

Beyond Worksheets

Embedded media is a nice and natural fit for Worksheets, but you can add such media to other places as well.  Session Notes, Journal Entries and Whiteboards all support embedded media.  You can even add it to Messages sent through the system, but since those are primarily a conduit for email, that might be a bit futile due to the aforementioned tendency of email providers to strip out such content.

Enjoy!

Hi, I’m Paolo

I just spoke my peace to introduce the new Director of Customer Support and Hand Holding.  I’d like you to know and be acquainted with him well, so here now is Paolo to say a few words of hello himself!
– John


headshot

Hi there,

My name is Paolo and I’m the new Director of Customer Support and Hand Holding. I’ll be getting to know you all better as we work together, but I think it’d be good to share a bit about myself.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. For a few years I was at a job I didn’t like but tolerated because it was stable. After a pair of 80 hour weeks in the office I started asking myself some questions: What is my purpose? What do I actually like to do? How do I go about finding work I love?

After a period of introspection and learning I realized I didn’t have one specific thing I wanted to do. I did know that I wanted to make a life, not just a living. And to do that I endeavored to be a certain kind of person.

I want to be compassionate. I want to help people. I want the freedom to spend my time building things I care about. If whatever I’m doing aligns with the above, then I know I’m doing well. I’ve held a couple of different roles these past few years, each one a better fit than the last. Which leads me to CoachAccountable.

As part of the hiring process, John and I met at a park and spoke for an hour or so. We got to know each other a bit as people. It didn’t take long for me to tell him that this was the position for me. I knew that I had finally found a bonafide, all-around great fit.

Lucky for me, he thought so as well! I’m excited to be here, and to help John transform the coaching industry.

My goal is to help you use CoachAccountable to be a better coach. There’s two main parts to this. The first is reactive. I’ll assist in answering any questions or solving any issues that come up. I’ll be there if things aren’t working so well.

The second is proactive. I’d like to understand what you and your clients define as success. I’ll then use that knowledge to show you how to use the system in a manner that best sets you up for your success. This could mean showing you features of the software you didn’t know existed. Or it could mean showing you new ways of using features you’re already familiar with.

There’s a ton of collective wisdom amongst John and our CoachAccountable community. I’m ecstatic to help distill it all.

In the coming weeks I’ll continue what’s been a whirlwind learning process. I’ll be answering as many emails as I can, deferring to John when I’m unsure if I’m giving the best answer.

What’s most important is that I’ll start the process of getting to know you all. Please, please reach out! Don’t be shy. I’d love to do 1:1 trainings that focus on using the system to its full potential. Aside from that, we also have plans to make group webinars more of a regular thing. It’s a great way for CoachAccountable users to connect with John and I, and with each other.

That’s a bit about me and what I’ll be doing. Besides CoachAccountable, I like to write and read a good amount. I’m also a burgeoning photographer, specializing in weddings and families.

I’m looking forward to working with you all! If you need anything, just email me at paolo@coachaccountable.com.

Cheers,
Paolo

Introducing Paolo De Armas, Director of Customer Support and Hand Holding

I swear I didn’t pick Paolo because he’s in Denver.

When I posted the ad for this position on weworkremotely.com I had no need of my ideal candidate being in the same town as me.  Rather, I was totally down with the ethos of remote teams (as excellently described by 37 Signals Remote). and what that afforded by way of getting the very best candidate WITHOUT geography as a severely narrowing criteria.

I did want someone in or around the North American time zones so as to overlap with the majority of CoachAccountable users, but that was about it.

So the subject line of Paolo’s email applying for the job, “Director of Customer Support – I’m based in Denver as well” didn’t catch my eye that much, but his answers about how he would see to do the job did:

My primary focus is to help grow CoachAccountable through helping our customers succeed. …

Ideally, I’d be spending most of my time proactively reaching out to customers, showing them how to best use the platform to help their business and their clients.

I understand that there will always be a need to solve customer support issues. We’d continually strive to reduce the number of support issues through excellent customer support.

His answer to how he would ideally like to spend his time on the 3 Pillars of the role (customer support issues, building the knowledge base, and user outreach & teaching) nailed exactly what I had in mind that my ideal candidate would say:

The ideal would be something like 15% customer support issues, 45% development of the knowledge base, and 40% proactive outreach. Eventually the majority of our time would be spent on outreach.

Paolo insisted this was shot in bad lighting, but I dunno, I think it looks pretty good.

Paolo insisted this was shot in bad lighting, but I dunno, I think it looks pretty good.

This is Paolo De Armas.  Armed with a boatload of experience in helping customers be more successful in their own businesses, he’s ready to help CoachAccountable users new and old in getting ever more out of the platform, from setting up Worksheet Templates, to teaching how to wield Metrics to fit a given coaching style, to integrating CA into the whatever established setup in order to make coaching clients have a great experience.

For the last month Paolo has been easing in to the CoachAccountable world, learning the system inside out, listening in on calls and demos, and fielding an ever wider range of support issues.  Some of you have interacted with him already during this warmup phase, and I’ve been very pleased with the result.

As founder of CoachAccountable (and the one who has been fielding all support and training for the past 4 years) it is a big deal to me to entrust the support and care of the CA community to someone else.  Having quick and thorough responses to questions, resolving issues & bugs immediately, teaching better coaching with the tools at hand, and listening in earnest to feedback of how CA could be better or what new features would serve have all meant so much to the development of this platform in service to the coaching industry.

For me to sleep well at night I need to know that this standard of taking care of this community is upheld, and it is with great joy that I say with Paolo the CoachAccountable community is in very good hands.  In many ways in fact Paolo can be better than me: rather than have to juggle customer support against all other facets of running CoachAccountable, customer support gets to be his sole focus.

He’ll have way more time to go in depth helping you setup the nitty gritty bits of your coaching style and programs within CA, to train you on how to wield the system to the fullest, to devise solutions to problems and challenges.  To that end I hope you will all feel comfortable and welcome to reach out to him for that sort of help whether you’re just getting started or have been using the system for years now.

One of the common bits of feedback I get is to the tune of “I’m pretty sure I’m not using all that the system has to offer” (the recent survey revealed a lot of this!).  Let’s fix that.  If you feel like there’s probably some good stuff you’re missing and could use a 1-1 session to go over things, you should assume you’re right and drop us a support note saying as much.  Get your money’s worth from the platform by using it to the fullest: let Paolo show you around, learn about how you coach, and steer you to helpful parts of the system you never knew about.

If you’re worried that getting support from Paolo won’t be the same or as cool as getting it right from the creator of the system, that’s fair.  I’ve been at this and trafficking in the world of coaching & coaching software for years whereas Paolo is relatively new.  In some regards he doesn’t have the depth and perspective on the matter as I do.

Yet.

As he gets going in earnest I’ll be tagging along, lending whatever is missing as he grows in the role.  And I expect my input to be minimal and ever diminishing.  Why?  As part of our interview process I had Paolo teach me, pretending to be a new user, about how to use Metrics in my mock business, up to and including setting up a course to have regular check in worksheets pipe numbers right in.  This setup is the most complex, integrated piece of the whole system and he nailed it, and did so with only 24 hours notice to prepare.  He’s a quick study, so again I am rest well knowing that with Paolo the CA community is in good hands for support and training.

If you’d like to get acquainted with Paolo more, go check out the essays on his personal blog.  Seriously, there aren’t many but they’re a delightful read, and give a real insight into the person behind the @coachaccountable email address.  (Indeed they’re part of the reason why I was so impressed and quickly sold that “yes, THIS was the person I wanted to entrust my customers to for support”).

Adding Paolo to the mix is a big win for all of us: he’ll be available to help at a level which I simply can’t, and thanks to his presence I’ll be freed up to continue making improvements to the platform at a quicker pace.  Please join me in welcoming Paolo to the CoachAccountable team!