The CoachAccountable Blog

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

Archive for Worksheets

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!

Form-Based Worksheet Image Prompts

Form-Based Worksheets (and indeed now Sessions!) allow you to create a form for your clients to fill out, comprised of text boxes, radio buttons and so forth.  But sometimes in a Worksheet assignment it would be nice if your clients could provide an image or two as an answer to a question.

This is now possible with CoachAccountable Form-Based Worksheets, thanks to the newly added support for Image Prompts that are available when creating a form.  Let’s take a look at how this works.

Like when adding a form input of any other variety, an Image Prompt is added by clicking the “Add form item” button on the WYSIWYG toolbar:

That little guy, forth in from the right.

That little guy, forth in from the right.

Pick the new “Image prompt” option in the drop down menu and you’ll find a similar (but slightly different) set of options:

Just pick this type of input and you're off. Note you can allow your clients to provide more than 1 image as their answer to a given question.

Just pick this type of input and you’re off. Note you can allow your clients to provide more than 1 image as their answer to a given question through the “Max images” setting.

In the Worksheet, an Image prompt is rendered as a clickable button with whatever caption you set:

All other things being equal, it was probably a bad meal if you feel vengeful afterwards.

Wait, vengeful?

When working on a Worksheet with an Image prompt item, clicking the button brings up the gallery browser, allowing your client to upload an image as needed and then ultimately choose an image for their answer:

Whew, fancy breakfast!

Whew, fancy breakfast!

As your clients fill out the Worksheet their images are popped right in:

I wonder if he really ate that? Totally looks like stock photography to me.

I wonder if he really ate that? Totally looks like stock photography to me.

What’s really nice about this is how well it plays with filling out a Worksheet on a smartphone with CA Mobile: when uploading a new image to the gallery (for subsequent choosing for the Worksheet) most devices give you the option to snap a photo right then and there, and upload THAT with just a few taps.  As such, completing a photo journal-like Worksheet is really quick and easy.

Image Prompts in Form-Based Worksheets add a new dimension to the kinds of assignments you can setup for your clients, letting pictorial input join the usual keyboard and click-based input.  If that would make a fitting aspect to the assignments you give as part of your coaching, go give them a try!  It’s as simple as creating a Worksheet Template that includes one or more Image Prompts.

Master Class: Form-based Worksheets

Here’s a screen cast walk through of using Form-based Worksheets within CoachAccountable, including:

  • The difference between form-based Worksheets and regular ones.
  • How to create form-based Worksheets.
  • The work flow of assigning your Worksheets to clients and their experience of completing them.
  • Incorporating Worksheets as regular pre-assignments for your appointments.
  • Piping Worksheet answers into Metrics.
  • Using Courses to deliver recurring worksheet assignments.

At 32 minutes long it goes in depth, and because it goes at a leisurely pace is very easy to follow.

Enjoy!

Piping Worksheet Answers into Actions?

Hot on the heels of releasing the ability to have Worksheet answers populate Metrics, I got a question from Laura Watson of Venture Coaching, which asked if a similar thing could be added to support setting up Actions:

I am building a project planning worksheet for my clients. We use this on a quarterly basis to plan personal and professional projects together. The worksheet includes an area for creating action steps.

On the worksheet I’m creating in CA, I will have my clients fill in their action steps using the simple text field. I’m wondering if, at some point, it would be possible to have these action step fields linked to actual actions so we don’t have to enter the data twice.

To that I replied:

Good question, and it’s in many ways a good idea.  On first consideration however the answer is PROBABLY not ever.  The reason is that Actions within CoachAccountable are so much more than just what would be filled out in the single line: in addition to the “what”, CA also tracks the “by when”, reminders, and optionally which project the action falls under.

Since the complete data entry process for a given action is so much more complex, I doubt I’ll support having worksheet inputs pipe into Actions (to wit, setting up Worksheets to pipe into Metrics with a comment is complex enough to get right when creating a worksheet template! :)

Still, perhaps at some point I’ll allow simple action creation with just the what and by when, perhaps a date picker type of input to be put into the form-based worksheets.  It’s good food for thought!

She thanked me for the reply, and liked the idea using the worksheet for the “what” part and having clients fill out the rest in the Actions tab.

With a little more time to mull on it, I added the following in reply:

Since writing you another thought does occur to me: you MIGHT consider an alternate approach in which you in your worksheet prompt your clients to more literally make their action plan, rather than type in a few one-liners that don’t have the same sort of supported reality.  After all, Actions are living things with due dates and alerts, and optionally (ideally) have project-based organization with progress meters which satisfyingly fill up as things are marked off.  By contrast, it’s an uphill battle to get clients to go back and read an already completed worksheet.

So you could skip the double-data entry, by preferring instead that your clients make actual Action plans to just typing into a worksheet.  It won’t be that much an interruption as it’s guaranteed they’ll be logged in already, and 3 Action Projects will be perfect to organize the 3 Benchmarks.  Extra bonus?  A worksheet once submitted CAN’T be edited unless you send it back their way, but Actions can be added to and/or modified at any time as a quarter progresses. :)

I was honored to get back a simple reply:

Great ideas, thanks for this!

And I was honored not just because I was able to be helpful and not just because I avoided putting another new feature on my to-do list (both super cool, don’t get me wrong).  But rather because here was an established way of doing things, and there exists within CA a way to do it better if only by being willing to restructure a little.

More generally speaking, it occurs to me that any established part of your coaching style is worth revisiting to see if it can’t be tailored to how CoachAccountable works.  Not for CoachAccountable’s sake, because who cares, right?  But for the sake of making your coaching better in ways that would not otherwise be possible.

Sometimes that takes shifting out of an established way of doing things, disrupting inertia in favor of giving your clients a better experience.  Don’t hesitate to ask if you could use a little guidance in how to bring your style of coaching to life with the tools of CA–with a little creativity there are some real wins to be had.

Piping Worksheet Answers Into Metrics

In the two previous posts we’ve covered the basics of using Worksheets within CoachAccountable, and how to wield their Form-Based variant.

Now let’s look to the next level of power in using Worksheets: setting them up to have your clients’ answers feed into their Metrics.

This is a bit abstract, so let’s consider a concrete example to see how this is useful.

A quick warning before we dive in: the ideas to follow are the stuff of putting a lot of features of CoachAccountable together to make elaborate, sophisticated setups to serve your coaching clients.  It is cool stuff, but requires a certain familiarity with some of the basic building blocks of the system, like Actions, Courses and Metrics.  If you’re familiar with these things already then you’re set, and might be delighted to learn of the fancy, integrated and automated setups that are possible.  If you’re NOT familiar, you might want to learn those basics first (though reading on here may serve as good motivation for that learning!).

Right then, let’s dive in.

» Continue reading “Piping Worksheet Answers Into Metrics”

Using Form-Based Worksheets

The basic style of Worksheets within CoachAccountable is as a Word doc that is freely editable, both by coach creating the worksheet, and client filling it out.

But with Form-Based Worksheets, coach can create Worksheets with the free style editability of a Word doc BUT with form elements interspersed, which in turn are specifically what a client is meant to fill out.

“Form elements” refers to check boxes, radio buttons, drop down menus, and text boxes.

Let’s see how this works

» Continue reading “Using Form-Based Worksheets”

Using Worksheets – The Basics

Worksheets are CoachAccountable’s way of letting you create, manage, and organize written assignments for your clients.  Similar to Word docs, they allow you to create a series of questions in free-style fashion with blank spaces for your clients to fill in.

Everyone seems to chuckle at the WTF check-in.

Everyone seems to chuckle at the WTF check-in.

Here’s a look into how they work, and how to use them to their fullest in your coaching programs.

» Continue reading “Using Worksheets – The Basics”

Appointment Worksheets

Yesterday I got an email from Bryan Gilliom of Level 5 Coaching Group, a fellow who was goodly enough to reply to my “welcome, how’s it going?” email that gets sent to all coaches shortly after they grab an account1.  In addition to giving a really nice account of what he was looking for, he let me know his wish list so far for the system.  The first on this list was this:

1) To improve my own efficiency I want to be able to send worksheets based on an appointment.  So it seems like I am going to have to remember each session to schedule a “Check in” worksheet and reminder, and I will have to schedule a pre-meeting worksheet.  This seems like repetitive work that would be better done by defining triggers tied to the appointment.

In this I love both his forwardness to ask and clarity of reasoning behind it.  (Incidentally, the second item on his wish list was essentially a request for the forthcoming Team Edition.)

To his first request I replied:

Tying a worksheet to an appointment type is a really good idea, one which I’ve toyed with in the past and am just about sold on as being worth adding.  As you might imagine my to-do list is quite flush with good ideas but I reckon I may add this sometime in the near-ish future.

Then I realized I was just a few days off from a trip to Vegas for MicroConf, and thus it wasn’t a good day for doing any major architectural wrangling for Team Edition.  Instead, a quick project was a perfect way to spend the day.  So I did just that.  And now, as of this morning, coaches can tie worksheet assignments automatically to their appointment types.  Let’s take a look.

» Continue reading “Appointment Worksheets”

  1. The computer sends this email for me automatically, but the intention is quite sincere!

New Goodies

A number of new goodies have been added to CoachAccountable, this time with an emphasis on making the system even easier and smoother to use.

» Continue reading “New Goodies”