The CoachAccountable Blog

Master CoachAccountable and become the best dang coach you can be. Also, news.

Client Agreements

Common to many coaching relationships is the need to lay out specific terms, agreements, or contracts between coach and client.  Even though periphery to the real work that gets done in coaching, these agreements are often essential in laying down a foundation of trust, workability, and clear expectations.

Such agreements typically include:

  • Payment terms
  • Cancellation & refund policies
  • Confidentiality provisions
  • What is expected of the client
  • What can be expected of the coach
  • Terms of engagement
  • Disclaimers, dispute resolution, and other topics of legal significance

A clear understanding about all of these protects the interests of both parties, and a clear record of what exactly was agreed to (and when!) is handy in the event of a dispute.

agreement iconTo make managing the coach agreements that your clients enter into (as part of working with you) easy and effective, we are proud to present CoachAccountable Client Agreements.

Here are the broad strokes of what these provide:

Signatures, check boxes and more.  When a simple “I agree to the above” check box won’t cut it, you can add various inputs to your agreements for your clients to fill in.  Think places to type their initials or full name, check boxes to acknowledge agreement to essential terms one by one, and even signature pads that require clients to physically sign with their mouse, stylus or finger.

Multiple, customizable templates to suit your various client types and engagements.  Create one or more agreement templates with dynamic tags like [clientFirstName] and [dateOf], each one tailored to the various types of clients and programs you offer.  For instance, your group coaching clients might have different rates and terms than your one-on-one coaching clients, which are different still from your in-person weekend mastermind clients.

Issue with ease.  Issue agreements for new or established clients with a few clicks.  CoachAccountable handles the rest by presenting the agreement to your client to complete (at registration for new clients, and upon next interaction for those already established).

Clear and readily-accessible records for both parties.  Coach and client can both see the clear (and time-stamped) record of what was agreed to and when.

Integrity and immutability.  The existence of an agreed-to Client Agreement is strong evidence that a client ACTUALLY did agree to it.  Coach can’t stuff a client account with Agreements that weren’t agreed to, and coach can’t alter agreements that were agreed to earlier.  Only client logged in as himself can agree to a Client Agreement, and the IP address from which they made the agreement is recorded.

Effective replacement for document signing services. With a robust and flexible system for issuing and securing agreements for your contractual needs with clients, these allow you to retire services like HelloSign or Docusign; CoachAccountable is one step closer to being the only system you need to run your whole coaching business.

Let’s see them in action!

Creating Client Agreement Templates

The first step is to create one or more Client Agreement Templates.  You’ll find the place to do this in Settings >> Agreements.

Click +Agreement Template to create a new one.

Composing an Agreement Template entails using the typical WYSIWYG editor.

Notice on the right there are several magic tags available for automatic customization.  These include [clientFirstName] and [clientLastName] (to customize to a given client), and [dateOf], which will set itself to whatever date your client executes the agreement.

If you’re on Team Edition you’ll also see [coachFirstName] and [coachLastName], allowing you to insert the name of whomever is the client’s primary coach.

Finally, in pre-loaded Agreement Templates you may notice [businessName] present as a magic tag.  This pulls from the name you’ve supplied in Branding (Settings >> System >> Branding >> System Names >> Name of my business).

To make a more interactive (and even more legally robust) Agreement you’ll want to include one or more form inputs, using the “Insert Form Input” button of the WYSIWYG toolbar (5th in from the right).  Form inputs are the check boxes, text inputs, and signature areas mentioned above.  Having a signature area at the bottom of your agreement preceded by something like “I, [clientFirstName] [clientLastName] hereby agree to the above as of [dateOf]:” is a nice way to wrap up.

Check box AND a signature area… thorough! And the “Dated” line fills itself in automatically.

 

Issuing Agreements

Once you create one or more Agreement Templates, they’re ready to issue to your clients, new and old.

For new clients, you’ll see Agreements as part of the dialogue for adding a new client. Like with established clients, you’ll be able to choose from your Agreement Templates and customize as desired.

New coaching client terms and conditions

If the Agreements portion is missing for you, it’s because you don’t have any Agreement Templates!

The Agreement you issue to a new client will be presented as part of their account registration (i.e. when they choose their username and password).  If you issue multiple Agreements (see the “For existing clients” section below for how), the first one you issued will be presented as part of the registration process and subsequent ones will be presented right after.  That said, multiple agreements for a new client just getting started might be a bit overwhelming… so even though you can do it, we don’t recommend it!

For existing clients, go to the client’s Settings (gear icon found in the lower right for a given client in the “My Clients” listing) and you’ll see a section called “Agreements”.

Click “Issue New”, and you’re presented with a dropdown menu of your Agreement Templates. Clicking the customize button allows you to add or change anything that’s specific to this one person.

Issue new coaching client agreement

Issue it, and the client will be presented with that Agreement the next time they access the system.  They’ll not be able to do anything else in the system until they complete the Agreement.

If you’d like to change something in an already issued Agreement, you can do so up until the client has completed it by deleting and re-assigning a new version.  For an unimpeachable record, no changes may be made after it’s been completed (though you can delete and re-issue if needed).

Once the Agreement is completed, you’ll see the date and time the client acknowledged your coaching terms and conditions, as well as the IP address.

If a client switches subscriptions, moves to a different type of coaching, restarts coaching after a hiatus, or for any other update to your coaching terms and conditions, you can issue an additional Agreement reflecting whatever new arrangement is in effect.  They’ll be added to the record of past Agreements.

Reviewing Past Agreements

You and the client are both able to see all previous Agreements, including when they were accepted by the client. As coach, access this record via a given client’s Settings >> Agreements.  Your client will find the record of their agreements with you by clicking on their name in the upper right >> My Account >> My Agreement(s).

Oh dear, Mikayla only signed her first name… do we need a do-over?

Agreements in Offerings

When someone signs up for one of your Offerings, they become a new client in your account.  When configuring your Offering you can designate one of your Agreement Templates to be the one that applies to those clients (i.e. they’ll be presented with that Agreement when they register their account, and will be required to complete it before entering the system).


And there you have it!  Client agreements, contracts, terms and legalese are often a pretty dry, boring, and perhaps even unpleasant part of running a coaching business, but with CoachAccountable Agreements you can get those terms right once and then have them handled for all clients with negligible effort.

Bonus: Looking for some inspiration on what your Client Agreements should look like?  Click here to install 5 samples we’ve provided.  Pick the best one for you, tailor it to suit your business and you’ve got another thing handled!


Ready to drop HelloSign or Docusign and do all your coaching client management through CoachAccountable?  Try us out free for 30 days and let us know what you think of the new Client Agreements.

Team Edition Best Practice: Make Freebies for Your Coaches

If you’re a coach who uses CoachAccountable, you likely already know that you have a freebie client: a client account you’re not billed for, useful for testing out content and coaching yourself.

If you’re a coaching organization using CoachAccountable’s Team Edition, each one of your coaches is also entitled to a freebie client.

Why Use a Freebie Client?

Most coaches find freebie clients useful for two types of activities: testing out coaching material and self-coaching.

Test Out Coaching Material

When you send an item to a client, you probably wonder how it lands. Using the freebie client to test your coaching content can help you adjust assignments’ timing, frequency, difficulty level, and more, based on your actual experience engaging with your content. If you’ve been with CoachAccountable a while, you may have already learned the benefits of ironing out content delivery with your freebie client first. Consider that the same benefit will be instrumental in your coaches’ grasp of and usage of the system.

Self-Coaching

Coaches want development, too! Your coaches can use their freebie clients for self-coaching. This is a great spot to keep that certification to-do list, measure progress on a daily meditation goal, journal about learnings gleaned from sessions, and, well, everything else the system does.

How to Set Up Your Free Clients

As an administrator of a Team Edition account, you can set up the freebie client for your coaches.

Add the freebies in just like normal clients by going to your Team Dashboard >> + Client. Using a handy naming convention like [coachFirstName] + Tester makes it easy to distinguish between the accounts later.

Key steps:

  • Assign to himself. The freebie client must have himself as a primary coach.
  • Make sure to use the same email address that the coach account uses.
Add Free Client to Team Coaching

The invite might be confusing if you’re adding the coach account at the same time, so you may want to skip it.

(If you accidentally don’t set the coach as the primary coach of his own client account, you can do this in Pairing (more on Pairing here). Access Pairing from either your Coaches tab or your Clients tab.)

Finally, link the two. You’ll be brought right to the Manage Client screen, where you’ll see a tab for Freebie Client. Click the “Sounds great…” button and you’ll be all set!

That does sound great, doesn’t it?

If you’ve accidentally closed out of this dialogue, don’t worry. From the Team Dashboard >> Clients, click Settings for that client. You’ll see the Freebie Client tab.

Don’t see the Freebie Client tab? Double check these things:

  • You’ve used the same email address as the coach account
  • The coach is the primary coach of the intended freebie client
  • You’re entering into the Settings through the Team Dashboard’s Clients list (not the Coaches list).

Now, to double-check it worked as expected, go to your clients list and refresh. You’ll see the blue “freebie” banner across that client.

View your free team coaching clients

Bonus: Train Your Coaches with Freebie Clients

You can also utilize these freebie clients for coach training. One way to do this is set up a Group for all the coaches and enroll all their freebie clients as members. That way you can assign items to the group, have a discussion between all the coaches, have some friendly competition tracking a Metric, and all the other benefits of Groups.

If you use CoachAccountable’s Team Edition, we highly recommend giving each of your coaches a freebie client. Your coaches will thank you, and you may even find yourself surprised by some great suggestions for usage of the platform as the coaches get familiar with both sides!


With CoachAccountable’s Team Edition, all your coach accounts are free, and they each get a free client, too. Try it out for 30 days at no charge.

The Growth Coach Greg Bennett: “CoachAccountable as a Game Changer”

“I close deals because I’ve got this thing.”

So said Greg to me when we’d met up for a beer some two years ago, referring to how having (and proudly touting) CoachAccountable as part of his deal really works as a selling point.

Hearing this gave me an idea: we should sit down and riff about it some time in the studio.  I finally got my act together and made that happen last month.

Some of the topics we covered:

  • Keeping info straight & first impressions (02:30)
  • Visibility & Accountability (06:53)
  • Increasing perceived value (14:45)
  • High touch interaction (17:08)
  • Common struggles for coaches (20:56)
  • Beyond the 2-day Workshop: value that lasts (26:16)
  • Coaching at higher volume (31:20)

If you’re not sure you want to commit 42 minutes1 to watching this, maybe the 2 minute teaser will help you decide.

Thanks Greg for taking time to chat and share your insight with others.  Greg’s a bit of a badass himself: he’s a Growth Coach franchisee and has set the organization record for fastest start, as measured by sales, in his first 2 years.

In other words he’s a pretty good source on how to build and run a thriving coaching business.  To apply his wisdom to running a better practice for yourself go get your 30 day trial.

Note:

  1. Or 21 minutes at 2x speed, which works well!

Why there is no CoachAccountable app in any app store, and probably never will be

Wondering if there’s a CoachAccountable app, or if we’re gonna make one and get it all up in the app stores?

The answer is no, and here’s why.

CoachAccountable will probably never have an app, because, on balance, we’ve come to the conclusion that investing the time and energy to create one would be a TERRIBLE idea. It would entail a lot of extra engineering work to build and maintain multiple versions of CA, but admittedly that’s more our problem than it is yours as a user.

Your problem as a user is that an app causes you to ask your clients to bother with the intrusive hassle of having to find and install an app (and worry about updating and troubleshooting things like “Do I have the most updated OS installed on my phone?” or “Did I install another app that’s breaking CoachAccountable, or vice-versa?”).

By contrast, they’re gonna get into CoachAccountable by simply clicking a link in an email the system will send them.

An app also means it would be branded as CoachAccountable, rather than as your own thing (because submitting a white labeled version of CoachAccountable for each one of our customers is both impractical and explicitly disallowed).

What we’ve done instead is made it so that you and your clients can “install” CA on any device as a home screen app with just a few clicks, and THAT is branded and named as your own–far better than them having a CA app (find more about this here and  find the share-ready instructions here).

Apps also can (and do) do lots of crappy stuff that is invasive and disrespectful to users (see for example this article published just last week), meaning users (ahem, your clients) are well within reason to be leery of installing “just one more app”.

CoachAccountable, as a web-only experience that JUST WORKS(tm) on all devices, doesn’t entail any such burdens:

  • No permissions to grant.
  • No update notifications.
  • No silently taking up space on your disk.
  • No running in the background eating your battery or raiding your contacts or listening in on your microphone for who knows what purpose (did I mention apps do crappy things?).

So those are the reasons against it, and I haven’t heard any great arguments for the upsides of an app, none that stick, anyway:

Offline access? Rarely happens, as, if you have an smartphone, cellular service at minimum can be generally assumed.

Push notifications? They’re intrusive and of little marginal benefit over already-supported SMS and email (to say nothing of their engineered addictive qualities).

Looks slick and professional? Not as much as having your own branded app icon on a home screen.


I shared this reasoning with a customer a few days ago, and promptly got this reply:

Thank you, John, for the thorough response. … It’s funny how sometimes we can get caught up in the shiny things, like apps!  You’ve really shown me that CA has the true user experience in mind.

That strikes me as a good observation, and I hope you agree.  I don’t begrudge anyone’s desire to see CoachAccountable in slick and shiny packaging.  There’s no CoachAccountable app to be found in any app store, but it’s not because we’re asleep at the wheel or falling behind.  It’s because it’s a bad idea and we’ve taken an approach that better serves you and the people you coach.

Are Your Team Coaches Delivering On Your Promises?

One of the biggest reasons enterprise coaching organizations sign up with CoachAccountable is to have better oversight of team coaches. Are your coaches doing what you’ve asked them to? Are they delivering on what you’ve promised your clients?

CoachAccountable helps keep track of your coaching team:

  • Share your content, files, Courses and more with them
  • Set the types and lengths of Appointments each coach can offer
  • Pair coaches with clients, limiting or enabling a coach’s visibility of your entire client roster
  • Approve various permissions, for example to allow more autonomy for head coaches or admin users

And for reporting, you’ve already got several options:

  • Client activity report, which can often be an early indicator of someone who’s struggling and could use a little intervention
  • Appointment reports, which gives a window into appointment hours logged and basic stats
  • Data Lab, where you can run a report on, say, a client satisfaction level question or see trends across clients over time
  • Happenings Report, a regularly scheduled snapshot of interactions

And our newest addition to your team management tools: the Coach Touchpoints Report.

The Coach Touchpoints report allows you to see, at a glance, how often your coaches (or just you yourself!) make contact with every one of their clients. Here’s how to set it up.

You’ll find this in Reports >> Coach Touchpoints.

Generating a Touchpoints Report

The real essence of a Touchpoints report is the date range you’re interested in and what kinds of interactions you want included.  Clicking on the “Include” button reveals the types of interactions that you can choose from.

In this case, for example, we might only care about appointments completed and comments posted.

There are also a few less essential (but handy) settings to be found by clicking the gear icon:

The “Good if”/”Bad if” settings are a little esoteric, but…

For Team Edition accounts, you can choose to include secondarily-paired clients (in addition to primary ones) when visualizing who coaches have (and haven’t) been active with.

The “Good if within” and “Bad if over” settings affect how things are color coded.  Ultimately this report is meant to give a visual look into how often coaches are interacting with clients, and if it’s frequent enough.

The resulting colorful graph will show trends in your interaction with clients, broken down by coach for Team Edition users, or just you if it’s, well, just you.  This can help you keep tabs on how you and/or your coaches are doing, and who might need a little more rigor in their outreach and upkeep.

Let’s take a look at one.

Wow, look at all those touchpoints–that Patrick Leonardo won’t leave John Larson alone!

Notice the setup here: good within three days, bad if over five days. That means that all of these green dashes say “great, this coach has been in contact with this particular client within three days”, red ones say, “whoops, they were finally in contact but it was more than five days since their last connection”, and yellow shows contacts that occurred between three and five days.

Also notice the trails: they show the progression from “we’re fine” to “not so good, it’s now been a while” to “yikes, we’re really letting this client down, interaction-wise!”

Drill Down

From here, you can hover over a date to see what particular interaction(s) occurred on that date.

You can then click on the item in question (a Worksheet, Session Note, etc.) to view it.

Added Bonuses

In the example reports above, you might notice that certain coaches aren’t interacting with certain clients at all. That might be an easy indication to update the coach’s client pairings.

Also, perhaps you’ve got a single coach account, rather than a Team Edition account. You can still use the Coach Touchpoints Report to track your own interactions with clients to see if you’re delivering on your promises. Here’s how it looks for a single coach’s account – notice you’ll see the same indicators as far as “it’s been too long”, “pretty good”, or “great job.”

From here, you can use this data to help train and develop your coaches, give gentle nudges, proactively reach out to clients, and find reasons to acknowledge your coaches, too.


Looking for a good way to manage coaches in your organization? Give the Coach Touchpoints report a try with your free 30-day trial of CoachAccountable.

Six years later, STILL intentionally oblivious to “competitors”

It was back in 2013 when I publicly declared my policy of maintaining oblivion around other coaching platforms, and here in 2019 I’m happy to say that policy still holds.

These six years later folks still ask us how CoachAccountable stacks up against other platforms, and we remain unable to give any substantive answer to the question.

This may seem a flippant (if not outright ignorant!) position, but this 2-minute video riff explains:

As I say in the video, there are a lot other people doing great work in the space, each working to forward the institution of coaching through platforms that might operate in ways comparable to CoachAccountable.  We hear now and then someone’s comparing us to CoachLogix, or that they’re looking for an alternative to FinishAgent, or someone will ask “Hey have you heard of Coachmetrix… or Coaching Lobby… or…”.  We used to hear some folks preferred Satori (though much less since we released Offerings).

These are all just glancing understandings of the competitive landscape, and that’s good enough.  We remain content to stay out of any features arms race, and are happy instead to continue taking our lead from our customers when it comes to insight and direction on how to better CoachAccountable.

We get hints often enough that we’re on the right track.  People seem to like us enough on Capterra and just this morning ago I got an email that mentioned “Upon first glance your software seems to be the most comprehensive for coaching that I have seen”.

But ultimately it’s up to you to explore and come to your own conclusion: the choice of platform that powers your coaching practice is important enough to get right.

Be it with CoachAccountable or something else, we hope you find what will best serve your coaching!

How to Translate CoachAccountable Into Other Languages

We’re occasionally asked if CoachAccountable is available in languages other than English. It isn’t, but you and your clients can now see CoachAccountable in another language, using the solution below.

Google Chrome can help your non-English-speaking clients use CoachAccountable seamlessly in their native language. Here’s how to set it up.

  1. Open Chrome and click on the three dots in the upper right >> Settings.
  2. At the bottom, click Advanced.
  3. Under Languages, click Language.
  4. Next to English, click More (If English isn’t listed, add it by clicking Add Language).
  5. Turn Offer to translate pages in this language ON.
  6. At the bottom, turn Offer to translate pages that aren’t in a language you read to ON

Google Chrome Language Setting

The Result

Now, CoachAccountable should auto-translate into your chosen language. Here’s how it looks for the client (in Spanish, as an example):

Spanish language translation of CoachAccountable

CoachAccountable, translated into Spanish

And if the coach would also like to translate it into a given language (doesn’t have to be the same as the client’s; your browser is your own), here’s how that looks.

Coach page translated into Spanish

If for some reason the translation doesn’t happen automatically, follow these steps:

  1. Clear cookies and cache in Google Chrome.
  2. Exit Google Chrome and reopen.
  3. If it’s still not translating, right click on the page.
  4. Click “Translate to [your language]”

    Right click to get this menu

  5. (optional) Click Options and “Always translate English.”

Follow those steps anytime you see CoachAccountable in English.

What’s Translated?

All of the following will be translated:

  • In-app menus and labels, such as Actions, Metrics, etc.
  • The help center and pop-ups
  • Account settings
  • Any session notes, messages, or comments you’ve written (unless they’ve already been written in the destination lanugage)
  • Basically, everything.

As an added bonus, this setting can help translate ALL pages in English or other languages for your clients, without additional work. You’re potentially making life easier for them even outside of your coaching!


If you’ve been holding off on using CoachAccountable because it’s not offered in your clients’ native language, give this Google Chrome solution a try with your free 30-day trial. And always feel free to reach out with any questions!

3 Places to Put Extra Client Details

We often hear questions like:

  • I coach two different types of clients. How can I quickly filter by type?
  • Where can I see extra client information, like a birthday or spouse’s name?
  • Can I add ‘tags’ to clients?

The great news is that CoachAccountable already has several spots to put extra client details (and filter by those criteria).

1. Client Profile Extra

From your clients page, click the Settings icon for a given client.

Two of these clients already have information in their Profile Extra, automatically! (We’ll let you guess which two ;)

Select “Profile Extra” and write relevant details here.

Here’s how that looks back on the client list.

With that in place, you can search on the clients page and find all clients with that particular word/phrase in their Profile Extra settings. The title of an Offering also appears here if they signed up through one. You can thus search for people based on a program they signed up for. That makes it easy to see just the people who signed up for your Mastermind Group vs. your 6-week Challenge, for example.

Coaching Client Profile Extra

2. Client Notes

On each client’s page, you’ll notice at the bottom left sections for Notes and Tasks. Put additional notes here – keep in mind, though, that you can’t search for this information from the client list.

Client Notes

3. A Private Whiteboard

You can also create a Whiteboard in a client’s account and make it private, so only you can see it. Use this as an editable repository of notes on the client. If you’ve already got several shared Whiteboards and want to keep this one separate, you can create a Folder for private Whiteboards.

Private Coaching Client Whiteboard

Of course you can always put these notes into private Session Notes or private comments, too.

Bonus Client Organization Opportunity: Groups

While Groups aren’t necessarily a place for notes for individual clients, they do give you a great admin tool for organizing clients by type. You can put clients into a Group that they can’t see (as in, for admin-only purposes). You can message all the clients at the same time. So, let’s say you’re a health coach who works with 2 types of clients: A) an online-only group fitness program, and B) private in-person personal training clients. You’ve likely already got your A clients in a Group. But say you want to let your in-person clients know you’ll be traveling? Put them all into a Group (hidden from them), and you can message them all at the same time.

One other note about navigating through clients that belong to a given Group: if you go to a Group, then click on any client in the “Membership” listing in the left menu, you’ll find that the previous/next client links that appear are now just the members of the Group you just clicked from.  This is a very handy way to quickly surf through the client pages of only members of a specific Group!


If you’re tired of scrambling through papers looking for details on a client, keep it all organized in CoachAccountable. You get 30 days free, no commitment. Start now!

Simplify a Client’s View with Individual Page Arrangement

For some time, coaches have been able to change the client page arrangement. This helped customize and streamline the system; you could, for instance, turn off the Journal tab if you don’t have your clients do journaling. That gives the coachee one less thing to look at, one less thing to click on or get distracted by.

However, that had its limitations. Many coaches work with distinct groups of people, some of which journal every day and some of which never journal. Before, you as coach had to determine the page arrangement for all of your clients with a master setting.

Now, you can set this arrangement on a per-client basis.

Default Client Page Arrangement

Your default page arrangement will apply unless you customize the page arrangement for someone. Set this in Settings >> System >> Client Page Arrangement.

CoachAccountable client page arrangement

Turn on and off visibility for various tabs, drag them to reorder, and choose whether you’d like clients to see the invoices page. Click on each section for a brief description of what it does.

Page Arrangement for Other Coaches

As a Team Edition account owner, up at the top you’ll see a dropdown with the ability to set the default page arrangement for yourself, specific other coaches, or newly added coaches coming into your system.

Individual Client Page Arrangement

To change a single client’s page arrangement, go to Home and your clients page. Each client has a settings button in the lower right. Click that, and you’ll see Page Arrangement just above Delete/Deactivate.

You’ll have a couple options:

  • Go with the organization-wide default (meaning the layout you just set up in Settings >> System >> Client Page Arrangement).
  • Use this custom arrangement. Here you’ll have the same ability to turn visibility for various sections on or off, and drag to rearrange.

Custom individualized client page arrangement

If you’ve got Team Edition, you’ll have a third option:

  • Use whatever [clientFirstName]’s primary coach has set. The primary coach’s name is included here too, eliminating any guesswork.

Overall, this function will allow you to simplify a client’s first impression and prevent overwhelm or burnout with the system. As you build complexity with that coaching engagement, you can always turn items back on and introduce them in a controlled fashion.

How to Use CoachAccountable for a Live Workshop (Plus IP concerns!) – Guest Post

Do you offer live workshops? Wonder how you could possibly use an online coaching software for in-person workshops? Wonder no more!

Dr. John Kenworthy of Leadership AdvantEdge, CoachAccountable’s customer #1, recently sent over some practical how-to (and WHY) advice on using CoachAccountable for live workshops. He also shared great perspectives on protecting intellectual property while using an online coaching platform.

We’ve edited this guest post for length and clarity – enjoy!


I’ve been using CoachAccountable for before- and after-workshop coaching follow-up.

Prompted by a recent enhancement to worksheets (the ease of adding images, video and audio), I thought, “Why not use CoachAccountable Worksheets throughout the workshop?”

Using CA for the whole programme, prework, workshop and follow-up would require some adjustments to the way the workshop ran, and a few tweaks in delivery but imagine the benefits.

Benefits of Using CoachAccountable for a Live Workshop

  • Replace paper workbooks. Using CA saves me $200+ on printing and binding for each workshop, not to mention courier fees or luggage fees. It saves my shoulder when lugging workbooks half-way across the world.
  • Resources actually get used. Workbooks go to the client’s office and sit there to gather dust and fill a shelf, but CoachAccountable caused ALL the clients to participate in full for the whole programme (it’s tough for them to do email whilst in the workshop).
  • Easy to send out pre-work (readings, worksheets, actions) before the workshop and nag clients to do it
  • Participants can take notes (in the worksheets) for each live module
  • Participants can use CA worksheets to coach each other during (and after) the workshop
  • Easily track during the workshop who is keeping up with the modules.
  • Embed “slides” or even a live presentation in a worksheet so participants can follow (in the classroom or on the beach)
  • Have a full record of their workshop – heck they can print out a Happenings Report should they request one.
  • And then the follow-up: with actions they set, metrics, post workshop coaching, buddy coaching, results for the business and ROI for the programme paymasters, with evidence!
  • Multinational corporations are happy with the level of security (they weren’t when I used my learning management system (LMS) instead)
  • And the intellectual property? It’s all in a password-protected space for a single client and not so easy to reproduce en-masse.

It takes a little work to be ready. I’m sharing the key learnings I got from this experience so that you can avoid some of the mistakes I made along the way.

How to Set Up Your Live Workshop with CoachAccountable

Before the Workshop

  • Add all clients into CoachAccountable ahead of time, and place them into a group (groups for breakouts too).
  • Create a mini course on using CA. Have clients complete this course upon signup (before the live workshop).
  • Send out prework as Worksheets. Files and download can accompany, but you want Worksheets to force a response to the file.
  • Set up all workshop modules with form-based worksheets (an image of the key slide or better a TL:DR summary slide, (can also embed Google, Zoho, Office 365 or Prezi). A live Prezi in the Worksheet can be brilliant for live follow and space for notes below, but take note that mobile devices must use the Prezi app!
  • Worksheets used in the workshop to be completed within one day – no reminders (except for Worksheets they might need to do after the workshop)
  • Put modules into a Course split by days, making sure to number the modules (Worksheets) in their titles for best sorting in order of use.
  • Schedule Course elements to deliver without any notifications. It’s best to time these elements for morning and afternoon delivery (or you risk overloading the client’s “what’s next” screen).

During the Workshop

  • Take them through using the system live. Use your freebie client account and become a group member to show them what they will see.
  • Get participants to book appointments for follow-up coaching before they leave.
  • Get participants to set their own follow-up Actions and Metrics at the wrap of each day.
  • Depending on their IT security – an embedded live Prezi in a worksheet works very well on a laptop (but beware what happens on mobile).
  • When asking participants to buddy coach each other using a Worksheet before, during or after the workshop,
    1. Get them to write the “client” name (i.e. their buddy’s name) as the first field. Remind them to email a copy to the “client” or
    2. Get them to swap computers/smartphones so they fill it in on their own worksheet.

Advantages

Dr. John Kenworthy

Dr. John Kenworthy, footloose and fancy-free with no workbooks to carry around

No cost of printing out physical paper manuals/workbooks. No excess baggage when flying. No trees dying.

Can change content up to last possible second.

Fantastic for a “flipped classroom” educational style, with included pre- and post-coaching work – distinguishes the trainer (YOU) from the masses of other coaches.

Protects IP and makes it really difficult for those occasional valueless companies who try to steal your work (it’s actually far easier for them to steal and photocopy your physical workbooks, a situation I’ve run into in the past).

Makes sure every participant is accounted for (better still, paid for). Must have login to participate.

Easy to “nag” about prework. Easy to make sure follow up, learning in action, and actions are done. Ensures results for the participants and organisation. Provides evidence of results and, if you set the metrics right, ROI.

Potential Issues

The clients’ IT security. Check, double and triple check that what you think they can see is indeed what they see behind their firewall and on their systems. Remember this applies to CoachAccountable itself, and anything you might embed that is not on CA’s servers. If needed, get IT to make an exception for the CA domain (and give them John Larson’s contact so they can be assured of the security CA has in place).

The client insists on paper workbooks. I have one of these clients and have now told them I will not be using paper again. They informed me that I would have to provide them with iPads or tablets to do the workshop, in that case. I politely suggested that is not going to happen. For now, I’ll let them work with my competitors until they realise that they don’t get results and come back to me.

Embedding from another platform. PDF embeds (using Scribd) works for now. Google Slides (will not work in China), Zoho slides (does work in China). Prezi and Live Prezi work. Have a backup plan handy: images of your “slides”.

Notifications. When setting up worksheets for a live workshop, you do not want automatic notices going out. Also, make sure to minimise your own notifications when they submit anything for the duration of your workshop (or your inbox will be full to fullness). (Related: On Not Overwhelming Your Clients)

All in All

Way easier and better than using an LMS, PDFs, Mentimeter (and similar).

Takes a bit of patient setup, but my client was impressed, and the participants ALL participated in full for the whole programme.