The CoachAccountable Blog

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

CoachAccountable in 1 Minute

For the 3rd year in a row, I’m proud to have CoachAccountable sponsoring the Texas Coaches Coalition (TCC) All Texas Retreat and Conference.  This time I thought it would be fun to move on up to the Diamond sponsorship tier, and for it I get to have a 1-minute video featured on their social media.

It’s a interesting challenge to sum up CoachAccountable in only a minute.  After all, it’s effectively 9 apps in one: that’s a lot of ground to cover.

Having only one minute gave me an excuse to focus on the part of CoachAccountable that I think is most magical.  Yes, yes, it does business and administrative automation galore, but for my tastes the real magic of CA lies in what it brings to the experience of being coached, making already-good coaching much more lasting, results-based and difference making.

In one minute, you (or anyone else) can glimpse how and why it pays to make your coaching more than conversations.

And that’s what CoachAccountable does!  Well, that and scheduling, invoicing, contracts, courses, groups, file sharing, team coordinating, engagement managing, program purchases, and bunch of other things.

It’s all good stuff, but to me, the giving clients more part is what enables you to be a stand-out coach.

My thanks to the TCC for prompting this creative work.  I look forward to actually attending this year, it’s good for me to get out now and then! :)

Completable Course Content

Courses have a new feature today: you can now make Courses have Page Content that is itself “completable”, i.e. able to be marked complete as an actionable step in order to progress through the Course.

Now, this is sort of a weird, very much niche feature, I feel a little self conscious even touting it with any real excitement.  So let me back up a little bit to explain why this is cool.

CA Courses, in contrast to the lion’s share of other course platforms, are meant to be highly participatory: with CA courses you can assign your clients Action items with reminders that will ping their phone or email, you can assign your clients Worksheets that they are mean to fill out and complete with real deadlines, you can have them track meaningful Metrics over the span of the course to see how real results are unfolding.

This is all quite opposed to just sitting back and consuming content, hoping for the best.

So for most online courses as hosted on most online course platforms, the only thing to do is read through, maybe watch a video or two, and scroll down and click the “Next” button or whatever.  (Or if it’s all video, the “auto play next” action will commonly just shuffle you right along through.  Passive consumption at its finest, yeesh!)

All of which is to say a client’s progressing though a CA Course has always been a matter of doing those real-life participatory bits, rather than just marking blocks of content “complete”.  With CA Course Pages, you can create blocks whatever content (including with videos embedded!), but there wasn’t a way for your participants to mark those complete.

But now there is!  Edging CA Courses yet a little closer to what is otherwise familiar and expected from a Course platform (while still retaining that unique, participation-centric vibe!), you can now set your Course Page Content as something that for participants to mark complete:

UI for enabling Course Completing

The ‘Enable clients to mark this content “Complete”‘ checkbox is the key!

When the page content is complete, the “Mark Complete” button will appear in the flow of the Cours as you’d expect it to:

Screenshot of Page Content with complete button

“Mark complete” is a fine default, but you can make the button say whatever is fitting.


Completeable Course Content in Action

There are a couple of things worth noting about Course Content joining the ranks of “completable” items in CA Courses:

Step Based Course Progression: As is always the case, a course participant will advance to the next Step in a Step-based Course when there are no more completable items that remain to be completed (not counting, of course, those that are marked as “Can be skipped over”!).

So that means if you have portions of your Step-based Course that are heavy on content and lean on things for your clients to actually do, you can make the the Page Content itself completable to prevent clients from accidentally blazing through the steps when there is otherwise nothing to complete.

Progress Bars: When you make a Page Content item completable, AND have progress bars enabled, you can give it some non-zero progress weight, meaning the progress bar display for the participation can get filled up in response to marking those complete, just as other completable items.

No Due Dates or Deadlines: One aspect that is unique to Page Content is that, unlike Action items or Worksheets, there is never a due date.  This makes completable Page Content an handy stopping point for clients to take a break before continuing with real deadlines, allowing total control in going through a self-paced Course.  You can create Page Content items that precede actual assignments, like so:

Example of completable Course Page Content that tees up an assignment

This is a nice way to tee up a timed assignment: your client can start the clock when they’re ready.


Followable Items: As with other completable items, you can now drag items onto a Page Content item.  This allows you to make sequences to the tune of “When this item is complete, reveal the next” as long as you like:

Dragging an item to follow a completable Page Content

This sort of daisy-chaining works in Day-based Courses, too!


And there you have it!  Courses now work just a little more like the conventional “consuming content is all you’re here for!” course platforms (making them truly more compatible with courses you may already have on another platform), while retaining the strong emphasis on actually doing the work to get results out of whatever one is learning (meaning your tried-and-true courses can now be imbued with real participation and accountability).


The Chiropractor and the Trainer

Here is a parable of two professionals that work to help people.

These two, both of whom work to promote well-being and performance in the physical realm, afford us an understanding of coaching styles that vary in a seldom-considered way.

I regularly see (and am a raving fan of) both The Chiropractor and The Trainer.  In case you’re wondering, they are real people, but for our purposes their real-world identities aren’t important.  What matters in this exploration is they ways in which they work, and the experience of being on the receiving end of their considerable talents.

To see The Chiropractor is a treat: it’s like a mini vacation.  It’s all about hearing you, observing what’s going on with you, and giving you what you need to walk out of there better than you came in.  Tell The Chiropractor what’s wrong, and they can often make it right.  If you have something tweaked or out of order, they’ll do some sort of magic on your body to adjust things back in place and get you on the road to healing.  Just show up, be in communication, and get taken care of.  Even mere maintenance: if you’re generally good but want to keep it that way, a little crack, twist, and/or realignment of this and that will have you feeling great.

I love seeing The Chiropractor.  It’s easy, it’s pleasant, it makes my body work and feel better.  Time and money well spent.

To see The Trainer, by contrast, is decidedly un-vacation-like.  I’m there to work.  The Trainer, too, will hear you, observe you, and give you what you need to walk out of there better than you came in.  But The Trainer’s form of “giving it to you” is more a matter of guiding you through intentionally challenging exercises, and encouraging you, expecting you, sometimes even chiding you to give if your all to do them.  To receive what The Trainer has to give you is to go beyond your usual norms of exhaustion that will leave you feeling like jello at the end, and really feeling it tomorrow (and possibly the next day or days1).  Speaking of the next days, to get what The Trainer has to give you also means doing the work between those visits, and do so with utmost attention to maintain precisely correct form (which make the work not just physically challenging, but mentally as well).  The Trainer will tell you, unapologetically, that you need to do so in order to build strength, without which you are just spinning your wheels, wasting your time and theirs.

I love seeing The Trainer.  It’s challenging, it kicks my butt and cares nothing for my comfort, and it is building lasting changes in my body that make it less apt to hurt in the first place and more able to show up for life.

Looping Back to Coaching

In these practitioners we see parallels in the ways coaching gets done, and in a way that mercifully sidesteps established definitions for judging coaching competence and holy wars bickering over what is and is not “true” coaching.  Consumers of coaching care not for those things anyway.

What The Chiropractor and The Trainer have in common is power to do genuine good for the people they serve, enabled by deep expertise in their modalities and competent execution.  Both are masterful in their work; in our metaphor here we take that as table stakes for a hire-worthy coach.

Where they vary is the degree to which their clients need to show up.  In that regard, The Chiropractor and The Trainer represent two endpoints defining a spectrum of coaching styles.

In terms of the degree to which client needs to show up, and the degree to which coach has purchase to direct client and hold them accountable to do the work2, a given coach’s style sits somewhere along the spectrum between The Chiropractor and The Trainer.  No coach would cop to being The Chiropractor, it’s far too close to coaching’s less trendy cousin, therapy.  This is not to knock therapy: it has its place and is capable of good outcomes, just like physical therapy.  It’s simply not the place where people who are well go to get even better.  Likewise, coaching that resembles therapy is a pale imitation of what coaching is capable of.

The services of The Chiropractor are easier to sell.  The results of The Trainer have greater reach.

The Chiropractor works harder on the client’s body doing those adjustments.  The Trainer works harder to gain the client’s trust and buy-in to do the work themselves.

There is space, and indeed demand, for practitioners all along the spectrum.

As an avid consumer of coaching services3 I’ve ben on the receiving end of a broad range of styles.  I have fondness for the coaches who are more like The Chiropractor.  I have eternal gratitude for the lasting, transformative differences I’ve gotten from those who are more like the Trainer.  My report from the field is that the latter is far harder to find.

If you want to differentiate yourself as a coach, be more like The Trainer.

  1. To wit as I write this, my gluts, hamstrings and quads are all, shall we say, “reluctant to move” from a session with The Trainer three days ago.
  2. Up to and including co-created efforts, this is about much more than mere mandates handed down from on high.
  3. The transformative and fast-acting changes in my life that I got out of coaching are largely the reason I’ve dedicated the last decade+ of my life to building a platform to elevate the practice.

Welcome back, Jaclyn!


It is with great joy that I announce to the CA community that the customer love and hand holding stylings of Jaclyn, CA staffer alum from 2020-2022, are back, here to give the more of that top-notch and approachable customer support that I hold so dear (and of which people are so fond).

And thus ends my roughly 16-month sojourn into running the ship solo!  I enjoyed being back in the seat of customer support and being so connected to the community that CA serves, and I even got some good work done during that time.  But with Jaclyn’s return we can do better than I could solo in getting folks the guidance and support with CA and taking advantage of all it has to offer, and it’s been great to have customer outreach back on the docket to serve those just getting started.

One of the things that I loved about my aforementioned sojourn was taking a break from being a manager of people.  For how expert she already is at the role (whatever rustiness from the time away came off mighty quick!), I’ve essentially retained that luxurious state of not having to manage.  Jaclyn’s had the reigns now for about a month, and I believe I speak rightly for the CA community (and indeed for myself!) when I say her presence has been a real boon.  And let’s face it, between me and Jaclyn for a hand-holding call?  She’s gonna be the more patient and empathetic teacher. :)

Again, welcome back, Jaclyn!

Focus on What’s Recent in Metrics

Metrics are a phenomenal tool for bringing visibility into client performance over time, and constitute the creating of a game worth playing at (and a goal worth playing for) during the course of a coaching relationship.

By virtue of tracking things on a routine basis, a record builds that make it possible to spot trends, revealing coachable insights around what’s working and what’s not.

Because of this, it’s not uncommon to track Metrics for a year or more.  There’s value in doing so, but at the same time that means more past performance is apt to be less relevant to how things have more recently played out.

To make it easier to focus on more recent performance, it’s now possible to set the Display Options for a given Metric to show only a select, sliding window of the most recent past.  When setting up a Metric, reveal this setting by clicking the “Modify display options…” link, like so:

UI for summoning Metric display options

UI for setting display options to show most recent data

You can choose to show the most recent days or data points.

When set, the Metric graphs that display to you and your clients will be suitably focused on whatever window of recency you choose, turning something that looks like this, for example (a Metric that’s been diligently tracked for almost a year):

Metric graph showing a year of data

Kinda hard to see specifics… how are things lately?

into this:

Metric graph with only the last 30 days

Ah, that’s clear! Nice!

What Happened to the Past Data?

It’s all still there.  Whenever there’s enough history in a given Metric to warrant the cutting off of the further-back past, you’ll find a “view all” link just above the right side of the graph.  Simply click that to reveal the whole history, and again to toggle back to what’s more recent.

The Best of Both Worlds

The ability to display only the most recent data allows you to have your cake, and eat it too: you’re able to track important things over long spans of time, AND get a clear picture of how things have gone more recently.


New Type of Offering Restriction: Per Client Limits

Offering Restrictions have been a thing for quite a while now, they are the ability to restrict folks from signing up or purchasing one of your Offerings.  They’ve come in three flavors:

  1. Limit the number of total sign ups (“sold out!”)
  2. Beginning available date (“coming soon!”)
  3. Ending available date (“now expired!”)

There’s now a fourth: limit the number of sign ups per client (“one per customer!”).

Like the others, this can now be set in the Restrictions area when editing a given Offering:

UI for configuring the per-client Offering Restriction

The [clientFirstName] is a magic tag in this one, for in this situation, that is known!

For the long time I didn’t see much need for that sort of restriction: generally speaking, someone who wants to buy another package of sessions, or redo your course, or similar would be a good and welcome thing!

But oh right, the classic, complimentary Discovery CallTM definitely fits the mold of “one per customer”.

I had earlier thought any sort of abuse to this would be few and far between, and on whatever such rare occasions, it would be easy to spot and politely say, “No, nice try.” to the offending party (with the likely positive side effect of coach being let know that yes, this person is back and keen to engage!).

But as I write this, I imagine myself saying as much during a live press release, and promptly getting heckled with a well-meaning “Yeah, you’d be wrong there, Larson!”  To which I would say “Fair enough!”  And this new ability to restrict Offerings in this way addresses whatever hassle anyone has had amid any sort of abuse to the self-service nature of Offering sign ups.

This restrictions is ultimately based on email address.  If a known client who should be so restricted is already logged in, CA will catch as much and notify them prior to their proceeding, like so:

What a logged in client sees when restricted.

If not, CA will catch any should-be-restricted situation upon their completion of the sign up, and notify accordingly.

Restricted Offering error message at sign up


Coaching Through the Lens of Learning and Performance

Learning and Performance Podcast LogoThe other week I had the delightful experience of riffing with Patrick Healy of The Learning and Performance Podcast.  Patrick comes from a background in a field that was new to me, Learning Design.

Though I’m apt to botch the nuance in my layperson’s description of it, Learning Design means creatively and intentionally crafting a learning experience (including the materials, pacing, presentation and overall delivery method), and do so in a way that best gets the target audience to effectively engage and ultimately learn what there is to learn.

In other words, it’s the stuff of going well beyond throwing a textbook at someone and telling ’em to get cracking.

This perspective that Patrick comes from made for an exploration of coaching from a nuanced lens which is novel to me, namely how coaching maps on to learning and ultimately performance.  We open with a hearty survey of what coaches do and how coaching compares to ostensibly similar activities, like training and mentorship.

Some of my favorite parts:

  • How accountability is often the missing magic in coaching and why execution matters (17:30)
  • A big success of my own self being coached, and why it worked so well (37:02)
  • Advice for coaches starting out: get specific about your pitch (42:38)
  • My leeriness around AI’s growing presence in coaching (featuring reasoning beyond the mere fist shaking of a Luddite!) (47:47)
  • The 3 skills that make one stand out as an exceptional coach (in this definition, competence from training is mere table stakes) (53:15)
  • CoachAccountable as a long form love letter to the practice which has given me so much (1:12:18)
  • Why, if I had to pick, “Baller” would be the one word I’d get tattooed on me (1:16:54)


Course Availabilities

There’s something new today for CA Courses!  This one’s a niche feature, but it nevertheless further closes the gap between CoachAccountable and how things work in other course platforms, and does so in a way that is important for many coaches.

Course Availabilities allow you to make one or more of your Courses available to whichever clients you like, meaning they’re not yet actively participating on the Course, BUT they’ve got it available to them to commence whenever they’re ready to.

Why is this cool?

If you’re the kind of coach (or coaching organization) that has a stock of Courses that your clients would get value from, this allows you to make those available to them as part of whatever program or package they’ve signed up for.  Then, rather than being immediately put into those Courses (and potentially overwhelmed with all that’s going on), or relying on coach (or some other member of the team) to set those clients up in a given course (or courses) when fitting, clients simply have them at their disposal, ready to commence and access whenever THEY would like.

It’s like you can now set your client up with their very own learning lobby, the hub from which they can choose their own adventure of whatever they’d like to start in on.

Listing of available Courses for a client

Three inviting options, and a forth coming soon!

Note the “You Getting the Best Results” card: the Courses you make available can be available immediately, or scheduled for release on a later date.

When a client clicks to commence a Course, they’ll be greeted with whatever descriptive bits you have set for it.  This is your chance to brief them on what to expect, and get them excited for what lies store.

UI for starting an available Course

It’s nice to give them a sense for time commitment, too!


Making Courses Available

You can manually make Courses available to your clients at any time.  You might, for example, cover a particular topic in one of your sessions that inspires you to say to them something like

“Ah, sounds like you’re dealing with delegation issues!  If you like, I’ve got a great mini lesson on how to do that powerfully with the people you manage.  I’ll add that to your Courses area, and you can go through that whenever you like.  If you do, I’m sure we’ll have some fun things to talk about next session.”

With a few clicks, you can make your delegation course available to your client and, having done so, given them another bit of value in their working with you.

You can also make Courses available as part of an Offering sign up, meaning new (or established!) clients would have a way to purchase access to one or more Courses, which they can then access and work through in whatever order and whenever they’re ready.

Screenshot of configuring available Courses as part of an Offering

A way to make a collection Courses available for purchase with the client in control? Check.

The CA Knowledge Base article on Course Availabilities gives the the full and illustrated lowdown on setup and how these work.

I’m excited to have this in place, for it puts CA one step closer to being a suitable replacement for other LMS’s and course platforms, allowing even more coaches to have EVERYTHING they want in a single platform.  Couple that with CA Course’s emphasis on active participation (rather than mere content consumption), and it can be a very big step up indeed.


Happy 11th Birthday, CoachAccountable!

Alright, so CoachAccountable is now entering the tween years, so it might start to get a little awkward celebrating its birthday as it grows up and starts wanting to get more out of the house.

But like any bordering-on-obnoxiously proud parent, I’m gonna enjoy doing so while I still can.

Got a new ribbon this year to go with the Version 5 redesign. #6c9c31 is out, #68a921 is in!

Certainly the primary stride forward of CoachAccountable this past year is Version 5, a full-on aesthetic overhaul and major remix to make things both more beautiful and intuitive.  Judging by the overwhelmingly positive response, I’d say it worked.

I took my sweet time to build, polish, and perfect Version 5 before even mentioning it to anyone (with very few exceptions, one’s first awareness that I was even working on Version 5 came the very day it was launched and fully ready to go).  So while it may have looked from the outside like I was coasting or asleep at the wheel during that year long process, if that was all that got done in CA land this past year I’d call it a rousing success.

But Version 5 WASN’T the only thing to ship!  All told, the release notes reveal 111 entries from the last 365 days, detailing new features, enhancements and UI tweaks.  And that number swells to 168 entries if you include bug fixes1.

Speaking of which, one of those releases was Release Notes themselves: a detailed, publicly visible account of CA’s continued progression that can be seen in-app from the top right user menu under About >> Release Notes.  You can even subscribe to email updates, if you’d like to follow along.

This past year saw a growing both interest in and availability of what I affectionately call CoachAccountable experts, folks independently available for hire to help you go as far down the “do it for me” route as you like when it comes to setting up and even managing things in your CA account.  It has been nice on sales calls, especially with larger organizations having more complex needs, to be able to point to the existence of these CA experts to give comfort and a clear path to getting going fast.  You can find those experts here.

I only did one webinar this past year, but it might be my favorite.  “Sessions Where Things Get Created” is the distillation of LOTS of experience around the difference having a platform makes, namely making coaching more impactful.  If you’re already using CoachAccountable but haven’t seen this one yet, 30 minutes spent watching it might have you get a LOT more bang for your buck.

Drawing of the difference between sessions where things get created or not

Oh man: the difference between sessions where things get created versus not? Formidable.

Now that Version 5 is out and done and I’ve had a good rest, I’m excited to circle back to projects that AREN’T months-long affairs.  Last week I launched an enhancement to Appointments, and I’ve got another spiffy new feature that’s nearly done (one that I’d hoped to get out before CA’s 11th, but it’ll have to wait a few days more!).  All of which is to say it’s nice to be back on a more regular clip.

And there you have it!  A shiny new version, a burgeoning community of experts, and a whole lot of polish towards my aim of making some coaches’ definition of the Perfect.  Coaching.  Platform.

Eleven years in, it remains an honor and delight to help you coaches do the difference-making work that you do.  Here’s to the year and road ahead!

  1. 57 bug fixes might seem like a lot, but man, they are generally pretty darn low impact!  But don’t take my word for it: read through ’em yourself and imagine how many you might have encountered over the last year. :)

Interview on the ANBRWY Podcast

Another fun thing about being done with Version 5 is coming up for air and circling back to invitations I had previously declined on grounds of the need to focus.  To that end, it was my pleasure recently to sit with and be interviewed by Jaclyn Stripling, CoachAccountable staff alum, for the ANBRWY Podcast.

It was a fun recap of the long arc of CoachAccountable’s existence and way of doing things, doubly so as mediated and probed by a third party who herself was there for two years of it.  If you’re curious about what motivates the way and workings of CoachAccountable as a business, including why I run it the way I do and the ostensibly curious decision to run solo of late, you’ll find that and more.

Specific to the CA story, this includes:

  • Going from contract work to making a product
  • Humble beginnings of growing one customer at a time
  • The slow, relaxed pace by which I made Version 5
  • CA’s destiny if I die or get bored or otherwise go away
  • Experiences of being coached that led to CA as a way to make those better

We also covered more universal themes of entrepreneurship, including:

  • Letting customer interactions be the guide
  • Empowerment through betting on yourself as able to figure things out
  • Overcoming “should” and the tyranny of goals
  • Sidestepping the hustle by favoring and focusing on creative output