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Delightful Collaboration I – Long Term Goals & Progress

As a single coach, my experiences can run a reasonable size of the gamut of all possible coaching scenarios, techniques, and structural setups.  Still, there’s no question that my familiarity falls well short of the 100% mark: there are a ton of ways of doing things that I’ve just never considered.  Thus it is delightful with other coaches share with me what they’re doing in their practice, insomuch as CoachAccountable might be able to help.

The Delightful Collaboration Series is accounts of when users of CoachAccountable reach out to me and say things to the tune of “Hey, this is nice but can you make it do…”.  On these occasions I get a glimpse into the coaching practices of others, and get familiar with [potential] uses for the software that I hadn’t considered myself but would be a big win for someone else.  I take these as suggestions of how I might tweak or build upon the current CoachAccountable.

Now then, by default it’s my duty to be super selective about which suggestions I take to heart.  In software development there’s a concept called “feature dilution”.  We all have limited attention to give to the software tools we use, and every feature that is added necessarily dilutes the attention we can give to all the others.

This is most easily recognized in software that is bloated, over complicated, and ultimately not fun to use.  Sure it does everything, but in trying to be all things to all people it ends up loved by no one.  MS Word has like a million features, only about 6 of which you need.

So I must carefully weigh suggestions for new features against the impact of feature dilution, and do my best to make additions to the system that make it more powerful without making it more complex.    Even if I could assume all coaches using this thing were willing to take on being technically savvy, the ease and joy of using CoachAcountable cannot be compromised for the many more who are coached.

This tale of delightful collaboration is about long term goals and progress, and comes from Twila Gates of the ADHD Success Network.  During an exchange by email, Twila said to me:

In the future would it be possible to have a section specifically for major goals for the coaching.  In my second session with clients we focus completely on setting these major goals, many of which are long term and not something I would necessarily set up as a metric, but rather as an item that would be subjectively rated possibly every 8-10 weeks. …

This to me sounded like it was indeed a fit for Metrics (ratings on a 1-10 scale, subjective elements captured as comments), but they might require some finessing to make them really work for what she was looking for.  I replied:

Let me mull on this, but I think an 80% solution might be as simple as letting you set the sort order of metrics as they appear in the Metrics tab.  That way you could put all those long range ones towards the bottom, and group ’em all together for easy inspection.

I got back:

Yes, sorting, field identifying type of goal for sorting, or any easy way to separate the goals like “daily planning” (a daily goal) at top from “I follow through consistently” (a less specific goal – assessed every 2-3 months)  visually would be great!  I could make do with that and be happy and leave you alone for a while.

Someday, maybe you might consider having  the goals just be a list with a drop-down graphic view so it is easier to see just a list of the goals to easily find the one you want to update.

And then also:

Oops forgot to ask… could a metric “frequency” be added for every 2 months or 8 weeks.  Once a month would be too frequent for these major goals.

Hmmm… the option to have metrics that called for bi-monthly reporting was easy enough to add, created no real clutter, and would serve longer term goals.  Done and done.  Then Twila generously provided me with a visual mockup of what she had in mind, illustrating the “drop-down graphic view”:

Metrics Accordian Example

Ahhh… now I get it.  Looks nice, too!  Right then, bi-monthly metrics plus the ability to visually move those less-frequent, more “big-picture” out of the way so they don’t clutter the more regular coaching activities is looking like the right path to nicely supporting long range goals.

Rather than making something fancy and complicated like labeling and grouping for metrics (which would be heavy handed and require coaches to think up fitting organizational schemes), the ability to sort and collapse metrics will make a nice, light way to organize things.  After a bit of prodding (“Just wondering how you are coming with the changes for the major goals (metrics)…”), I added sorting and a little arrow to expand or collapse a given metric, and we’re set:

Collapsible Metrics

My gratitude goes out to Twila who let me know what she wanted to accomplish, and engaging me in a dialog about how to cook that up in a way that makes the system generally better.  Delightful collaboration indeed!

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