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Delightful Collaboration II – Externally Hosted File Sharing

A few weeks ago I reached out to a coach who was new to the system to see how it was going for him.

Though “so far so good” was the overall message, part the feedback was this:

There are a few issues. Can I send Audio (.mp3) or videos thru the system? It would be terrific to integrate links to sugar sync or dropbox folders so as to not get heavy on the files I send.

At first glance my answer was clear, of course!  I proudly began to type out my reply:

You’ve got a few options for sending audio and video though the system.  You can upload those files into your library once (My CA >> My Library) and then share them with clients with a few clicks on the Files tab of their respective client pages.  Or in your case (and this might be better as you’ve already got your files already online) you can share links to those files with your clients via CA in, say, a journal entry or as part of a worksheet assignment, or in a Stream comment.

As I wrote this I got to thinking this was actually a lackluster answer, and I was surprised to realize it.

So I continued with the next paragraph:

(You know, as I’m thinking about how to do this I’m struck by how there isn’t a really great way to share files via URL, just a few okay ways.  I think I’ll add “Share by URL” as an option in the file sharing system today, which I think will be a really good fit for your setup–stay tuned!)

Now we’re talking.  I sent off my reply, and inspired at the realization of a juicy bit of lacking functionality of CoachAccountable, I set off to make good on my word.

Later that day I wrote:

I’ve added the ability to share files by URL.  For now it’s limited to just library files, I figure I’ll let this play out in the wild a little and then extend it to one-off client file sharings once the current setup is vetted as solidly on the right track.

Give it a try: you’ll note the new “Add a File Hosted Elsewhere Online” section under My CA >> My Library.  You can add files that are themselves links to other files (say, ones hosted at dropbox) or even external webpages that have one or more files there to download.  This is nice because you still get the organization of having the file in the files tab, notification emails, commenting on the file in the stream & by email, and the system will track when they have most recently accessed the file, if at all.

I hope that serves, and thanks for the inspiration!  I bet a lot of other coaches will find this similarly useful.

The reply was a treat.  Assurance that, yep, I’d gotten it right:

This is a terrific update. I, for sure, will use this.

It wasn’t long after I added this ability that another user of CoachAccountable chimed in some insightful thoughts:

A quick note to say thanks for the adding files from other sources… now I think I can make my courses self-contained within CA and thus a little more idiot proof. Just one thing, can we please add a title for linked files – otherwise they see the file link – which is rarely obvious what it is and it would help when they are searching in the library for a particular file – for those that don’t follow the notification link.

Good point.  Direct links to files hosted with services like DropBox or Evernote are often garbled messes.   I set about adding titles to library files, including files uploaded the “old fashioned” way:

External Library File Adding

What I really like about this is that it allows coaches to share many megabytes worth of files with their clients without bumping up against their plan’s disk space quota.  There are so many services online that are better for big file hosting, I see no reason for CoachAccountable to try taking their place!

My thanks go out to both coaches, whose use of other file hosting services for their coaching resources made it clear how to best roll roll such file sharing into CoachAccountable.


  1. Excellent addition this John. Now I can “share a file” with a client that is in fact a (tracked) link to an HTML5 video tutorial. And with sensible title naming (on my part) I think I can do away with my LMS altogether – and still without the massive overhead of complex features.

    But interestingly, I was having a conversation yesterday with another coach who disagrees that we should be quite so supportive of our clients. She means well, saying that clients should take responsibility for seeking the resources they need and tracking themselves – as opposed to the coach facilitating this quite as much as I do (and CA enables me to do).

    I’d be really interested to hear from other coaches on this. How much support is ‘too much’? and, should a coach make it quite so easy as we can using CA?

    March 28, 2013 @ 7:43 pm

  2. John

    It is music to my ears every time I hear that CoachAccountable is able to gracefully eliminate your need to use yet another external system.

    When it comes to coaching people and helping them to grow in any number of directions, I feel you pick your battles. Automated reminders and more regular supportive assistance to keep a coachee on target for their goals does indeed rob them of some of the chance to grow in their own self-directed discipline. Sometimes that practice with keeping themselves accountable and on track is what is needed, and sometimes it’s not, in which case it proves ultimately a distraction from the real wins being sought.

    I designed this system largely to be a solution to the too common phenomenon of hearing “Ah, I forgot about that” and “What was my action plan again?”, so you can guess which side I generally err on.

    March 29, 2013 @ 4:21 am