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Still Intentionally Oblivious to Other Coaching Software

One of the most common inquiries I get about CoachAccountable goes approximately like this:

Can you tell me the major differences between your coaching tool and Coaches Console?

At the risk of appearing lazy and/or ignorant, my answer is always, well, no, no I can’t.

For better or worse (and I think it’s better, bear with me here), I’ve willfully remained ignorant of other coaching software solutions that are out there.  This may seem like a fool-hardy gap in my attention considering the industry I’m in, but turning a blind eye to the goings-on of my, I dunno, “competitors”, I guess, has served me quite well.

The reason is this.  If you aren’t confident you’re making a dynamite product to serve the uses you are aiming to serve, then looking out at what other people are doing is going to leave you in a mindset of needing to keep up with the Joneses, pitting you in a sort of features arms race.  (For example, “They have email newsletter blasts?  Well then I’ll have email newsletter blasts!” or, worse yet “Well then I better have email newsletter blasts or my system WILL BE INFERIOR.”)

If you are confident that you’re making a dynamite product for your intended purpose, then looking out for what others are doing is going to be simply a distraction.

In either case, you can’t unfill your head with ideas that such reconnaissance of the competitive landscape provides, and the ideas you get will be only informed from a surface understanding, i.e. they are doing X, which is far cry from “I’m going to do X because I recognize a genuine need and value to doing so.”  From the surface understanding you can only be a copycat, and thus not at the source of the why, which, it turns out, is needed to inform the how of a truly excellent execution.

(Incidentally, I personally transitioned gradually from the first scenario to the second over the last 7 months–I had a hunch I was on to something great, but there was still yet to see if anyone would find it worth paying for.  My reasoning with regard to ignoring other coaching solutions has remained invariant the whole time.)

So to avoid a sort of features arms race between other systems I’ve remained willfully ignorant of what the other online coaching platforms do.  This has made me much better able to focus on making a system that I think is actually great for the uses I see to serve (rather than work hard to keep pace with some features checklist).

This principle actually hearkens back to the experience of the 1.0 days.  We extensively researched other coaching management platforms out there back in ’08 when we were first getting started, and it led to a lot of unnecessary complexity that we thought we’d need to have (I can’t tell you how happy I am to have completely axed the calendar feature in version 2.0–no one seems to mind).

My ignorance in this narrow band is working well, I’d say.  I do have a number of “defectors” from Coaches Console who have expressed their gratitude for the alternative (plus many more appreciative users from other backgrounds/systems), which suggests, ostensibly, that I’m on the right track.


  1. I considered the same questions when I came across coachaccountable.
    I was a happy user of coachesconsole – which is a very nice coach’s CRM based with a decent booking system (that does synchronize with google), invoicing, email follow up and email marketing. Plus you create a marketing website as a coach. Then there’s a whole heap of things that it doesn’t doo that coachaccountable does:
    Assign tasks, actions, worksheets, session reports, metrics, nor courses.

    Thus, in my experience, using coachaccountable, you need on top, some form of CRM – some form of newsletter software, and somewhere to store bigger files you want your clients to access (for video or tutorials) because you’ll have more than enough space within CA for documents.

    I used coachesconsole for more than a year – and, in my opinion, to get the practical, client centric tools to keep your clients on track and easily reminded… get CA or get coachesconsole + journalengine + jigsawbox (for those who want courses).

    There are others around too, maybe they will suit your coaching practice? For me, it came down to: “Do I want to market to prospects and sell hours or do I want to easily ‘nag’ clients to keep them moving forward whilst keeping a comprehensive records of the work we do together?”

    I did a small comparison originally for my book that was not included in the end, but it’s here:
    Please remember, this is my personal opinion, and whilst I am exceedingly supportive of coachaccountable – John doesn’t pay me (rather the opposite and happy to do so).

    Hope it helps


    April 21, 2013 @ 7:44 pm

  2. John

    Ah, indeed. Email marketing, online invoicing, DIY marketing website… these are the sorts of things that have been done a million ways on the web, and in some cases been done REALLY well, too (for example MailChimp for emailing, FreshBooks for invoicing, and WordPress plus a few select plugins for a marketing website).

    So for my sake I find solving those sorts of problems isn’t interesting at all. Sure it’s cool to wrap ’em all up in a tidy package and label it a sort of one-stop-shop for coaches, but I’m much more happy to focus on crafting elegant solutions and structures that are aimed at truly bettering coaching, rather that just make the peripheral logistics of running a coaching business incrementally easier.

    Perhaps some day I’ll circle back to these more general sorts of functionality, but for now I’ve got much more interesting (and likely quite useful) things up my sleeve.

    April 24, 2013 @ 9:37 am

  3. Craig Kennedy

    I’m loving my CA trial and plan to purchase.
    I too am struggling to use as few tools as possible to meet my needs.
    I like Coaches Console’s combination of Appointments, billings, emails and auto-responders.

    However CA’s accountability tools are first rate. I can see adding Mailchimp to the mix to cover email and auto responders. What I would really like is the ability to allow clients to schedule complimentary sessions. Coaches Console lets me do that, but CA does not unless I add a prospect to the system (which increases my costs and adds a level of friction for the client)

    That means I need to add a third component to the mix. Satori handles the comp sessions really well and also allows me to send out custom designed coaching agreements for different clients (where CA only allows one set of universal coaching terms)

    My head is spinning…

    January 6, 2014 @ 1:37 pm

  4. John

    Hi Craig,

    Thanks for the thoughtful weigh in! Yeah, the ability for new prospects to book themselves in for appointments is a request that’s come up several times now (right up there with a related request, the ability for new clients to register themselves into Courses). I’ve nearly got Team Edition ready for my beta testers, and you’ve given me some great food for thought of what to build next!

    January 6, 2014 @ 1:45 pm

  5. I’m a Coach Accountable member and I’d also like to cast my vote to have the ability for prospective clients to be able to book a complimentary session. Thanks!

    September 2, 2017 @ 8:34 pm