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Archive for November, 2013

Setting the Stage: Perfect Client Onboarding

Invite clientWhen setting up a new client in CoachAccountable, the system makes it super easy to send an invitation email which welcomes them into the system right away.  But you might want to hold off of that for just a short while.  Here’s why.

As coaches we want our clients’ experience of our coaching to be a delight at every step, and their first run experience with CoachAccountable is no different.  By taking 5-10 minutes on a new client BEFORE inviting them in you can set things up so that they’ll immediately feel right at home.

First things first: your smiling face.  This actually isn’t something you have to do for every client, rather just once and you’ll be set for everyone.  The very first thing your clients will see when they click the magic registration link is the registration page.  If you’ve got your own headshot uploaded to your coach account, they’ll see that photo of you and instantly know they’re in the right place. Oh, and if you’ve set up your branding, this page will show with your colors and logo, too.

A picture of you lets your client know they’re in the right place. This is most reassuring for a technophobe.

» Continue reading “Setting the Stage: Perfect Client Onboarding”

An Invigorating Trifecta

It’s been a delightful week on the CoachAccountable customer interaction front.

Last week I realized that one of the coaches on CoachAccountable is located right here in Denver.  So on Monday, after attending her yoga class, I spent two hours with her at a nearby Village Inn over coffee comparing notes and swapping stories.  I was tickled to hear what a perfect fit CoachAccountable continues to be for her practice, and as we parted company that night I felt thoroughly on the right track.

Then on Tuesday I got one of the most deeply complimentary comments I’ve ever received on this blog, leaving me feel utterly appreciated for willingness (and frankly my joy) to listen to what coaches need and respond accordingly in the growth and evolution of this platform.  To have it be said that my baby is “the best damn software application I’ve found out there after spending literally years looking around and trying and testing a litany of apps” in a public forum is high praise indeed, and from a rather domain-savvy individual no less.

The on Wednesday I enjoyed two hours on the phone with a woman from the East Coast who’d just gotten signed up with her account and was keen to get oriented and running as soon as possible.  I don’t think either of us expected our exchange to last quite so long, but there was just so much good stuff to cover.  I was delighted to get a glimpse into what’s confusing for a newcomer, and she was delighted to have me point out all the ways in which the system is already perfectly equipped for her needs.  To hear her excited reactions to one feature after another was perhaps the best hands-on experience I’ve ever had of a new coach’s first impressions of CA, and it utterly made my day.

To summarize: interactions with coaches are the best, and I shall continue encouraging that sort of thing.  INCLUDING a public write up of how fun it is to connect (ahem).  If you want to get acquainted and chat with me about the system sometime on the phone (or better yet are in the Denver area and would care to meet up), know in advance that I’m all for it, so drop me a line.

CoachAccountable isn’t some big faceless company where all the real people are hidden behind support ticket systems and lengthy phone wait times.  Rather: it’s just some dude who’s out to make seminal contributions to the field of coaching.  A dude who, for now, still has time to reply to your emails and chat with you on the phone.

Delightful Collaboration V: Appointment Enhancements and Client Abilities

The subject of today’s Delightful Collaboration is Michael Leahy of Brave Hearts Mentoring, who since becoming a user of CoachAccountable has had an exceptionally high percentage of his suggestions make it in to CoachAccountable.  Michael comes from a background of software development, and that has a lot to do with the regularity with which he’s able to perceive new features which would be more universally beneficial.  But moreover he’s a power user, and, for example, the sheer volume of appointments that he schedules per week gives him a unique insight into how things would be better to serve both power users and regular users alike.

So let’s take a look at his contributions thus far:

Smarter Appointment Listings

When you have a lot of clients and they each have a few scheduled, the dashboard listing of all upcoming appointments can be quickly overwhelming.  Sorted as they were (strictly by date), the pending appointment requests easily got lost in the shuffle.  Since each pending request begs a response, accept or decline, that turns out to be a problem.

Now the pending requests are floated up to the top, ready for responding to.  And among all upcoming appointments, now only the first 10 appear.  This puts into focus only the most immediately relevant ones.  To look further out, a handy “View all upcoming” button reveals the entire collection.

Coach-Only Appointment Types

Previously, any type of appointment that a coach could schedule was available for a client to schedule as well (assuming client scheduling was enabled).  But sometimes that’s not ideal, and there are some types of appointments which should be reserved for only the coach.

Now appointment types can be designated as schedule-able only by the coach.

Calendar-Embeddable Exceptions

Contrary to the model I’ve worked in and assumed of others, where the “office hours” into which clients can book themselves are more limited, the way Michael works is that essentially all work hours are open to client scheduling.  So keeping accurate exceptions to availability is critical to ensuring that clients schedule themselves at workable times.

Rather than have other life happenings in a separate calendar and have those happenings also need to be entered as exceptions in CoachAccountable, Michael figured it’s much easier to setup those exceptions once in CoachAccountable and then have then appear in his regular calendar software.  So now the collection of availability exceptions can be embedded into iCal, Outlook, and other systems much like appointment calendars can be.

Private Notes for Clients

In Michael’s work, where clients are working on overcoming sexual addiction, privacy is of utmost importance.  In the past I’d been remiss to add much to do about privacy between coach and client, reasoning instead from a premise of totally open and shared collaboration, but Michael sold me on a very good point: yes, client accounts are akin to a guest in the coach’s house, but more than that client accounts can be a certain sanctuary for clients where everything is kept all together as a useful resource, and that resource gets even better when a client is free to have their own privacy within it as well.

Thus clients too can create private journal entries for their eyes only, allowing them to feel even more at home within their client account.

Self-Assigned Worksheets

Here again Michael’s status as a power user reveals insight: before an appointment, Michael’s clients fill out a worksheet.  With so many clients having so many regular appointments, the need for coach to assign the worksheet for each one becomes cumbersome quickly.

Thus now specific worksheets can be made available for self-assignment by clients.

There are a few other tweaks,  and a spelling mistake catch or two, but the above captures the broad strokes of Michael’s contribution to date.  It’s an impressive set and speaks volumes to Michael’s sense for what’s widely useful.  In fact, while writing this post Michael had another good idea in my inbox which I reckon I’ll be adding: the ability to share library files with some or all clients in one fell swoop.

Thanks Michael for bringing your insight to the party, CoachAccountable is even better for it.