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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.


  1. Michael Leahy said,

    November 12, 2013 @ 4:26 pm

    Thanks to you, John, for being so responsive to ALL of my suggestions, even the quirky ones. What the rest of you don’t know is that I can be a pain in the a** sometimes when I’m making my case to John and pressing him to see my point of view. Alas, he’s taught me a lot as well, most importantly that I’m not the only taco stand out there.

    But even when pressed, John is always listening and mindful of anothers point of view, and ALWAYS the gentleman. I spent 20 years in the computer industry, in sales and not on the tech or support side…so we can be an even bigger pain than most.

    But the reason I press him so hard is because, quite frankly, this 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. And I press him because I’m working with a client base made up mostly of men in crisis who are struggling with addiction and are on the verge of losing everything like I once did: their marriages, their families, their jobs, some even their lives.

    So like many of you, I’m passionate about my clients and the mentoring I do (yes, I call it mentoring, not coaching, for good reason. Check out my website to learn why). I strive to give them my very best, and demand the same of those I work with and the vendors whose products I use.

    Trust me, John is unique among application developers out there. I know it, and I try not to abuse it (too much, right John). But if he never tweaked another bit in this application’s source code, I still believe it’s the best out there. And I want him to continue to thrive just like I want my mentoring to continue to thrive and stand apart from the rest.

    So my advice to you all is share with him your suggestions and ideas, but be thankful for what we’ve got as well. Thank you again, John, for all your hard work.

  2. John said,

    November 12, 2013 @ 5:05 pm

    Wow, color me deeply honored.

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