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Being an Awesome Coach with CoachAccountable Metrics

Metrics is one of the most powerful parts of CoachAccountable, allowing you to do things in your coaching that are otherwise not possible with just spreadsheets, email, or even online shared docs.

They’re also the most complicated and thus tend to be the most intimidating thing to learn.

This 15-minute tutorial video will teach you the ins-and-outs of setting up Metrics for your clients, and teach you how to integrate them into your coaching style:

If you don’t use Metrics in your coaching yet, perhaps now is the time to start.

For reference, here’s the narration transcript:

CoachAccountable Metrics provide a tangible, results-based component to your coaching.  This makes progress evident for your clients, and gives you both real-world insights that can be acted upon.

Though the most complicated part of the system, the learning curve is worth it.  I’m going to get you comfortable with using Metrics by illustrating the setup of a few examples.

Metrics are always something that is attached to a client: a matter of so-and-so is tracking such-and-such for a period of so many days, weeks, or months.  As such let’s go visit our Demo Client, and setup a few Metrics for him.

Go to the Metrics tab and click “Create a Metric” to bring up the Metric adder.

Now here we see a lot, but it looks harder than it is: all the setup of a Metric really amounts to is telling the system WHAT we’re going to be tracking, WHEN do we want to be tracking, and WHAT target are we are aiming for.

So let’s go through with a few of these.

For our first one, say you’re a business coach helping owners to increase their monthly revenue.  Say your client, Dave, has a business that cleared $17,000 last month, and the game you’ve come up with together is to get that number up to $20,000 for the coming month.  To make this a manageable game, wherein Dave can see when he’s falling behind and when he’s getting ahead, he wants to track the revenue each business day.  Let’s setup a Metric for this.

We’ll start by giving it a name: “October Revenue” seems appropriate.

Then the unit, as in “what ARE these numbers that Dave will be entering”.  For our example it’s dollars: as in when Dave reports 100 for this Metric on a given day, that means “100 dollars”.

Now on to the date span, or, “over what range of dates are we going to be tracking this Metric?”  This is October revenue, so we’ll have it start on October 1st and end on October 31st.

Note these controls in the middle here: they’re an alternate way of specifying the end date.  As you change this here, that there updates, and vice-versa.  You can specify your date range in whichever way makes the most sense.

Now “Frequency”, which allows us to specify the schedule on which we’d like our client to report.  We’ve got a number of options here, and for the purpose of this example the “every weekday, Monday through Friday” is fitting.

Now data entry.  Since Dave will be reporting daily revenue numbers and we’re looking to accumulate those daily revenues towards our monthly goal of $20,000, we’re going to pick “cumulative” for this one.  (Don’t worry, in the coming examples I’ll better illustrate the difference between these two options.)

Next, target.  We’ve got an end target for the month of $20,000.   CoachAcountable here kindly tells us that that means an average of $933 per weekday is what will be required to meet that goal.  As such we should set our starting goal to that $933, because a day 1 revenue of that amount means we’ll be right on target.

For this metric higher numbers are better, so this option is the one to pick.

Now the reminder.  Metric reminders are the real magic to getting regular tracking to happen.  Delivered regularly to your clients, Metric reminders are the gentle yet persistent force that keeps awareness (and thus performance) on this Metric front-and-center over the long haul.

This automation is nice, because you yourself reaching out in this way on a regular basis is apt to be off-putting or unnerving to your client, not to mention time consuming for you.

Best of all about reminders is that your clients can respond to them directly to track their numbers, thus making the process as minimally bothersome as possible.

So while you can forgo reminders for your clients, I recommend they stay in place.  Pick the time of day that’s most fitting for your client to receive the reminder: ideally a time when they’ll be in a place to respond right back with the number for the day.

Since we’re tracking business revenue here, the end of the business day sounds good.  Like everything else about a Metric, this time can be tweaked later by you or your client.

Then pick what days it should be sent.  This first option, “on days when a value should be entered” is generally ideal: that keeps reminders right in step with the reporting frequency you’ve set for the Metric.

If your client has a US or Canadian cell number entered you’ll find the option here to send reminder via email or text. Emails are especially nice in this regard, because when reporting via email your client gets an email reply right back, containing the updated graph of their progress.

Text replies work almost as nice, but there is a quick word of caution regarding these: unlike emails, which can each be responded to in turn, there can be some confusion if your clients get text reminders for multiple Metrics.  Your client’s replies will be interpreted as a reply only to the most recent text message sent.  So if you go with text reminders, you or your clients will want to spread out the sending times, to allow an ample window for replying to each.

Right then, so that’s our Metric setup.  Click “Create” and we’re done, the new Metric is all set in Motion and ready to go.  Starting October 1 Dave will get a regular reminder to track his number for the day, and over time the record of his month’s accumulating revenue will build.  You’ll both be able to see how he’d doing against his target, and can use this to inform your coaching efforts.

Let’s explore Metrics further with another example.  Say you and Dave have created a long range goal to get his business up to $40,000 per month over the next year.  So there is to track what monthly revenue actually is during that time. Let’s setup a Metric to do just that.

We’ll call this one “Monthly Revenue”.

Dollars again is our unit of measure.

We’ll start October 1st, and go for 12, months.

For Frequency we’ll track Monthly, on the first.  Because different months have different last days of the month, our convention will be to record on the first of each month what total revenue was for the month that ended the day before.

For data entry, we’ll go normal: we’re concerned about what the number is for each month, and NOT doing anything like a running total across the months.

For our target, Dave’s business is starting at $17,000.  Our end goal is to be at $40,000.  Again, meet or exceed is where it’s at.

A similar reminder will do, maybe this time at 10am to install a habit of Dave reviewing his monthly numbers in the morning.

And that’s it.

Over the months Dave will report on the 1st, and create a clear record of how things are progressing (or not) towards the intended goal.  If you do a monthly call with Dave this Metric will a fantastic reference point as you both dissect what’s working and what’s not.

Let’s do another one.  Say now that our protagonist Dave also wants to introduce a work life balance.  He’d like to make a habit of going for a little walk, everyday.  At least for 10 minutes, but more is great.

Let’s setup a Metric for this.

Name, let’s get poetic and call it “A daily breath of fresh air”

Units, we’ll be measuring in “minutes”.

Let’s set this up for a month, starting today.   That’ll give him some time to get into the habit, and if he loves it or hates it, he can extend or cut it short as needed.

Frequency will be every day.

Data entry will be regular: we’re just looking for the 10 minutes or more every day, no need to bother with a running grand total.

Target will be 10 minutes to start, and 10 minutes to end.  That means for the whole month we just care about getting 10 minutes or more of walking.

Indeed as is often the case, we say that more is better.

If Dave wants to make this a morning ritual, 8:30am might be a great time to set this.  This will remind him to take his walk if he hasn’t already, and be easy to record while the number is fresh on his mind.

That’s it, Dave’s good to go.  His auto-nag system is poised to get him into a nice new habit.

So far in these 3 examples we’ve seen 2 types of Metrics: first, a cumulative: one that kept a running total during our time of tracking, and then two examples of a “measurement” Metric: wherein every data point is regular measurement of something.

There are two other types I want to introduce you to: rating Metrics and Binary Metrics.

Let’s say we’d like Dave to weigh in once a week on how he feels everything is going in his business, something like a scale of 1-to-10.  Let’s set that up.

We’ll call it “Overall satisfaction with business, from 1-to-10”

“Points” is our made up unit for this.

Let’s track it for the next 2 months.

Once a week.  Now say we’d like to have him weigh on Fridays, but notice the weekly option here says “on Wednesdays”.  The reason is because our Metric starts on a Wednesday.  To make that Friday, we just need to make the Metric start on a Friday.  Like so.

Regular data entry,

And for our Target: let’s say 7 is dividing line between “things are overall okay” and “things are overall NOT okay”.  So 7 to start, and 7 to end.

A late afternoon reminder sounds fitting for this, a good time to report in on a Friday, and with that we’re done.

The 7-to-7 target means a clear line between when we’re in the green and when we’re in the red: a nice visual cue suggesting that satisfaction should generally be high, and if it’s not, that’s ripe for some coaching.  Ratings metrics are great because they allow you to take something subjective, like how your clients are feeling about this thing or that, and from that give you a foothold into coaching and influencing these important intangibles.

Even if your coaching is strictly business, or otherwise just “all about the numbers”, I recommend you do at least one of these with your clients.  It can even be as simple as “How is the coaching process for you this week?”.  Giving your clients a simple, non-intrusive means to weigh in on THAT can do wonders to open up honest feedback.  It’s your opportunity to keep your clients motivated, engaged, and happy to keep working with you.

Okay, final type of Metric: Binary.  In many cases it’s useful to track regular practices in terms of a simple “hey, did you do this, or did you not?”  This is where binary Metrics come into play.

Let’s say we’d like Dave to adopt a regular practice of checking in with his staff 3 times a week, on Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays.  Let’s set this up as a binary Metric.

Call it “Regular check-ins with staff”

“Check ins” will be our unit, and we’ll expect that for any given day the number will be one or zero: he either did or didn’t check in with his staff.

We’ll pick our frequency option, Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays.

Regular data entry,

And for target values we’re going to do .5 and .5.  This is weird, but it’ll all make sense when you see data filling in, so bear with.

Set as suitable reminder, and we’re done.

Now for a binary Metric there is to let Dave know that he should report a ONE if he did it, and a ZERO if he didn’t.  Here’s how the Metric plays out with that convention.

I say do a .5 target flat line because that makes the ones, “yes I did it and that’s a good thing”, firmly in the green; and zeros, the “oops I forgot” days firmly in the red.  Visually, both coach and client can see streaks and patterns of keeping up or falling off.

So those are the 4 types of Metrics.  Just for practice, let’s rattle off 2 more.  My aim is for you to be comfortable enough to quickly set these up for your clients in no time at all.  So let’s see how fast we can go.

Say Dave wants to lose 10 pounds over the next two months.  He weighs 224 right now.

So we have “weight”, “lbs”, starting today for 2, months.

A weigh in every day.

Regular data entry.

A target which starts at 224, and an end goal of 214.

Since weight loss is the goal we want to “get at or below” the target value.

A reminder to weigh in at 8am every morning.

Done.

Okay, last example.  Play along and see if you can’t guess how to do this as I go.  Dave can do 20 pushups in a single set right now, but wants to get that number up to 50 over the course of a month.  To give himself time to recover and rebuild, he’s going to track it every other day.   Here we go.

Single set push ups.

Push ups.

Every other day.

Regular.

20, working to 50.

More is better.

Early evening reminder.

There we have it.  That’s the whole world of setting up Metrics.  Hopefully now far less intimidating than it looked when we started, there’s a lot of flexibility here.  The best part is that once you’ve set up a Metric or two for your clients, they themselves tend to quickly get it, meaning with little training on your part they’ll be able to create their own.

It’s a very good thing if you can get your clients interested in creating and managing their own Metrics: that sort of self-determination is a very positive indicator of their drive to get the most out of your coaching.

There’s another dimension to Metrics that makes them so much more than just raw numbers, and that is comments.  When your clients record their numbers on a regular basis, be it while logged into the system or by replying to reminders, they can annotate those numbers with comments.

A simple, one-liner can reveal so much about a particular result, and taken together, a series of comments tell an insightful story about what’s driving those results: winning strategies, common derailments, effects of mood and momentum.

As such I can’t stress enough: TELL your clients how important it is that they leave comments.  Just a quick one liner about the why, or how, or whatever’s going on that’s contributing to how the Metric is playing out that day, week or month.

Let them know that it may seem obvious or trite in the moment, but that those little notes will eventually be valuable insights when looking back one, two, three months down the road.

And let them know that those little notes also give YOU, as coach, useful insights by which to coach them better.

So let your clients know: leave little comments on the Metrics they report on.  You’ll both be glad they did.

 

Once you’ve got a few Metrics set up, you can arrange them by priority using the drag icon here. If you have Metrics that are rarely reported on, or not currently important for some other reason, you can collapse them by clicking this arrow icon, and tidy up the space. Uncollapse a Metric by clicking the arrow again.

You and your clients can always edit the details of a Metric by clicking this edit icon. Reporting dates, the target, and even the reminder details can all be tweaked. At the bottom here note this little section on embedding. Embedding a Metric means to put it on display somewhere else on the web. This is nice to showcase results gotten within your coaching, or to share client results with interested third parties, like a manager or head of HR.

Now for you as coach, there are a few other things you’ll want to manage while overseeing your client’s Metrics.  During your quick review on a particular client prior to a coaching session, you’ll want to always eyeball the Metrics and pay attention to the most recent happenings.

Taking note of what’s new and how things are going allows you to thoughtfully dive right in.  When things are in a slump, you can get yourself prepared to make suggestions on what might make a difference going forward.  When things are headed in the right direction, you’ll know that too and be ready to further guide however is fitting to the situation.

And when some goal is turning out to be utterly unrealistic, you’ll need to note that as well and be prepared to intervene: you can save your clients from a demoralizing and increasingly hopeless game, and get them back on track to a more empowering and feasible one.

In short, the awareness that Metrics provide is your access to giving on-point and insightful guidance, so take advantage.

Now that you know how to set them up, and how to coach with them, take a few minutes to think about what sort of Metrics your clients could be tracking.  I HIGHLY recommend that you have your clients tracking at least one or two, because it makes such a big difference in how engaged they are.  Even if there’s nothing quantitative about the coaching you do, at very least a rating Metric for weighing in on happiness will be a useful component of your coaching, and you can always do a binary Metric to instill a new good habit.

So think on it: Metrics may be a little outside of your usual coaching style, but you won’t regret adding them in.

To recap:

  • You can track virtually anything using one of the four types of Metrics
  • Practice setting up a few to get past the learning curve.
  • Think about what kind of Metrics you could have your clients tracking, even just “How is coaching going for you? on a scale of 1 to 10” is a great starting point.
  • Use the insights collected by Metrics to inform your coaching and strategies.

Do this and CoachAccountable will be doing its part to make you an awesome coach through Metrics.

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