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Be an Awesome Coach with CoachAccountable Actions

Actions are very much a bread-and-butter way to use CoachAccountable to support your clients in following through on their coaching.  This 7 minute tutorial video walks you through how to make the most of Actions, including how to prepare your clients mentally to take their action plans seriously.

For reference, here’s the narration transcript:

The hallmark of good coaching is taking action.

Through action a difference gets made and real world impact becomes possible. Without it, coaching reduces to a lot of good ideas, most of which will be soon forgotten.

CoachAccountable Actions provide a way for you and your clients to set good ideas in motion, make them real, and cause reliable follow through.

Every person you coach in the system has their own Action plan, just waiting to be set up. Setting up an Action is simply a matter of indicating WHAT to do, and BY WHEN it is to be done.   To set one up, click on your client, browse to the Acti ons tab, and click the “Add an Action” button.

Again, we just type in what to do, and by when to do it.

Note this hint here for clients in different timezones.

Reminders can be set for your client or even you, at times relative to the due date.   If you’re in the US or Canada and have entered your cell phone (see the My Account page to do this), CoachAccountable will know to offer you the option of sending reminders via text, as an alternative to email.

You can optionally add a comment about the action, and I recommend this: just a little note of context, perhaps a recap of why or how to effectively go about getting the task done.

Click “Add” and you’re done: you can add a sequence of actions rapidly for a given client if that’s what there is to do.

Now on the client-side of things, they have EXACTLY the same view of action items as you do, which makes this a truly shared list: they know unambiguously the action plan you two have created together, and can manage it from there until your next session, marking things complete as they go.

Action reminders will fire off to your client on schedule which is vital: this mitigates the all-too-common phenomenon of just plain forgetting to follow through.

A reminder keeps awareness up in the middle of the week between sessions, and makes it dead-simple to mark an Action complete: your clients need only reply “Done”.

For you as coach, this means you have an up-to-date window into how things are unfolding with your clients’ action plans: you know what’s done and what’s not on a given day, which empowers you to intervene with a little encouragement or support when things just aren’t getting done.

A little encouragement goes a long way. And even if you don’t want to be so high touch as to reach out between your sessions, just the very fact that you are able to peek in on your clients progress is powerfully motivating.

Furthermore, having updated view of what’s done and what’s not before going into your sessions is a very nice leg up: this allows you to tailor your coaching intentionally to the situation at hand, rather than reacting on the fly to the update your client provides.

Now then, there’s a color convention to Actions: green means on time, red means late, and yellow means either about to become late, or it was done a little late. This makes it very easy for both you and your clients to get a sense for how reliably things are getting done. An all-green action plan becomes something for your clients to aim for.

There’s an art to creating good action plans and you want to guide the process skillfully. You want to set your clients up with the right balance between stretching and boredom: not too much that they can’t possibly finish on time, and not too little that they are merely coasting.

If you have a week when a lot got done late or went undone entirely, note this and reel back accordingly for next time.

Try to avoid making actions for things that your client was already going to do as a matter of routine anyhow, and instead focus on the novel efforts that will move them forward according to the coaching you’re providing. By doing so, the growing record of completed Actions will be a satisfying monument to the things your client has accomplished within your coaching.   This is a nice souvenir at the end of your coaching relationship, and nice reminder that they’re accomplishing a lot during it.

Remember that comment you added when you first setup the Action? That can be found again by you and your client by clicking this little comment icon. Comments can also be found for Actions (and everything else) under the Stream Tab. Use comments to create a dialog between you and your client about the Action as it is in progress: this is great for asking for and giving support. Comments are easily added while logged in, and also by replying to reminders about a given Action.

There’s one other piece I want to show you about Actions, and that is Action Projects. Any Action you create can be assigned as part of a project. These allow you to group related actions together, useful for multi-step efforts, and for creating roadmaps and milestones.

Actions that are part of a project can be given a weight, which is just a way of telling the system how significant a given Action is relative to the entire project. You can use whatever numbers you like; for example quick little tasks might have a weight of 1, and more major accomplishments within the project might have a weight of something more like 10, which is to say “this action is 10 times more important than one of those little ones”.

As your clients mark Actions complete, the progress meter of the Project will fill up according to the weights you’ve set. If checking off items on your to-do list is satisfying (and for most folks it is), seeing this little progress meter fill up is really a delightful bit of eye candy for your clients. When your clients mark an Action complete via email, they get back an updated view of the project.

You and your clients can arrange Projects however you like: using this drag icon you can move more immediately relevant projects up, and projects that aren’t currently relevant for whatever reason can be collapsed by clicking this arrow here.

Like elsewhere in the system, both Actions and Projects can be edited by clicking this icon.

That’s everything there is to know about setting up Actions. Armed with this you can now have a truly tangible record of what is and isn’t getting done within your coaching. With this in place, you can impart to your clients a powerful lesson: that doing what you say you’re going to do, by when you said you would do it, MATTERS.

Think about it. When you do this, when you reliably follow through, you know yourself as genuinely effective. And when you don’t, you can’t help but degrade that sense of self. That’s just the way it is for people—for you, your clients, pretty much everyone.

So let your clients know that you’ll be watching, and that they too will be able to see quite clearly the degree to which they’re following through as they said, and the degree to which they’re not.

With CoachAccountable the record of this performance is real in a way that it seldom otherwise is, so this is your chance to support and guide your clients, to knowing themselves as reliable and effective. So let them know that you’ll be expecting them to do what they said they would, and that they should expect it of themselves as well. THAT, without even counting the value of the actual Actions they’ll be taking, is a powerful thing to offer the people you coach.

To recap:

  • Have your coaching be acted upon through Action plans
  • Set reminders to assist your clients in following through
  • Let the record of what’s getting done and what’s not guide your coaching
  • Make realistic and meaningful action plans, and in return EXPECT timely follow through to be the norm

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

Want more?

  • Check out this in-depth explanation of Action Projects as mentioned in the video.
  • Use the same (or a similar) Action sequence for multiple clients: build a Course.

And if you’re ready to just start building stuff for your clients already! you should probably sign up for a free trial of CoachAccountable.

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