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Introducing Whiteboards

I can’t speak to other professions,  but in programming crafts the whiteboard is the ubiquitous wall-mounted display of a collaborative work in progress.  Marked with a few of the standard dry erase colors (red, blue, green and black), the whiteboard contains lo-res drawing of high-impact ideas, priority lists of things to do, and hastily scribbled notes capturing the key takeaways of recent collaborative pow-wows.

It is often a crude yet to-the-point map detailing the state of affairs, proudly displaying the what’s so for all parties who should gaze upon it.

For example, here’s my whiteboard for CA:

Here's my whiteboard for CA.  My wife tells me CA Land looks a lot like Europe.

My wife tells me CA Land looks a lot like Europe.

For the sort of ongoing, collaborative work that coaching relationships entail, the whiteboard is a worthy addition.

Conventional whiteboards are mounted to the wall of someone’s office, and so are useful only when both parties are in physical proximity.  For the sort of virtual collaboration that coaching so often comprises, CoachAccountable offers virtual whiteboards.  Let’s take a look at how they work.

Tucked away in the widget control panel, find this by clicking the double arrow icon above.

This is easy to miss.

Whiteboards live in the widgets column, on the side of a client page or the coach’s dashboard.  This is to keep them ever present: unlike journal entries, worksheets, and other such items they aren’t dated and thus don’t get buried in the historical record of happenings within the relationship over time.

To add one, just bring up the widget control panel on a given page by clicking the little double arrow icon just above the widget column, and then click the Whiteboard “Add New” link.

Upon creating a whiteboard you’ll see the familiar WYSIWYG editor.  Type away, add pictures, and otherwise create on this blank slate.  A whiteboard can be shared with your client or kept private.  If shared, you can either allow or disallow your client to make edits herself.

Let’s look at a few ways to employ whiteboards in your coaching.

Refining a draft

If you’re helping one of your clients write up an important piece, say something central to their marketing, a whiteboard is a perfect way to do back-and-forth feedback and iteration.  Using different colors both coach and client can highlight their comments and changes made across revisions.  The series of drafts accumulates to show the evolution of the document.

Both parties can make their edits, and view earlier drafts to see the evolution.

Both parties can make their edits, and view earlier drafts to see the evolution.

Sharing easy-access info

Because they stay put in the widgets column for your clients, Whiteboards are an ideal holding place for information that needs to be accessed frequently, such as recordings of coaching calls, links to tutorials, and conference call dial-in information.  This way, the client doesn’t have to search in their history of past notes to find information quickly.

Whiteboards are also a great place to store info central to the coaching process itself, like assessment results, overarching aims, and anything else that is big picture to a specific client.  These can be shared or not with a client as appropriate.

Tracking the state of things

One of the reasons Whiteboards were created came right from a request made by a CoachAccountable user:

I want to create a couple of updatable areas to maintain a changing list of challenges that need to be addressed.  What I am trying to do is to create a Green, Blue and a Red Sheet. Green means these are the areas where the coachee is doing awesome. Blue is that he is okay and getting by. Red requires immediate attention.

Idea here is that we can inventory and categorize all areas based on their current state and then as they coachee works on it and things improve they can move them across buckets. This then allows a coachee to review all 3 buckets at any time and get a complete perspective on where they stand.

This is a nice structure, the utility of that complete perspective is unexpectedly high.  It’s easy to set up (and makes a fine getting-started task to assign to your clients), and updating is as simple as cutting and pasting an item from one list to the next.

Whiteboards have been technically out for, uh, a while now.

Whiteboards have been technically out for, uh, a while now…

Whatever the purpose, Whiteboards have a number of other useful features about them:

  • The history of saved drafts made by both parties are kept and can be recalled at any time.  This is nice to look back at the evolution of the whiteboard through weeks and months.
  • Any whiteboard draft can be saved off as a Journal Entry with a few clicks, a useful way to take a snapshot of things for the running historical record.
  • Whiteboards are readily emailed to the other party with just a few clicks.  Printing is just as easy.
  • Again, Whiteboards are not just for sharing with clients: they can be added to a client’s file for the coach’s eyes only.
  • Coach can add a whiteboard to his or her own dashboard, for more general use not connected to any particular client.

Session Notes, Worksheets, and Journal Entries are highly complimentary ways of documenting and sharing written work, but indeed there are a few use cases and workflows where they are just not ideally suited.  The addition of Whiteboards nicely rounds out the mix.Whiteboard icon


  1. Twila

    John… You never cease to amaze me with your ingenuity and willingness to expand coach accountable. I already am thinking of how I will use this with clients. Coach accountable adds so much value to my clients experience and it just keeps getting better and better!

    Thank you so very much for all your hard work.


    January 15, 2015 @ 2:06 pm

  2. Thanks for adding even more value to an invaluable coaching tool. MUCH APPRECIATED

    January 20, 2015 @ 7:38 pm

  3. I came here hoping to find a way for my clients to make lists, track ideas, and more – a simple notepad that we could both use.

    They were using Journal entries but those are ‘completed’ and can’t be edited.

    Found Whiteboards – yippee! Now I can get them off Google Docs and keep EVERYTHING in one place.

    Loving this… so are my clients.

    November 2, 2015 @ 7:42 pm

  4. Benedit Qumi

    Looking forward to this options as well.It does keep things together on program though.

    June 21, 2020 @ 10:56 pm

  5. Morgan

    Thanks Benedit! We’ve come a long way since Whiteboards were introduced in 2015, and now we even have Group Whiteboards. Check them out!

    July 1, 2020 @ 2:54 pm

  6. Sarah

    Awesome. Are the general whiteboards (under appointments on the left side menu) visible to my clients or are they just visible to me? Thank you!

    November 15, 2020 @ 5:43 pm

  7. Fidelma Greene

    I have invited a client to start using a whiteboard for her package ideas to get her moving and inspired. Looking forward to seeing how it works for her! Thank you.

    April 29, 2022 @ 9:26 am