The CoachAccountable Blog

Master CoachAccountable and become the best dang coach you can be. Also, news.

Version 3

This has been in the works for a long time.

It was January of last year (2016) that I invited Lee and Rob, my business partners from back in the Version 1 days (circa 2008-2009), for a meeting to discuss giving CoachAccountable’s coaching management platform an aesthetic facelift.

You see Rob was the one behind the pretty pixels of the original CA coach portal, and it was those pretty pixels that I have extended, remixed, and repurposed throughout all of Version 2’s tenure.  Though the passage of 8 years rendered that look ostensibly stale and dated, there was no one else I’d rather work with to give CA a cleaner, more modern look, and no one I trusted more to design away the sins of my years of cobbling (and overindulgence in CSS gradients :).

“I’d like to basically give it a fresh coat of paint.  A new set of icons, some updated styling rules to pretty up those areas wherein my own programmer design instincts could be improved upon, and whatever tidying up to better unify the visually inconsistent bits.” I said during our two-hour pow wow.  “Could be fun to call this ‘Version 3’, I’ve been evolving Version 2 for over three years now so you could say we’re due.”

Team LeeRob did me way more than I bargained for.

Rather design than a paint job, they went deep into researching modern app designs to re-imagine what the coaching tool could look like if newly designed today.  The mock-ups they presented me took me quite by surprise.

I confess it was not love at first sight.  I mean it sort of was, because yes, they were gorgeous.  But my overarching sentiment was a mix between “But it looks so different from the current version that I and my customers have come to know and love!” and “Oh fuck, this is going to be a lot of work.”1.

It was all a sort of mental inertia from a successful 3+ years run of the old aesthetic.  Happily, my attitude towards the overhaul softened considerably once I’d built a bunch of it and experienced CoachAccountable in this new, slick style.  After a little while, once V3 became my new baseline for how the coaching software “should” look, the old seemed crusty, and even kinda ugly.

At times it was hard to have that crusty version out there as THE forward facing presentation of CoachAccountable, with no one knowing I was working on this new work of art that I kept hidden away.

Which brings us to today, when after a LOT of work I am so happy to finally reveal CoachAccountable Version 3.

So what’s new?

Well, practically everything.  It’s a bit cliche to say with a software release like this, but truly, the entire system has been given an aesthetic overhaul.  I didn’t mess with the core system functionality one bit, I mean that’s really working, and so I would do so at my own peril, but everything got re-imagined and remixed towards the dual purposes of “make it beautiful” and “make it a joy to use”.

Consider the coaching dashboard, that vital jumping off point.  From Version 2:

And here’s what it looks like in Version 3:

New version of the CoachAccountable coaching management platform

Pretty different, right?  And yet super consistent with V2 in terms of functionality.  Longtime users of CoachAccountable should find themselves quickly feeling right at home within Version 3.  Version 3 is fully on feature parity with Version 2, yet there are a couple of key differences worth pointing out in this broad overview.

White Labeling is now Free

One of the most constant gripes about Version 2 is that the right to white label costs $50/month.  I had my reasons for this, but the main one, to serve as sort of price segmenting that helped me to bootstrap this whole endeavor, no longer holds as necessary.

Business is good, so I’m happy to, as a gift to my customers, give up that sizable chunk of revenue and open up the nicety that is having your coaching system branded as your very own to everyone else.  (Fun fact: this allowed me to skip a bunch of work of bringing forth the branded/not branded dichotomy into the Version 3 code–benevolent laziness for the win!)

Besides being free, White Labeling is improved in several ways.  For example, your system-generated email templates are more customizable than before:

Desktop and Mobile are now One

CA Mobile was the alternate, minified version of Version 2 that was cooked up to responsively accommodate smaller devices.  It got the job done, but it was a pared down experience focused on the day to day work of coaching interactions.

By contrast Version 3 is completely responsive.  CoachAccountable just works on any size screen, meaning every device is able to elegantly access the complete system.  The only exception is drag and drop operations on a touch-only device.  Since dragging on a touchscreen is essentially relegated to scrolling purposes, the drag-and-drop course builder, for example, isn’t fully functional on a smartphone.

Please, no one try to build a course from a smartphone. ;)

Otherwise it’s just all there.  You can get a live taste for how this works by firing up the CA  coaching software on your desktop, then just drag the corner of your browser around to resize the window any which way and watch the system rearrange itself on the fly.  It just works.

Behind the scenes, I’m excited because when I build a new feature, there will be no need to do it twice to cover both mobile and desktop–there’s just one code base to rule them all, meaning I can advance the platform more quickly.

Folder Organization

Popular demand for some time has been calling for a way to organize files into folders.  Done and done, and this holds for templates and courses as well.

Create folder hierarchies as deep as you like, drag and drop both items and folders to move ’em around.  It should feel pretty natural to everyone used to working with file systems on modern computers2.

In-app help, for coaches AND clients

The UI of Version 3 is no longer cluttered with inline instructions like were common in V2.  Instead I’ve put that sort of thing into an in-app help system that is woven throughout the system.  On nearly every page and pop up window you’ll find a light bulb icon, which, when clicked, will jump you right to the relevant article.

For example, take the screenshot just above of the Worksheet Templates page.  When we click the light bulb icon in the top right there, this help article slides right into view, like so:

What’s cool is that from whatever article is loaded we can surf around to other related articles, or do a search of the whole knowledge base.  We can resize this help sidebar to take up as much or as little space as is ideal, making it possible to have the guide present while we’re doing our thing within the app.

Also cool?  This very help system is present for your clients, too.  Their side of the house contains its own separate collection of help articles, pared down and tailored to just those things that they would need to know and get answers to.  This should make it easier for them to onboard themselves and feel comfortable in this new coaching system you’ve invited them to.

Again, this overhaul that I’m calling Version 3 was much more encompassing than I’d bargained for when I first discussed a design update with Lee & Rob.  Big hat tip to those two for pushing me to make CoachAccountable the best possible version of itself (they’re amazing designers and creative consultants, they’re busy but hire them if you can).  It runs faster, works better, and is prettier throughout.

It is the perfect foundation for moving forward with what’s next for CoachAccountable, and after all the heads down work done is secret to get this out the door I am excited to finally once again extend the coaching management platform with new functionality.

Should be fun! Join along if you haven’t already.

  1. Sorry for the cussing, just want to give an accurate portrayal for the record!
  2. A.K.A everyone.  Or at least everyone who’s likely to end up ever using CoachAccountable.


  1. Of course, I switched over the moment I was allowed to do so and it took me all of a week to get used to the new layout. My clients switching from 2 to 3 just mentioned that it was much prettier – they had no transition problems at all – which, in my experience, is a first for any major revamp like this. So kudos guys, for a seamless transition experience whilst actually changing things quite significantly.
    My advice to anyone hovering as to whether their clients can switch is to go for it. They, and you, will love it.

    January 11, 2018 @ 7:43 pm

  2. I chose CoachAccountable after a lot of research, based on it’s functionality. To me, it has always been the best in the market, and I especially love features like the metrics and being able to pipe from worksheets to automatically populate the metrics.

    The support from John and his team has always been incredible too – responsive and he always listens to requests for new features, if practical they appear, if not John always takes the time to explain why it’s not a good idea or not practical. I love that.

    And then came version 3. I love the new look. It took me no time at all to adapt and most importantly my clients love it too and all adapted to the change without any issues whatsoever.

    It is obvious that a lot of time, thought and effort have gone into the new version, and I am one happy and appreciative client :-)

    February 13, 2018 @ 10:42 am

  3. Catherine McAnally

    Like most, I chose CoachAccountable because it had the features I wanted most … and after much research and even using other software … and couldn’t be happier with my choice.

    Then, John comes along and makes it even better with Version 3! Version 3 is amazing! Not only do I love it, my clients REALLY love it. As a matter of fact, one client that I mentor, who is also a coach, was so impressed she was going to give it a try for her own clients. Woo Hoo!

    February 14, 2018 @ 12:36 pm