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Hanging with the Comcast Spotlight Crew

The other day I got to do one of the most satisfying things of my job: go hang out and collaborate with a bunch of CoachAccountable users, specifically ones who are keen to use our online coaching platform to support a sizeable undertaking.

Spotlight Coaching Academy - Using CoachAccountable's coaching platformI first made the acquaintance of Patrick Howe in the fall of 2016, when he reached out to explore if CoachAccountable would be a good fit for his Spotlight Coaching Academy, a program to support and train the sales teams of one of Comcast’s internal divisions.  Five months later, after a bevy of calls and due diligence measures, they were all signed up and off to the races (them’s corporate sales, amiright? :).

Patrick and his team for this year are putting together a new business coaching program for training Account Executives in the Comcast way of doing things.  They’ve designed a year-long program to onboard and get up to speed their incoming Associate Account Executives, and a 3 month program for more seasoned professionals coming into the company.

It launches in June.

Patrick and his team came this week to Denver for a team summit.  When Anna realized that that’s where I am she invited me to join the gang for a little powwow session on how to best leverage CA for their programs.

I was all too happy to oblige.  I can do this sort of thing virtually in webinar style, but man, it’s so much more fun in person!

So on Thursday we hung out.  In the conference room, lots’a whiteboards, CoachAccountable projected on to the big screen from Anna’s laptop.

They acquainted me with a 20-point rubric of competencies that were important for program participants to work on and be measured for, and a Session Template within CA that Anna had created within our coaching software to support this.  It was a good starting point an made clear the gist of what they were going for.

“Here’s what I see to do: I think it’ll work best to boil down these 20 to something more like 5 key things, because otherwise your coaching calls are going to be just one big survey with no time for address the more human aspects.  Then when you’re clear about the essentials I can cook up a streamlined Session Template that will be the quick yet informative (and visually easy to read) thing you fill out as part of each call, and I’ll design an online coaching course that will have these key measurements pipe right into Metric graphs that will allow you all to easily see the trends over time, making it easy to spot cases that need more attention.”

General discussion around the table went more or less to “That sounds great, let’s put this as an action item for us to do and get these things back to John so he can do this.”  A very reasonable and sensible tack to get things going.

At this point I had delightful spark of dissent: “Actually, we got like 21 minutes before we break for lunch… how about–Anna, can I borrow your laptop and drive for a little?  I’ll get cracking on this right now, designing that Session Template, and you guys talk amongst yourselves to suss out whatever you think would be the best 5 things to focus on measuring.  Just shout ’em out to me as you figure ’em out.”

I hedged with “And don’t worry about getting this wrong: we’re not going to get this right anyway.  Chances are you guys will coach for one or two weeks with whatever structure we lay down now, and then AND ONLY THEN will it become crystal clear whatever little tweaks we need to make, based on your actual experience with it.  So rest assured, we’ll finesse as we need to if we need to.”

At this point we were cooking with gas.  I tossed off this Session Template:

A simple, standard, 5 point scale with a clear description of what each number means.

The key criteria are a bit terse but packed with meaning within the context of their program and methodology.  It’s deliberately visually tidy, specifically laid out so that one could eyeball this filled out and know instantly whether things were going well or there were issues.  This should help when reviewing past sessions as well as to allow quick filling out with minimal distraction from the actual coaching.

Then I put together a suitable Starter Kit Course, one that would set in motion Metrics for these 5 key measurements AND have them automatically filled in by virtue of filling in the Session Template:

Five metrics in total, but you get the gist. Note that a “3” is the dividing line between good and not so good, consistent with the standard set in the Session Template.

This was about 18 minutes well spent: with it they had a nice structure by which to assess and record key things swiftly during their calls and in a way that will be uniform across the coaching team, giving data that will be readily reported and exported for their use in assessments.

To wrap up I mocked for them the work flow a coach would do over the course of a typical call:

  • Pop into the coaching dashboard and review where the person you’re about to talk to is at: check on the Actions they said they would do, review the notes from the last session or two, eyeball the Metrics.  Your whole prep done in 2-5 minutes.
  • Call them when it’s time and load up that session template for note taking during the call.
  • Check in on outstanding Actions from last time, mark done what’s done, cancel or reschedule incomplete items as fitting.
  • Add in any new Action items they’re committing to between now and the next time you talk.
  • After the call add in any other observations to the Session Notes and mark ’em complete.
  • Done, on to the next person!

And with this the gang had a clear set of structures that would be easy to manage, keep everyone up to date, and track actionable insights over the course of the coaching program.  I knew I had done my job when Josh leaned back and said “This is great, we got more out of this than I thought we would.”

From there we went to lunch.  We enjoyed talk of travel and business, good food, and the good show that our hibachi chef put on at the Japanese steakhouse.

My thanks to the Comcast Spotlight team for inviting me out for both the powwow and to lunch, that was super fun!

Holy moly Josh and I are tall! Thanks Patrick for taking the picture, but I think we could’ve used you for more normalizing height balance. :)


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