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Worksheet Answer Comments

This one’s about what you’d expect from its 3-word name: it’s the ability to post comments on individual answers as entered for individual questions within a Worksheet assignment.  This is distinct from (and in addition to) being able to post a comment on an entire Worksheet in the usual way, and so at first glance may seem superfluous.

No one that I know of has actually asked for this feature, yet it’s one that I’m really excited to release.

Why should that be?

The power of this feature is subtle, and therefore easy to miss.  Yet when you understand what it makes possible for you as coach, one who’s offering a premium, high-touch experience, you might wonder how you ever got by without it.

Allow me to explain such a tall claim.

Three years ago I was in a fitness and weight loss coaching program for about 5 months (it was My Body Tutor, if you’re curious).  IT WORKED.  I started the program at 210lbs, and weighed in at 182 when I called it, back to the trim figure I enjoyed as a twenty-something and a thoroughly satisfied customer.

Two-and-a-half years later I consistently weigh in around 183, give or take a pound.  So for those of you keeping score, in that program I lost 28 pounds, and after all this time have gained back 1.  It is fair to say my results were both profound and lasting.

Here’s the point of my sharing this:

The magic of the program lied in the daily check-in: a form that us participants filled out every day to document meals, any snacking, exercise, and mindset.  Maybe a few other things, but that was the gist.

The super-duper magic of the program was that your coach would, EVERY DAY, post comments on every bit of that check-in form, even (especially?) those parts you left blank.

Make some great food choices?  You’d soon see written positive feedback congratulating you for it.  Didn’t so much as get in a 5 minute walk?  Coach would read as much, and the comment he made ensured that you knew that HE knew.

Coach was in your world, giving specific guidance on all the specific bits you were reporting.  After a week or so, you KNEW that if you filled in “pop tart” for that breakfast question you were gonna hear about it the next day, and because of it, the chump-looking-like-aversion (that we are all blessed/cursed with) would quickly be in your corner to help you NOT make such obvious missteps.

The daily feedback loop ritual, so long as you kept on track to participate in it, was a veritable good habits factory.

That tight feedback loop was enabled by coach being able to easily and effortlessly give you focused feedback on every little component.  Coach didn’t have to compose lengthy missives to cover the whole thing, wherein half the keystrokes were prefacing what she was talking about (“Okay, so for your breakfast what I see is…”).  It was just on-point feedback on everything, where what she was talking about was obvious from contenxt.  The whole scheme of commenting on individual answers took the cognitive load of both writing and reading way down.

Voila, the case for being able to comment on each answer within a Worksheet.

And now you can in CoachAccountable.  Let’s see how it works!

Adding Comments to Worksheet Answers

When you’re looking at a Worksheet (as found in the Completed tab of your client’s Worksheets area), you’ll now see a new “Comment on answers…” button at the bottom, like so:

Button to comment on answers

It may not be catchy, but it is clear!

(Note that this button ONLY appears for Form-Based Worksheets: it won’t appear for a freestyle, WYSIWYG Worksheet, because those aren’t structured as having individual answers on which you could comment.)

Clicking this button unceremoniously does… nothing, save for cause the button disappear.  Or so it seems!  Rest assured it’s not broken.  Instead what you’ve done is toggle into commenting on answers mode.  What that means is that by hovering your mouse over ANY answer reveals a “Comment…” hover effect, putting you one click away from being able to comment on whichever answer you click:

Hover and Click to comment

Just hover and click, and you’re ready to type.

Once you click “Add comment”, your comment appears right where you might expect: immediately below the answer:

Posted answer comment

Indeed, they’re quite popular.

You can post comments to any or all of the answers in the Worksheet, and add multiple comments on a single answer.

When in answer commenting mode, you’ll also note that by hovering over a comment you made previously you’ll see a trash can by which to delete it:

Deleting an answer comment

Because you can always second thoughts, or want a redo.

Make a typo or want to reword something?  Just delete and re-add (there’s no edit button… let’s not make things too complicated here!).

And that’s all there is to it: that’s how commenting works once you’re in-app, looking at the Worksheet in order to do it.  Comments are written directly into the Worksheet, and so they appear in the exact same way when that Worksheet is viewed in other ways (like from the Stream, in a Client Export, and so on).

To make it super simple for you to get in to add those comments, there’s a new magic link that will appear in the notification emails you get when your client completes a Worksheet:

Link that appears in an email to let you go comment on answers

View it online? Or do something a little more?

Clicking on that “Comment on answers…” link takes you right to your client’s page (once you’re logged in, of course), brings the Worksheet up front and center, and automatically toggles you into commenting on answers mode.  You’re able to get in and out QUICK, with the only brain power you need to exert carefully preserved for making those insightful comments.

Delightful!

Sharing Comments With Your Clients

Comments posted in this manner are a LITTLE different than ones you can post on any Stream Item.  Those comments are standalone communications, suitable for emailing off to your client the second you post them (assuming that’s the notification setting your client has opted for).

These answer comments, by contrast, are meant to be done (and taken in) as a series: if it’s a Worksheet with 10 questions (or even 2) that merit some form of targeted feedback, it would be inappropriate to whisk each one off as a separate email.  Lacking the context of the answer you’re commenting on it would be confusing, too.

BUT whatever comments you make on your client’s answers you’ll DEFINITELY want to share with them, and the system has you covered to quickly do that in precisely two clicks.

When you post the first comment on your client’s answers, you’ll notice the little email icon in the bottom row lights up, like so:

Emailing comment lit up

“Oooh, shiny!” In this instance, that instinct will serve you WELL.

This is a little prompting reminder that means to communicate “Hey, you’ve added one or more comments; you should probably (ahem, kinda definitely) email these off to your client when you’re done!”

Click it, and the usual dialog to email the Worksheet off to your client appears…

Worksheet emailer dialog

That’s a nice little note that plainly says what’s going on.

…but with one handy twist: a suitable personal note automatically appears in this special case of emailing your client answer comments.  You can customize this however you like.  The system will remember it for the next time, and smart [clientFirstName] insertion happens automatically for whichever client you’re sending to.

Send it off, and your client sees your little note AND your comments all in one handy email:

Laser focused guidance delivered direct to your client’s inbox, all requiring minimal effort on your part.

A Two-Way Dialog of Commentary

Your clients can ALSO post comments on answers… but ONLY if you start it.  Meaning when your client views a Worksheet in their Completed Worksheets area, they too will see the “Comment on answers…” button IF there already exists one or more answer comments on that Worksheet.

This is nice in that your client won’t get distracted by that button if it’s really not relevant to your workflow (or even only not relevant to a specific Worksheet).  The same rules apply for them to notify you: they too will see the email icon light up if they comment, and they too must make those two clicks to email those comments to you.

So if you plan to have them in on the commenting dialog, let them know they need to actually send ’em your way, or they’re as good as unmade as far as you’re concerned. :)

Dialog of comments on an answer

Preach, sister.

Incorporating Answer Comments into Your Style

Like I said at the top, providing comments on your client’s answers is a very high-touch way of giving on-point and nuanced feedback.  It can be a tremendously valuable gift you give your clients as part of their experience of working with you (trust me, I know!), and can have profound effects by shaping and reinforcing good habits.

It is also thoroughly optional, it won’t be fitting for some types of Worksheet, and certainly needn’t be done all the time or for every answer.

So how you design your Worksheets and how you tailor your promises to regularly comment (or not comment) is yet another creative avenue by which you’re able to design a powerful and compelling coaching experience, one that meets clients where they’re at and what they’re up for1.  You could, for example, offer a top-tier plan wherein your promise is to give detailed feedback on progress daily, and then lower plans wherein they get that service at less frequent intervals.

It’s up to you, and I hope with this new capability you’ll find creative joy in tinkering with what might become a cherished part of the value you provide, all to your clients’ benefit.

Enjoy!

Note:

  1. See our Designing your Coaching Business Model webinar for more on this topic.

6 Comments »

  1. Greg Bruce said,

    August 10, 2021 @ 10:48 am

    John,

    I LIKE subtle! I especially like when subtle is HUGE. This is huge for how I do things. Daily assignments are a mentor’s best friend and being able to comment on the important stuff? GOLDEN.

    Thanks, John.

  2. Andreas said,

    August 11, 2021 @ 12:59 am

    This is so great!

    I use worksheets a lot. And this makes it so much easier to give relevant feedback.

    Thank you! :-)

    Andreas

  3. Kendall Hamilton said,

    August 11, 2021 @ 6:17 am

    Hi John,

    Thanks for this! It so valuable, and appropriate to my line of coaching, which sounds pretty much like the course you did! It’s given me some great ideas of how to deliver what I offer at different levels.

    And thanks too for sharing how important this kind of thing was to your success on the course/program. I’m only just starting out so have yet to discover what works. You have just helped to fast-track my learning. I’m very grateful.

    And thank you for being so thoughtful about the new functionality you add, not just to make CA the only coaching platform to use but for enabling us to be the best coaches we can be.

  4. Louise Beattie said,

    August 11, 2021 @ 8:04 am

    This is just superb, and I love that the comments also show up in groups where appropriate.

    I am also finding that being able to reply to comments has sped up my workflow when giving feedback in my groups – an unexpected bonus.

    Just keeps getting better and better :-)

  5. Morgan said,

    August 11, 2021 @ 8:50 am

    So happy this is landing as useful and thoughtful for everyone!

  6. John Kenworthy said,

    August 12, 2021 @ 8:07 pm

    Oh yeah. You just made asynchronous coaching all the easier and more targeted.
    Had no idea I needed this until now. Great inspiration there to put this in.

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