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Archive for The Team

Hi, I’m Jaclyn

Hi y’all!  It was my honor to say a few words of introduction for our newly-minted #3, and now I welcome you to get better acquainted by the words of Jaclyn herself!

– John


Hi…I’m Jaclyn, the number 3 of the CoachAccountable team, and I am excited!

Jacyln

It’s remarkable the quality of photography you can get with a well-timed screen capture during a routine pandemic video conference.

I started working at 14, construction with my Dad; roofing to be exact. I also babysat and then I moved on to working for grocery stores, arts & crafts stores, and flipping burgers. At 19 I made my first big career move and decided to join the Marine Corps.

I begin my story with work because, looking back, that’s been over half my life.  Work. Making a living with the belief that if I worked long enough the actual living would eventually begin.  I became a wife and mother, then an ex-wife (still a mother) and watching my little boy grow up, something shifted.  Living has to happen now. I don’t want him to think all there is to life is working hard and playing little.  Play now, explore now, LIVE now.

So, I started (ironically) working towards that goal.  I thought if I get another degree, I’ll get another promotion, I’ll make more and I’ll finally get to start really going after some work/life balance.  Spoiler alert…the harder you work for corporate the harder they want you to work.  Life was severely out of balance.  Though I’d take time off for the short vacations, the school plays, the school music festivals I’d be rushing from or to work and a piece of my mind always stayed there, thinking of the tasks.

In 2018 both my parents began having health problems. I had to go back to Texas, and I would need to be there for three weeks. While I drove towards Southeast Texas, by myself listening to my favorite true crime podcast, I thought there has to be something more.  Someone somewhere lives life fully and while maybe not perfectly in work/life harmony, they are aligned and happy.  I also wanted to celebrate those that were coping and surviving trauma, anxiety, and depression. To find out their why and how of, not just surviving, but truly living life by their design.  The ANBRWY Podcast was born and through the last two years I have met people that transformed their lives and in turn began transforming mine.

In March, exactly 2 days before the world went on a global pandemic lockdown, I left my corporate job and concentrated full time on consulting, coaching, and podcasting.  The pandemic didn’t slow this business. I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I gained clients and made them a lot of money. I coached them through fears of startup, hesitation of growth, and through software and process gave them confidence to make the first step to start momentum.  I talk to them often, the momentum has grown.

As life would have it, I came across a job posting. It wasn’t asking for a resume, they didn’t want to hear about my degrees, or past projects completed successfully or within budgets.  Instead, they asked for a short video.  It took several takes. Not so much because I was nervous but looking back, I realize I was being entirely too corporate.  Given data and experience instead of personality.

I got the call; I spoke with both John and Morgan individually and I was asked to come aboard.  Have you ever been in a place in life where all of your experiences, learnings, and life decisions seem to make sense because they were preparing you?  That work/life balance I was working towards, that need to be in a place where I can make an impact but I still get to learn everyday…it’s here. CoachAccountable, since day 1 has made sense and I have had the amazing experience of being able to relax while still working full days and spending time with family.  I’m able to meet extraordinary people every single day and support them while they do their life’s work.

Does it get any better than this? I think so, because I get to do it all again tomorrow!

Introducing Jaclyn Paxton, Customer Love and Hand Holding

Jaclyn at the mic

Turns out the mic serves for more than just successfully applying to CoachAccountable.

“Wow, that’s a serious microphone!”

That was my under-2-seconds first impression of Jaclyn, as gauged from her video introduction (as I mentioned earlier, for this hiring we completely nixed the usual resume/cover letter dance as meaningless noise, mandating a video to apply instead).

But by the end of 10 minutes and 49 seconds my impression of her was so much more than curiosity around her boss audio equipment, for during that intro she detailed insight and experience that brilliantly fit the bill of what we were looking for in a candidate.

Her experience spans an impressive career of IT support, deployments, training and coaching in corporate environments, and preceded no less by 4 years of service in the Marine Corps (which hardly surprises, given the abundant sense of professionalism, rigor, and can-do spirit that Jaclyn exudes).

Her insight (into who we are and what we’re about) was deep, ranging from the genuine delight of that moment when someone sighs a breath of relief by recognizing their life is now better thanks to some software, to finding our utter disregard for conventional competitive SWOT analysis refreshing, to intuiting that our lack of outward marketing hustle might well be a better-serving strategy of authenticity in and of itself.

All that in a 10 minute riff!

Naturally she advanced to the interview round, and Jaclyn did not disappoint.  She was, has been, and continues to be everything as advertised in terms of the acumen, professionalism, personability, and thoroughness.

Over the last two months Morgan and I have been training Jaclyn of the deep kung fu that is CoachAccountable Customer Love and Hand Holding.  Along the way she expressed being surprised at how lengthy the onboarding process was; that, in other roles, she was more used to getting in and doing much sooner.

It would be fair to say there’s a certain preciousness that I (and Morgan as well) have about doing this role “right”: far beyond merely knocking out answers to questions and moving on (à la more conventional tech support), we endeavor to be coaches, guides, and teachers to those we serve as well, meaning we’ll often go beyond answering the question at hand by looking for (and addressing) the underlying intention as well.

Jacyln

Fun fact: what with the ability to do in-person photo shoots compromised as it is, this was taken as a screen capture of a Zoom call.

Jaclyn has rolled with all of this nuance and nit-pickery with grace and earnest desire to not only learn but master the game at hand.

She has a warmth and patience that I am proud to share with the CoachAccountable community in support of their work.  I’ve delighted in getting to know her over the last several months and suspect you will as well.  (Quite frankly, I can’t wait to actually meet her in person when this whole pandemic thing subsides!)

And that boss microphone?  Turns out Jaclyn does a weekly podcast, currently 59 episodes in, wherein she interviews authors, speakers and coaches on what it is to live fully, both personally and professionally.

In short, she is a delightful, fitting, and so very worthy addition to our merry band.

Please join me in welcoming Jaclyn!

Growing Our Team to Number 3

Morgan and I continue to have a good time doing our thing here in our little corner of the internet, delighted as ever to serve coaching and coaches.

But our days of being able to get by as just the two of us are numbered!  So it’s time to add another to the mix.

It was late April when we published our job posting for CoachAccountable’s Number 3.

Rather than like last time, wherein I got deluged by 141 resume/cover letter combos in a 48 hour period, we made applying a little less, er, automate-able, shall we say!

Poring over resumes and wading through cover letters to find what we’re looking for is both super boring and a deeply imperfect process: they’re too easy to game, and for those not hip to the game, too easy for a genuinely remarkable candidate to get passed over.

So we did something a little different.  This time, the way to apply was to watch a video wherein I talked about what specifically we were looking for, and then send a hello video right back.

If you’re at all curious about the internals of how we roll and what we’re aiming to create in our team, you may enjoy to see below the very job posting we put out.

» Continue reading “Growing Our Team to Number 3”

For Three Hours Each Week, Morgan’s the Boss

Working at CoachAccountable is pretty great. We are truly a high-performing team (we both separately get a chuckle when people are surprised there are just two of us), and our mutual coaching background allows us to coach each other, deal with the rare breakdown in a matter of minutes, and make sure we’re both constantly present to our big goal (elevating the coaching industry).

Know what else is cool? We get to do whatever we want. Meaning we get to flip the script on software companies, startups, working remotely, and pretty much whatever else we want. We get to do things like not having a bug log (no need, no accumulation), avoiding a feature request list (we’re in touch daily with the din of what people are asking for), and creating “Morgan’s the Boss” (MtB).

What’s Morgan’s the Boss, you ask?  That’s our weekly ritual, Thursday mornings for a block of 3 hours, when we invert the power structure of CoachAccountable.  Morgan gets to tell John what he should do, rather than the other way around.  It’s Morgan’s chance to call the shots and prioritize what she sees to prioritize, and John’s at her disposal to execute on those ideas.

Here’s how MtB time occurs for each of us.

» Continue reading “For Three Hours Each Week, Morgan’s the Boss”

Hi, I’m Morgan!

Hey everyone–if you read my introduction just prior y’all know how I feel about Morgan, and how I’m excited for you to get to know her.  Now to get you guys more properly acquainted here she is to officially say hello. :)

–John


Hi, I’m Morgan! Nice to meet you, for those whom I haven’t already interacted with in the CoachAccountable coaching management system.

My story: Over a decade ago, one fateful swing dancing evening at Casa Loma Ballroom in St. Louis, Missouri, I met an incredible human on the dance floor.

» Continue reading “Hi, I’m Morgan!”

Introducing Morgan, Director of Customer Love and Hand Holding

Morgan and I go way back.  We met over 10 years ago at a swing dance at the Casa Loma Ballroom in St. Louis, MO.  We clicked well on the dance floor and clicked well off, and swiftly came to refer to one another as our IBFF: Insta-Best Friend Forever.

Morgan and I have roughly the same background and experience with transformational coaching: we both got our chops coaching the same programs and from the same body of distinctions.  She’s a keen and cool-headed listener, ridiculously personable and wicked smart.  For it she’s been able to give great and difference-making coaching even to know-it-all me over the years.

I reached out to Morgan for a little coaching early in January when I was in a bit of a funk.  She texted me right back: “Yeah, I want to save my minutes so how about we talk over some app, like Skype or WhatsApp?”

Um, sure?  Who needs to manage their minutes these days, I wondered, but whatever–let’s call it Zoom.

We connected for a video call, me lit poorly by the festive glory of my still-up living room Christmas tree lights, and her in–“Wait, are those palm trees in the background?  Where are you?”

“I’m in India!  Doing a yoga teacher training here… my boyfriend and I are on world tour!”

Wow, Morgan’s on a world tour!1  It had been over a year since we last talked, so clearly we needed catching up.  Turns out since last talking my dear friend had left her position working with a non-profit and went to, of all things, doing customer support for an app company before leaving to go travel some 4 months prior.

“But enough about me, what’s on your mind?  What do you need coaching around?”  Honestly, I was in a funk about having to let an employee go.  Morgan patiently heard the whole brain dump, and when I was finished she masterfully reassembled the bits with clarity, kindness, wisdom and insight:

“Well John, for as long as I’ve known you you’ve been one to create and play at games, right?  You find something worth doing, and you make a game out of it, and play.  Well, this game you’ve been playing called having an employee, it didn’t work this time!  Doesn’t mean you can’t win at that game, it’s just THAT person didn’t work out.  So okay, play on!  You’ve learned a ton about what worked and what didn’t.  You can take that and go forth playing that game.”

Clarity, when reflected back by someone committed to you winning and done with a dose of perspective that an outsider is uniquely privileged with, is so uplifting.  Man I love coaching.

The conversation with Morgan was just what I needed to go forth with a clear head.  More than that, though, I was delighted to see in my inbox the next day a thoughtful note from Morgan, part of which went thus:

… And secondly, it looks like you’ll be going through a period of change while you sort out moving on and deciding what to take on yourself and what to re-delegate with a potential new employee. Since the writing career is still in its infancy, and since I can rock the shit out of a helpdesk ticket via phone, email, or chat, making customers laugh while solving their problems, I’d be happy to step in and do those couple of hours of customer service as you need them. …

Huh.  The chance to work with a dear friend, of similar coaching chops and reverence for the practice, and one who self-professes ability to rock the shit out of a helpdesk ticket?

What a delightful idea.

And the rest is history.  Straddling the 10ish hour timezone difference, we started in on training Morgan: on the ways of how CA best works to serve coaching (she was a quick study on that because of her coaching background), how to love on CA customers the way I insist on doing so (she was a quick study on that because of the aforementioned being ridiculously personable), how to do pixel perfect screenshots for updating evergreen blog posts to V3 (she was a quick study on that because she’s got an MFA and really brings her art to whatever she does).

CoachAccountable - Morgan Meredith

That’s her. Yeah man, I’m a fan.

So, yeah, you get it.  She’s super talented.

Morgan wrapped up her world tour and settled back in her house in LA at the end of March, and has since come on full time with CoachAccountable.  She continues to impress with creative initiative and I couldn’t ask for a better #2 with whom to co-create CoachAccountable culture, long-term vision, and the projects and initiatives to focus on by which to get there.

I’ve been delighted by her presence and so have many of you during this past month of her rising up as CoachAccountable’s Director of Customer Love and Hand Holding.  If you’ve not yet had a chance to interact with her, I’ll just say you’re in for a treat whenever you do have your next support issue–she’s way more charismatic than I. :)

Please help me to welcome her properly to the CoachAccountable community!

Note:

  1. For those of you following closely along you’ll recall that CoachAccountable was launched from my kitchen table in Cusco, Peru, about one month into the world tour my wife and I were taking at the time.  And Lee and Rob, the creative force behind the pretty pixels of CoachAccountable also did their year-long world tour before designing CA Version 3.  I’m pretty sure I’m NOT going to make having done a world tour a prerequisite for future employees/collaborators of CoachAccountable (though what a fine selector for interesting and living-life-powerfully-type folks!).

Hi, I’m Paolo

I just spoke my piece to introduce the new Director of Customer Support and Hand Holding.  I’d like you to know and be acquainted with him well, so here now is Paolo to say a few words of hello himself!
– John


headshot

Hi there,

My name is Paolo and I’m the new Director of Customer Support and Hand Holding. I’ll be getting to know you all better as we work together through CoachAccountable’s coaching software, but I think it’d be good to share a bit about myself.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. For a few years I was at a job I didn’t like but tolerated because it was stable. After a pair of 80 hour weeks in the office I started asking myself some questions: What is my purpose? What do I actually like to do? How do I go about finding work I love?

After a period of introspection and learning I realized I didn’t have one specific thing I wanted to do. I did know that I wanted to make a life, not just a living. And to do that I endeavored to be a certain kind of person.

I want to be compassionate. I want to help people. I want the freedom to spend my time building things I care about. If whatever I’m doing aligns with the above, then I know I’m doing well. I’ve held a couple of different roles these past few years, each one a better fit than the last. Which leads me to CoachAccountable.

» Continue reading “Hi, I’m Paolo”

Introducing Paolo De Armas, Director of Customer Support and Hand Holding

I swear I didn’t pick Paolo because he’s in Denver.

When I posted the ad for this position on weworkremotely.com I had no need of my ideal candidate being in the same town as me.  Rather, I was totally down with the ethos of remote teams (as excellently described by 37 Signals Remote), and what that afforded by way of getting the very best candidate WITHOUT geography as severely narrowing criteria.

I did want someone in or around the North American time zones so as to overlap with the majority of CoachAccountable users, but that was about it.

So the subject line of Paolo’s email applying for the job, “Director of Customer Support – I’m based in Denver as well” didn’t catch my eye that much, but his answers about how he would see to do the job did:

My primary focus is to help grow CoachAccountable through helping our customers succeed. …

Ideally, I’d be spending most of my time proactively reaching out to customers, showing them how to best use the platform to help their business and their clients.

I understand that there will always be a need to solve customer support issues. We’d continually strive to reduce the number of support issues through excellent customer support.

His answer to how he would ideally like to spend his time on the 3 Pillars of the role (customer support issues, building the knowledge base, and user outreach & teaching) nailed exactly what I had in mind that my ideal candidate would say:

The ideal would be something like 15% customer support issues, 45% development of the knowledge base, and 40% proactive outreach. Eventually the majority of our time would be spent on outreach.

Paolo insisted this was shot in bad lighting, but I dunno, I think it looks pretty good.

Paolo insisted this was shot in bad lighting, but I dunno, I think it looks pretty good.

This is Paolo De Armas.  Armed with a boatload of experience in helping customers be more successful in their own businesses, he’s ready to help CoachAccountable users new and old in getting ever more out of the platform, from setting up Worksheet Templates, to teaching how to wield Metrics to fit a given coaching style, to integrating CA into the whatever established setup in order to make coaching clients have a great experience.

For the last month Paolo has been easing in to the CoachAccountable world, learning the system inside out, listening in on calls and demos, and fielding an ever wider range of support issues.  Some of you have interacted with him already during this warmup phase, and I’ve been very pleased with the result.

As founder of CoachAccountable (and the one who has been fielding all support and training for the past 4 years) it is a big deal to me to entrust the support and care of the CA community to someone else.  Having quick and thorough responses to questions, resolving issues & bugs immediately, teaching better coaching with the tools at hand, and listening in earnest to feedback of how CA could be better or what new features would serve have all meant so much to the development of this platform in service to the coaching industry.

For me to sleep well at night I need to know that this standard of taking care of this community is upheld, and it is with great joy that I say with Paolo the CoachAccountable community is in very good hands.  In many ways in fact Paolo can be better than me: rather than have to juggle customer support against all other facets of running CoachAccountable, customer support gets to be his sole focus.

He’ll have way more time to go in depth helping you setup the nitty gritty bits of your coaching style and programs within CA, to train you on how to wield the system to the fullest, to devise solutions to problems and challenges.  To that end I hope you will all feel comfortable and welcome to reach out to him for that sort of help whether you’re just getting started or have been using the system for years now.

One of the common bits of feedback I get is to the tune of “I’m pretty sure I’m not using all that the system has to offer” (the recent survey revealed a lot of this!).  Let’s fix that.  If you feel like there’s probably some good stuff you’re missing and could use a 1-1 session to go over things, you should assume you’re right and drop us a support note saying as much.  Get your money’s worth from the platform by using it to the fullest: let Paolo show you around, learn about how you coach, and steer you to helpful parts of the system you never knew about.

If you’re worried that getting support from Paolo won’t be the same or as cool as getting it right from the creator of the system, that’s fair.  I’ve been at this and trafficking in the world of coaching & coaching software for years whereas Paolo is relatively new.  In some regards he doesn’t have the depth and perspective on the matter as I do.

Yet.

As he gets going in earnest I’ll be tagging along, lending whatever is missing as he grows in the role.  And I expect my input to be minimal and ever diminishing.  Why?  As part of our interview process I had Paolo teach me, pretending to be a new user, about how to use Metrics in my mock business, up to and including setting up a course to have regular check in worksheets pipe numbers right in.  This setup is the most complex, integrated piece of the whole system and he nailed it, and did so with only 24 hours notice to prepare.  He’s a quick study, so again I am rest well knowing that with Paolo the CA community is in good hands for support and training.

If you’d like to get acquainted with Paolo more, go check out the essays on his personal blog.  Seriously, there aren’t many but they’re a delightful read, and give a real insight into the person behind the @coachaccountable email address.  (Indeed they’re part of the reason why I was so impressed and quickly sold that “yes, THIS was the person I wanted to entrust my customers to for support”).

Adding Paolo to the mix is a big win for all of us: he’ll be available to help at a level which I simply can’t, and thanks to his presence I’ll be freed up to continue making improvements to the platform at a quicker pace.  Please join me in welcoming Paolo to the CoachAccountable team!

CoachAccountable Director of Customer Support and Hand Holding

This past Saturday at about 11:15am I posted a listing for CoachAccountable’s first hire on weworkremotely.com.  Within 48 hours it garnered well over 100 applications, the overwhelming majority of which were incredibly thoughtful and demonstrated serious expertise and ability.

To provide a little behind-the-scenes glimpse into what I’m out to create in the CoachAccountable team, here is exactly what I posted: » Continue reading “CoachAccountable Director of Customer Support and Hand Holding”