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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.

CoachAccountable - Morgan MeredithMorgan’s Experience

At the last software company I worked at, here’s how suggestions from the front lines were handled.

Support team: Hey developers, every day we have to do X thing about a hundred times, and we’re often stuck waiting for you to help us out. It’d make all our lives easier if we could….

Developers: Yeah yeah, that would be nice someday. But we’re really busy fixing stuff that we shouldn’t have released because it was broken, so why don’t you write that suggestion on a scrap of paper and burn it as a sacrifice to the gods of programming in hopes it’ll someday happen?

Support team: …

How I felt at work, pre-CoachAccountable

And at CoachAccountable, during Morgan’s the Boss I get to actually ask for things that make my and John’s jobs easier. And they get done.

I can request everything from a “Loved On” button to mark when/how I’ve loved on customers (consistent with my title as Director of Customer Love and Handholding), to blog posts that have been lingering, to updated images on the signup page, to a quick way to delete multiple old Worksheets.

John makes a guess as to how long the task will take him, then races to beat the clock and show off his work. He often surprises me with a bonus item, something like, “While I was building thing X, I realized thing Y would also be great, so I built it!” I enjoy seeing the challenge take shape, too; often I’ll suggest something, John will take it to a different level, and we’ll co-create the idea of the final result. That process animates both of us as we get to step out of our expected results for the week.

The net result of Morgan’s the Boss is that I feel empowered to make my job more efficient, John’s enthusiastic about having less busywork to do, and CoachAccountable as a whole is better for it.

John’s Experience

For me, Morgan’s the Boss time is a special kind of treat for several reasons.

First, I’ve been by-and-large calling ALL the shots for CoachAccountable for quite some time now, 6 years and counting.  Yes, I love the control and being able to play this most worthy game wherein I’m fully responsible for the outcome, but boy is it nice (and a novel change of pace!) to relax the ol’ executive function for even just a little while and settle in more simply executing based on another’s leadership.  To do so is to experience one of the luxuries of being someone else’s employee, one that I, as a long term entrepreneur, had largely forgot.

Second, MtB is a chance for me to truly play, even if for just a little while, the idealized role of the utopian egalitarian leader: I get to put my money where my mouth is in saying I value the input and perspective of others and believe in their capacity to meaningfully contribute direction.  I hope to always remain open to the insights that are not necessarily mine, both from CoachAccountable customers and team members, insomuch as I genuinely prioritize and act on them.  I’m fond of the phrase “CoachAccountable is a benevolent dictatorship”, and this exercise fits that to a T.

Third, some really good stuff gets created when we go according to Morgan’s priorities rather than mine.  Routinely dealing with different things as she does, she naturally has different insights into what would help the cause.  These insights concern not only serving our users better but also making her job easier, which feeds right back into serving our users better.  Time spent making her more effective is time well spent indeed.

Finally there’s a certain energy to carrying out Morgan’s tasks in a rapid, time-bound fashion.  We hop on a Zoom call, she tells me what she wants me to do, I say something to the effect of “Okay boss, I’m on it… see you when I’m done!” and I hop off and get cracking.  It’s a game to see how quickly I can knock out the task, and there’s a keen audience of one that I’m performing for (which is way more fun than toiling in isolation).  Focus and flow come easily, and being able to proudly show off something new and done is so very rewarding.  We hop back on the Zoom call for show-and-tell, and move on to the next thing.

And that’s how it goes for the 3 hours.  It’s not exactly instant gratification, but it’s darn close and I love it.


And there you have it.  Here are some of the cool things that have come out of MtB sessions that you might have come across:

  • Having a Worksheet as part of an Offering sign up process
  • Rapid deletion of duplicated items in Courses and similar Worksheet assignments
  • A tidier Terms of Awesome
  • This speed run video of setting up an Offering from a new account in under 3 minutes.
  • The former Affiliate program became the more aptly named Referral Program
  • A Support Services page created using Offerings, where you can book a time for help
  • The coaching hours log report (ICF credentialing, anyone?)

We continue to have fun rewriting the script and inventing new structures for how our company is “supposed to be run”, and we’ll continue to improve CoachAccountable in the myriad ways that our joint perspectives allow us to!

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 a severely narrowing criteria.

» Continue reading “Introducing Paolo De Armas, Director of Customer Support and Hand Holding”

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”