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Archive for Appointments

Direct Sync with your Outlook Calendar

About a year ago we released direct sync functionality with Google Calendar.  When we did I figured requests would start rolling in for a more direct sync with other calendar systems, but to my surprise (and kinda delight, I guess!) having just Google Calendar seemed to cover the needs of the vast majority of CA users, so I was content to leave it at that and focus on other projects.

But last month I got a nice bit of perspective in a conversation with Martin in Australia.  I may not have it word for word, but it was something to the effect of “There are two types of software out there: those that integrate fully with Microsoft products, and those we don’t use”.

What a succinct and compelling case for adding such support to CoachAccountable.

Two productive weeks later CoachAccountable now supports full synchronization with Outlook calendars.

To set this up as a coach, go to Settings >> Appointment Config >> Calendar Sync.

Google Calendar or Outlook? Either way you’re a few clicks away from full synchronization.

Clicking the “Sync with Outlook!” button takes you to the login screen with your Microsoft account.  Once logged in, you’re presented with the ask to give CoachAccountable permission to sync with your calendar:

Two permissions: (1) access that lasts more than an hour and (2) access to your calendar.

Assuming you click “Yes”, you’ll be bounced back to CoachAccountable for the final step: choosing which (if any) calendar you’d like CA to publish your coaching appointments to, and which calendar CA should read from to determine your precise availability.

Easy choices: which calendar should CA publish too, which calendars should CA read from.

And that’s it!  With just a few clicks you can be fully synced with your Outlook calendar in under a minute, and this includes accounts with Outlook.com, Office 365, and Outlook Exchange.

Don’t forget your clients!

This one-time setup to sync with your calendar is easy and useful for you as coach, AND is similarly available to your coaching clients.  They’ll find the same controls to sync with their calendar system of choice (Google or Outlook) in their My Account page, so let them know this is available as a quick one-time setup.

Their setup is a little easier: just choose which calendar to publish to.

And you might go one step further to actually sell them on doing this.  Because when they do it, their appointments with you will automatically appear in their calendar.  It’s a great way to make the process of working with you even more frictionless, and easier to fit into their busy lives.  (This one is so good that it might well be a worthy Action item for you to make part of the standard getting started routine for new clients!)

Enjoy!

Offerings – Sell Your Coaching from your Website

If there’s one thing that’s been made crystal clear to me over 6 years of providing an online coaching platform, it’s that people generally seek (and indeed, crave) having a single system that does EVERYTHING.

“An all-in-one solution” is a bit of a cliche, often an unattainable ideal.  But I don’t fault folks for wanting it, especially in a piece of software they use to run their coaching business.

Introducing CoachAccountable Offerings, a big step towards CA being that all-in-one unicorn for coaches.

Offerings started as the answer to a question we commonly get:

CoachAccountable’s scheduling system is great for my existing clients, but how can prospective clients use it to book with me?

» Continue reading “Offerings – Sell Your Coaching from your Website”

Direct Sync with your Google Calendar

CoachAccountable has long supported syncing our online coaching software with your Google (and iCal, and Outlook) Calendar by way of 2-way subscribing to calendar data feeds.  This works according to a simple, two-part mechanism:

  1. CoachAccountable publishes a data feed of your appointments which your calendar can subscribe to, allowing those appointments to appear alongside your regular calendar events.
  2. CoachAccountable can subscribe to a data feed of your calendar events for the sake of knowing when you’re busy to prevent double bookings.

It’s a good system, but suffers from two drawbacks:

  1. Calendar systems can be lax about pulling coaching appointment data from CoachAccountable.  Though the data as offered by CA is always up to date, there can be a lag in how long it takes your calendar to pull over whatever’s new.  Google Calendar in particular is a bit notorious for updating from such data feeds only once every 24 hours.
  2. Having your CoachAccountable appointments present as a separate calendar collection of events is often not nearly as nice as having those events posted directly into your primary calendar collection of events.  Other scheduling systems might know when you’re busy based on your primary calendar, but that might not include a separate calendar collection without subscribing to THAT one, too (if even possible).

To overcome these drawbacks I’m happy to report that our online coaching tool now supports a direct integration for syncing with your Google Calendar.

» Continue reading “Direct Sync with your Google Calendar”

Delightful Collaboration VIII – Setting Location and Description for Appointments

Here is a great example of where CoachAccountable’s coaching software gets better through me being exposed to a style of doing things other than my own.

The calendar feed of appointments is a lovely thing, allowing both coaches and clients to have appointments [set within CoachAccountable] appear right within their usual calendars (like Google Calendars, iCal, and Outlook).

Beyond the what and when, calendar software aficionados know that it’s handy to have location and descriptive information about a calendar event right there as well.

For my sake when it comes to coaching appointments there’s nothing to it: “where” is invariably on the phone, and there are no access or dial-in details to speak of, or really anything else–I call them and that’s that.

Liz HeimanBut last Thursday I had a great call with Liz Heiman of Percio Strategies.  We went over a bevy of great questions of how to set up and do this or that within our coaching tool, and Liz made a great case for how useful it would be to have location and description information about an appointment appear right along side appointments within people’s calendars: vital for coordination of meeting locations and a great boon to timely attendance to have dial in information right there for attendees. » Continue reading “Delightful Collaboration VIII – Setting Location and Description for Appointments”

Appointments: Post Worksheets and Type-Specific Availability

CoachAccountable Appointments have undergone a few more improvements lately.  Let’s take a look! » Continue reading “Appointments: Post Worksheets and Type-Specific Availability”

Two Way Syncing with your Calendar

A major piece of CoachAccountable is scheduling and managing client appointments.  A lot of coaches ask “how do I sync my CoachAccountable appointments with my regular calendar, and how does that work?”

(By “regular calendar” I am referring to whichever online calendar system you already use regularly– Apple iCal and Microsoft Outlook are by far the most prevalent.)

CoachAccountable has a direct sync with your Google Calendar (instructions HERE), but if you use another calendar keep reading.

» Continue reading “Two Way Syncing with your Calendar”

Pipe Appointments directly into your clients’ calendars

If you use CoachAccountable to manage your appointment scheduling with clients (and this is highly recommended, by the way) you can have the appointments that you schedule with a given client pipe directly into his or her online calendar (e.g. iCal, Outlook, or Google Calendar).

This is because, in addition to calendar feeds of all appointments available for coaches, CoachAccountable offers a calendar feed for clients consisting of their appointments with you.  The setup to do this is a one-time step.  Tell your clients to find their listing of Appointments with you the next time they login (found in the column on the left), and beneath that listing they’ll see a button: “My calendar feed…”

When your client clicks the button, they'll be given instructions on how to add their appointments with you to their online calendar of choice.

When your client clicks the button, they’ll be given instructions on how to add their appointments with you to their online calendar of choice.

What they have for their calendar feed is exactly what you have as coach, so if you’ve added your appointment feed to your online calendar you’ll be able to talk them through the process.

Once they’ve added their appointment feed to their online calendar, any appointments you (or they) setup within CoachAccountable will automatically appear in their online calendar.

This is a nice convenience and a powerful way to integrate your coaching into the rest of their life and schedule.  Seeing their coaching appointments with you amid all of their other happenings in life provides a nice reminder to make the coaching work they are doing a priority, and might even cause them to complete one or two more assignments prior to your next session.

So let your clients know as they’re getting started with you on the platform: add the feed of their appointments with you to their online calendar of choice, and they’ll have their current and future sessions with you effortlessly added into their schedule.

Letting CA Know When You’re Not Available for Appointments

CoachAccountable allows your coaching clients to schedule themselves for appointments right into your calendar.  By setting your weekly availability, you tell CA when, in a typical week, you are open to receiving appointment requests from clients:

Typical weekly availability

But of course things come up.  Sometimes you have a dentist appointment at 11am on a Monday, and so you need CoachAccountable to not offer that slot to your clients for booking.

For a long time now this could be done by manually specifying these exceptional occasions, like so:

Just let CA know when you're not available, and it will subtract out those times.

Just let CA know when you’re not available, and it will subtract out those times.

Now by popular request you can pipe a live feed of your calendar events into CoachAccountable, letting the system know directly when you have times that should thus be made unavailable for appointment scheduling with your clients.

» Continue reading “Letting CA Know When You’re Not Available for Appointments”

Be an Awesome Coach With CoachAccountable Appointments

Between a few hang outs and a lot of phone conversations I keep bumping up against CoachAccountable being more powerful than people are discovering on their own, even with a 30 day trial.

Clearly I can do a better job of tuning CA users into all that the system is capable of.

To that end I’m happy to unveil the first of a series of videos which, in detailed fashion, illustrate the many how-to’s of using the system to greatest benefit, distilled from the experiences of myself and many other users.

This first one is titled “How to be an awesome coach with CoachAccountable Appointments”.

Enjoy!

For reference, here’s the narration transcript:

» Continue reading “Be an Awesome Coach With CoachAccountable Appointments”

Appointment Worksheets

Yesterday I got an email from Bryan Gilliom of Level 5 Coaching Group, a fellow who was goodly enough to reply to my “welcome, how’s it going?” email that gets sent to all coaches shortly after they grab an account1.  In addition to giving a really nice account of what he was looking for, he let me know his wish list so far for the system.  The first on this list was this:

1) To improve my own efficiency I want to be able to send worksheets based on an appointment.  So it seems like I am going to have to remember each session to schedule a “Check in” worksheet and reminder, and I will have to schedule a pre-meeting worksheet.  This seems like repetitive work that would be better done by defining triggers tied to the appointment.

In this I love both his forwardness to ask and clarity of reasoning behind it.  (Incidentally, the second item on his wish list was essentially a request for the forthcoming Team Edition.)

To his first request I replied:

Tying a worksheet to an appointment type is a really good idea, one which I’ve toyed with in the past and am just about sold on as being worth adding.  As you might imagine my to-do list is quite flush with good ideas but I reckon I may add this sometime in the near-ish future.

Then I realized I was just a few days off from a trip to Vegas for MicroConf, and thus it wasn’t a good day for doing any major architectural wrangling for Team Edition.  Instead, a quick project was a perfect way to spend the day.  So I did just that.  And now, as of this morning, coaches can tie worksheet assignments automatically to their appointment types.  Let’s take a look.

» Continue reading “Appointment Worksheets”

  1. The computer sends this email for me automatically, but the intention is quite sincere!