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Archive for Creating CoachAccountable

Whiteboards in Happenings Reports

Over the weekend we got an email to support that reads as follows:

Hello!

I’m not receiving notifications when my clients create whiteboards. It looks like I have my settings correct but is someone able to please give me a hand and let me know if I’m missing something?

Thank you!

She’s right!  Everything was turned on in her Notification Preferences, but indeed, among those settings there are no switches to opt to receive notifications about new Whiteboards as added by your clients.

On the surface this might seem like a glaring omission, but it turns out this is intentional.

Unlike Actions and Worksheets, which have a clear “This is now done” (that makes an unambiguously fitting occasion to send a notification about), Whiteboards are generally always in a sort of “work in progress” state, admitting numerous drafts over the days and weeks (or even in a single writing session!).

So, by their nature, they’re never really “done” in a way that makes it clear “Okay, this would be a great time to notify coach!”.

They do have a clear starting point, of course.  Actions offer a “Notify me whenever my client creates a new action” setting, and by that logic we could make one for a Whiteboard.  But a freshly created Whiteboard is a blank slate, and so is not terribly interesting to notify about.

But this support request got me thinking: there WAS, it turns out, a good way to keep coaches in the loop of client Whiteboard activity: Happenings Reports.

» Continue reading “Whiteboards in Happenings Reports”

2-Factor Authentication via SMS

Last week we got an earnest inquiry Andrew Hinkelman of Priority 1 Group that was very simple:

Do you offer multifactor authentication (MFA) for client credentials/login? If so, I assume one factor could be a code sent via text message?

When Morgan replied the truth of the matter, no we do not, we got back:

Is multifactor authentication on your roadmap? If so, roughly when?

Well, at the time it really wasn’t.  Morgan let him know the full scoop, and got back the following:

I’m an executive coach working with leaders in tech. I’m also a recent CTO and managed a team responsible for information security. So… I think not having an additional authentication factor is a deal-breaker for me. I simply cannot direct my corporate clients to use a SaaS service that is not hitting baseline security measures and expect them to use the platform for sharing/storing our 1:1 coaching work.
I really loved everything else I saw about coach accountable so I’m bummed to have to restart my search…

“Not hitting baseline security measures?!?”  Well now, that’s really throwing down the gauntlet, isn’t it? :)

And far be it for me to make Andrew have to restart his search!

In truth, adding 2-factor authentication isn’t terribly hard, ESPECIALLY if we skip over authenticator apps and just start with SMS-based.  CoachAccountable is already set up to transact via SMS in countries that represent over 90% of our users.

I’ve had MFA come up as a request a few times over the last several years (expressed interest has been really quite rare, actually).  I didn’t jump on cooking up SMS-based 2FA on account of cutting edge security researcher reports that SMS was technically not a fully secure channel, owning to the possibility of various SIM card attacks and other niche weaknesses.

But really that was an instance of me letting perfect be the enemy of good.

The fact remains that even humble SMS-based second-factor authentication is a practical step up: in a world where defense-in-depth matters (and indeed it does, for we don’t ALL live in a spy movie being targeted by nation state actors), even mostly secure measures make a meaningful difference!

So I’m happy to report CoachAccountable now supports 2-Factor Authentication over SMS, i.e. for all our users in the US, Canada, UK and Australia1.  Let’s see how it works!

» Continue reading “2-Factor Authentication via SMS”

Note:
  1. Or, more precisely, users who have a US, Canadian, UK, or Australian phone number capable of receiving SMS messages.

Delightful Collaboration XII: Smarter Links to Course Items

The impetus for this instance of delightful collaboration came as a simple question.

In wanting the experience of doing her Courses to be a smooth as possible for her clients, Katharina Hille asked:

When I set up a new action for a client, the clients gets an email with a link (“View this online”) that brings him/her directly to the corresponding action.

But when I design a course I can only add a general login-link. Therefore I have to explain to new clients, that they have to got to “Actions” etc…

Is it possible to add this “View this online”-link in courses also?

I sat with this question for a little while, realizing how perfectly reasonable and natural the request was.  After all, one of our express aims in the design of CoachAccountable is to remove every last bit of friction from the client experience that we possibly can, making it as easy and seamless for them to show up for the life-changing work they’re engaged in.

So put in those terms, Katharina was absolutely right: if she (or anyone else!) needs to explain to clients how to find a given item in their system (when they could’ve been simply taken right to it), that’s a problem, or at best, a real missed opportunity on CA’s part.

With Course Pages, a login link in the notification email for a new section of the course has the spiffy behavior of taking clients directly to that section of that course“Brilliant!”, I thought, “I’ll just extend that ‘go-right-to-the-item-in-that-course-page’ behavior to items of all types [for page-enabled Courses]!”

So I did!

And it was good.

And then I realized Katharina wasn’t using Course Pages at all in her Courses.  Therefore that spiffy enhancement, though a step forward, would be meaningless to her use of the system.

Now since the beginning of CoachAccountable Courses, the login link for notification emails about Course Worksheets took clients right to that Worksheet, so a client was always just one click away from being able to work on it.  Course Files have also always been similarly accessible from the notification email.

So really what Katharina was asking for was to extend this spiffy behavior to the other types of Course Items, namely Actions, Metrics and Whiteboards.

And this is now done: [loginLink] magic tags in notification emails for Course Actions, Metrics and Whiteboards now just work better for everyone, no changes to the design of any Course required.  A nice win for all!

Thank Katharina for asking the question in the first place, coming from an understanding that those links could (and should) be better.  Sharing that little bit of perspective–the slog that is having to explain more to new clients–was a real gift, one that made clear the right thing to do to make CA better for all.

Introducing Company Engagements

If you’re coaching multiple people at a company, you’re likely already using CoachAccountable Companies. And if you productize your coaching into packages, you’re probably taking advantage of CoachAccountable Engagements. Now you can also put Companies into Engagements, in order to:

  • Automatically invoice the Company on a regular basis
  • Track how much of a package the Company has used
  • Distribute the allocated appointments evenly over all coachees at a Company

Let’s take a look.

» Continue reading “Introducing Company Engagements”

Delightful Collaboration XI: Client Present Mode

It’s been a while since I’ve written up an entry in the Delightful Collaboration series.  Though it may look like it’s only the 11th time (judging by the roman numeral above), acting on the input of our community to make CA better happens roughly once a week!

This one comes from Michiel Bosman of Open Forest Evidence-Based Online Coaching.  He wrote:

I am probably asking for the impossible, but this is very important to me from a privacy/NDA standpoint: I do a lot of CA screen sharing with my clients.

I would love to have a Single Client Mode: I click a checkbox, system will not show anything related to any other client, until I click that checkbox again.

This immediately jumped out at me as interesting.  CoachAccountable has always had the power to serve as a de facto shared, virtual workspace between coach and client.  Coach sharing his or her screen with client (or vice-versa) is a powerful way to invite structured collaboration (e.g. during a session, when actions are being planned, insights are being captured, and so forth).

But I really appreciate the abundance of caution that this request entails.  Indeed, when it’s coach doing the screen sharing, well, there’s a LOT of other data that coach can bring up with a click or two (a convenience that is quite intentional!), yet much of it is data that’s NOT suitable for a given client to see.

So I get the desire for a sort of “single client mode”: that power to accidentally wander over into another part of the system not meant for a client’s eyes could make the prospect of sharing your screen nerve wracking.

We’re always keen to make CA more thoroughly accommodating to expectations of privacy and confidentiality, for they are expectations that such sensitive work truly merits.  To that end, I present to Michiel and the rest of the CA community what we call “Client Present Mode”.

» Continue reading “Delightful Collaboration XI: Client Present Mode”

Nudge Clients When They Haven’t Scheduled an Appointment

Engagements are CA’s way of allowing you to track a clients progression through an allocation of appointments (e.g. 10 hours or 12 sessions), with the option to add recurring invoicing and timely notifications along the way.

When we first launched Engagements, Engagement notifications only came in one flavor: coaches could schedule a notification based on progress through the Engagement allocation (e.g. “Hi Morgan, you have 3 appointments left. Here are the ones you’ve had so far…”).  Later on, and by request, we added the option for time-based notification (“Hi Morgan, you’re now 30 days into your Engagement…”).

Based on the feedback you’ve given us we’ve now added a third flavor of Engagement notification: Schedule Nudge.

A Schedule Nudge will notify you or your client when it’s been a certain number of days since the last appointment, specifically when there’s still nothing else scheduled on the calendar. Setting these serves to alert you (or your client) when things are ostensibly stalled out in your coaching relationship and prompt scheduling of the next session, and you can use this to keep the momentum in the coaching relationship going. The automated nature of these nudges means the system can now step in so you don’t have to.

Let’s take a look.

» Continue reading “Nudge Clients When They Haven’t Scheduled an Appointment”

Customize Client Access to Appointment Types

With CoachAccountable Engagements, you can allow only certain clients to book appointments within a package, and with Offerings you can let prospective clients book an Appointment Type that established clients can’t see (and vice-versa).

Emma, Chief Organizational Officer at Action Edge Business Coaching, asked about yet another level of appointment access customization:

Is it possible to restrict which clients are able to book a certain appointment type?

For example, we do 15-30 minute check in calls with employees of some of our clients. We don’t want all our clients to be able to access that. Is there a way to specify who can see this within the appointment types?

Introducing client-specific appointment access settings!

This is perfect if you, like Action Edge, have different types of coaching clients, where only some clients should have access to a particular type of appointment. Another great fit is coaches who have different levels of access (i.e. higher-paying clients get longer sessions), different areas of coaching, or even different locations (perhaps in-person meetings can happen, but only for certain individuals nearby).

Let’s take a look.

» Continue reading “Customize Client Access to Appointment Types”

Version 4

(It’s Friday as I write this, and they say it’s a bad idea to release to stuff on a Friday, because it means the poor folks who wanted to enjoy a weekend are apt be be saddled with the fallout from whatever goes wrong with the release.  But… speaking as the guy who did it all and will handle whatever fallout… well, I gotta good feeling about this. :)

It’s done!  It’s here!  And it’s ready for everyone to check out.

Version 4 ISN’T a huge mix up of things.  Truth be told, unlike Version 3 I have NOT been laboring in silence over it for the last 21 months doing a comprehensive rebuild.  The switchover from 3 to 4 is utterly seamless, with virtually everything in it’s place exactly as it was.

But Version 4 DOES feature some substantial changes. Let’s take a look!

» Continue reading “Version 4”

Use Resource Packages to Share Coaching Material

We’ve added a small-but-powerful feature called Resource Packages. These allow you to install various resources (like files, courses, and templates) that were created by other coaches right into your own CoachAccountable account.  Likewise, these make it possible for other coaches to install YOUR resources (should you ever want to create and share your own packages.)

A couple scenarios in which this might be useful:

  • Finding Additional Resources From CoachAccountable. When you signed up, you automatically received some content from us pre-loaded into your account. We’ve provided even more content and templates for you in these packages.
  • Licensing Your Coaching Material. Many coaches start expanding their business by teaching other coaches their methods, with the additional value-add of providing ready-to-use templates. By using Resource Packages, you can make available your Courses, Worksheets, Agreements and more with just a couple clicks – and provide that package only for coaches who have paid your licensing fee. This is a way to sell your well-tested coaching tools.
  • Related Coach Accounts. Smaller teams sometimes vacillate between setting up with two single coach accounts or a Team Edition account (more on how to make that choice here). Now, those who choose two single coach accounts can replicate their resources and save time.
  • Coaches With Two Accounts. Some coaches use two separate accounts, for reasons like varied tax law with international clients or operating under two different coaching brands.
  • Franchises. We’ve heard from The Growth Coach and similar businesses: getting new franchisees set up quickly is key to their success. Corporate-sanctioned tools at their fingertips right away can help get new business owners inspired and active.
  • Referrals. If you’re someone who refers CoachAccountable to other coaches in your industry, giving them materials to start with can help solidify their use of the platform.
Let’s look at Resource Packages.

» Continue reading “Use Resource Packages to Share Coaching Material”

Improve the Sales Funnel Journey With Offering-Specific Page Arrangements

In a recent conversation with a coach, I heard the following request:

I want to nurture my clients through a very specific sales funnel.

  1. They should come in through a basic, self-paced Course, which only includes a few items (Actions and Worksheets).
  2. Then, if they want to (and have proven themselves as a good fit), at the end of the Course they can see what else is possible with the system and upgrade to Group Coaching.
  3. After that, I want to upsell with my One-on-One Coaching.
  4. (Optional) the big-ticket private mastermind.

How can I best use CoachAccountable to make this funnel happen?

Enter Offering-Specific Page Arrangement. Let’s take a look.

» Continue reading “Improve the Sales Funnel Journey With Offering-Specific Page Arrangements”