The CoachAccountable Blog

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Archive for Community Collaboration

How to Use CoachAccountable for a Live Workshop (Plus IP concerns!) – Guest Post

Do you offer live workshops? Wonder how you could possibly use an online coaching software for in-person workshops? Wonder no more!

Dr. John Kenworthy of Leadership AdvantEdge, CoachAccountable’s customer #1, recently sent over some practical how-to (and WHY) advice on using CoachAccountable for live workshops. He also shared great perspectives on protecting intellectual property while using an online coaching platform.

We’ve edited this guest post for length and clarity – enjoy!

» Continue reading “How to Use CoachAccountable for a Live Workshop (Plus IP concerns!) – Guest Post”

Organize Your Whiteboards with Folders

One of the great things about working at CoachAccountable is that we each have built-in coaching at our jobs. To that end we’ve each got a client account under the other’s coach account (meaning John is a client of Morgan, and Morgan is a client of John). As you might imagine, that comes with a lot of material; specifically, we’ve got roughly billions of Whiteboards for collaboration (company culture, easy-access links to our reviews on Capterra and Google, etc.). That means I often need to search for a particular Whiteboard.

And here’s Sho to show us a new idea!

When Shorombo Mooij, a life and health coach from Holland, suggested folders for Whiteboards, I heartily agreed and added the task to our weekly Morgan’s the Boss session. Thanks to John’s quick work, Whiteboard folders now exist!

Here’s how to use them.

» Continue reading “Organize Your Whiteboards with Folders”

New Privacy Setting: Just me and the Client

In a coaching relationship, some things are appropriate for sharing with clients and some things are meant to be for internal reference only.  As such it’s vital for any online coaching portal to smartly manage who can see what, so as to both respect confidentiality AND accommodate collaboration.

CoachAccountable has long supported privacy settings on a per-item basis, allowing, for example, some Session Notes to be shared with/freely accessible by the client and others to be private, for the coach’s eyes only.  “Private” and “Shared with client” are handy options to have when making an entry in a client record.

Coaches in Team Edition accounts actually have 3 options for the privacy setting:

  1. Private, for my eyes only.  Items that are just for the author’s reference, and not meant to be seen even by other coaches on the team.
  2. Visible only to team coaches.  Items that are just meant to be internal to the coaching team.
  3. Shared with client.  Items that are meant to be seen by the client in addition to members of the coaching team.

For quite some time these settings have been quite sufficient for the CoachAccountable community.  But a few weeks ago, CoachAccountable client Martin Hoyle shared some insightful perspective that I’d never considered before:

…if I share a session note with a client it can be seen by another team coach. Can I suggest you make that more explicit?

As a coach I’m not comfortable with this, as I believe that all conversations between me and my client (especially session notes) are confidential – even with regard to other coaches working with the same client. It doesn’t seem that there is an easy way to preserve this privacy within the system as it stands.

I’d always assumed that coaching teams within a given organization were more or less a fully united front, in that anything suitable for sharing with the client would as well be suitable to be seen by other coaches assigned to work with that client (not necessarily ALL coaches within the organization, of course, just those specifically paired with him or her).

Yet this bit of feedback made clear that that wasn’t always the case.  Thus I agreed that the system needed a 4th privacy setting: Just me and the client, for items that are suitable to share with the client but still to be kept confidential from any other team coaches, EVEN those coaches who are also working with the client and have access to their records.

So thus here we have sprinkled out through the system, wherever item privacy settings are relevant, a 4th option:

My thanks to Morgan for the grammar check: the first draft of this option was the less catchy and grammarically-inferior “Just client and I”.

It is my hope that this little addition will make easier and more clear the task of balancing confidentiality with collaboration.  My thanks to Martin, and as always to the whole community of CA users whose input continues to make the platform better than I ever could with my limited perspective alone!

Speaking at the ACTO Conference

For some time now I’ve thought to myself it might be cool to be invited to speak at a conference, to share about what I’ve learned over the years in my quest to make coaching better by way of technology.

In late April Halli MacNab, incoming president of ACTO, the Association of Coach Training Organizations, reached out with a simple inquiry:

We had a presenter drop out – and are wondering if you are interested in a conversation about presenting at the conference – about the benefits of merging coaching with technology?

“Why yes, that sounds like fun!”  In our first conversation I was happy to report that that very subject was something I felt quite comfortable with and qualified to speak on. » Continue reading “Speaking at the ACTO Conference”

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”

Unit-Based Courses for Self-Paced Programs

Courses are great.  They allow you to create a coaching program as a progression of items that are to delivered over a days, weeks or month, where the items include videos, readings, worksheets, action items, and more.  They are super flexible, allowing you to set in motion a slow drip of materials to as many clients as you like with just a few clicks, precisely according to the schedule you define–you can have the system send an intro message on Day 1 at 8am, an audio lesson on Day 2 at 9am and a review worksheet 20 minutes later, and so on.

You can even make it so that completing one item triggers the release of the next, such as completing Day 9’s Worksheet triggers a “well done” message, or watching Day 2’s audio lesson triggers the assignment of a follow up Action.   You can make a rich, interactive experience for your program participants as they go through the timeline of your course.

But what if your Course is better suited as a time-independent delivery?  You might have a bunch of material wherein completing one section naturally invites flowing into the next.  There might be no reason to not let someone who’s cruising through the materials and assignments simply move through more quickly.  Similarly, when someone takes a two week vacation it might well be much better to not let assignments and messages pile up while they are away.

» Continue reading “Unit-Based Courses for Self-Paced Programs”

Delightful Collaboration VII – Course Whiteboards

Sometimes a would-be user of CoachAccountable just knows what they’re looking for.

This past Wednesday I got an email from Jason of Merchant Capital Partners, a company which offers loans and training programs to help entrepreneurs build sustainably profitable businesses.  He and his colleague Robert that got right to the point:

Hello,

We are evaluating your platform for use with our customers… would it be possible to hop on a call and talk through some of our questions and what a possible partnership would look like?  We’re looking to make a decision quickly so the sooner the better.

Please reply with some times that you are available.

The following day we spent nearly 2 hours on the phone and connected via screen share, them showing the ins-and-outs of the program they’re aiming to deliver at scale, and me taking it in and in turn advising how to best deliver it via CA.

» Continue reading “Delightful Collaboration VII – Course Whiteboards”

Zapier Integration Now in Beta

I’d never heard of Zapier until someone asked if CA integrated with it.  There is a veritable sea of other apps I might make CA integrate with, quite impractical to do them all and certainly not to be done in response to only one request, and so I tucked the idea away for the time being.

And then eventually I got another request.  And then another.  And then several more.

By about the third person to ask I gave it a good look and very much liked the premise: integrating with Zapier, it turns out, is not so much integrating with one app, but rather is a gateway to near-effortless integrations with a whole ecosystem of other apps.

Zapier LogoZapier makes it possible for your average person (specifically, NON-programmers) to make two different apps to talk to one another in order to accomplish certain tasks of automation, and with no programming necessary.  These include tasks of the form “when X happens over here, make it do Y over there”, like for example “When someone schedules an appointment with me from my WuFoo form, add it as an event to my Google Calendar.”

With the CoachAccountable API, CA is ripe for being one of the apps that can be integrated with others via Zapier.  I hadn’t yet made it a priority as of this past week, until just the other day I got another request for it, this time via chat from one Louise Beattie of Working a Better Life.

“Hey, since I’ve got you here, would you mind telling me specifically what you would use it for?” I asked.  She said she’d like to have it so that clients she added to CoachAccountable would be automatically added to her mailing list within ActiveCampaign.

Hmmm… “Are you going to be online for a little while?  I’d be happy to cook that up for you if you’d be willing to be my guinea pig on this, and let me know how it was working for you.”  I explained more or less how I myself wasn’t a Zapier user and so somewhat flying blind about the whole thing.  She was game.

So it was then that I spent some time putting the finishing touches on some toying around I’d done earlier, motivated by being able to serve a real and specifically requested use case.  Fun!

Even in this super early phase, this totally works, and is one of many MANY possible tasks that could be setup.

Even in this super early phase, this totally works, and is one of many MANY possible tasks that could be setup.

Louise was offline by the time I had things ready to go (being 7 hours ahead of me in the UK I suppose I might’ve suspected that) but the next day I’d got confirmation that the setup was a working success.

CoachAccountable as a Zapier app is now in invite-only mode.  Again, flying blind as I am (and more to the point, not myself chomping at the bit with specific integration needs), I’m leaving it up to users of both Zapier & CoachAccountable to guide in what would be useful, and the functionality of what can be easily setup via Zapier will grow and evolve in accordance with requests.

For example, two weeks ago another coach said this:

I’d love to have some rules fire when a new coaching client is added. Like connecting on LinkedIn, Facebook, maybe tie it in to a service that ships a card or brownies.

Automated brownie sending to new clients–nice!  I take it as proof positive that there’s a lot of room for creative ideas in this space.

If you’re a Zapier user and would like to link your CoachAccountable account to it for whatever purposes of automation with other systems you use, drop me a line and I’ll be happy to learn what you’d like it to be able to do, as well as invite you to the private beta.

My thanks to Louise for being the well-timed push that got me finally really rolling on this front!