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Archive for Community Collaboration

Delightful Collaboration IX – Smarter At-A-Glance Displays

It’s just occurred to me that it’s been a LONG time since I wrote up a blog post under the “Delightful Collaboration” theme.  It’s not for lack of that sort of thing happening: feature requests stemming for good ideas, insightful perspectives, and specific use cases still come to us at a regular clip and we still act upon them to make CA accordingly better for everyone (recent examples include this and this!).

I figure it would be a shame for anyone to get the impression that we don’t do that sort of thing anymore, so here’s a pair of suggested improvements to CA that came in recently!

The first is another from Megan of Fidelity National Financial.  She wrote:

I had another idea for a new feature.  Would it be possible to add an option in the “What’s New” tab that would allow you to pull new items not only from a specific date (“show from..”) but also “since our last call”?  Or a drop down list of the calls logged in CA.  That way, coaches don’t have to look up the date of the last call.  They can select a call in the past and easily see what’s been accomplished since the selected call.

Let me know what you think.  Thanks!

I admit, I had to think on this one a bit.  Should the dates suggested by the system here be based on recent session notes?  Or recent scheduled appointments?  What about coaches who are prone to using one and not the other, or vice-versa?  Maybe include both, with filtering out the duplicates?

And how can I add this without cluttering up the UI for everyone with what might be a very niche-desired feature?  (After all, this was the first time I’d heard such a request in 7 years!)

The current system simply recalls your preference of your preferred look back window of X days, but there’s something nice about the precision of seeing what’s new precisely from the last call, which of course will vary from client to client.  Then I figured out an elegant way to tuck that new feature away, and I was sold: this could be a very cool thing to add for everyone.

Here’s the result:

When there is one or more to choose from, click the little appointment icon just right of the “Show since” date picker to reveal options.

I can’t deny I was tickled and stoked by the reply I got for adding this:

This is AMAZING and will make our jobs as coaches SO much easier! We’ll be able to easily narrow down what has been accomplished since the last time we spoke to our clients!  Thank you thank you!

Talk about good deeds being their own reward, and then some!  That I’ve managed to make any coaches’ lives easier is music to my ears (and something I daresay I’ve developed a healthy addiction for).


The second recent suggestion came from Twila Gates, long time CA user and generally a fan.  Twila asked:

Quick question: Is it possible to have a magic tag for “date of next appointment” and “date of last session notes” that I could place in the “profile extra” space in the settings.  It would make it quick and easy to see if each client has a next appointment set and also to know if I have completed all notes.

This one, too, I had to mull on.  A magic tag seemed a bit clunky: it would be such an easy-to-miss thing that one would have to manually add to each client’s Profile Extra.  I could see the next appointment date being universally handy, but date of last session notes felt a little niche in terms of utility and, coupled with the next appointment date, perhaps too much clutter to add to the standard display.

Ultimately I settled on adding just the next appointment date, when present, displayed standard for all clients in the My Clients listing (one out of two ain’t bad!).  To make space and prevent information overload in that listing I removed client physical addresses, figuring that sort of thing it’s nearly as a timely or topical in an at-a-glance listing (and not apt to change often, to say the least!).

And I saw a way to do Twila one better on her suggestion, which was to enable sort by next appointment, thus allowing the soonest-for-next-conversation clients to bubble right up to the top.

Here’s what this looks like:

“So, who am I working with next? Ah right, these guys!” Hover your mouse over the appointment date for more information.

And there you have it!  Delightful collaboration with the CA community remains alive and well, and everyone’s happier for it (myself included).

What I really love about these two requests in particular is that their born of nuanced experience of routinely using the system over time, and doing so with particular habits, patterns, or workflows.  Megan and Twila were both crystal clear on what would make those workflows more convenient, and clued me in to what would otherwise be a blind spot.

So to Megan and Twila, and the countless other coaches who have weighed in on how CA could be better, I say thank you!

Private Files for Comprehensive Client Records

Coaches have long had the ability to add items into a client’s record that aren’t meant to be seen by the client. Specifically, you’ve been able to add private journal entries, private Session Notes, and private comments, as well as a few key areas to add private information to the client’s profile.

Megan of Fidelity National Financial recently made a compelling case for private files:

Would it be possible to create an option to mark uploaded files as private (like there is for session notes and journal entries)? We would like to upload a PDF to our clients’ dashboards for our records (as to keep everything in the same place), but we would like it to be for our eyes only.

In particular the phrase “to keep everything in the same place” made our ears perk up, as we’re very keen to make CoachAccountable be that magical one-stop-shop for coaches.

Fast forward a few days after that request was made, and private files are now a thing!  Let’s take a look.

» Continue reading “Private Files for Comprehensive Client Records”

Join Us: In-Person Coach Meetups in Los Angeles

Every week we hear a few requests for some sort of users group, some opportunity to connect with other coaches.

While our monthly webinar series has proven a successful time for education and group contribution, there’s still more room for community.

So we’re trying something new: an in-person coaches meetup in Los Angeles, California.

Los Angeles Coaches and Mentors Meetup

» Continue reading “Join Us: In-Person Coach Meetups in Los Angeles”

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”