The CoachAccountable Blog

What's new with the CA platform, tutorials on using it, and customer spotlights.

Archive for Managing Clients

Have a Bunch of New Clients? Bulk Import Them.

Sometimes coaches request to bulk onboard new clients into CoachAccountable. This can happen with a new account (when a company switches all its coachees over to CoachAccountable), or when a new program starts (suddenly 45 people in the cohort need to be added by Wednesday, help!).

Adding a client the usual way is pretty quick, but going one by one can get tedious when you’ve got more than a handful.  However, if you’re handy with a spreadsheet you can get all of their information in line and import it all with just a few clicks.

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On Not Overwhelming Your Clients

I’m going to open this discussion with a quote:

With great power comes great responsibility.
– Voltaire (or maybe Spiderman, for some reason it’s not clear)

CoachAccountable gives you, as coach, great power to cause accountability, follow through, and ultimately results with the people you coach.  It can serve as a brilliant “auto nag” system that can gently guide your clients to act upon your coaching, doing so in a hands-off manner that takes the edge off any creepy feeling that you’re obsessing over what they’re doing (or not doing) in a given week.

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Confidentiality and Privacy

A common concern with using a web-based system like CoachAccountable is one of privacy: the information that is captured and stored over the course of a coaching relationship is of course of a highly personal and often sensitive nature.  To use a system like CoachAccountable, wherein that information is stored and managed with a third party, requires confidence that such private matters will stay private.

This is a worthy and well-founded concern, and the expectation of confidentially is most reasonable and in fact should be present.

To address that concern I’d like to first contrast CoachAccountable against web-based companies like Google and Facebook, whose business model is to give away the platform for free and monetize customer relationships by owning and selling the customer data.  CoachAccountable on the other hand is a platform which charges for use of the product itself, and does not traffic in the sale or sharing of data in any way whatsoever.

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What To Do if Your Client Can’t Log In

It happens: even with the login helper that CoachAccountable provides, sometimes your clients can’t get themselves logged into their account. As coach you always of course want to ensure your clients are having a great experience in all facets of working with you, so helping them get logged in is a natural thing to want to do.

First things first: make sure you haven’t deactivated their client account.  By design, a client you deactivate CAN’T log in, so be certain that’s not the reason for their issue OR advise them appropriately if it is.  (Assuming you deactivated them because your coaching relationship finished, this might be a good opportunity to invite them to start up work with you again.)

For security purposes the username and password of your clients are strictly their own, so you can’t let them know what they are or reset their password upon request.  There are a few things you can do, though.

» Continue reading “What To Do if Your Client Can’t Log In”

Quick Client Setup with Starter Kit Courses

Consider the following scenarios:

  • Nutrition and wellness coaches routinely have their clients track things like weight, exercise, and dietary intake.
  • Real estate office managers training their agents on performance will often be concerned with typical metrics like appointments, touch points, and showings.
  • Business development coaches commonly start their clients with a standard action plan which has owners taking stock of their operations and getting generally prepared for the process.

In these cases and so many more it is common for a coach to have a standard set of Metrics and/or assignments that applies to every new client they onboard.

Especially now that they’ve been freed up for everyone, CoachAccountable Courses provides a way to quickly set up new clients according to these standard templates using what I call “Starter Kit Courses”.

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The Ultimate Coaching Souvenir

It has been my experience (and I know I’m not the only one) that coaching is an overall transient experience.  You get coached, you get ideas, insights & motivation, hopefully you act on these in a difference-making way, and that’s it.

What remains afterwards is hard to define or quantify: hopefully some noticeable results persist when the coaching ends, but motivation and inspiration are eminently perishable, and ideas (unless captured) all too commonly fade from memory.

This isn’t a huge problem for coaching: again it’s ultimately about the real-world impact which gets made, and if the coaching is worthwhile this should be a given.  Still, to have some tangible souvenir of the process would be a nice perk at very least, and perhaps a substantial value-adding takeaway.

I’ve had numerous coaches ask me some variation of: “My client is wrapping up their program with me.  Is there any way I can get all of their data out of the system so that they can have it after we’re done?”

With CoachAccountable’s ability to export complete client records, the answer is yes.

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Time Formatting Options

While it’s true that I’m not getting yet making any headway on translating CoachAccountable to other languages (Portuguese and German are leading the small pack in number of requests), today I’ve added support for 24-hour formatting of times throughout the system.

This is nice for folks not accustomed to seeing times with “am” and “pm” appended (which, much like seeing 7/3/2014 versus 3/7/2014, can be quite disorienting!).

Like dates this formatting option can be set by each user independently, allowing everyone may see times in the format they’re used to.  Coaches and clients alike can find this setting on their My Account page right with the other localization settings:

Internationalization Options

Client Engagement Reports

This week has been a deep dive into client engagement in coaching programs, from why it matters and is worth managing to how to cause more of it.  To round out the series I’m happy to unveil CoachAccountable’s brand new Client Engagement Reports.

The impetus to create these reports began 12 days ago during an inspired conversation with Michael Leahy, wherein he expressed the desire to see how his clients were engaging but in a manner more efficient than clicking through to each one and manually reviewing.  The vision was further brought into focus last week when Nicky Roberts shared how keeping up with clients who are falling off in their engagement has made a substantial difference in her client retention.

So now I get it.  Between action plans, marking things done, accessing shared files and more, CoachAccountable already maintains a seriously detailed record of how much clients are engaged in their coaching process.  Knowing that a client is falling behind is actionable information: a chance for coach to check in and offer whatever support might be appropriate.

All that’s needed to make an actionable gauge of client activity is to pull it all together and present it to coach in a way that’s super simple to understand.  Thus the new Client Engagement Reports:

How engaged each client is on a week to week basis.

Move your mouse over any band of activity to see the breakdown of what it entails.

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3 ways to get clients more engaged with your coaching

As illustrated earlier, client engagement with your coaching is vital to their getting results, and is a major deciding factor in whether or not they stick around.

Here are some practices for causing greater and more regular engagement with your coaching that you can enact with the benefit of CoachAccountable.  And if you’re worried about how much work this is going to be to get your clients up to speed with these practices, included with each one is an estimate of how much time it takes per client to set in motion.

Engagement through Actions1. Get them in the habit of creating their own actions.  Do it for them perhaps the first time, a basic setup.  Include one action to “Mark this action complete”, and one action to “Create your own action”.  These two may seem trite, but are actually quite useful.  The pair gives them the excuse to play around with Actions, see how they work and get the satisfaction of building up a collection of completed actions.  Bear in mind: the typical client when just getting started will often feel like a guest in someone else’s house, and accordingly will want to tread lightly and not mess anything up.  So it makes a big difference to give them permission to feel right at home and experience this as a resource for them to fully use as well.

Encourage them to set reminders and make comments when they create their own actions.  Let them know that actions can be easily marked complete by replying to reminder emails and texts.  Reminder replies can include comments too, making the dialog super easy to keep going.  Explain how comments keep the communication channels open for more support, and serve as tangible records of both progress made and obstacles overcome.

Time to set in motion with a client: 3 minutes the first week to setup relevant actions + a 2-minute conversation to illustrate the how and why of doing it themselves.

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On Client Engagement

I once presumed that, within coaching, client engagement could be taken for granted.  After all folks are paying good money for the experience, and it’s a way for them to grow and prosper in ways that are important to them.  So of course they’re going to keep up with the materials, heed coach’s advice, complete all assignments and follow through on action plans, right?

If you’ve been coaching a while you’ve probably had a handful of such A-students of the process: those who put in their work as though the quality of their life depended on it, and were accordingly rewarded for their diligence with the results they sought.

But not everyone who is coached has all of the will, the wherewithal, and the confidence in the process to follow your guidance with such high fidelity.  This is just as true for individuals who undertake being coached of their own volition as it is for individuals participating in some form of company-mandated training program.

We could say that the success of coaching is the product of how good the direction is (expertise, content, fit with the client) and how engaged the client is with that direction.  This probably makes intuitive sense: you can have the greatest coaching methodology in the world, and if the engagement is nil or negligible it won’t make a difference.

One way to look at client engagement is that it simply lies within clients themselves: some are sufficiently motivated and in a good place to take advantage of the process, and others just aren’t.

But building CoachAccountable and helping hundreds of coaches over the last two years has given me evidence that there’s more to the story.  The degree to which a client engages with a given coaching program is actually quite malleable, and is intimately tied to how the program is structured and the ways by which a client can participate.

» Continue reading “On Client Engagement”