The CoachAccountable Blog

Master CoachAccountable and become the best dang coach you can be. Also, news.

Archive for Managing Clients

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.

» Continue reading “The Ultimate Coaching Souvenir”

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.

» Continue reading “Client Engagement Reports”

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.

» Continue reading “3 ways to get clients more engaged with your coaching”

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”

Introducing Happenings Reports

Happenings Reports.

Or: “CoachAccountable’s system of emailing a summary of what’s new with your clients on a regular basis”.  It is perhaps an odd twist of a phrase, but this tool is one that I suspect will be quite powerful and useful for coaches.

So much customization!

Setup is as simple as indicating who to send to, which clients to report on, and when to send.  There are three types of recipients to serve three very distinct purposes.

» Continue reading “Introducing Happenings Reports”

Setting the Stage: Perfect Client Onboarding

Invite clientWhen setting up a new client in CoachAccountable, the system makes it super easy to send an invitation email which welcomes them into the system right away.  But you might want to hold off of that for just a short while.  Here’s why.

As coaches we want our clients’ experience of our coaching to be a delight at every step, and their first run experience with CoachAccountable is no different.  By taking 5-10 minutes on a new client BEFORE inviting them in you can set things up so that they’ll immediately feel right at home.

First things first: your smiling face.  This actually isn’t something you have to do for every client, rather just once and you’ll be set for everyone.  The very first thing your clients will see when they click the magic registration link is the registration page.  If you’ve got your own headshot uploaded to your coach account, they’ll see that photo of you and instantly know they’re in the right place. Oh, and if you’ve set up your branding, this page will show with your colors and logo, too.

A picture of you lets your client know they’re in the right place. This is most reassuring for a technophobe.

» Continue reading “Setting the Stage: Perfect Client Onboarding”

Being Coached with CoachAccountable: The Client Manual

10 months ago I released the “CoachAccountable’s Poignant Guide to Coaching with CoachAccountable”, a manual for coaches about how to incorporate CoachAccountable into their coaching style.

It is boisterous, just look at the color scheme of that sticker.

It is boisterous, just look at the color scheme of that sticker.

Today I’m excited to release a companion manual, written for the people being coached: “CoachAccountable’s Boisterous Guide to Being Coached with CoachAccountable“.

It covers both the motivation and mechanics of using the system.  My favorite part of this guide is that I’m inviting coaches to PLAGIARIZE THE HELL OUT OF IT.

Why?  These are strategies tuned to get clients more engaged in–and get the most from–the coaching process.  And even though they’re battle-tested over months of coaching, I readily grant that my voice and ideas might not be completely applicable to everyone’s coaching and clients.  So I’m inviting coaches to re-purpose and remix the ideas and essays in whatever way that fits to serve their clients.

Pass on the manual directly onto clients and tell them to skip the first half?  Cool.

Copy and paste whichever bits are useful into on-boarding materials?  Go for it.

Carefully read through and then co-opt the language and ideas to get clients oriented directly via conversation?  Love it.

However the ideas in this guide serve to get your clients more engaged and you to better coach them, I’m for it.

I’m really excited for this manual.  It finally represents a concise resource for coaching clients to get clear on–and excited about–the tools they’ll have while working with a coach.  I think it will help them generally get even more value out of the coaching work they undertake, and for me that’s the best part of all.

Download it here.

Scaling your Coaching Practice

One of the things technology is generally useful for is to automate a lot of grunt work and thus free up time for people, and CoachAccountable is no different in this regard.

Since the launch of the site redesign back in April, I’ve had a signature website “Coming Soon” notice on an illustrative video about how CoachAccountable helps to scale up one’s coaching practice.  “Soon” for things like this is a standard lie in the web world, and alas amid all the travel I took nearly 3 months to finally get that video together (in my defense, I was traveling through all of Cambodia, Thailand, Nepal, UAE, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, and Italy during that time).

But I knew I’d get to it eventually.  I cooked up the script for it in haste back in mid-April, during the 36 hour window I had prior to my appointment at a proper sound studio to do the recordings.  With proper narration all done it was but a matter of time before I could animate it, and whilst living in Crete I found that time.

Anecdotes surrounding its creation aside, the video gives a nice illustration of the difficulty of scaling up one-to-one coaching, and how CoachAccountable can help.

Coach more people in the same amount of hours, or the same amount of people in fewer hours.  I think it’s a juicy win.


Delightful Collaboration III – Coach Yourself

A few weeks ago I got a request from one of the coaches on CoachAccountable:

I set myself up as a client and am essentially coaching myself.  I setup metrics to daily enter things from productivity level to weight lost.  I wondered if there was a way to have ourselves in the system but have it not count against our total clients?  It has helped me better understand how to use the tool with clients but as I get closer to ten clients I hate to have to pay for the higher tier.  Is there already a way to use the tool for ourselves or is this a possibility in the future?

At first I didn’t give this request much heed: doing extra coding and adding complexity to the system to have it track which client is technically the coach him or herself didn’t seem appealing, just to accommodate the (overall) rare event that a coach coaching themselves would push them over the threshold of the next subscription level.

But then I meditated on it, quite literally.

» Continue reading “Delightful Collaboration III – Coach Yourself”