The CoachAccountable Blog

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

Archive for User Spotlight

My First In Person With A Customer

Most of the time, I interact with CoachAccountable customers through phone, email, or screen share. While I think those are all perfectly acceptable forms of communication, I relish the opportunity to meet with a customer face to face. Getting to know coaches is one of the perks of my work, and the best way to do so is in person.

That opportunity — my first — came up the other week. David Frank Gomes, of Life Compass Coaching, emailed John to ask a couple of questions. David recently joined the volunteer board of Create Change, a charity working to empower girls and youth in Canada and Ghana, and he wanted to know how to best setup program participants in CoachAccountable.

David, who resides in beautiful Vancouver, has been a user and fan of CoachAccountable for a couple of years now, and had actually met with John in person a back in 2014. Since I had a trip planned to Vancouver to visit family, John suggested that David and I meet up. Thank you John for keeping me in mind!

David and I ended up meeting at a cafe right next to the scenic Granville Island. Coffee in hand and laptop and iPad open, we talked about how to best setup the Create Change program — a leadership and marketing program for Vancouver highschool kids who raise money to send girls in Ghanan to school — in CoachAccountable.

It was a fantastic time. I listened to his vision for the program and how CA would fit. We went through Courses and Groups and piping in Worksheets from Metrics. One suggestion I gave that seems to be much appreciated with whoever I talk to is the idea of Starter Kit Courses. If nothing else, take advantage of the automatic delivery of Courses to send onboarding messages, Worksheets, and maybe even a short screencast tutorial to get new clients off and running with the system.

The beauty of meeting up in person is the conversation: the attempt to understand the coach and the program and the subsequent feedback and back and forth that occurs as new questions and ideas inevitably arise. And to top it all off, selfies are possible:

davidandpaolo

I appreciate the chance to get to know our customers because I end up learning more about coaching, why folks become coaches, and more and more, what quality coaching looks like. All valuable knowledge in and of itself, but especially in the context of the work I do.

Thanks for meeting up with me David. It was lovely chatting with you and I’m glad I could be of service!

Hanging with Tambre Leighn

I first made the acquaintance of Tambre Leighn about a year ago.  She had a trial account and was poking around, and asked some of the big questions.  Language translations?  Content licensing?  Independent branding for sub-accounts?

It was clear that she had big intentions.  A month later I was on a conference call with Tambre and a few of her colleagues, featuring more hard hitting questions concerning security, infrastructure, reseller arrangements, and oh by the way how well could your system handle 10- or 20-thousand users all doing the same program1?

I let her know afterwards it was a pleasure to be on that call, being hit by the big questions is the stuff of having my creation be under serious consideration for the sake of serious plans.  To this she replied:

When you lose the love of your life, the only thing left to do, if you’re me, is to play the biggest game ever inspired by his legacy. 14 million plus survivors, many struggling with the collateral damage of cancer, are out there in need. Yes, big is fun and awesome…more to come ;)

And that was my first real taste of the passion and flair driving the Well Beyond This program.

Well Beyond This logoWell Beyond This is a cancer survivor’s program, helping people thrive with, through, and beyond the disease.  I personally have been thus far fortunate enough to not have been afflicted by cancer, but even from this sideline position I find the intention and focus of the program to be uplifting, making it one of those “Oh I’m so glad that exists in the world” sort of things.

WBT recognizes that patients of conventional medicine are left largely on their own when it comes to dealing with depression, stress, fatigue and so forth, and fills in the gaps by giving participants the tools to strengthen relationships, cultivate motivation and coping mechanisms, and empowering a happier and more balanced life.

Last month Tambre was in town, coming to Denver for CancerCon.  Given the past months of strategy conference calls, developer collaboration, and the successful launch of the pilot program, I was honored that she could fit me into her busy visit.

Over a hot bowl of noodles (Tambre gets adventuresome points for trying pho for the first time) I got better acquainted with the history and background of the project.  Tambre lost her husband to cancer some years ago, and despite her and her husband having the luxuries of being rather fit, financially stable, and surrounded by a loving and supportive community, found the ordeal incredibly difficult and taxing.  It made her think wow, what if you’re not so blessed by circumstance going into it?  How do you deal with that?

It gave her the drive to create something to help support others, both patients and their loved ones, in powerfully dealing with the disease.  Armed with the training and methodology of IPEC Coaching, she created the Well Beyond This program as a means to help the millions of others out there.

If I was honored to get to meet her for lunch on this visit, that quite pales compared to the honor I feel getting to play a part in bringing this program to life by virtue of CA being its delivery platform.

We lingered over our lunch and good conversation for a lovely two hours, finding no shortage of things to talk about in the intersection of our works.  I even learned she’s a seasoned dancer and invited her out to my usual Friday night out of swing dancing at the Denver Turnverein.  (She was keen but didn’t make it out–had a private party invite come up for the night.  I totally get it–private parties are the best during an out of town conference, amiright?)

Thanks Tambre for making time to hang out–I’m inspired by what you, Ed and the rest of the gang are up to, and again, am super honored to play a part in it!

A lovely shot of us on the 16th Street mall--no selfie stick required.

A lovely shot of us on the 16th Street mall–no selfie stick required.

  1. Incidentally, pretty well–I can throw more hardware at the situation generally much faster than such numbers can be rallied.  Would have to make a few interface changes, though.

Onsite Consultation with Wake Up Warrior

A few weeks ago a CA user, about a month in on his Team Edition account, sent me a support request note that simply read:

Can I hire you or someone on your team to build out our system?

To this I replied:

Depends on what you need.  In an ideal world I would be able to get you guys up and going with an hour or two of collaboration, and I’m happy to do that gratis.  If you’re looking for more than that I’d have to see what exactly you need.

Give me a call whenever convenient today and I’ll see what I can do to get you sorted!

We were talking shortly thereafter, and while I like to think that just a little direction over the phone is all anyone needs to set up even really sophisticated programs, it was after about 20 minutes I was asked if I could come out to work with the team directly, next week, if possible.  “That would be ideal.  We’re at a breaking point with scaling up our programs and we really need to nail our setup to have things go smoothly.”

I quick checked my schedule and confirmed that an overnight would be alright with the Mrs. (‘cuz you know, we’ve got a little one and I don’t want to ride roughshod over my wife being saddled with full-on Kira duty), and then sent back the thumbs up.  Within minutes my flight and hotel were booked, and my day rate was paid, half-day plus a half-day.

This was my first taste of doing business with Garrett White of Wake Up Warrior.  I immediately liked his style. » Continue reading “Onsite Consultation with Wake Up Warrior”

Delightful Collaboration VI: Getting Right-Brain Friendly

Marney MakridakisI first really made the acquaintance of Marney Makridakis of artellaland.com about one week into her trial, when she sent a lengthy email containing about a dozen questions about CoachAccountable.  Pretty much all of them were of the hard-hitting variety: questions that came from savvy about the how the system worked and thus whose purpose was to push for more.

Marney got right to the point:

Hello. I’m a new user (currently on the trial) with a handful of questions.  I’m starting with about 30 clients, though in the future I may have more than that, as I may be planning a Team setup, where I can supervise my coaches’ coaching – in which case I would have a pretty robust team system.

My questions are below. Some of these may be more along the categories of “wish list” items – but perhaps you might be able to direct me through a workaround for things my client and I might try.  If a phone call is easier for providing support, let me know and I’m happy to call over phone

I opted for the phone call–actually chatting with a coach is way more fun than banging out a detailed email in solitude.  As luck would have it, the answers to a few of her questions were already in my immediate plans and would soon be released (Action Projects and Client Exports).  For the other things we got deep into the nitty gritty of flow (eliminate all emails flying back and forth and have it all instead in-system), scale (manage a large pool of clients in a very high-touch manner), groups (lots of group interaction, collaboration, and sharing), and user comfort (having system be friendly for creative and very visually oriented types).

» Continue reading “Delightful Collaboration VI: Getting Right-Brain Friendly”

Hanging with Kelly Talamo

The first two times I met with CoachAccountable users it was while I was abroad: John Kentworthy early last year in Singapore, and David Frank Gomes a few months ago in Vancouver.

Kelly TalamoThis time I had the luxury of a CoachAccountable user coming to me, and in my own country no less!  Kelly Talamo was in town from New Orleans for the day, and wanted to make a morning of meeting me at a coffee shop in my neighborhood.

In early September Kelly emailed me the following in response to CA’s birthday announcement:

Thanks for sharing this killer news.
I’m so grateful for you and your system.  It’s totally been a gift for me.

My business continues to grow — even more than when we spoke last. I’m about to swap out some old clients for new ones and also about to bring one of my clients into a team environment.  I’ve mentored a gal who’s becoming the “lead coach” in one of my companies and when I walk out the door they are committed to their own Coach Accountable system.  :)

So business is great for me — but will be even better for you!  Having said all of that –  I have a confession (of sorts) to make. That is — as well as I’m doing in my coaching and consulting — I’m not where I should be (knowledge-wise or practically) on Coach Accountable.  I’m so busy growing people – and creating solutions for my clients – I’m sort of “neglecting me.”  Not totally — but in this area.

So – I had a special request that I’d like to run by you.

I may be coming to Denver to spend time with a friend — and I was wondering if you and I could perhaps meet at a coffee shop – where ever you are and spend about 2-3 hours where you could walk me through some of this. I know this is kind of ‘special treatment’ – and I’d be happy to pay for your time — but it’s also how I learn the best.

Would you consider that?

It’s always a treat to meet the folks who use my system, so I was immediately keen.  As I’ve mentioned before, I can’t buy market research better than experiences like this.

» Continue reading “Hanging with Kelly Talamo”

Customer Raves: Michael Leahy

It was last fall when I first made the acquaintance of Michael Leahy of BraveHearts on the telephone, and since then he’s been one of CoachAccountable’s most discerning power users.

His thorough use of Groups and Courses have pushed the platform forward, and his perspective and insight of what would be useful have lead to an impressively high rate of his feature requests ultimately making it into the system1.

One of our more recent exchanges led to the creation and launch of Client Engagement Reports, and as with so many other bouts of his feedback CA is better for it.

In June Michael was kind enough to favor CoachAccountable with a testimonial.  I usually prefer kind words regarding CoachAccountable to be more about the software than about me (because the software should stand on its own merits, right?), but I suppose the customer support aspect of CA is worth touting now and then (and my wife will tell you I spend a lot of time on that part of the business!)

Take it away, Michael.


Michael LeahyIf you are a successful coach or mentor and you’re looking for a best practices, leading edge platform to work with, look no further. As a discriminating and hard to please  technology industry veteran of 20 years, I spent YEARS trying to find a robust, fully functional solution for my mentoring practice that integrated appointment management AND client/practice management tools, AND that also offered excellent, responsive support. The winner hands down is John Larson and Coach Accountable

Rarely have I encountered an application developer like John who is so level headed, responsive and easy to work with. He truly believes in his product and loves his work, and it shows. And while I don’t always get my way re- new feature requests (who does), when it comes to fixing those inevitable software bugs or adding that logical functionality that might have been overlooked in a new software release, I’ve never met anyone more capable or responsive as John has been.

So let me save you a lot of wasted time and effort searching to and fro for a rock solid coaching/mentoring platform from which to grow your practice – choose CoachAccountable and spend more time doing what we all love and really want to do – coaching and mentoring!

Respectfully,
Michael Signature

Note:

  1. I welcome coaches who are using the system in earnest to weigh in on what would make the platform even better for them.  I don’t act on all of them because every new feature comes at a cost of complexity and dilution of other features, but ideas that I recognize to be widely useful among coaches generally make it in eventually.

CoachAccountable in Review: Session Documentation

In addition to the testimonial she so generously provided last month, Twila Gates offered to write a mini series reviewing the various features of CoachAccountable as a way to share with other coaches her experiences and how she’s made it serve her practice so well.

Recently I’ve had a few requests for a CoachAccountable user’s group, and until that’s ready I imagine Twila’s accounts make a fitting way to fill some of that void.

Twila has opted to start with the basics for her first piece, and herein describes CoachAccountable’s documentation of coaching sessions.  Take it away, Twila!

» Continue reading “CoachAccountable in Review: Session Documentation”

Gettin’ Pictorial

Last week my wife and I were in Vancouver enjoying a little getaway, during which I had my second international face-to-face with a CoachAccountable customer.  This time it was David Frank Gomes of Life Compass Coaching.

Relative to the timeline of CoachAccountable, David and I go way back.  He was one of the very first people checking it out with whom I chatted on the phone, one of my early attempts to convey in words the how and why of the system.  This was in November of 2012, just over 2 months into CA’s public existence.

I think the job I did of convincing him was good but not great in that green period of my sales call ability: it wasn’t until 5 months later that David came back as a full-fledged user of the system, but to my delight he’s been a vocal fan ever since.

During our visit we talked of Team Edition’s imminent release, our mutual paths as entrepreneurs in the coaching space, and David’s experience of using CA for his year+.  For David’s practice though he loves the system he finds a lot of its mechanics (for example of Metrics and Actions) to be cold, uninspiring, a little too right-brained.  For his sake, he told me, he’d love to give his clients a more visual experience: something to viscerally inspire the dynamic process that dealing with life’s issues and ambitions generally is, and communicate more than just numbers and graphs.

“Like sharing images,” he said, “yes I can upload it as a file to share with the client and put it in their Files tab, but then they have to click through and download it to their machine and open it.  It’s clunky.  It would be nice to see them just appear in the Stream tab.”

» Continue reading “Gettin’ Pictorial”

Customer Raves: Twila Gates, RN

It was back in September when I put out a call from some of my favorite early adopters of CoachAccountable for a testimonial, something tidy to fit in to the then under constructions testimonials section of the CA homepage.  Some I heard back from immediately, others took a little while, still others I never heard back from (it’s cool, goodness knows it’s a serious favor, and not anyone’s job to do my marketing for me).

Twila Gates, Senior Credentialed ADHD coach of the ADHD Success Network lovingly let me know that time was tight but she’d get back to me.

Today she got back to me, and then some.  I’m delighted and humbled by the way-above-the-call-of-duty missive she has written, which I share with you now.  Twila, take it away.

» Continue reading “Customer Raves: Twila Gates, RN”

Ode to Squeaky Wheels

I got a bit of feedback recently regarding the management of Groups, in particular managing a large number of them.  As of about a week ago Groups were listed in the order in which you created them, and one of my customers suggested it might be nice to have the most recently created on the top of the page, rather than at the bottom.

I thought about it for a minute and realized this was worth handling quickly.  To her I said:

Hmm…

Good call!  Perhaps I need to add the ability to sort groups so you’ve got total control.  Give me a minute! :)

John

Perhaps most important in this communication wast the postscript:

PS: I love that you guys, as power users, are so up on giving me feedback.  CoachAccountable is better for it!

Her reply:

Thanks! Glad you are cool with it :) Some time I feel like a pain…

A pain?  I quickly wrote back to set the record straight, for her and now here on the blog for everyone else:

Nope,

I totally love it: customers who might be conventionally categorized as a pain are my favorite, because y’all challenge and demand of me to make a system that JUST SINGS.  When I nail it for you guys, I nail it for a lot of other people who might not feel so free to be as vocal in demanding perfection.

The end result is a really sharp system that people are all the more apt to fall in love with, which, as you might imagine, is good for business! :)