The CoachAccountable Blog

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

CoachAccountable and the GDPR

If you’re a coach in the European Union, you’ve probably already heard of the GDPR.

If you’re not, you’ve probably seen numerous relics of the GDPR over the last few weeks, namely in the form of emails from websites you use announcing a change in their Privacy Policies.

What’s it all about?  It’s the EU’s very-soon-to-be-in-effect General Data Protection Regulation.

It’s a good bit of law, I think!  Oh sure, it’s caused it’s share of grousing and griping among businesses for how much work it’s entailed as everyone wades through legalese and policy in order to get compliant (myself included!).  But I view it as a step in the right direction for end users to have greater control over their data and privacy.

Basically, it demands of companies that they don’t do terrible things with individual’s data, and that all usage of such data must be documented and above board.  Companies must get explicit consent to use someone’s data for a given purpose, and that consent can’t be buried in a huge pile of indecipherable legalese.  End users must have some real control over their data, including the ability to delete it.

As individual, this sounds good to me.

As a company, CoachAccountable has never had any business trafficking in user data in unexpected or vaguely nefarious ways.  And our in-app “Delete” buttons really do delete data (much to the chagrin of the occasional coach who accidentally deleted an entire client record!).  So our compliance is largely a matter of paperwork: basically to document and agree to be legally bound to the very practices we’ve always adhered to.

What this means for CoachAccountable customers

First off, our privacy policy has been updated, much like the policies of everyone else.  I encourage you to check it out: like most privacy policies, it’s largely boring, BUT I’ve been happy to lay out clearly what data we collect and what exactly we use it for (and why).  Part of this updated policy is that CoachAccountable is registered and listed with Privacy Shield, which is basically a fancy way of saying “we actually mean everything we say in this policy, AND we’re in legal trouble if we don’t hold true to it”.

Yep, we attest that we really mean what we say in our privacy policy.

In other words, the privacy policy isn’t just flowery language. :)

Second, for our customers who work with anyone in the EU: by setting those clients up within your CoachAccountable account, the GDPR applies to you.  Part of that applying to you is that you need to verify that any partner involved in processing your data is ALSO above board when it comes to the GDPR regulations.

In this case, that’s CoachAccountable!  You need to verify that CA is handling your EU citizen personal data in accordance with the law, so that your handling of that data [by way CoachAccountable] is in compliance with the law.

To allow you to do this, we’ve got a Data Processor Agreement (DPA) available for you to agree to.  The DPA essentially states that you (as controller of your client data) and CoachAccountable (as processor of that data) mutually agree to handle that data appropriately and in compliance with the GDPR; that we’ve each got our part to play for the lawful handling of data; and that we each take responsibility to do so.

If the GDPR applies to you (i.e. if you work with and/or collect personal data on any citizen of the EU), you’ll want to enter into the CoachAccountable Data Processor Agreement right away.  You’ll find the place to do so when logged in (provided you’re a coach and owner of the account) under My Account >> Data Processor Agreement.

Give it a read, and click the button–good to go!

And that’s about it: an updated privacy policy and a DPA for you to agree to if you need it.

What if I’m not in the European Union?

If you coach anyone in the EU (or ever will) this still applies to you.  But if you don’t, then this very well might not mean anything to you.  One caveat to that, though: the GDPR mandates certain rights for citizens in the EU, as laid out in the privacy policy.  I’m happy to say that when it comes to CoachAccountable, these rights apply to everyone worldwide, and not just EU citizens.

GDPR looks to be a great way to better balance the rights of individuals against the companies they do business with.  There’s some work for those of us who handle the data of those individuals in order to reach compliance, but it’s reasonable and worthwhile.  We’ve done our best to make it easy as possible for coaches to be compliant in their handling of data with CoachAccountable!

Hi, I’m Morgan!

Hey everyone–if you read my introduction just prior y’all know how I feel about Morgan, and how I’m excited for you to get to know her.  Now to get you guys more properly acquainted here she is to officially say hello. :)


Hi, I’m Morgan! Nice to meet you, for those whom I haven’t already interacted with in the CoachAccountable coaching management system.

My story: Over a decade ago, one fateful swing dancing evening at Casa Loma Ballroom in St. Louis, Missouri, I met an incredible human on the dance floor.

CoachAccountable - Morgan MeredithIn the first couple years of our friendship, he introduced me to transformational coaching programs. After giving myself a bunch of excuses, I signed up. As a coaching program participant I got back in touch with my parents (we hadn’t communicated in nearly two years) and created extremely close relationships with them, moved across the country to Los Angeles by myself, found the courage to leave a toxic relationship, and much more. Then, I moved into coaching the programs, where I cleaned up and expanded even more areas of my life. From that first night, this person has been there in the background through all these incredible changes, cheering me on.

Of course I’m talking about John, the founder of CoachAccountable. As he’s seen me grow and change, I’ve been fortunate enough to watch his coaching software do the same over the years, and I’m honored to now be a part of the team. I feel so fortunate to be part of a team that, underneath everything, is committed to changing humanity and being coachable, of course utilizing the great online coaching system we have! Oh, and getting to talk with one of my closest friends every day to keep each other moving forward – what else could I really ask for?

I suppose I should say a bit more about myself. I’m passionate about destigmatizing mental health, and to that end I write frequently about it – I currently have an ongoing column called Living a Blissful Life. Restoring antiques brings me lots of joy in my spare time, as do drawing, music festivals, and of course dancing. Oh, and if there’s any event with a costume involved, sign me up.

Professionally, I began as an art educator and artist before transitioning into non-profit management (first directing an educational program, then running operations for a trade association). I then pivoted into an entirely new way of helping people: tech support at an app startup. Interestingly enough, John coached me through some of these changes and decisions.

The career fit couldn’t be more perfect at CoachAccountable: I’ve been the only employee before, I’ve worked for several startups, I’ve worked remotely (and prefer it), I’ve specifically worked in tech support for a web-based app, and, most importantly for me, I’ve constantly sought positions where I can grow, learn, and make a difference. I can’t believe we didn’t think of this match sooner!

I’m looking forward to getting to know you all and supporting you in any way I can. Please reach out if you need anything, or just to say hi!

Introducing Morgan, Director of Customer Love and Hand Holding

Morgan and I go way back.  We met over 10 years ago at a swing dance at the Casa Loma Ballroom in St. Louis, MO.  We clicked well on the dance floor and clicked well off, and swiftly came to refer to one another as our IBFF: Insta-Best Friend Forever.

Morgan and I have roughly the same background and experience with transformational coaching: we both got our chops coaching the same programs and from the same body of distinctions.  She’s a keen and cool-headed listener, ridiculously personable and wicked smart.  For it she’s been able to give great and difference-making coaching even to know-it-all me over the years.

I reached out to Morgan for a little coaching early in January when I was in a bit of a funk.  She texted me right back: “Yeah, I want to save my minutes so how about we talk over some app, like Skype or WhatsApp?”

Um, sure?  Who needs to manage their minutes these days, I wondered, but whatever–let’s call it Zoom.

We connected for a video call, me lit poorly by the festive glory of my still-up living room Christmas tree lights, and her in–“Wait, are those palm trees in the background?  Where are you?”

“I’m in India!  Doing a yoga teacher training here… my boyfriend and I are on world tour!”

Wow, Morgan’s on a world tour!1  It had been over a year since we last talked, so clearly we needed catching up.  Turns out since last talking my dear friend had left her position working with a non-profit and went to, of all things, doing customer support for an app company before leaving to go travel some 4 months prior.

“But enough about me, what’s on your mind?  What do you need coaching around?”  Honestly, I was in a funk about having to let an employee go.  Morgan patiently heard the whole brain dump, and when I was finished she masterfully reassembled the bits with clarity, kindness, wisdom and insight:

“Well John, for as long as I’ve known you you’ve been one to create and play at games, right?  You find something worth doing, and you make a game out of it, and play.  Well, this game you’ve been playing called having an employee, it didn’t work this time!  Doesn’t mean you can’t win at that game, it’s just THAT person didn’t work out.  So okay, play on!  You’ve learned a ton about what worked and what didn’t.  You can take that and go forth playing that game.”

Clarity, when reflected back by someone committed to you winning and done with a dose of perspective that an outsider is uniquely privileged with, is so uplifting.  Man I love coaching.

The conversation with Morgan was just what I needed to go forth with a clear head.  More than that, though, I was delighted to see in my inbox the next day a thoughtful note from Morgan, part of which went thus:

… And secondly, it looks like you’ll be going through a period of change while you sort out moving on and deciding what to take on yourself and what to re-delegate with a potential new employee. Since the writing career is still in its infancy, and since I can rock the shit out of a helpdesk ticket via phone, email, or chat, making customers laugh while solving their problems, I’d be happy to step in and do those couple of hours of customer service as you need them. …

Huh.  The chance to work with a dear friend, of similar coaching chops and reverence for the practice, and one who self-professes ability to rock the shit out of a helpdesk ticket?

What a delightful idea.

And the rest is history.  Straddling the 10ish hour timezone difference, we started in on training Morgan: on the ways of how CA best works to serve coaching (she was a quick study on that because of her coaching background), how to love on CA customers the way I insist on doing so (she was a quick study on that because of the aforementioned being ridiculously personable), how to do pixel perfect screenshots for updating evergreen blog posts to V3 (she was a quick study on that because she’s got an MFA and really brings her art to whatever she does).

CoachAccountable - Morgan Meredith

That’s her. Yeah man, I’m a fan.

So, yeah, you get it.  She’s super talented.

Morgan wrapped up her world tour and settled back in her house in LA at the end of March, and has since come on full time with CoachAccountable.  She continues to impress with creative initiative and I couldn’t ask for a better #2 with whom to co-create CoachAccountable culture, long-term vision, and the projects and initiatives to focus on by which to get there.

I’ve been delighted by her presence and so have many of you during this past month of her rising up as CoachAccountable’s Director of Customer Love and Hand Holding.  If you’ve not yet had a chance to interact with her, I’ll just say you’re in for a treat whenever you do have your next support issue–she’s way more charismatic than I. :)

Please help me to welcome her properly to the CoachAccountable community!


  1. For those of you following closely along you’ll recall that CoachAccountable was launched from my kitchen table in Cusco, Peru, about one month into the world tour my wife and I were taking at the time.  And Lee and Rob, the creative force behind the pretty pixels of CoachAccountable also did their year-long world tour before designing CA Version 3.  I’m pretty sure I’m NOT going to make having done a world tour a prerequisite for future employees/collaborators of CoachAccountable (though what a fine selector for interesting and living-life-powerfully-type folks!).

Printing Right From Your CA Online Coaching Platform

Recently, Henk from Business Doctors in South Africa asked about printing from CoachAccountable. While this wasn’t possible in most of CA, John realized that the option to print would be useful for all, especially those with executive coaching clients who potentially have a “higher-up” to report to in a meeting where paper is required.

Now, you have a couple ways to print from the app.

Print a Report of Past Appointments With Coaching Clients

In Past Appointments, you can now click the Print button (next to “Download as CSV” to generate a nice tidy report of past appointments and print to PDF or through your printer.

Print Appointments from CoachAccountable online coaching platform

Printing Sections of the CoachAccountable App

Just hit Alt+Shift+P on your keyboard, and the system will smartly load up for printing whichever section you’ve currently got open.

When you have one or more pop-up windows open, the system will print the topmost one. When you’re looking at a given section on, say, a client page, the system will print the visible one out.

It won’t work for all sections (for example, one that has a card listing of items isn’t really fitting for a print job), but should work in areas you expect it to.

Thank you, Henk, for the great suggestion! We’d love to hear how people are using it and how you’re liking it.

CoachAccountable management platform client Business Doctors

Henk, pictured middle, photo courtesy of Steve Sutton

If you like the look of CoachAccountable and want to check out the system (and printing abilities), but you haven’t started your free 30-day trial yet, come on in! The water’s fine :)

Hanging with the Comcast Spotlight Crew

The other day I got to do one of the most satisfying things of my job: go hang out and collaborate with a bunch of CoachAccountable users, specifically ones who are keen to use our online coaching platform to support a sizeable undertaking.

Spotlight Coaching Academy - Using CoachAccountable's coaching platformI first made the acquaintance of Patrick Howe in the fall of 2016, when he reached out to explore if CoachAccountable would be a good fit for his Spotlight Coaching Academy, a program to support and train the sales teams of one of Comcast’s internal divisions.  Five months later, after a bevy of calls and due diligence measures, they were all signed up and off to the races (them’s corporate sales, amiright? :).

Patrick and his team for this year are putting together a new business coaching program for training Account Executives in the Comcast way of doing things.  They’ve designed a year-long program to onboard and get up to speed their incoming Associate Account Executives, and a 3 month program for more seasoned professionals coming into the company.

It launches in June.

Patrick and his team came this week to Denver for a team summit.  When Anna realized that that’s where I am she invited me to join the gang for a little powwow session on how to best leverage CA for their programs.

I was all too happy to oblige.  I can do this sort of thing virtually in webinar style, but man, it’s so much more fun in person!

So on Thursday we hung out.  In the conference room, lots’a whiteboards, CoachAccountable projected on to the big screen from Anna’s laptop.

They acquainted me with a 20-point rubric of competencies that were important for program participants to work on and be measured for, and a Session Template within CA that Anna had created within our coaching software to support this.  It was a good starting point an made clear the gist of what they were going for.

“Here’s what I see to do: I think it’ll work best to boil down these 20 to something more like 5 key things, because otherwise your coaching calls are going to be just one big survey with no time for address the more human aspects.  Then when you’re clear about the essentials I can cook up a streamlined Session Template that will be the quick yet informative (and visually easy to read) thing you fill out as part of each call, and I’ll design an online coaching course that will have these key measurements pipe right into Metric graphs that will allow you all to easily see the trends over time, making it easy to spot cases that need more attention.”

General discussion around the table went more or less to “That sounds great, let’s put this as an action item for us to do and get these things back to John so he can do this.”  A very reasonable and sensible tack to get things going.

At this point I had delightful spark of dissent: “Actually, we got like 21 minutes before we break for lunch… how about–Anna, can I borrow your laptop and drive for a little?  I’ll get cracking on this right now, designing that Session Template, and you guys talk amongst yourselves to suss out whatever you think would be the best 5 things to focus on measuring.  Just shout ’em out to me as you figure ’em out.”

I hedged with “And don’t worry about getting this wrong: we’re not going to get this right anyway.  Chances are you guys will coach for one or two weeks with whatever structure we lay down now, and then AND ONLY THEN will it become crystal clear whatever little tweaks we need to make, based on your actual experience with it.  So rest assured, we’ll finesse as we need to if we need to.”

At this point we were cooking with gas.  I tossed off this Session Template:

A simple, standard, 5 point scale with a clear description of what each number means.

The key criteria are a bit terse but packed with meaning within the context of their program and methodology.  It’s deliberately visually tidy, specifically laid out so that one could eyeball this filled out and know instantly whether things were going well or there were issues.  This should help when reviewing past sessions as well as to allow quick filling out with minimal distraction from the actual coaching.

Then I put together a suitable Starter Kit Course, one that would set in motion Metrics for these 5 key measurements AND have them automatically filled in by virtue of filling in the Session Template:

Five metrics in total, but you get the gist. Note that a “3” is the dividing line between good and not so good, consistent with the standard set in the Session Template.

This was about 18 minutes well spent: with it they had a nice structure by which to assess and record key things swiftly during their calls and in a way that will be uniform across the coaching team, giving data that will be readily reported and exported for their use in assessments.

To wrap up I mocked for them the work flow a coach would do over the course of a typical call:

  • Pop into the coaching dashboard and review where the person you’re about to talk to is at: check on the Actions they said they would do, review the notes from the last session or two, eyeball the Metrics.  Your whole prep done in 2-5 minutes.
  • Call them when it’s time and load up that session template for note taking during the call.
  • Check in on outstanding Actions from last time, mark done what’s done, cancel or reschedule incomplete items as fitting.
  • Add in any new Action items they’re committing to between now and the next time you talk.
  • After the call add in any other observations to the Session Notes and mark ’em complete.
  • Done, on to the next person!

And with this the gang had a clear set of structures that would be easy to manage, keep everyone up to date, and track actionable insights over the course of the coaching program.  I knew I had done my job when Josh leaned back and said “This is great, we got more out of this than I thought we would.”

From there we went to lunch.  We enjoyed talk of travel and business, good food, and the good show that our hibachi chef put on at the Japanese steakhouse.

My thanks to the Comcast Spotlight team for inviting me out for both the powwow and to lunch, that was super fun!

Holy moly Josh and I are tall! Thanks Patrick for taking the picture, but I think we could’ve used you for more normalizing height balance. :)


Would you love to have a visit from CoachAccountable or visit us? Drop us a line! And, if you’d like to check out the product that makes these relationships so special, start with your free 30-day trial.

Automatic Subscription Billing

I’ve surveyed the audience and one thing is clear: when it comes to running a coaching business, it’s REALLY nice (some would say downright essential), to have a clear separation between getting paid for coaching work and doing said coaching work.

One invariable muddles the other: blessed is the coach who outright won’t tolerate clients who would make them chase checks, and it’s really nice if the client doesn’t get distracted with logistics of paying for business, life, or health coaching when they’re heads down getting the most out of a coaching experience.

CoachAccountable makes this possible.  All you really need to do is set up your coach portal to process client invoice payments on your behalf, by connecting it to your Stripe or merchant account.

If you don’t have one yet, CA makes it super easy to grab a Stripe account in about 5 minutes.

Once ready, you or your client can enter a credit card up front, have it stored for future charges, and CA will automatically process invoices on whatever schedule you like.

Let’s see how this works!

Creating a Sequence of Invoices

CoachAccountable coaching client invoices are super simple to create.  Just add a date (or default to today), enter one or more line items (with associated prices), add taxes if needed, and you’re done.  Check a box if you want CA’s coaching management platform to email it off to your client, either immediately or as scheduled (when entering in a future invoice).

Invoice for your coaching clients

Be MOAR awesome? Oh yeah, sign me up!

The magic of a subscription is in the ability to create a sequence, by clicking the little “I would like to make a series of invoices just like this one” link towards the bottom:

12 invoices, one every 1 month… sounds about right for a year long engagement!

As you’d expect, this creates a series of invoices, one scheduled to go out each month:

A whole bunch of ostensibly pending revenue… nice!

These invoices will be sent off via email to your coaching client, right on schedule throughout the coming year.

What happens when an invoice’s date comes up?  That depends!

If your client doesn’t have any credit card on file, the invoice email he/she gets will contain a magic link.  Clicking that will take them right to a page they can enter their credit card in order to pay the invoice.

If your client DOES have a credit card on file, our coaching system will automatically process the payment for the invoice, no fuss.  If the charge goes through okay, the email they’ll get will be an invoice marked paid, essentially a receipt.  And you, as coach, will get an email notification telling you of that’s on its way to your bank account. :)

Entering Credit Card Details for your Coaching Clients

In our scenario so far, your client is apt to get sent that first invoice as unpaid, and they’ll need to enter their payment info the first time and then (hopefully) opt to save their payment info on file for seamless processing of future invoices.

But perhaps instead you’d like to set them up from the get-go.  You as coach can do that for them, provided you have their credit card information (perhaps from some form they filled out, or perhaps when they handed it to you during an initial in-person meeting and you’ve got your swanky tablet there and ready to set things up).

Once you’ve created an invoice for your client, simply click the dollar icon next to it to bring up payment options.  You can make and record a payment made outside of the CA coach portal (say for example if they’re handing you a check), and you can process a payment right then and there:

Holy moly this invoice is overdue.  Let’s click that first option and get this all handled!

Clicking the first option brings up a place to process a payment by entering credit card details:

Remember this card for future use? Yes please!

Simple as that.  By remembering the card for future use it will be handy for automatically processing future invoices.

By either you or your client entering that credit card once when you’re first getting started, everything else takes care of itself with the subscription billing you set up to cover the term of your coaching engagement or program.  Nice!

Is this secure for my coaching clients’ sensitive payment info?

Yes!  Like everything else on CA, this all happens over an encrypted connection.  Moreover, CA uses the token-based approach to keeping cards on file–the actual credit card number is never stored or even seen by the CA server.  If anyone were to get a hold of what CoachAccountable stores, they’d only be able to process payments into your account–hardly useful for nefarious purposes. :)

Sounds pretty good, any fees for this?

Nope!  You’ll almost certainly need to pay the usual fees endemic to ANY credit card processing, but CA doesn’t take any cut whatsoever.

Having to play the role of accounts payable is seldom pleasant, and most certainly distracts from doing the real difference-making work of coaching.  Use this setup to get coaching client payments handled without hassle from the get-go, and automate away the drudgery of chasing down (and even processing!) payments later.  Enjoy!

Ready to finally have your invoicing sort itself out in a way that you can easily share with your accounting team? Try CoachAccountable. It’s free for 30 days.

Direct Sync with your Google Calendar

CoachAccountable has long supported syncing our online coaching software with your Google (and iCal, and Outlook) Calendar by way of 2-way subscribing to calendar data feeds.  This works according to a simple, two-part mechanism:

  1. CoachAccountable publishes a data feed of your appointments which your calendar can subscribe to, allowing those appointments to appear alongside your regular calendar events.
  2. CoachAccountable can subscribe to a data feed of your calendar events for the sake of knowing when you’re busy to prevent double bookings.

It’s a good system, but suffers from two drawbacks:

  1. Calendar systems can be lax about pulling coaching appointment data from CoachAccountable.  Though the data as offered by CA is always up to date, there can be a lag in how long it takes your calendar to pull over whatever’s new.  Google Calendar in particular is a bit notorious for updating from such data feeds only once every 24 hours.
  2. Having your CoachAccountable appointments present as a separate calendar collection of events is often not nearly as nice as having those events posted directly into your primary calendar collection of events.  Other scheduling systems might know when you’re busy based on your primary calendar, but that might not include a separate calendar collection without subscribing to THAT one, too (if even possible).

To overcome these drawbacks I’m happy to report that our online coaching tool now supports a direct integration for syncing with your Google Calendar.

Let’s see how it works!

You’ll find the place to set this up under Settings >> Appointment Config >> Calendar Sync.

Note that this is only available for accounts that are on Version 3.  If you don’t see the Calendar Sync item that means your account is still on Version 2.  If you own the account, you can switch it over to 3 from the top right user menu >> My Account >> Version.

Sync your online coaching platform with your calendar

This green button is very chipper, but when you see how painless the process is you’ll understand why.

Clicking the button to go sync with Google brings you to a simple process to authorize CA to manage your calendar, assuming you’re already logged in to your Google account:

The question is: do you trust CoachAccountable? Promise there’s nothing shady about CA having access–strictly professional, yo.

Assuming you click “Allow”, you’ll be whisked back to your CoachAccountable coach portal and given the options by which to configure this synchronization:

Just a few choices here and you’re done, where to publish to (if at all), and where to read from.

If you want (and you probably do!), CA will publish your appointments to the calendar of your choice.  Pick one and they’ll magically appear there within seconds.

Choosing which calendars CA should read from tells CA where to look in order to accurately determine when you’re available and when you’re busy.  You might want to skip certain calendars.  For example my wife and I share a calendar of events, but I don’t need to have my availability blocked when she puts on there, say, a day visit with the kids to Grandma’s house (on the contrary, I generally have more free time then! :).

And that’s it!  Once set, CA will post new appointments (and updates made to them, including cancellations performed by your clients) to your calendar as they arise, with lag time measured in seconds rather than hours.  Similarly, when CA has direct read access to your calendars the process of keeping up to date in order to provide accurate availability options is nearly instantaneous, rather than taking up to 5-10 seconds to pull all the data over with the data feed approach.

Speaking of which, once you’ve set up CA to sync directly with your Google Calendar, you should delete any calendar feeds that you’ve set CA to pull from that are now redundant (as found under your Availability Exceptions):

Yep, we’re sure. We’ve got a better way now to keep abreast of calendar availability.

How about for my clients?

Your clients can similarly set up a direct sync with THEIR Google Calendar.  They won’t have to pick which calendars CA should read of theirs (because that’s not relevant on their side of the equation), BUT they too can have their appointments with you set via CoachAccountable appear right in their calendar.  Nice!

Let them know they can set this up from within the coaching portal.  They’ll find the place to do this under their My Account page:

CoachAccountable online calendar sync with coaching management dashboard

Every bit as easy for them as it was for you. More so, even.

What if I don’t use Google Calendar?

The old system of subscribing to calendar data feeds remains intact, and is, as it has been for years, a fine 80% solution.  If you use Apple iCal or Microsoft Outlook, I may in the future build more direct API-based integrations with those, too.

For what it’s worth though, syncing between those systems and Google Calendar is a well-worn path.  So you might set up a Google Calendar account, sync your other calendar with that, and THEN sync CoachAccountable with that Google Calendar to more or less have Google serve as an intermediary to sync with your calendar system of choice.  Yay, technology!

And that’s it!  If you’ve had troubles with appointment scheduling in CA because the data feed approach didn’t play nicely with other scheduling systems, the direct calendar sync approach should be the perfect fix for you and your coaching practice.  Enjoy!

Get rid of your clunky extra calendar integrations while elevating the level of service you provide your coaching clients. Try out CoachAccountable free for 30 days.

Beautiful Branding: How to Make a White Logo

One of the beautiful things about Version 3 of CoachAccountable is that you now get White Labeling for free.

What’s white labeling? It’s your way to make your CoachAccountable coaching management system look more like your own site, for you and your clients: your color scheme, your logo, your name.

If you haven’t yet set up your account to be white labeled as your own, you’ll find the place to do so in Settings >> System >> Branding.

One of the places to customize is with your company’s logo. Most logos as designed are best suited to be mounted on a white background, which makes sense: it’s the sort of thing of having it on the top of branded stationary or in the signature of an email.

CoachAccountable V3 goes for a more minimalist and flat look: the top bar is a vibrant, solid color, with white icons and other features placed on it for a nice contrast and clean aesthetic:

CoachAccountable - logo branding for your coaching company's portal

Kinda sharp, right? Ooh, but to make it more your own! Let’s see how it’s done…

It’s likely that you’ve got a logo, but unlikely that it’s done in this style: a white shape that nicely mattes onto a solid background color.  Recently I noticed that CA customer Rebecca Licalsi (of Licalsi Coaching) had such a logo set to show in the header like that.  Here’s what it looks like:

Made to be matted on white!

Looks sharp, right?  It helps that we have it matted on white.  When we set this logo to be the White Logo (and pick a nice purple to go with it) within CA we get this:

The white rectangle dropped into this boldly colored area looks a little… abrupt.

As you can see this isn’t ideal: plopping a big white rectangle into the middle of this space kinda breaks with the surrounding aesthetic.  A better, more congruent logo would be one that follows the lead of the other elements in this space: a crisp, white shape that mattes nicely on our vibrant background color.

So let’s make one of those!  No need to hire your designer to make you a whole new logo, from the one you already have you can transform it into a white version with just a few steps.

Using Rebecca’s logo as an example, let’s show you how this is done in Photoshop (and if you don’t have that handy, we’ve got instructions to do it via the free, web-based alternative to Photoshop called Pixlr):

Making a White Logo in Photoshop

Our first step is to clear out the white background (which causes that abrupt white rectangle) and make it instead transparent (so that it will sit nicely on top of any matting color you choose).  To do this, first choose white as your main active chosen color, and then go to Select >> Color Range…

Select all the white in the image with the Color Range selection tool.

Because you’ve got white as your chosen color, the default Select option “Sampled colors” will select all the white in your image.  Fuzziness 85 seems to reliably get the right amount around the edges, but you can adjust that up or down to more or less aggressively pick the white and near white pixels:

The white parts in the selection preview image are what we’re selecting (and ultimately removing).

Once you’ve selected all the white pixels, clear them away by using the eraser, leaving you with a nice transparent background:

A big fat eraser makes this easier.

Now that the background is cleared out, let’s make our coaching company logo shape be as tightly cropped as possible (because there’s no need to keep those pixels on all the edges which were providing padding).  Do this by selecting all (Ctrl-A), copying (Ctrl-C), making a new image (Ctrl-N), and pasting what you selected into that new image (Ctrl-V).  This will have the effect of shedding off all rows and columns that were completely empty, giving you the tightest possible crop without losing anything of the image.

Now the real magic: to turn our colored shape into a flat, white only shape.  Do this by right clicking on the one layer of the image and selecting “Blending options…”:

Blending options are so cool.

Here we just pick “Color overlay” and be certain that white (#FFFFFF) is the color we are over laying:

Click okay and we’re done!

And there we have it:

Not much to look at now, but…

A crisp white shape, layered on a fully transparent background.  It’s hard to read against that white and grey checkerboard, but our vibrant background color choice will give much more favorable contrast.  Save it as a PNG file and it’ll be ready to set as your White Logo.


Making a White Logo in Pixlr

  1. Open your logo file in Pixlr.
  2. Select the background color range (in Rebecca’s case, it’s white). Select the Wand tool, then click on the background area. Make sure the “Anti-Alias” box is checked at the top, but “Contiguous” is NOT checked.
  3. Erase that selection. Just press Delete.
  4. Deselect that area with Ctrl+D or Command+D.
  5. Go to Adjustment >> Color lookup. Click the color box (it will default to black) and select white. Make sure it’s completely white (as in the bottom scroll bar is at 100%).

Pixlr Color Selector
Your logo is now white! However, it can be a bit hard to check your work, since it’s white on top of a transparent background. To see it (optional), add a new layer. Use the paint bucket to paint the new layer black. Drag that layer below your logo’s layer, and you’ll now see the white on top of black. You can use the eraser tool here to get rid of any white spots that may be hanging out.

And voila! Your white logo is ready.

And that’s all there is to it.  We started here:

and we end here:

The end result is a branded system that looks sharper and much more consistent with the more modern, flat design of the new CoachAccountable coaching management system.  Not bad for 2 minutes of work.

If this process looks at all intimidating, no worries!  Because here’s the deal: I’m all for you to feel completely at home within your CA account, and I want CA to make your coaching look as clean and professional as possible, to both you and your clients.

As such we’ll be happy to do it for you.  Just send your logo in whatever format you’ve got it (preferably high quality, high res, but we’ll roll with what ever!) to and we’ll cook up (and put into place) a white logo for you.

A big thanks to Rebecca for letting us share this process using her logo!

Want to join Rebecca in a place where we look out for opportunities to help you make your coaching business look and run even better? Try CoachAccountable today.

A Brief History of CA Versions

Now that v3, the new version of CoachAccountable’s coaching software is out, I thought it would be fun to recap the path from 2.0’s launch over 5 years ago that led us to where we are now.

The funny thing is I haven’t really used version numbers since 2.0 came on the scene, instead making incremental changes and improvements, large and small, at a regular clip that amounted to a monthly, weekly, or indeed sometimes daily basis!

This is no doubt one of the great luxuries of web-based software.

But what if I DID use version numbers to mark the big jumps?  What would I consider to be the major .point (and even kinda major .point.point) releases?  This is realm of creative editorial discretion, and so I invite you to come along for a journey into largely contrived (yet totally plausible) trajectory of CA’s journey from 2.0 to 3.0!


2.0, August 30 – Initial launch.  After 3 years on the shelf, CoachAccountable’s return to being a publicly available online coaching platform.  This time is was actually good!

2.0.1, September 7th – Inbound Email Processing.  Just a week after launch I put in a whole new way to mark Actions complete and report on Metrics.

2.0.2, September 30th – Client Data Export.  Get all of your coaching client data and files out with a single click.

2.1, November 29th – CoachAccountable Courses.  Courses, for all their complexity, took me only a month to build.  Amazing to think back at how quickly I could work before I had a substantial volume of customers. :)


2.1.1, February 7th – Course Enhancements.  Following items, cloning items, spin off versions, and a few other goodies added.

2.1.2 March 23 – Gallery Images.  Uploaded images were made embeddable in compositions like Worksheets, Journal Entries, and so on.

2.1.3, April 29th – In-system Emailing.   Coach and client could email one another via the system, with benefit of it all being documented as part of the coaching record.

2.2, October 9th – CoachAccountable Groups.  Full on support for group coaching.


2.2.1, February 25th – Client Invoicing Overhaul.  A better coaching client invoicing system now supporting line items, taxes, and automatic delivery of scheduled invoices.

2.2.2, March 19th – Happenings Reports.  Automatically sent routine summaries of client progress.

2.3, July 2nd – Team Edition.  Full on support for collaboration and coordination of coaching teams.

2.3.1, August 8th – Action Projects.  Grouping of related Action items together and overall progress visualization.

2.3.2, October 10 – Client Export Files.  Easily generated HTML files of documented coaching work with a given client, ripe for sharing or archiving.

2.3.3, November 7th – Two way sync with calendars.  Let the system know your precise availability for accurate appointment scheduling.

2.3.4, November 29th – Stripe and  More options for accepting client payments online.


2.3.5, January 15th – Whiteboards.  Collaborative and evolving documents.

2.3.6, March 10th – System Email Addresses.  Communications done over regular email that are automatically documented to the coaching client record.

2.3.7, April 6th – API.  First release of the CoachAccountable API.

2.3.8, May 15th – Form-Based Worksheets.  Worksheets no longer limited to WYSIWYG editor mode: now with check boxes, radio buttons, text areas and the like.

2.3.9, June 25th – Piping Worksheet answers into Metrics.  The act of filling out a Worksheet populates in turn Metric data points, enabling the creation of sophisticated course workflows.

2.4, September 30th – CA Mobile.  CoachAccountable gets fully mobile friendly, no need for a coaching app.


2.4.1, June 28th – Unit Based Courses.  Support for self-paced Courses wherein the completion of one item triggers the dispatch of the next.


3.0, November 27th – CoachAccountable 3.0.  The completely remixed UI packed with plenty of other goodies and free White Label branding.

Gosh, it looks like I was really phoning it in in 2016 and 2017!  But of course that’s when I was doing all the heads down work for 3.0.  And there are a ton of little releases and features all along the way that didn’t make the cut as I tried to keep this a not too tedious and granular list.

Nevertheless I’m struck by how far CA has come over the years, and find myself both amazed and grateful for the folks who paid the exact same price for a much less capable system 3, 4, and 5 years ago (CA is in fact LESS expensive today with Courses, Groups and White Labeling now all being included at no extra charge, that combo used to cost $80 + $40 + $50).

Now that the dust has settled from 3.0, and I’ve had a nice bit of time off to relax and regroup, I’m excited to get crackin’ on what’s next!

If you want to be a part of that “what’s next”, try us out free.

Why Version 3 Was Kept Secret

I released CoachAccountable Version 3 now nearly three weeks ago, pretty much out of the blue as far as anyone was concerned.  If you’ve been a user of the CoachAccountable coaching management system for months or years, you had no idea it was coming if you weren’t among the very select few that I told in advance.

Yet V3 was in the making since early 2016, well over a year and a half.  The more conventional thing to do for a software company is to talk up such a project, to drive hype, interest, and attention so that everyone can be all like “OMG it’s so good!” when it finally drops.

Why did I keep such a large project, one that would ostensibly demonstrate a positive sign that the platform was continuing to move forward, so thoroughly under wraps?

I offer insight into that question as sort of glimpse into the inner workings of the software enterprise that is CoachAccountable, or, you might say, a glimpse into how I roll.

Let me take you back to my first and only straight job that I had out of college.  I worked for a small eCommerce company that would eventually be gobbled up by Network Solutions.  It was shopping cart software, a software-as-a-service business before “SaaS” was an in-vogue acronym, that allowed our customers to run their own online store.

I started that summer in tech support.  Our company’s software was then on version 3, and for months the sales people, owners, tech support; pretty much everyone customer facing had been pointing to the forthcoming version 4 as the solution to all woes.  “You need to organize your store into sub- sub- categories?  Version 4 will do that!”  “That bug that’s making your life miserable?  Totally fixed in version 4!”

Don’t worry, version 4 is coming.

As you might imagine, trading heavily on the promise of a not-yet-completed piece of software created a certain external pressure to get version 4 done and launched already, FFS.

So it was launched.  After months of unmet anticipated launch dates broken promises it finally launched in the fall.  All customers were migrated over in scheduled waves over about a 3 week period, no option to opt out.

That’s when the pain started.  Problem was version 4 was a piece of shit.

I mean, rushing will do that, right?  But they felt compelled to launch among a rising tide of unmet expectations and upset, and understandably so.

For about 2 months it was all hands on deck, everyone working a few extra hours each night to put out fires and calm pissed off customers.  Support ticket queues, which had seldom got more than 10 open at a time, rocketed up into the hundreds, peaking I believe at something like 1200.

It seemed like everyone had something that was borked with their online store as a result of the migration, or some key feature they relied on in version 3 that was buggy in version 4 (or just plain not there, like the ability print an order invoice–yeesh, how’d that get missed?).

But at least folks had sub- sub- categories.

Anyway that was my experience of a new version launch as performed by a legit, buttoned up software company.  I’m a little older and wiser these 14 years hence, and now I run my own software company.

I look back at the experience then and think the whole affair was kinda bush league.  I mean, it wasn’t really, because the bumpiness seen in that particular launch is so darn common.  There’s this general tendency for us all to wince at the prospect of a new version [of software that we already rely on], because the launches thereof being kind of a shit show is practically to be expected.

Still, informed by what I consider the mistakes of the past, I resolved NOT ON MY WATCH.  When Rob gave me designs that pulled for essentially a complete overhaul of the UI, thus befitting of a new major version release, I figured the only acceptable way to do it would be to give CoachAccountable Version 3 the time it needed to be a great coaching tool from the first day of its release.

Specifically, this actually entailed quite a lot:

  • I would not hurry its development to meet external expectations.
  • I would not create any external expectations, i.e. I would not offer up the new as the not-yet-existing solution to current woes.
  • I would test the shit out of it1 to ensure I was proud to have it out there.
  • I would make it good enough to be compelling for current customers to want to switch.
  • No one would be forced to switch2.
  • Everyone could test drive and play around with the new coaching tool version without being stuck there.
  • It would be ready to use FULLY on Day 1.
  • Every feature that existed in the old would be present in the new.
  • I would NOT be buried under issues and bugs post-launch.

So?  I took my sweet time to build Version 3.

At times it was hard to labor in isolation for such a long stretch, with little external feedback to motivate the huge undertaking.  A few noticed that the clip of new releases had stalled out relative to the norm, prompting them to innocently ask “Hey, uh, you working on something you’ve not shared with us?”  It was a fun question to answer.

It’s been a long road but I’m incredibly pleased with the end result.

Three weeks hence I’m proud to report that I’ve NOT been buried under issues and bugs to deal with amid now thousands of users poking around in V3 (as compared to just Paolo and I being in there for so long).

Have the masses found bugs that he and I did not?  Yep, but nothing I haven’t been able to keep on top of.  Our open ticket queue remains well below 10 as the bug reports trickle in, the majority of which I’ve been able to fix within minutes, and the trickiest of which took about two hours (here’s looking at you, automatically responsively resizing embeddable login widget iframe!).

So THAT’S why the secret.  I wasn’t willing to, with current or prospective customers, trade on software that didn’t yet exist, because I didn’t want the stress of external expectations weighing on (and compromising) the process of creating it.

As a result it is my absolute pleasure to give to the coaching community a shiny, vastly improved online coaching platform, offered at the same price (cheaper, actually, given that White Labeling is free in V3), and without the downsides of either compromise (missing or buggy features) or force (having to give up what you already know and love).

Merry Christmas, Coaching industry.

John :)

Oh, and if you’re not already using our coach portal, get in on this already, will ya?


  1. Sorry, I’m cussing a lot in this post, aren’t I?  I’m just really passionate about doing software development in the manner I consider to be right.
  2. At some point I’ll probably scuttle the old and so yes, everyone will have to move to the new, but there’s no hurry.