The CoachAccountable Blog

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

Appointment Cancel & Reschedule Links

Now that Version 5 is done and launched, I’ve been having fun getting down with programming projects that AREN’T a massive, under-wraps operation!  To that end, earlier this week I got a support question asking:

A pet peeve of mine is clients cancel an appointment by deleting the calendar invite you send via

Is there a configuration I’m overlooking to integrate a “cancel / reschedule” link into the calendar invite?

A fine question!  Because all parties to an Appointment in CoachAccountable have their own login (which is not typically the case while a general purpose scheduler), the usual way to cancel or reschedule is from within the app, while logged in.

But by that very same token, general purpose schedulers offer, out of necessity, something like “Need to cancel this?  Click here.  Need to reschedule this?  Click here.

These allow easy to access to modify an already-scheduled Appointment, and though they’re certainly not needed with CA (wherein everyone can log in to handle all their business, including appointment modifications), I figure that’s a nice addition for two reasons:

  1. This will indeed make it more likely that clients will cancel or reschedule in a way that will be picked up by CA for all the beyond-mere-event setting functionality that that entails1 (meaning coach won’t have to do it as a separate step).
  2. This makes it possible for a client’s assistant, who may be charged with managing their appointments, to make those changes (and WITHOUT requiring the full login credentials of that client, which would reveal potentially sensitive information about the coaching itself).

So, these sorts of links for managing appointments are now a thing!

To take advantage, on can include [cancelLink] and [rescheduleLink] magic tags in both Appointment Notification and Appointment Reminder email templates:

When a client (or their assistant, or indeed anyone else!) clicks the cancel link, they find themselves on a page that looks like this:

Screenshot of the Appointment Cancel page

Clicking a reschedule link takes one to a place like this:

Screenshot of Appointment Reschedule page

Simple as that.

The beauty of these is that one is NOT necessarily logged in when on one of those pages, and one is ONLY allowed to see and modify the one, single Appointment that is implied by the magic link that got one here.

It’s a nice measure of allowing an assistant to manage those calendar details for a busy client, and further closes the already narrow gap between CoachAccountable scheduling and other, more general purpose scheduling apps.

  1. By this I’m talking about pre- and post-Appointment Worksheets, notification texts and emails, allocation management, Zoom meeting setting, and more.

Impressions of Version 5

CoachAccountable Version 5 has now been out for a few weeks, and it’s been quite heartening how overwhelmingly positive the response has been.

A lot of folks have kindly shared their feedback in the comments of the announcement, and I’ve had the delight of getting even more through other channels.

For anyone feeling still on the fence around making the switch, I’d like to share a few of my favorites:

It’s so great! The searchable library files have already saved me so much time today!! Thank you for all the continued improvements. I’ve recommended CA to about a million other coaches, and this is why.

I love it, John! I can’t wait to mess around with it and get acquainted with this new beautiful version. Well done!

Version 5 looks really great John. Clean and much easier to see the big picture, having items intuitively grouped together. LOVE the widgets! Nice to see and experience the fruits of your refocused creativity.

It seems as though the intention of beauty has really come through:

It’s so beautiful and intuitive.

Absolutely beautiful!!!!

Love the new look/feel/vibe of v5.

Version 5 looks beautiful – congratulations on all your hard work. Love CA!

I’m definitely tickled to see the “L” word thrown around, in all caps no less!

Thanks a million, John! I’ve been slammed with new client season activity and having this simplified was fantastic! BTW – LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the new GUI!

I can only imagine the work you put into these changes. Looking forward to exploring and making the conversion. LOVE the business dashboard by the way. 🙏🏽

Hey, John, the updated style is fantastic and I LOVE that the appointment scheduling isn’t buried any more. Great Job!!!!

One theme that is especially meaningful to me is the implications for giving clients a better experience:

Wow! Congratulations 🎉 This looks amazing. I have just signed a new client and look forward to providing an upgraded experience.

Wow, well done, well done! This is such an incredible enhancement for us coaches and for our clients. Glad we all get to benefit from your creative journey in the studio!!!

I love it! It’s way more intuitive, elegant, and easy to use. I can’t wait for my clients to experience this!

This one in particular I’m touched by…

Now that I’ve started to use Version 5.0, I’m very impressed. :) I usually take a while to adapt to a new interface, but this one felt even more intuitive, streamlined, and efficient than before. It works well with my brain immediately, without any adjustment period.

…for it captures the more subtle level of what I was going for: a system that is just plain easier to use through a combination of right layout and appealing aesthetics.

This one tickled me with it’s nod to my aforementioned return to my studio:

I LOVE the new update. Great job. You should have gone back to creating art a long time ago. :)

Perhaps I should have.  It’s unconventional business advice, but focusing on creative output is a tack I’d happily recommend to any business owner over the more common “hustle” side of running things.

And finally, a play in two acts that really brings home the dilemma of migration.  One longtime user commented within MINUTES of Version 5’s launch:

“Ah! I’m scared!  LOL  I’m so used to this version.”

And that’s quite understandable, change can be scary!  Especially for the prevalence of botched launches of new versions to be found out in the wild, wherein it’s (far too often) safer to sit back and wait a few weeks while significant kinks and other artifacts of sloppiness and rushing get worked out.  So I was very glad when, 16 days later and from said user, I got this:

I did it. I pulled the trigger finally.  My jaw hit the floor.  It’s GORGEOUS!!!!

All of which is to say:

  1. Thank you all for the kind words, it is delightful to be of service to you in making art, and
  2. If you haven’t yet pulled the trigger to experience the new, you might find yourself well rewarded for your bravery in doing so. :)

Version 5

It’s here, it’s ready!

(Not that anyone knew to want or expect it; I’m just not much of a hype man and, like in the past, I’ve kept this project very much on the down low.)

So what’s Version 5 all about?

Beauty and joy of using.

And if we’re talking of beauty, I suppose I’ve beaten this drum before in this very space: I just finished rereading the blog posts around the release of 2017’s Version 3, 2020’s Version 4, and 2021’s more modern design.  And in each there’s a sort of “Check out how slick it looks now!” proclamation, carrying with it an undertone of throwing shade on the old.

Now to my sensibilities, four rounds of that that feels like some sort of climbing of MC Escher’s endless staircase.  Can’t help but feel a little sheepish over what a common refrain this ostensibly is becoming, even if spread out over nearly 7 years.

But DANG, I really do like the pretty pixels of Version 5!  Steven Bannachan of Putty Design has done a fab job of defining the aesthetics this time around.  And I don’t mean to throw shade on the previous design yet again, but I can’t deny: the look of the last incarnation of CA just doesn’t look so hot under comparison1.

Such is the nature of sustained progress, I suppose.  May we all be proud of what we create today, and slightly embarrassed by it a year or two down the road. :)

But enough of waxing philosophical, let me show you the broad stokes of what’s new in Version 5!

What’s New in Version 5

Aesthetics Galore

New font, new icons, news styles, new UI elements.  There’s no shortage of changes to find, big and small, which add up to a gorgeous look and feel.

Here is the main screen, Clients listing, in Version 4:

Screenshot of Clients Listing In Version 4

And here it is in Version 5:

Screenshot of Clients Listing in Version 5


Layouts for mobile and tablet sizes have been extensively polished for pixel perfect flowing of elements, and dark mode is looking mighty fine as well:

Screenshot of Version 5 - Dark Mode

I kinda dig the lilac color scheme.

After switching you may have reason to revisit your Branding page, for you now have 4 options for styling the app frame to get the look and feel that perfectly suits your branding:

Named Original, Bold, Satin, and Satin Light, respectively. I’m bullish on Satin myself.

More Cohesive Navigation

The settings menu has been moved and remixed.

That gear at the bottom left toggles it in and out.


You might notice there’s a lot less going on in this menu.  Business elements of setup have been moved to the new Business Center (more on that below).

My apologies to all the long term CA users who are already super familiar with CA’s menu layout, for breaking their muscle memory!  A temporary slog for sure, but I’m betting you’ll find the change up to be, on balance, more than worth the effort to relearn the new.


My Style and Team Style

The new “My Style” and “Team Style” pages consolidate many areas of setup that previously had to be visited and configured one by one.  The Team Style page allows authorized team members to manage setup for other coaches, including never before possible parts like Notifications and Happenings Reports.

Team Style UI showing notification settings for another coach

All sorts of stuff that can be centrally managed for other team members.


Business Center

The new Business Center allows you to view and manage all aspects of your business from one area: Invoices, Engagements, Agreements and Offerings.

Being able to configure Offerings with the configuration of Engagements and Agreements living right next door on the same page is, I daresay, rather nice.

Fully customizable widgets in the new Business Center Offerings area give you a nice overview of how things are going in your business:

A screenshot of the Business Center Widget customizations

Drag to sort, add or remove whichever you like.

Better Drop Down Menus

Have a ton of Worksheet Templates or Files in your Library?  You’ll now find it easier to find the right one with a search-enabled drop down menu, which supports filtering by folder and fuzzy, partial matching for ease of use.

Screenshot of the dropdown menu UI showing a search

Got a ton of files or templates? No problem!


In select places, when picking a coach or client, you’ll now see avatars next to the names.

A dropdown menu featuring names AND avatars

Remixed Client Page Appointments

The Appointments on a Client Page are no longer relegated to a separate tab in the Overview section.  Instead they now live in the left sidebar itself, like so:

In-app UI of the left side Appoinmtments widget, not yet open

Click on Appointments and…


In-app UI of the appointment side widget showing the next one

…the next one shows. Click “view all upcoming” and…


In-app UI of the upcoming Appointment listing for a given client.

…you’ll see all upcoming Appointment with this client.

Also contact info of the coach or client there has been tucked away, accessible by clicking the contact card by their avatar:

In-app UI of revealing a client's contact info

Click that little white icon that looks like a name badge to reveal.


Branding Colors in the WYSIWYG

This one’s subtle, but a nice way to craft content that is more fully consistent with your branding: the WYSIWYG color chooser now includes your primary and highlight branding colors.

In-app UI of the WYSIWYG editor color picker


Client Roster Download Options

When downloading a client roster, you’ve got options now on which clients you want included: active, inactive, or all:

In-app UI of choosing which clients to export the roster of

Sometimes, you just want one or the other!


And those are the broad strokes of what’s new in Version 5!  Well, that and a completely redesigned marketing website, which does much better justice to the new and improved platform.


Migrating to Version 5

Migrating to Version 5 is easy: click “Enable Version 5…” from the top right user menu, and you’ll be on your way.

In-app UI for migrating to Version 5

Just a few clicks and you’re there, you can even seamlessly preview it!

Fun fact: both before AND after you migrate, you can quickly toggle between the old and the new by hitting Shift + 4 on your keyboard (whenever you’re NOT typing in some text area).  This allows you to do a side-by-side comparison of any part in the system: it’s kind of fun to see the differences woven throughout and, if you’re like me, the look of 5 really makes clear what was lacking in 4.


Summing Up

Last summer I wrote about my return to being a one-man shop after 6 years of having employees, and in those missives I mentioned returning to my studio to focus on creating art.  THIS is what I’ve been working on.  THIS is what I’ve been up to in my studio, taking up the mantle of being artist rather than art teacher.  I’ve had a ton of fun making CoachAccountable Version 5, and I hope you and your clients enjoy the result.

Onward and upward.  I’ll be updating screenshots in the CA Knowledge Base if you need me.

Actually, you know what?  I think I’m gonna take a beat; maybe start a new farm in Stardew Valley.  Then I’ll get to those screenshots. :)

  1. To the ostensible competitors that tout themselves as a “modern” alternative to “dated” CoachAccountable: one, that’s rude, and two, I would say that notion itself is now dated.

Nine Apps Rolled Into One

I did a demo recently.  While conveying the range of all that CA does and is capable of, for fun I took a moment and rattled off on my fingers the various usually-separate apps it plays the part of.

I was surprised to find my two hands were nearly insufficient for the task!

Here are the nine I came up with off the top of my head:

1. Invoicing

CA Invoicing lets you issue invoices to customers (the individuals or companies that hired you), and they can pay those invoices online.  Scheduled, recurring, broad currency support, lock out options for unpaid accounts, overdue notices, exportable reports.

 2. Scheduling

CA Appointments give you full-stack scheduling that can take the place of dedicated scheduling apps, like Calendly and Acuity.  Reminders, invites, rules, calendar sync, plus some niche functionality specific to coaching (like pre- and post-appointment worksheets) that commodity schedulers lack.

3. Contract Signing

CA Agreements let you draft documents ready for read and sign, type your name here, your initials here, check here to confirm you understand, etc.  Plus date and IP-address time stamping for a courtroom-grade, unfudge-able record of who agreed to what and when.

4. Habit Tracking

CA’s Metrics gently nudge your clients to report on a routine basis their follow through and KPIs, building tangible results and lending coachable insights.

 5. To-Do List

Tailored specially towards turning coaching insights into real-life results, CA’s Actions for tracking to-dos lend power and accountability to the coaching relationship.

6. LMS

I never set out to build a Learning Management System, but CA Courses have power and functionality that rate with the best of them.  With CA’s slant towards active participation by way of Actions, Worksheets, Metrics and Whiteboards, CA Courses bring more than the usual focus on mere content consumption.

7. Group Platform

CA Groups have allowed many to ditch their Facebook, Mighty Networks, and other community platforms.  It’s nice to have it all in one place, nicer to move your coaching out of the crosshairs of ad-driven content scraping, and even nicer still to weave in the coach-centric participatory aspects like Group Metrics and Group Worksheets.

8. Contact Manager

CA is DEFINITELY not trying to be a full fledged CRM, but for the clients you’re actually working with it certainly serves as one, and for many is all the CRM you need.

9. e-Commerce

CA Offerings allow you to sell your coaching packages, courses, and group memberships to your clients, new and established.  CA Engagements let you manage the number of sessions a client has coming to them and set an invoicing plan for automatic recurring billing.  This isn’t the platform for slinging products, but is often everything a coaching firm needs to be well and truly open for business.


And those are the nine I could think of.

Is CA’s take on each of those 9 necessarily at full feature parity with respective specialized apps?  Nah.  For some purposes CA will fall short (take the scheduler, for instance: it’s for your coaching clients, so if you need folks to book you for coffee dates, you’ll wanna keep an external one!).

But there’s never been a problem with folks being oversold on CA’s capabilities and being disappointed.  Quite the contrary: CA routinely has the problem of folks being undersold, in that they often don’t realize it very much already does the thing they wish it did.

Sometimes folks say that CoachAccountable is complex, that there’s a lot to learn and figure out.  When viewed through the lens of it doing the job of no fewer than nine distinct apps, I figure we should expect nothing less!

Course Builder Power Tools

The seed of this feature started from a simple enough question posted recently to the CA user’s group:

Is it possible to merge two courses into one in CA?

The person asking this question has six courses that are already great as standalone experiences, and she wanted to combine them all in order to offer a membership experience wherein all of that material could be slow dripped over several months.

It’s a cool idea!  And if one could quickly make this happen on the implementation side of things, without having to do a lot of cumbersome copy-and-pasting, one would be much more free to play and experiment with such ideas.

I could have quickly tossed off a utility for appending one course to another and called it a day.  But from that simple notion of merging courses, I came to realize it might be a lot of fun AND enable a whole new degree of creativity (when it comes to CA Courses as both ready-to-offer coaching products and powerhouses of automation) if there were a way to operate on, combine, and generally mix-and-match course content in a more fluid and flexible way.

Voila, the result: Course Builder Power Tools.

Power Tools are available with just a click when in the Course Builder:

Course Power Tools summoning button

Ooh, what’s this? No harm in clicking it.


There are 5 types of operations available:

Course Power Tool operations

Ooh, these could be fun!

Click on one, and some pretty controls with intuitive sliders appear.  Here, for example, is what it looks like to import from another course:

Course Power Tools Import controls

Pick a course, select the part you want import, choose where to put it.

The article on Course Builder Power Tools in the CA Knowledge Base goes into full detail of what you can do and how these controls all work.

I’m excited for what this makes possible.  If building courses is more fluid and allows you to quickly change your mind and remix things, creating courses will not only be easier, but you’ll start to create different kinds of courses, ones that are less hampered by inertia and the need to have it all figured out in advance.  The ability to merge in entire segments of other courses, coupled with Resource Packages (which make it possible to share and install courses made by others coaches) opens up a wide range of creative possibilities, drawing from and cross-pollinating with the work of your previous courses as well as courses made by other coaches willing to share.

Here’s to the joy of creation!

Build That Course

When it comes to cross-promoting outside commercial offerings to the CoachAccountable community (requests I get often), I am generally, as a rule, an immediate and hard “no”.  We’re all of us inundated with marketing, and I aim to always keep the relationship with CA customers respectfully pure.

But when Morgan (CA staff alumnus and my Number 2 of four years) shared with me the program she’s cooked up to help CA coaches build and sell their courses online, I figured letting folks know about it was very much aligned with the mission here in CA land: empowering coaches to have thriving practices by elevating the experience they give their clients.

I keep hearing good things from folks who work with her about how they’re getting more out of CoachAccountable for it, so for that, and her years of expertise, she get the exception to that rule.

Take it away, Morgan!

CoachAccountable - Morgan MeredithGreetings, CoachAccountable community!  As many of you know, I’ve created AccountableHero, a boutique setup service exclusively for CoachAccountable users.

Throughout my time at CoachAccountable AND AccountableHero, I’ve learned there’s a real desire in the community for accountability and support around how to build a course.  If you’ve been struggling with building a course, or even where to get started on one, despite all the great CoachAccountable resources available… you’re not alone.

If you’re ready to finally get that course built and launched and making you money, consider joining the small group course building experience I’m offering.  It starts January 18th and we’ll meet weekly for 6 weeks.

We’ll dive into:

  • Course Basics (including Metrics)
  • Powerful Assignments
  • Easy Videos
  • Surveys, Feedback, & Testimonials
  • Courses Funnel: Upsells & Resources

You also receive a 60-minute deep dive with me, going through all your burning questions and hammering out details one-on-one.

For the first round, I’m offering a one-time discount in exchange for your candid feedback and a testimonial.

This group is open to a maximum of TEN CoachAccountable users, with more opportunities to come.

Will you finally get that course launched in February?  Only one way to be sure: sign up here.


Working with Students

While many coaches work with fully independent adults, and others with corporate entities as their customers, many CoachAccountable users work with students. Whether it’s tutoring in a particular subject, college study habits, or ADHD focus points, coaches often ask: how can I involve parents in the coaching process without breaking confidentiality?

Family Tutoring with CoachAccountable

Use Companies.

It may seem weird to use CoachAccountable Companies for relationships that aren’t… well… companies. However, the Companies feature is exactly what you’ll need. Each family will be a company. 

Clients and Personnel

In this case, the student is the client within CoachAccountable. They’re the ones doing all the coaching work – completing assignments, viewing files, showing up for appointments, and so on.

The parents, on the other hand, usually have a less direct role. They’re generally paying for the coaching, perhaps with a view into some of the work that’s going on, but not all.

You can use the permissions levels for personnel to allow the parents to:

  • View and pay the invoices (or not)
  • View and sign agreements (or not)
  • View appointment reports (or not)
  • View the actual work of their student (or not)

And more. For some parents, it might make sense for them to see Actions but not Worksheets, Metrics but not Whiteboards, and so on. All of that is accomplished with Companies, using the permissions for Personnel users (parents).

Company Engagements for Regular Payments

If you bill the parents on a regular basis, or use package pricing (i.e. 10 appointments for $2500), you’ll want to use Engagements. Company Engagements allow you to automatically bill the parent, rather than the student.

Other Common Questions

What about appointments with both parent and student?

If you plan to do any coaching stuff with parents, including Agreements (contracts), appointments, intake forms (Worksheets) and so on… the parent must be a client as well.

For joint appointments, you’ll put parent and student into a Group, then create a Group Appointment.

What about double-notifications?

If you want the parent to get notified of the student’s appointments, Actions, and so on, the student can set that up using forwarding rules within their email account. It’s not possible to have reminders go to more than one SMS text number or email address UNLESS, like above, you put the parent and student into a Group and create Group Appointments (which, for certain relationships, is exactly the right solution).

What about additional students or family members?

No problem! Use the same Company, add any additional parents/responsible parties as Personnel, and set up different Engagements if desired for additional students in the same Company. You can also add school administrators, therapists, or anyone else who should see part or all of the coaching relationship as personnel, so they’ll have their own login to the system and customized visibility based on how you set them up.

Any other tips?

Like you would with any client, take the time to customize the page for the students and eliminate any unnecessary tabs. That way, you’ll ensure they see only what they need.

And that’s the gist of working with families using CoachAccountable! As tutors, teachers, and independent instructors, rest assured that your business model is well-supported within the system.

Company Agreements

Since 2019, CoachAccountable has allowed you to issue and manage Agreements with your individual clients (think contracts and other such documents that beg signatures, initials, time stamps and so forth).

Now you can use CA to manage them with your client companies as well, allowing you to issue contracts to key company personnel to formalize your working arrangements with the companies that hire you.  Let’s see how it works!

Who Can Sign These Company Agreements?

The first step is to be certain you’ve got one or more personnel of the company who are allowed to be party to agreements for that company.  This is done by setting the permissions for a given personnel, like so:

UI of Personnel permissions, emphasis on the Agreements setting.

Three levels of access, either the second or third will do!

Once you’ve got a personnel who can be on the receiving end of a Company Agreement, you’re all set to issue one.

Because companies are apt to accrue more of a collection of agreements on file than an individual client typically would, Agreements for companies have their own section on a Company Page:

Agreemnts section of a Company Page

Three sections for the 3 phases of a Company Agreement: draft, issued to the company, and completed by the designated personnel.


Issuing Company Agreements

Issuing an Agreement to a company is about what you’d expect: clicking the +Agreement button brings up the editor, from which you can choose from your Agreement Templates as a starting point:

UI of drafting a new agreement for a company

Your agreements are likely going to feature language that is a little more serious and a little less silly. I just like putting Easter eggs in documentation like this to keep things fun. :)

You’re able to keep a Company Agreement in mere draft form while working on it, perhaps over several sessions.  Whenever it’s ready, click the “Issue” button to actually issue the finalized agreement to the designated personnel.

When you do, CoachAccountable will offer you the option to send a notification:

UI for sending a notification of the new company agreement.

Best to let them know! The [magicLink] will bring them right to it.

Want to change the default verbiage of this notification message?  You can!  That’s found in Settings >> System >> Message Templates, under the new “Agreement Notification” template.

That template is just a starting point: you can further edit what appears here prior to sending.


Managing Issued Agreements

Once issued, it’s still possible to make last minute modifications to the agreement, including to whom it is issued.  But once the person who you’ve issued it to has logged in (and thus ostensibly accessed it), edits will no longer be allowed.  In that case, you can simply delete and re-issue a new agreement.

Agreements that have not yet been agreed to will remain in the “Issued” tab, and once agreed to they’ll be found in the “Completed” tab.

For agreements that have been issued but not yet agreed to, you can bring up the editor and click the send button (found in the lower right to send) another notification.  This a nice way to gently remind and nudge someone towards addressing the outstanding agreement.

Once completed by the designated personnel, whomever originally issued it will be notified of as much (assuming they’ve opted to receive agreement notifications, as found in Settings >> System >> Notifications).  Other members of the team who are set to receive notifications of all agreements will be similarly notified.

And that’s all there is to it!  Completed company agreements will live in the Completed tab of the Agreements area, visible to both the coaching team as well as the company personnel who have been granted access to agreements (either their just own, or all company agreements).


CoachAccountable’s First Decade

Birthday cake with numeral 10 candles

I sprung for the fancy 10 candle that has TWO wicks. Pullin’ out all the stops.

Well now, that’s a milestone that many businesses do not meet.

And what a delight to have done so!  Goodness, how time can fly.  I still quite vividly remember taking a deep breath and clicking the button to officially “launch” CoachAccountable from my kitchen table in Cusco, Peru so long ago, wondering if the 2.0 go around would take.

Oh, how it has.

Today I am as honored and humbled as ever that my creation serves the work of thousands of coaches, and contributes to the experience and results of tens-of-thousands of their clients.

A couple of notable things happened in CA’s tenth year:

Overall the lion’s share of coding I did on CA this year was further refinements that make it that much more elegant, intuitive, user friendly, powerful, and perfect.

What’s strange (but perhaps this is just a great sign) is that after such a long time of listening for what would be useful from our community and evolving CA accordingly, there really weren’t many big new features that stood out as worth adding these past 12 months.

Make no mistake, there are still worthwhile advances to be made.  It’s just that with the maturity and completeness that CA has attained over the years, “new features” is now more a matter of chasing a long tail of increasingly disjointed requests, rather than filling in the obviously beneficial-yet-missing pieces that a comprehensive coaching platform should have.  Gone, it seems, are the days of me having a burning desire to build and release X amid a steady stream of requests for it.  Those X’s are already done, launched, and well polished.

But opportunities for still further polish aplenty.

The new, more modern design was well received.

Further refinement to Appointments that further narrow the gap between CA and commodity appointment schedulers, including email invites to events (for folks who haven’t or can’t sync their calendars), more detailed rules for allowing scheduling, and unlimited splits in ones availability.  With these, CA is now truly poised to be the way to wow your free intro call prospects into paying customers in ways conventional schedulers simply can’t.

This year Jaclyn started the official CoachAccountable user’s group, which has taken off as a hub for coaches to ask questions and share ideas and experiences.  Set up as a CA Group itself, it brought with it some great dog fooding of CA’s own Groups feature1, leading to numerous enhancements like the Group Activity Digest, quick access to group member profiles, and comment replies.

Speaking of Jaclyn, she’s gone off on indefinite maternity leave.  I love that she chose family over work,  but I miss her all the same.  And speaking of team departures, Morgan, my number 2 of four years, went off to start Accountable Hero, a high level consultancy of helping coaching firms setup and better their practices with CA.  I delight in recommending her to folks, knowing they’ll be in very good hands.

Amid those change ups, I found myself in the unexpected position of having no team, and took the opportunity to give myself a break from being a manager of people and instead return to, metaphorically speaking, being an artist rather than art teacher.

My being in no rush to hire again may appear a curious decision2.  For now I’m genuinely pleased to be, paradoxical as it may sound, able to do more of the heads down creative work than I was before.

And on that note I’ll say what I always say in these annual missives: CA continues to be for me a thrilling labor of love and I continue to work on making it even better.  Can’t wait to show you what I’ve got in store for the coming year. :)

Here’s to the first decade; it’s been (and remains) an honor to serve you!

  1. “Dog fooding” is term of art in the software business: use your own product to see and empathize with what it’s really like, as opposed to just making it for others to use with no sense for how gross it might actually be.
  2. I promise the business is fine.  If you have concerns, I can assure you my accountant does not share them. ;)

So good, robots don’t believe what humans say about it

Ah, the reviews game, amiright?  That nigh on essential part of a business’s presence online.

This is a tale of our begrudging participation therein.

The reviews we already have around the internet make it clear: CA is well loved by its customers (I won’t link to any in particular here because I don’t wish to feed the machine, but you can find ’em easily enough).

We’ve never hustled much for reviews.  We once sent out an email to a bunch of our customers at the behest of one of the reviews sites (“We’ll give ’em a $10 gift card for filling one out!” they offered… eh, okay, I guess), but beyond that they’ve just organically trickled in over the years with no real prompting on our part.

Then, for better or worse, as a marketing experiment we signed on with TrustPilot.  Became a paying customer and everything with a year long contract for… whatever value doing so is supposed to provide.

We dipped our toes into working with them, but during the first 2 months only ever got around to inviting 3 folks to leave us a review (you could say the endeavor was not managed with vigor).  Anyway, one of those invitees did, and they left us a lovely 5 star missive.  Which is pretty good!

The rub is that, by some curious math, a single 5-star gives you a 3.7 average.

Here’s what it looked like then when you searched “coachaccountable reviews” with Duck Duck Go:


See that second hit?  That’s the one I’m talking about.


I didn’t want to bother with this any further.  Trustpilot told me “there is no way to hide your page as Trustpilot is a public facing platform”, which is odd, because I’m pretty sure we didn’t have that page out there before becoming their customer.

So there we were, ostensibly committed.

So I asked the CoachAccountable users group for a favor.

I told them 3.7 isn’t consistent with the vibe we generally get.  So it would mean a lot to us for them to take a little time to leave a review about what their experience has been like with CoachAccountable on our Trustpilot page.

And they did!  Within 48 hours we had 36 reviews, overwhelmingly glowing and, as one observed, “they read like love letters”.

So there we had it, problem solved: the notion that CA was a “3.7 star platform” was no longer hanging out on the internet.

Then a funny thing happened a few days later…

An excerpt from the community thread about reviews being flagged

Uh oh.

Here was a bunch of people, all of them quite real and genuine customers (there are receipts, yo’), moved to share their experiences based on a simple request.  And then this supposed arbiter of truth and authenticity within the reviews game emailed about half of them, subject line “[reviewerName], your review has been removed”, citing “our software has flagged your review for having unusual features”.


Then they didn’t make it easy for my customers to prove the legitimacy of their reviews:

Difficulty in proving legitimacy

Evidence that was sufficient for some was insufficient for others. So much for objectivity.

I had my mounting dissatisfaction with TrustPilot amid the circumstances I described above, but making my customers jump through hoops so that their earnest missives remain published was so deeply distasteful to me on many levels.

My deep appreciation went out to those that replied back, supplying evidence of the legitimacy of their review in order to get it reinstated.  And to those who thumbed their nose at the robot-initiated insinuation otherwise? They have my emphatic understanding and support.

So what of it?  Let’s look now to the cheeky silver lining.

If the algorithmic flagging of so many of the community’s generous reviews drives me nuts (and it does), there’s one thing about it that I take serious heart from, and that is this:

The community’s assessment of CoachAccountable is hardly to be believed.

I take great pride in the fact that how they described the platform and their experiences with it (and with us) were SO outside the bell curve that they triggered sophisticated machine learning models to scream “Gah, that can’t be right! Flag it! Shut it down!”

A marketing tagline comes to mind:

CoachAccountable: so good, robots don’t believe what humans say about it.

I’m not saying I’m gonna change the homepage to weave that one in, but I figure it is, at very least, a tale worth telling.

And if TrustPilot doesn’t want those reviews, well then I’m taking ’em back.