The CoachAccountable Blog

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

Organize Your Whiteboards with Folders

One of the great things about working at CoachAccountable is that we each have built-in coaching at our jobs. To that end we’ve each got a client account under the other’s coach account (meaning John is a client of Morgan, and Morgan is a client of John). As you might imagine, that comes with a lot of material; specifically, we’ve got roughly billions of Whiteboards for collaboration (company culture, easy-access links to our reviews on Capterra and Google, etc.). That means I often need to search for a particular Whiteboard.

And here’s Sho to show us a new idea!

When Shorombo Mooij, a life and health coach from Holland, suggested folders for Whiteboards, I heartily agreed and added the task to our weekly Morgan’s the Boss session. Thanks to John’s quick work, Whiteboard folders now exist!

Here’s how to use them.

In the same way you organize Files in your Library or a client’s Files area, add a folder to your Whiteboards by clicking +Folder.

Choose the name for your folder and create it. Then, just drag and drop files onto it and they’ll be placed inside the folder.

Click the folder to see what’s inside. From here you can also create subfolders. If you want to move a file back out of the folder, just drag it onto “Up.” You’ll notice that underneath the “+ Whiteboard” button there’s a handy access to see the folder structure while you’re in it.

Add whiteboards folder in CoachAccountable

This actually is one of my favorite ads – it’s by the people who did the commercials for Squatty Potty and Poopourri.

To remove a folder, simply remove everything inside it, then refresh.

Thanks, Sho, for the inspiration and suggestion.

Enjoy!

Hanging with Lynton Dell

Lynton’s been a power user of CoachAccountable since early 2016, using it to deliver courses to hundreds of his clients.

He’s out of the UK; we’d never talked on the phone, let alone met.  But we’ve had plenty of exchanges: on account of his geography (namely 7 hours ahead) and power user status (namely giving lots of CA Courses to clients in varied time zones) he stumbled upon a few niche bugs in how CA handled the timing of delivering course materials, allowing me to fix them and helping to build a more perfect CA.

Lynton reached out to me last month, letting me know he was going to be traveling for a while and asking me if he could export his files/setup so that he could pickup with it when ready to resume.

As you might guess I was happy to do the solid of simply pausing his account.  When he mentioned he was RV’ing through the states I offered a standing invite for a beer (or the like) if he ever passed through Denver.

Turns out he and his partner were flying right in to Denver to pick up the RV… what a lovely coincidence!  A few emails more and we were on for a gathering at Growler USA, a nice haunt right in my neighborhood.

Um, yeah, he’s bigger than that.

The name of Lynton’s program is Make me Unbreakable.  When I stepped into the pub and surveyed the clientele it was clear at a glace that “oh yeah, THIS is the guy we should be hiring to make us unbreakable”.

(I ribbed him later that his avatar photo in CA, just him in a hoodie and kinda positioned small in the frame, didn’t quite do justice to his stature :).

As I crossed the room Lynton stood to give me a warm welcome and a man hug.

As is practially always the case, I got such joy and perspective out of hearing, firsthand, from a coach what it’s like in their world (and how CA intersects with it).  We got to talking and it was a treat.

“For a fitness program, 40-45% retention past 6 months is common.  With CA it was like 85-90%.  I had customers staying on for two years and more.”

Wow, for real?  If it wasn’t already in line with his evident super-friendly nature, that fact alone might explain the jovial man hug.  He continued, “I used to send out texts every Sunday, asking after ‘how are you doing with this, how are you doing with that?  How’s your meditation?’  10-20 clients, took a lot of time.  Now the computer does all the work, and I’ve got way more clients.”

Lynton described a bit about what it was like to design those courses that had the computer doing all the work.  “Took a while to get it just right, building the course.  Spent 50 hours on the first version, tried it on myself, found it didn’t work.  Then spent 5 hours on a new version and THAT worked brilliantly.”

I said good on you for having the persistence to really get it right and reap the reward!  I could see why he wanted to keep that data intact.

Bringing us to the current moment, Lynton summarized: “Now taking 6 months off, maybe more, to travel.  Excited to get new ideas, pick up with CA later and make a new and better program.  Excited to see what’s new in CA when I do!”

The plan for Lynton and his lady friend is to RV around for a month, then travel about for one more here in the states, then Mexico, Cuba. “Who knows after that.  Looking to bounce around in Canada next February, exploring towns, may settle down in one.  Looking for somewhere else in the world, UK is so small.  With CA I can have clients anywhere in the world.”

I was so delighted and inspired to hear as much (and NOT because of the “enabled-by-CA” part, though that’s nice).  They’re basically doing a world tour and poised to go wherever the journey takes them.  This of course is near and dear to my heart, as CoachAccountable itself was gotten off the ground during my world tour with my wife in 2012/2013 (I launched it from my kitchen table in Cusco, Peru!).

We swapped stories of travel: countries to go to, cities to explore, meals to be had.  It was my honor to inspire and be inspired–it’s always super life giving to see someone ACTUALLY DO IT (whatever that big dream “IT” may be).

Guess which is which! (Hint: Lynton is the one you’d wanna take fitness advice from.)

Thanks Lynton for the beer (he insisted on buying :), and moreover for the conversation.  I wish you an amazing trip and we’ll cook up some new goodies in CA for you to check out whenever you’re ready to pickup with your coaching practice, from wherever in the world you decide to settle!

A CoachAccountable Story

This is a story about where we are headed: a day in the life of you.

You wake up at the leisurely hour of 8:45.  Not to an alarm, but to your body’s more natural rhythms.  As a rule you don’t schedule yourself for any calls before 10am and, flush with clients as you are, everyone you work with is happy to oblige that rule.

You do a quick check of your email.  A few items pop out at you.

Dave marked his action complete, “Have conversation with my boss about a raise”, and commented that it went really well, with a $5,000 boost to his salary effective next paycheck.  You take a moment to reply with a word of congrats and acknowledgement.

While you were sleeping two more people signed up for your 6-week program on how to confidently advance your career.  Money in the bank.  At $79 a pop it won’t make you rich, but with the materials you lovingly crafted 8 months ago set to drip to those new participants automatically it won’t entail any extra work either, and you know that based on your past conversion rates it’s likely that one of them will opt to become a one-on-one client before the program ends.

One other person booked themselves for a complimentary session, scheduled for next Tuesday at 11 and it’s already in your calendar.  Based on the answers in her intake form it looks like she’s a good fit, too.

No new signups for the subscription-based mastermind group, but that’s okay: with 16 members already in there it’s getting a little full, and you’re not keen to split it into two just yet.

You enjoy a leisurely breakfast and get ready for your day.

At your desk you glean through the happenings report of what’s new with your clients since yesterday.  Back when it was just you and a notebook you couldn’t have imagined keeping up with more than a dozen, but now you’re expertly juggling 23, nearly twice that amount, and with way less stress.  Ah, Alice rated herself a 9 yesterday on overall life happiness, a first since you started working together 4 weeks ago.  She comments that everything is really coming together thanks to the work she’s doing with you.  You click to post a quick comment back giving her credit for the things she’s really risen to.

You enjoy this little window into how your clients are doing during the time off between your sessions: clients feel the love of that extra attention and encouragement you give them now and again, and they appreciate you for it.

Just then, your phone buzzes: you’ve got a call with Gerald in 10 minutes.

You close out the happenings report and load up Gerald’s record.  He’s got a few of his action items marked off, but those around his presentation are showing as incomplete and late.  A review of the session notes from last time reminds you he was feeling a little anxious about that.  No problem, you’ll be able to hit the ground running, getting to what’s behind that in no time.  Otherwise his Metrics look good and, based on the pre-session Worksheet he filled out yesterday, he seems excited to speak with you.

Your phone buzzes again: you’ve got a call with Gerald in 1 minute.  Happily his phone number is right there in that text reminder—you finish collecting your thoughts and give Gerald a call right on time as always.

He’s happy to hear from you and you dive right in.

By the end he’s recommitted to the plan and has set more realistic deadlines for those steps you distinguished together.  You take five minutes and type up the key takeaways, and email them off with a few clicks.

You notice that was your 8th call with him out of his package of 12, and his next installment payment will be automatically run tomorrow.  You make a note to check in with him on his next call about his happiness with the engagement overall, setting the stage for continuing on if he’s in a fitting place to do so.

Next up you’ve got an 11:30 call with Shannon.  Ah, Shannon.  She was rather frazzled when you started work with her 6 months ago, but has since gotten a raise and then a promotion (also which entailed a raise).  She’s risen to the potential she always had and you guided her to the mindsets, habits and actions that got her where she wanted to be.

This is her last call with you; she’s good to go and knows it, won’t be re-upping for another package.  You couldn’t be happier.  When you started she was rating her weekly workplace satisfaction at 3s and 4s, now 8s and 9s are the norm.  Her salary and position are similarly improved.  She said she’d be happy to be a case study for your website.  With her permission, of course, you figure it would be great to embed one or two of her Metrics right there on the site—nothing tells a story quite like real results do.

The call is great: acknowledgement and completion are present in spades.  Afterwards with a few clicks you download her complete record.  You email it to her as sort of a parting gift, a nice little souvenir of the time you spent working together AND a treasure trove of the insights that she got out of working with you.  You then deactivate her account, knowing that if she ever wants to work with you again you can pick right up where you left off.

You then go with a friend at a café you’ve been meaning to try out, and enjoy a meandering lunch while talking about job satisfaction.  You take your time because, by and large, you’re done for the day.  Your client load and schedule of bi-weekly sessions (plus that mastermind group that meets weekly) means you’ve got about 2 or 3 calls scheduled per day, so this is not uncommon.  After lunch you go to the park to lie under a tree and read a book.

Later in the afternoon you feel a creative spark, so you resume work on your new course, “Overcoming the Imposter Syndrome”.  You feel it’s a light topic but with broad appeal, and one which you can speak to from your own experience and expertise.  You’re putting together some nice worksheet assignments and a regiment of action items you know to help.  You’ve even been dabbling with firing up the webcam on your laptop to record a few video riffs and make them a part of the course, because it’s a fun way to connect and let those who might like to work with you get better acquainted with what you’d be like to work with.

There’s no hurry, but you’ll probably wrap up work on this course next week or the week after that.  After testing it by going through it yourself and with a few friends, you’ll make it available for purchase on your website.  Maybe $39 for this one—it doesn’t have to be much, you just want to put something cool out there and this is a nice way for prospects to get interested in working with you one-on-one.

Before you know it your phone is buzzing with a reminder from your personal calendar: you’ve got plans tonight, dinner and drinks with friends, and you’re gonna be late if you don’t get yourself out the door.  You lost track of time in the creative flow; it’s cool, that can happen in a medium with which you can take your time to be put your best work forward that will be enjoyed again and again by many.  You’ll pick up with it tomorrow.

At dinner you buy an appetizer or two for the table, and remember with a smile how you would never do that in your leaner times as a freshly minted coach, before you knew how to attract a steady stream of clients.

Now you enjoy your time out with friends with a feeling of peace, a feeling that you’ve made it.  You retire at the end of the day satisfied, and excited to do it again tomorrow, to play the game of being a prosperous, difference-making coach.

Direct Sync with your Outlook Calendar

CoachAccountable Integration with Microsoft Outlook

About a year ago we released direct sync functionality with Google Calendar.  When we did I figured requests would start rolling in for a more direct sync with other calendar systems, but to my surprise (and kinda delight, I guess!) having just Google Calendar seemed to cover the needs of the vast majority of CA users, so I was content to leave it at that and focus on other projects.

But last month I got a nice bit of perspective in a conversation with Martin in Australia.  I may not have it word for word, but it was something to the effect of “There are two types of software out there: those that integrate fully with Microsoft products, and those we don’t use”.

What a succinct and compelling case for adding such support to CoachAccountable.

Two productive weeks later CoachAccountable now supports full synchronization with Outlook calendars.

To set this up as a coach, go to Settings >> Appointment Config >> Calendar Sync.

Google Calendar or Outlook? Either way you’re a few clicks away from full synchronization.

Clicking the “Sync with Outlook!” button takes you to the login screen with your Microsoft account.  Once logged in, you’re presented with the ask to give CoachAccountable permission to sync with your calendar:

Two permissions: (1) access that lasts more than an hour and (2) access to your calendar.

Assuming you click “Yes”, you’ll be bounced back to CoachAccountable for the final step: choosing which (if any) calendar you’d like CA to publish your coaching appointments to, and which calendar CA should read from to determine your precise availability.

Easy choices: which calendar should CA publish too, which calendars should CA read from.

And that’s it!  With just a few clicks you can be fully synced with your Outlook calendar in under a minute, and this includes accounts with Outlook.com, Office 365, and Outlook Exchange.

Don’t forget your clients!

This one-time setup to sync with your calendar is easy and useful for you as coach, AND is similarly available to your coaching clients.  They’ll find the same controls to sync with their calendar system of choice (Google or Outlook) in their My Account page, so let them know this is available as a quick one-time setup.

Their setup is a little easier: just choose which calendar to publish to.

And you might go one step further to actually sell them on doing this.  Because when they do it, their appointments with you will automatically appear in their calendar.  It’s a great way to make the process of working with you even more frictionless, and easier to fit into their busy lives.  (This one is so good that it might well be a worthy Action item for you to make part of the standard getting started routine for new clients!)

Enjoy!

Team account or Two single accounts?

I got a simple but illustrative question the other day:

Hi John,

I referred my friend Garrett to CoachAccountable and we’re debating on the pros and cons of two single user accounts vs a team account.

Could you help us understand the differences?

I call this an illustrative question because this is a nice lens by which to contrast Team with Basic account.  Here’s the answer I gave that sums it up tidily:

The answer ultimately comes down to if you guys plan to/would benefit from being able to collaborate more tightly.

A pair of single accounts are two completely separate silos: no sharing of clients, no sharing of resources (like templates, files or courses), no visibility/oversight/collaboration of one coach into the work of the other.

Team Edition, by contrast, allows all of these things.  Rather than complete separation, you can work jointly in coaching a given client or group of clients.

Team Edition offers these things but is generally more expensive for a given client count. If you’ll be working largely independently, a pair of single accounts should do fine.

I hope that helps!

On Being a Relevant Coach

Last week we had the pleasure of being an exhibitor at the 3rd annual St. Thomas Executive Coaching in Organizations Conference.

DeAnne Aussem gave a great opening keynote.  Among many gems covered was the topic of relevance as a coach: how well you and your coaching offering stack up as being worthwhile.

CoachAccountable vendor at St. Thomas Coaching Conference

For me in the audience it was a wonderful window into a challenge area that coaches face, and as she presented a 3-part framework for boosting relevance I was struck by how well CoachAccountable was already poised to help coaches to be more relevant.

If you’re already using CoachAccountable (or even just considering it), it’s worth being familiar with all the ways it can serve you.  Making you more relevant is no exception.  So with that in mind, let’s look at that framework and consider how CA can fit in to each part:

1. Establish: Building a compelling value proposition

I think it’s fair to say that, when it comes to how you operate as a coach, you never want people to think (or even wonder if) you’re just some someone with a notebook and a telephone.

In distancing ourselves from that more nebulous perception, compelling can take many forms.  These include credible expertise, a professional system, offerings that are easy to understand, and maybe even a window into your process & how you work.

While CoachAccountable can’t do much for you in the expertise department (it’ll never seek to replace the human element in coaching!), it can give you a significant advantage with the other three:

  1. That you have a branded client portal, one which tracks real numbers, puts good ideas into a clear record of to-dos (and dones), and serves as a documented record of the whole process, speaks volumes to your professionalism.
  2. The combination of CoachAccountable Offerings and Engagements makes it easy to define and present the coaching packages you offer, and makes selling them from your own website a cinch.
  3. Because largely made up of conversations, coaching is hard to show off to curious parties (particularly those considering hiring you).  But the records and structures used in your CoachAccountable account are readily downloaded, exported, embedded, and shared.  Just showing off a good screenshot or two of a coaching relationship in progress demystifies the whole thing.

2. Demonstrate: Claiming my coaching credibility

I feel that when it comes to coach credibility, credentials are a great start but nothing speaks more powerfully than real results.  Using CoachAccountable means accumulating any or all of the following with your clients:

  • A record of past completions
  • Metrics that show the progression of KPIs
  • Written accounts of challenges, breakthroughs and wins

Any of these constitute a real story of what clients can expect in working with you, thus making it easy to demonstrate your credibility.

3. Maintain: Innovate service offerings

When someone has worked with you for a substantial length of time, does that work become a rote thing that might just feel like going through the motions?  Or can you inject a certain newness that gives the experience excitement similar to the start?

Here again CoachAccountable can help.  It supports and facilitates several modalities of the coaching experience: 1-on-1, group participation, and independent work within courses you create.  If one of these is your standard thing, you could offer another up as a way vary and deepen their work with you.

Even if it’s just, for example, 1-on-1 coaching through and through, you can inject variety and texture through offering one or more mini-course “modules” that your clients could work through.

For example you could design a 3-week course on establishing and retaining work-life balance, consisting of certain materials to read, assignments to do, and things to track.  Prescribe as needed to clients during your working relationship, allowing them to work through the course with benefit of your personal oversight and support.  This leverages your time: design once, use again and again.


Relevance is a great lens by which to evaluate and strengthen yourself as a coach.  I agree with DeAnne: if you can establish your offering to be compelling, demonstrate your credibility, and innovate to keep the experience enduringly valued you’re doing well to have real relevance as a coach.

On Asking Clients to Use CoachAccountable

I got a great question in my inbox yesterday:

I’ll share my reticence to fully jump in/buy/etc and maybe you (or a member of your team) can help me work through my concern.  I respect your opinion and insight and appreciate any feedback.
I’m concerned about the need for my clients to go to a website to hear from me, check notes, look at status, etc.

It’s a new habit I’m asking them to form and in the economy of personal change it’s not where I want to spend my “money” with them.

Does that make sense?  I don’t feel good asking them to do too many new things at once and, because my clients are so busy, I’m concerned this is extra work for them.

Have you thought about this particular objection and have some feedback?

— Matthew

I might’ve just answered right back, but this is a worthy concern that’s really at the heart of what it is to fully embrace any new system and make it a part one’s process.  So I’ll answer it here, for the benefit of Matthew and everyone else.


We are all of us routinely inundated with new systems, apps, and other online entities begging for our attention, each trying to get you to opt in to their newsletter, sign up for an account, or to allow them to send alerts to your phone or desktop.

As such we need to be choosy about who and what we give access to our precious attention.  That’s simple self preservation.

We know this, so we’ve crafted CoachAccountable to very respectful of user attention: worth using with not a lot of hassle or extra work to get real value out.  To Matthew’s question of not demanding too much of his coachees, let’s look at how this plays out in real usage.

It turns out, CoachAccountable makes it possible to by and large avoid any need, on the part of clients, to go to a website to hear from you, check notes, look at status.  So many of the common interactions can be run over email, a channel you were probably going to use to some degree no matter which system (or none) you ultimately go with:

  • Session notes, once written up, can be emailed to your client with one click.
  • Action items can be marked complete by replying “done” to a reminder email about them.
  • Metric numbers can be reported by replying to a reminder email about them.
  • A shared file can be accessed with a single click from the “your coach has shared a file with you…” email
  • A worksheet can be brought right up to work on with a single click from a notification email
  • Messaging and commenting on anything can also be done via email, like usual email but with benefit of it all being logged into the client record.
  • A lot of these interactions can be done via text message as well, and these can all be tailored to the preference of the individual.

What all of these things share in common is this: we’ve polished the system to reduce and remove as much of the friction to participation as possible.  We know clients are busy and any hassles to participating in the coaching process will blunt their drive and ability to do the real work of applying your coaching, so we’ve innovated in every way we can think of to make it easy for them (and, while we were at it, for you as coach).

You’re able to set things up for your clients so that (1) they don’t find it a burden and (2) they get real value out of it.  Like other aspects of the rich skill that is coaching, there’s an art to this:

  • You’ll want to set the stage for them so that when they first get going with you in CoachAccountable, they can immediately appreciate the why behind it (there’s a guide for that).
  • You’ll want to be certain you’re not overwhelming them (there’s a guide for that).
  • You’ll want to be sure you’re employing CA to help your client realize real wins out of working with you.  This may be tracking the right things, setting up action plans worth doing, sharing insights that they can look back on later, and so many other things.  (The guides for these lie largely in your coaching training, but CoachAccountable can help you really bring them to bear in practice!)

There’s a lot of flexibility here.  We’re happy to help you sort out which parts of CoachAccountable are worth using with your clients, and how to set them up so that they jibe best with their busy schedules.  Just ask and we’ll hop on a screen share to do so!

There was one other part to Matthew’s question:

Also, separately — the true client of mine is the boss of my coachee.  Is there a way they can view the progress of their employee.  I care about communicating with the employee (notes, metrics, etc) but am almost more concerned with keeping their boss up to date.

Again, great question.  There’s a nice consequence of using CA with your clients, whether full-on or to a very limited degree: it creates a record that is ripe for sharing with interested parties, like the boss of your coachee.  Here’s a guide on how to share that progress, and Happenings Reports in particular might be just the thing for you.

Ultimately CoachAccountable is something you can present to your clients as:

  1. something to apologize for and thank them for bearing with, OR
  2. as a real value-add to their coaching experience, something that’s going to genuinely help them get the most out of it.

With a little bit of practice wielding CoachAccountable with all (or even half of!) what it can do, you’ll find yourself comfortably presenting it as the latter.  Considering CoachAccountable really comes down to the opportunity to bolster your offering and up your coaching game.

At the end of the day, we’re in the business of making coaching as powerful and effective as it can be.  So whether it be with CA, some other system, or nothing at all, I hope you find something that really serves your needs.  Thanks for the questions!

Setting Up Client Engagements

Ready to track how far along a client is in a package of coaching sessions? Want to show clients in a productized manner exactly what you do and what it is like to work with you? Sounds like the job for Engagements! If you’re curious why we created Engagements, and more about its purpose, check out this post.

Here, we’ll get into the nitty-gritty of how to set them up.

Configuring Engagements

First things first: make sure Engagements is enabled on your account.  There’s no extra charge for this; the option to enable or disable it exists because if you know you DON’T ever want to use it, you can have a slightly more streamlined system by turning it off.  To make sure it’s enabled for your account, click on your name in the upper right >> My Account >> Add Ons.

When it’s enabled, you’ll find the place to set things up in Settings >> Engagements.

There are just a few things to set up: the Basic Options and any Templates you might like to have.

Basic Options

The first option you have in the setup of your Engagements pertains to how and when your clients are allowed to schedule appointments with you.  This may seem its own separate subject, but there’s a reason for its inclusion here.

Having a client set up in an Engagement means there are some rules about scheduling appointments with that client: the question “does this client have any sessions left?” now has an in-app answer.

You have three choices:

  • Never allowed: This means you, as coach, will always be responsible for booking appointments with clients.
  • Allowed only within the limits of an Engagement: This means that any client who’s NOT been added to an engagement will not be able to request appointments with you.  In other words, a client must be in an active Engagement with you in order to be given the privilege of scheduling with you.
  • Allowed unless and Engagement says otherwise: This means appointment requesting is generally available (per the rules of the Appointment Types you offer, of course!) to clients UNLESS they have ever been set up in an Engagement.  Once that’s the case, the rules of the Engagement (with respect to hours allocated and the date range) dictate whether or not a given client is allowed to book an appointment with you.  This is a great option if you’re transitioning from not using Engagements to using them, or if you will generally not be using Engagements (because you wouldn’t want your lack of using Engagements to short circuit clients’ ability to book with you).

Here’s a fun little trick that this setting makes possible and is not exactly related to Engagements: notice how it says this setting can be overridden on a per-client basis?  That means you can segment your clients in a particular way, separating, for example, those who have only purchased a group coaching experience with you from those who have upgraded to the one-on-one plan (such a tiered offering is a powerful structure for a coaching business, you should consider doing it if you don’t already!).

The next setting is to do with marking appointments as Verified: you can do this manually, but the system will automatically do so if you choose.  Verified (or not) is essentially your way of telling CoachAccountable that “yes, this appointment DOES count towards the allocation of hours” or “no, it doesn’t”.  Your decision on this front will usually lie with how you manage cancelled/rescheduled appointments or no-shows (more on that below).

Engagement Templates

Engagement Templates are your way of defining your standard packages.  You can of course set up an Engagement with a given client however you like, but it’s quite likely you’ll have one or more standard types of engagements.  Templates, therefore, allow you to define those once and use them again and again.

Much like a specific Engagement, an Engagement Template is broken into 4 sections: Basics, Rules, Notifications, and Invoicing Plan.

Basics

First give your Engagement Template a simple, descriptive name. The client may see this name if you create a client-facing notification (more on that later).

For Team Edition accounts, you’ll choose who should generally manage this type of Engagements.  This is the coach to whom coach notifications will go (things like, “Here’s how the Engagement is progressing”).  Note that, like everything else here, you can change this for a particular Engagement with a given client – you’re just setting the default here.

Next, set a duration for this type of Engagement (or they can be set to run with no particular end date, i.e. until the allocation is used up).

The allocation of an Engagement is given by the total hours OR the number of appointments.  If your appointments are all one hour long, these are equivalent. However, if some of your sessions are, say, an hour and some 30 minutes, measuring by hours may be more appropriate.

Rules

There are 2 types of rules to set: rules that govern WHICH appointments should towards (the allocation of) an Engagement, and whether or not a client is allowed to schedule in excess of the allocation.

Filtering by appointment duration can be handy – say you offer quick 15-minute check-ins at no additional cost. In that case, you could set this to only count sessions that are between 16 and 180 minutes.

Should Group Appointments that your client attends count towards the allocation, or just the one-on-ones?  You decide.

Finally, if you really want to get into the nitty-gritty details of which appointments count, you can carve out exceptions (or define specific inclusions) based on appointment name.

You can, for example, count ONLY appointments with certain names (perhaps only ‘Weekly Call’ and ‘Monthly Call’ count, but ‘Mastermind Call’ and all your other types of calls don’t).  Or you only count appointments that do NOT have certain names (e.g. ‘Free Intro Call’ should always be free, but all other types can count toward this Engagement if not ruled out by our settings above). Partial matches count, so you can type in just one of the words that’s in the appointment type’s name. ‘Free’ will therefore filter out my ‘Free Intro Call’, as well as any other appointment types that contain the word ‘Free’.

So my ‘Freebird’ appointment won’t count.

Notifications

The sending of notifications is triggered based on how many appointments have been scheduled, actually occurred, or been successfully verified for this person, relative to the allocation.

Choose to notify either the coach or the client when the number of hours/appointments reaches a certain threshold. If you’ve measured your allocation in hours, the threshold shows in hours; if measuring by number of appointments, the threshold is measured in appointments.

The setting here is a fairly simple sentence you can construct to your liking.

Working from the total allocation set in the Basics tab (10 appointments in this example), a little arithmetic tells us this is basically saying: “Send me a text notification when eight appointments have been scheduled.  At that time, I’ll see all the ones that we’ve had.  Now I can do whatever I need to do related to that.”

Additionally, we can send notifications to the client.  If you get within two of the allocation, for example, your notification might convey something to the effect of, “Hey, we only have two more sessions left.  I hope it’s going well so far.  Let me know if you want to book another package.”

Invoicing Plan

As part of an Engagement, CoachAccountable will generate, send, and automatically collect payment on invoices (when possible) on a recurring basis, just perfect for offering any sort of subscription or installment billing for your services.

The invoicing plan is defined as a single or a series of invoices (sent on whichever recurring schedule you like), with whatever delay of the first invoice.  Set up the invoice(s) that should be issued as one or more line items, with or without tax applied.


And that’s it!  You can create one or more Engagement Templates to use over and over for the types of coaching packages you offer.

Message Template For Engagement Notifications

As we saw in the setup of Templates, Engagements can be set to sent notifications to your clients about the progress as it unfolds.  To customize the language of these notifications go to Settings >> System >> Message Templates and choose ‘Engagement Progress Notification.’

Notice the available magic tags. [appointmentListing] shows the client a neat little table with all the previous appointments that have counted toward the allocation so far. This helps ensure you don’t run into any surprises if a client’s unsure which sessions have been part of the package.

When one or more invoices exists for the Engagements, [invoiceListing] shows a neat little table listing the invoices and any outstanding balances.  Invoices with outstanding balances will come with a link by which your client can go pay the invoice.

Here’s what it looks like in an email (subject line is ‘Progress update for your Monthly Individual Coaching Engagement’, where Monthly Individual Coaching is the name of my Engagement).

Morgan coaching Morton – probably confusion now and then!

Getting Clients into an Engagement

Now you’ve got one or more templates set up, so what?  The real magic happens when you set your clients up in an actual Engagement.

In your listing of active clients, you’ll notice a handshake icon hanging out in the lower right of each client (next to the settings and download buttons).  Click this to bring up that client’s Engagements.

If the client isn’t in an active Engagement, click ‘+ Engagement’ to add him/her.  Here’s where you’ll be able to pick from your Engagement Templates to save you some work (and you’re also free to start from scratch).  Setting up an Engagement it essentially the same as setting up a Template: get everything the way you like it and just hit the ‘Create’ button below.

Once an Engagement is created, you’ll be able to see a couple new things. Firstly, in this area (a client’s page >> Engagement) you’ll have this easy-to-view display of the entire Engagement.

The sections entitled Invoices, Appointments, and Notifications can all be expanded or collapsed using the arrows on the right side.

A pretty way to see what’s up

Back in the client listing (and near the avatar of a given client’s Client Page), you’ll now see a progress bar. It’ll show a break down of requested, approved and verified appointments so you can, at a glance, gather how far along that client is in an Engagement (relative to the allocation). Hover over any piece of the progress bar to find out exactly what it means.

A note on client sorting: you can now sort your client list by Engagement, too. Just click Sort >> Engagement. Clients who are not in an Engagement will be at the bottom of the list.

Past Appointments and Verification

Let’s go into further detail of what appointment verification means and where it matters.

When you verify an appointment, you mark that it indeed counts: i.e. the session did occur, or maybe the client cancelled but it was too close to the appointment, or it was a no show. Since everyone’s cancellation policy is different, and unexpected circumstances happen with both coaches and clients, the system lets you explicitly mark an appointment as verified or not.

Requested, Accepted, Verified

These designations are intended to make the functionality of Engagements smart and busywork-free on your part.

A requested appointment is one a client has requested but you haven’t yet accepted. In Settings >> Appointment Config, you have the option to allow clients to request to schedule with you. These requests can be either automatically accepted, or stay as requests for you to approve.

An accepted appointment is one that is no longer considered just a request, but one that coach has confirmed is actually happening.  (When you, the coach, are the one setting the appointment, it is naturally deemed accepted).

A verified appointment is one you’ve marked (or has automatically been marked) as indeed counting toward the allocation.  If they’re set to automatically verify, they’ll do so as scheduled UNLESS the appointment is cancelled beforehand (similarly, appointment requests that you never actually accepted won’t be automatically marked as verified).

Recall the Notification settings (both for Templates and actual Engagements): they are dependent on the total number/hours of verified, requested, or accepted appointments.

Engagements as Part of Offerings

Offerings are a great way to sell coaching packages right from your website. When creating an Offering, you’ll notice a new component available. Where before you could have an Appointment, Course, Group, Worksheet, or all of the above for the new client as part of your Offering, you can now also have an Engagement be part of an Offering.

When creating or modifying an Offering, the new Engagements portion allows you to choose one of your Engagement Templates. If you choose an Engagement Template that entails an immediate invoice, THAT will determine the price of the Offering (rather than risk the redundancy of having a price tag for the Offering AND an immediate invoice for the Engagement!):

When your Offering consists of an Engagement that entails multiple invoices, it might be a good idea to require the client’s credit card be stored on file for future invoices (i.e. the ‘Always do so’ option as seen above).  This is a great way to ensure you’ll not be chasing down your clients to collect on invoices if it’s a subscription or installment payment plan you’re offering.  If you use this, however, we suggest you add make note of that specifically in the Offering’s description, so as to be extra-transparent and respectful of your new clients.

Payment Options: Installment Plans Available!

Maybe you want to offer your clients options for a given coaching package: an installment plan or pay it all up front (and get a discount for it).  To do this you would create an Offerings Bundle.

Making an Offerings Bundle is as simple as:

  1. Create each Offering that will go in the bundle
  2. Create an Offerings Bundle and give it a name
  3. Add the correct Offerings to the Bundle.

More on setting up an Offerings Bundle here.

In this example, you’d just set up one Offering paid monthly and a nearly-identical Offering paid all up front, add a little description of how it’s going to work, and create the Bundle.

Here’s how that bundle would look as a widget on your website:

Your clients get to choose the one they prefer, and CoachAccountable handles the rest.  With payments on autopilot you’re both better able to focus on the coaching.

More of Your Coaching Business Made Easy

So there we have it!

Engagements is a tidy productization of what exactly it is you do. When clients say, “Hey I want to work with you! What’s it like to work with you?” you can now respond with something pretty concrete. “Well, we have this package, we have that package. Here’s how it works. Here’s what you get.”

There’s power in being so specific: make what you’re selling easy to understand and easy to buy.  As such by setting up your coaching packages as Engagements and selling them as Offerings you make your coaching clearer and more enticing to your prospects.

What is your offering?  What do you do?  How do you work?  These are all made easier to define (and have automatically tracked) with Engagements.


Were you waiting for this big chunk of coaching business-stuff to start with CoachAccountable? Now’s the time; set up your free 30-day trial today.

Track Client Engagements to Power Your Business

Whether you’re just starting out as a single coach or run a large team of coaches, you probably sell a few, maybe two or three, standard products or packages. If you’d like a tidy productization of those, where a client asks, “What exactly do you do? What’s included? What’s it like to work with you?” and you can respond with a direct answer, we think Engagements helps solve that problem.

Introducing CoachAccountable Engagements

Engagements is intended to make the business side of your coaching business more automated and trackable. Engagements allows you to keep track of the rules and progress of a given coaching product or package.

A pretty way to see many aspects of your coaching program

Here are some questions Engagements can answer for you:

  • How many appointments has a given client booked?
  • How many of those were cancelled, and how many actually occurred?
  • How many hours of coaching have accrued?
  • Do these results fit with my packages as I’ve designed them?
  • How can I know when a client nears the end of his/her engagement with me? How can the client know?

And some questions Engagements can answer for your clients:

  • What is your offering?
  • What exactly do you do?
  • How do you work?
  • What’s it like to work with you?

Here are the key ways in which Engagements will serve you:

  • Tracking Engagement progression – Easily keep tabs on how many appointments a client has had (and has remaining) within their current arrangement with you.
  • Recurring billing – Offer installment plans or subscription billing, billed automatically, over the course of a coaching relationship.
  • At-a-glance overview – Keep abreast of how engagements are progressing with all clients at a glance: who’s just started, who’s nearly done, who’s not using their sessions.
  • Timely reminders to re-up – Get automated alerts that prompt you to open up the conversation about continuing, give your clients notifications prompting them to consider the same.
  • Offer easy-to-buy packages – Let prospective clients book and begin with you from your very own website with an easy to sign up/easy to purchase flow that sets everything in motion with no work on your part.

This could be on your own website, branded to your colors!

Engagements helps answer client questions and automate some of your busywork without added data entry. Make your coaching more clear and more enticing for clients with Engagements.

Ready to get set up?

Learn how to set up your Engagement here.


If you don’t already have one, you’ll need a CoachAccountable account (it’s free for 30 days).

Announcing the Webinar Series

Due to popular request (well, that and it’s just a really good idea!) we’re going to be hosting a regular monthly webinar for users of CoachAccountable.

Introducing CoachAccountable coaching mastermind webinars!

Why’s it a good idea and why’s it popularly requested?

Webinars have traditionally been an occasion for us to show off new things we’ve added to the system, and to teach how to best use this or that for one’s practice or workflows.  We’ve hosted these webinars only very occasionally (2-3 times a year), not wanting to clog people’s inboxes with anything but notices of REALLY BIG stuff.

Certainly, however, things move fast enough and the system is rich enough (full of handy features, old and new, that are easily missed) that we could present on a useful topic at a much more regular clip.

But perhaps even better than that is how, when we’ve done them, webinars invariably turn into a forum of coaches asking insightful questions and sharing best practices based on experiences.  This sort of user community of peers helping peers is where we see the real magic, with attendees leaving grateful that they showed up and excited to up their game by using more of what CA provides.

It’s like a mastermind community that meets once a month to share ideas and everyone’s a better coach for it.

Here’s the structure

A webinar every month.  We’ll lead with a topic of our choosing, announced in advance.  Hopefully something of interest to you specifically, and certainly something that will get the conversation rolling.  The “scripted” portion will last 10-20 minutes, and the rest of the time is open for general conversations, questions, sharing, and learning.

If history is any indication, this Q&A portion is the lively part of the show.  Come with your own questions, or just sit back and learn from others.

Webinars are scheduled for an hour, though we’re happy to go over if the conversation remains lively and folks want to stick around (they always go over, and of course everyone’s welcome to sign off whenever they’ve gotten their fill).

I’m interested!  OR  I’m NOT interested!

Remember what I said about not wanting to clog anyone’s inbox?  With more routine webinars, each entailing a few emails (announcement of one upcoming/notification that the webinar is now open/hey thanks for coming, here’s the recording), we’d run the risk of annoying people if we sent to all active coaches every time, so we’re not going to.

Instead, everyone has the option to get (or not get) those notices as they see fit: either by email, an in-app alert, both, or neither.  To set your preference, simply go to My Account >> Message Preferences.

By default Webinar announcements are set to come to you as an app alert, and notifications of a now-starting webinar are turned off.  So if you want to opt in to getting either or both of those via email, head over to My Account >> Message Preferences.

Can I See Past Recordings?

Yep!  Within your own account, from the top right user menu go to Webinars.  There you’ll see not only a notice of when the next one is coming up, but also the collection of past webinars, ready for viewing and complete with show notes so that you can surf parts of interest.

Right there for your reference at any time.


We’re excited to hang out and share knowledge with the CoachAccountable community more often, and look forward to building this as an early-stage de facto users group.  We hope you’ll join us and have it breathe new life and inspiration into your coaching practice!