The CoachAccountable Blog

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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!

User Spotlight: Valkyrie Athletics

Want to play the quality game, not the quantity game, when it comes to your coaching clients? Jennie Cwikla of Valkyrie Athletics graciously offered a peek into how CoachAccountable has helped create a professional, organized experience for her clients. We’ve edited Jennie’s words below for length and clarity.


What’s Valkyrie Athletics All About?

Valkyries are from Nordic mythology: angels that come down, pick up broken or fallen soldiers, and take them to Valhalla, to heaven. Valkyrie for me is myself and my coaches. We are the angels that pick up fallen athletes who have been through broken programs. We put them back together. We mend them and send them off to their Valhalla to be able to compete and to live without feeling like they’re missing massive pieces in their programs. We arm them with the tools and the information they need in order to be able to do it on their own.

[Valkyrie Athletics is] based off my own experience as an athlete and what I felt was massively lacking in the industry. 

When extreme athletes are trying to lose weight, you’ve got one end of the spectrum or the other: [dietitians or personal trainers,] neither of which really specialize in sports performance. I was in that mix of people trying to perform at my optimum capacity. 

Jennie’s Story
As an athlete, I had a lot of obstacles trying to find my sweet spot with my body, my nutrition, and my training.

I’ve been an athlete my entire life. I played soccer, softball, gymnastics. I surfed every day after high school, played water polo, was on the swim team. I was always interested in how to be stronger, how to be faster, how to be the best athlete that I could be.

I was competing in fitness – figure competitions, strongman competitions, and Arizona’s Strongest Woman (I won!). I worked my way all the way up to [the] World’s Strongest Woman [competition] in Scotland in 2013 and took fifth out of 15 countries in the world.

I had a bad experience making weight for [the World’s Strongest Woman] competition. I had used two different coaches along the way, hoping to get a different result with making weight. And every time I was like, “This shouldn’t be this difficult.”

When I came back (December 2013), I [started] Valkyrie Athletics to specialize in working with high-performance athletes who needed to optimize their body composition without sacrificing strength and performance. Since then, I’ve worked with NFL Combine training camps, Olympic athletes, aerial artists that traveled with Motley Crue. I’ve worked with top Crossfit Games teams, triathletes, ultramarathon runners – you name it, as long as it’s high-performance. 

And last year, I was actually inducted into the official Fitness Hall of Fame for contributions I’ve made to my community.

Life Before CoachAccountable

I had paper charts, folders that I stapled legal paper to, and I was writing a ledger. I would document my conversations, when I left a message, when someone didn’t turn their check-in form in, when somebody had a question and what information I gave them. I would document any changes made to their meal plans and why. 

Life With CoachAccountable

When I started Valkyrie, I was in search of a system that could be my EMR: electronic medical record. I use [CoachAccountable] like an EMR.

Daily Usage
Metrics: Normally, I start with uploading weights. I ask the clients to send me photos of their scale. I know they have access to enter their weight into their metric area, but I want to see the scale picture. I write any notes associated with that weigh-in: whether they were on their cycle, didn’t sleep well the night before, or adjustments to their meal plan.

I have my clients rate themselves on how well they follow their meal plan from a one to ten. Then, [if] people start asking why is it so difficult for them to see progress, I take all of their scores from their check-in form and create a new metric. I show them: “See all of these scores under eight? That’s why you’re not getting results.”

Messaging & Commenting: When they’ve filled one out, I get an email saying that they’ve completed their check-in [Worksheet], and I can review those answers. Then I respond to their check-in letting them know how I feel they’re doing. I answer any questions they have or make adjustments. 

I created a support inbox where all my messages from CoachAccountable go to, so I don’t use my personal email. My coaches have access so they can help respond, or my virtual assistant tech team can. [Clients] don’t have to wait more than 12 hours to get a response on their questions, because CoachAccountable forwards that message into an inbox- it’s easy for anybody on my team to respond.

Session Notes: I just found [CoachAccountable] Session Notes three weeks ago. Now I’ve cut out EverNote, and it’s so much easier to find my previous session notes. I have an itinerary on these calls, and I’ve created a [Session Note] template for that call. 

As soon as we go on our call, I open the session notes and start taking minutes of things I want them to start doing. As soon as a call ends, I click complete, write a happy little note, and that gets posted into their stream immediately. I love that! Now my clients get a copy of that note; they weren’t getting a copy before. Now, they really have no excuse for if they didn’t do their assignments.

Library: I create different files in their files area: meal plans, competition protocols, things like that. 

Courses: I use Courses to schedule their check-in form to be completed on their specific day. I schedule those reminders out for the entire length of their contract: 3-, 6-, or 12-month courses. Their worksheet (that they can just click on to fill out) automatically comes into their inbox.


Client Feedback

People are always really impressed. We charge a premium for our services- how you present yourself and your services is a big part in people buying in. So first things first, I believe that [clients] enjoy [CoachAccountable] because it’s professional. They know that they’re in good hands because of how organized everything is; they love the accountability.

Giving them assignments to do, making them check in, having different projects, showing them metrics. All of those things are different links that hold them accountable. 

We’re all about creating an amazing experience. That’s how we get so many referrals and why we don’t waste any money on advertising, Facebook, Instagram – because our clients do it for us. The results speak for themselves. CoachAccountable allows me not to have to play the quantity game; I can play the quality game. And that’s what I’ve always been about: quality. Those are the expectations that I have on my coaches, and I would never give a service to somebody else that I would not want myself.

Bottom Line

Every year I’m growing, automating, systematizing things. And it’s it’s been fun. When you look back at where things were when you started, it’s like, “There’s no way we’d be able to operate like that now.” 

The biggest thing that our clients need is accountability. [CoachAccountable] has so many different ways to hold them accountable. 

It’s been very powerful to be able to use [CoachAccountable] in so many different ways. It’s flexible, easy to switch directions if you need to. I’ve used other things that do bits and pieces of what CoachAccountable does, but not everything in one place.


Are you like Jenny and ready to get started with Metrics, Session Notes, Courses, and more? Sign up for 30 days free. 

Create More Community With Group Profile Descriptions

CoachAccountable Groups empower you to create a community of your coachees – or, Groups can be secret so that only you, the coach, knows who’s linked together. You can use Groups to send assignments or files to multiple participants at once, keep engagement going even when you’re not there, track progress, and even put Groups through your Courses.

Groups have various privacy settings, including what clients are/aren’t allowed to participate in, and you can now enable personal profiles in Group directories.

Let’s set them up!

For each Group a client (or coach) is in, s/he will have the ability to create a distinct profile (if, of course, you’ve allowed it). That enables clients to tailor their self-descriptions to fit the situation; maybe they’re in one group with you for addiction coaching, where the profile might be more revealing, and one group for general community, where the description might show more fun-loving personality.

How to Set Up Group Coaching Profiles

Inside a given Group, go to Settings. In the Participation tab, select “Enable clients to view and participate in this group.” Without being able to see the Group, clients won’t be able to see each other’s profiles.

Next, click on the Directory tab, then select either “Offer an Opt-in Directory for this Group” or “Offer an All-Inclusive Directory for this Group”. Without a directory, profiles wouldn’t make much sense.

Then, check the box for “Let members set a profile to show in the directory.” When you click Update, an extra tab on the left will appear: My Group Profile.

Here you’ve got the standard CA WYSIWYG editor, where you can add photos, videos, links, and more.

This is a VERY serious group.

Inside the Group, you and the clients can click on the Directory tab. Anyone who has a profile set will have a “view more…” link over on the right. That’ll display the person’s profile. Also, you’ve got “view all ‘more'” at the top of the directory, which will expand all the profiles at once.

Also, “View more” becomes “View less” when a profile’s expanded.

That’s all it takes! Here’s to your Group members learning more about each other and having deeper interactions within the coaching management platform.


Ready to upgrade the group coaching experience by dropping that Facebook group? Sign up for your free 30-day trial of CoachAccountable.

From 0 to Selling Coaching From Your Website in Under 3 Minutes

Here at CoachAccountable, we’re often asked how much time it takes to set up a coaching management system with us. It’s sort of like asking “How long will it take to get new carpet?” Lots of factors affect that one – how many rooms are you carpeting? Have you already chosen the color and style, and is it a specialty brand? Are you doing it yourself or hiring a professional installer? Does other carpet need to be removed first? Is your subfloor in good shape? Do you live in the middle of nowhere? You get the idea.

Our answer to “How long does CA setup take?” is inevitably a version of “Well, it depends. What do your clients need and what do you want the system to do?”

While that’s certainly accurate, we decided to give it a shot for fun and see how fast we could get a brand new account up and running to sell coaching online.

We used just four parts of CoachAccountable (Appointment Configuration, Calendar Sync, Payments, and Offerings) and took just 2:14 to get it completely up and running.

With just a couple minutes, you too can sell your coaching online. Watch this video to see how!


Transcript below.

Hiya! I’m John. I’m the dude who made this whole thing. Today I want to show you something kind of cool and that is how fast you can get up and running with CoachAccountable to start actually selling your coaching services from your very own website.

For this demonstration, I’m going to dust off my own website from way back in the day, when I used to do consulting. I offered coaching and part of that was offering a 20 dollar introductory coaching call. There’s a PayPal button as you can see right here that allows people to pay. But it didn’t do anything with scheduling or really much of anything else. So we’re going to replace that with a much better setup, done the CoachAccountable way.

We’re going to start here in CoachAccountable with a brand new account and let’s see how fast we can do it.

Our first stop in doing this setup is visiting the Appointments Configuration. Here we’ve got three tasks. First, we’re going to create a new appointment type, which basically defines what exactly people are booking themselves for. A name, the duration 30 minutes, we’ll even set some reminders for both parties to make sure everyone comes well-prepared.

That should be good. OK. Next up, let’s set our availability, which is basically our way of saying, “When are we taking these calls?” For example, let’s do Monday mornings and maybe afternoons, have a nice little lunch break, and then we could also do, say, Wednesdays, maybe just the afternoon, one to four.

Final step. Let’s sync up with our calendar. We have Google Calendar and we’re already logged in. This is super quick. This allows any appointments that get scheduled via CoachAccountable to also appear in our calendar as well as read from the calendar to know when we’re busy. This avoids double booking. Okay, all set.

Next up, we’re going to go set ourselves up to be able to accept payments online. We’re going to use Stripe, but you can use Square as well. If you’re already logged in and have a stripe account this goes really fast.

You can see here that I’m already logged in so it’s just a matter of clicking, “Yep, let’s connect these things.” And done! OK. We’re all set now to have CoachAccountable process payments on our behalf. By the way, CoachAccountable doesn’t take any fees.

Next up let’s create the actual Offering. So, we give it a name. We’re going to tell CoachAccountable what information should be collected for people who sign up for this. I think cell phone is a good one; name and e-mail are always there. We’re going to say that an appointment is part of this offering, and here’s our introductory call appointment type we created earlier.

Give it a price, 20 bucks, and then we could take as much or as little time as we want to customize things like the welcome message and the confirmation e-mail. This is a great opportunity to sort of give a little bit of personality and style – let people sort of get excited about what they’re getting themselves into. All right. This is all set.

Let’s get the embed code. I’m working in WordPress so I’m going to do an iframe, grab that little snippet. This is a little task for your webmaster or if you’re savvy you can do a quick cut and paste job basically put this snippet of HTML right in place (for WordPress it’s a little weird with iframes; we’re going to give it an alternate syntax and maybe a little bit styling to make it look pretty). And then once we hit the update button here, we are done.

Two minutes 14 seconds.

Let’s go see our work over here – hit refresh, and there we have it. Our sign-up widget right in place. Three simple steps. Pick a date and time based on your rules and when you’re free. Enter in some basic info and your clients can pay right online. Appointments made this way appear right in your calendar and the money paid goes right into your merchant account. Nice action!

Not bad for just over 2 minutes worth of work, right? But here’s the cool thing. As nice as it is to have a scheduling system that works right from your own website and integrates with your calendar and even takes payments for ya… The real magic comes in the fact that you can let your new signups actually access their client portal with you right at the get-go. When you do this, you can actually have certain things set up automatically and waiting for them that are going to get them sort of started before they even talk to you.

Maybe a little action plan that allows them to, you know, make progress and getting set up on the kind of work you’re going to do; maybe share some videos or articles, get them excited for your brilliance. Maybe a little worksheet that lets them noodle on things and share in advance as a proper onboarding form.

Play around with these elements and you’ll find that you can actually give people a really nice experience that lets them know they’re going to get so much more than just getting a couple conversations with you. They’re going to have a system of accountability and support that will make it real and results-based ensuring that they’re going to get their money’s worth out of working with you.


Do you have just a few minutes to find and set up the right coaching software? Give it a shot and sign up for your free trial today.

And, if you’d like to set up even more than the basics, check out our Essentials guide over on the left here or use the Getting Started guide inside CoachAccountable!

For Three Hours Each Week, Morgan’s the Boss

Working at CoachAccountable is pretty great. We are truly a high-performing team (we both separately get a chuckle when people are surprised there are just two of us), and our mutual coaching background allows us to coach each other, deal with the rare breakdown in a matter of minutes, and make sure we’re both constantly present to our big goal (elevating the coaching industry).

Know what else is cool? We get to do whatever we want. Meaning we get to flip the script on software companies, startups, working remotely, and pretty much whatever else we want. We get to do things like not having a bug log (no need, no accumulation), avoiding a feature request list (we’re in touch daily with the din of what people are asking for), and creating “Morgan’s the Boss” (MtB).

What’s Morgan’s the Boss, you ask?  That’s our weekly ritual, Thursday mornings for a block of 3 hours, when we invert the power structure of CoachAccountable.  Morgan gets to tell John what he should do, rather than the other way around.  It’s Morgan’s chance to call the shots and prioritize what she sees to prioritize, and John’s at her disposal to execute on those ideas.

Here’s how MtB time occurs for each of us.

CoachAccountable - Morgan MeredithMorgan’s Experience

At the last software company I worked at, here’s how suggestions from the front lines were handled.

Support team: Hey developers, every day we have to do X thing about a hundred times, and we’re often stuck waiting for you to help us out. It’d make all our lives easier if we could….

Developers: Yeah yeah, that would be nice someday. But we’re really busy fixing stuff that we shouldn’t have released because it was broken, so why don’t you write that suggestion on a scrap of paper and burn it as a sacrifice to the gods of programming in hopes it’ll someday happen?

Support team: …

How I felt at work, pre-CoachAccountable

And at CoachAccountable, during Morgan’s the Boss I get to actually ask for things that make my and John’s jobs easier. And they get done.

I can request everything from a “Loved On” button to mark when/how I’ve loved on customers (consistent with my title as Director of Customer Love and Handholding), to blog posts that have been lingering, to updated images on the signup page, to a quick way to delete multiple old Worksheets.

John makes a guess as to how long the task will take him, then races to beat the clock and show off his work. He often surprises me with a bonus item, something like, “While I was building thing X, I realized thing Y would also be great, so I built it!” I enjoy seeing the challenge take shape, too; often I’ll suggest something, John will take it to a different level, and we’ll co-create the idea of the final result. That process animates both of us as we get to step out of our expected results for the week.

The net result of Morgan’s the Boss is that I feel empowered to make my job more efficient, John’s enthusiastic about having less busywork to do, and CoachAccountable as a whole is better for it.

John’s Experience

For me, Morgan’s the Boss time is a special kind of treat for several reasons.

First, I’ve been by-and-large calling ALL the shots for CoachAccountable for quite some time now, 6 years and counting.  Yes, I love the control and being able to play this most worthy game wherein I’m fully responsible for the outcome, but boy is it nice (and a novel change of pace!) to relax the ol’ executive function for even just a little while and settle in more simply executing based on another’s leadership.  To do so is to experience one of the luxuries of being someone else’s employee, one that I, as a long term entrepreneur, had largely forgot.

Second, MtB is a chance for me to truly play, even if for just a little while, the idealized role of the utopian egalitarian leader: I get to put my money where my mouth is in saying I value the input and perspective of others and believe in their capacity to meaningfully contribute direction.  I hope to always remain open to the insights that are not necessarily mine, both from CoachAccountable customers and team members, insomuch as I genuinely prioritize and act on them.  I’m fond of the phrase “CoachAccountable is a benevolent dictatorship”, and this exercise fits that to a T.

Third, some really good stuff gets created when we go according to Morgan’s priorities rather than mine.  Routinely dealing with different things as she does, she naturally has different insights into what would help the cause.  These insights concern not only serving our users better but also making her job easier, which feeds right back into serving our users better.  Time spent making her more effective is time well spent indeed.

Finally there’s a certain energy to carrying out Morgan’s tasks in a rapid, time-bound fashion.  We hop on a Zoom call, she tells me what she wants me to do, I say something to the effect of “Okay boss, I’m on it… see you when I’m done!” and I hop off and get cracking.  It’s a game to see how quickly I can knock out the task, and there’s a keen audience of one that I’m performing for (which is way more fun than toiling in isolation).  Focus and flow come easily, and being able to proudly show off something new and done is so very rewarding.  We hop back on the Zoom call for show-and-tell, and move on to the next thing.

And that’s how it goes for the 3 hours.  It’s not exactly instant gratification, but it’s darn close and I love it.


And there you have it.  Here are some of the cool things that have come out of MtB sessions that you might have come across:

  • Having a Worksheet as part of an Offering sign up process
  • Rapid deletion of duplicated items in Courses and similar Worksheet assignments
  • A tidier Terms of Awesome
  • This speed run video of setting up an Offering from a new account in under 3 minutes.
  • The former Affiliate program became the more aptly named Referral Program
  • A Support Services page created using Offerings, where you can book a time for help
  • The coaching hours log report (ICF credentialing, anyone?)

We continue to have fun rewriting the script and inventing new structures for how our company is “supposed to be run”, and we’ll continue to improve CoachAccountable in the myriad ways that our joint perspectives allow us to!

Up Your Statistics Game With Form-Based Computed Values

Sue of The Wellness Community, a CoachAccountable Team Edition coach, dropped us a line with a complex document she uses for all her clients. It’s a holistic Wellness Assessment that’s intended to give her members an idea of their current overall wellness, as well as help her match new clients with the right coach.

Sue wonders:

Is there a way for CA to compute and report a wellness score from the answers submitted in a wellness assessment? I have created an assessment with seven sections, each measuring a different area of wellness. Each answer has a score and contributes to the total for a specific area with each area contributing to the total wellness score, being a maximum of 100.

Can I also create a metric that combines all these metrics into one to give a snap shot of their overall wellness in graph form?

We were happy to reply that YES, CoachAccountable does that. It’s called a Computed Value.

Form-based Worksheets give you the ability to create professional coaching Worksheets for your clients. Many coaches find they can stop using tools like Google Docs plus Google Forms and instead assign a neat, packaged CoachAccountable Worksheet, placed where clients can easily find, complete, and review it. You can take data from your form-based Worksheets and pipe them into Metrics, allowing clients to enter data only once into the Worksheet while the Metric auto-populates both data and comments if you like.

Now, form-based Worksheets can do even more. The newest type of field, computed value, allows you to input formulas that include other form fields on your Worksheet. That means you can automatically calculate averages, sums, and so on, and of course pipe these into Metrics as well.

Let’s take a look at one in action.

From the Worksheet in this blog post, I’d like to know how a given client feels on average about the topic. I’ve already got two questions that address that opinion, so I will take the average of these to get the person’s general feeling.

Step 1 is to create the form fields you’ll use in the computed value. Basically, the system has to know what it’s supposed to add/subtract/multiply/divide. It’s like baking: you can’t start with the step that says “mix all the ingredients into the bowl” without knowing what those ingredients are. In this case, I’ve already done the work to create those.

You may remember this totally unbiased survey from such blog posts as “Using Form-Based Worksheets”.

Next, create a computed value. The name should be something you’d use as a title in a spreadsheet column. The formula, though, is where it gets really juicy.

See the options for values to include in this formula, those clickable green links? They are all from the same Worksheet I’m working on. That’s why it’s so important to create these fields in advance. Now, just click on any of those to add it to your formula.

Since I want the average, I need to add these two fields together, then divide by two. CA knows PEMDAS (remember that from school? Please excuse my dear aunt Sally?), so using parentheses makes sure that the adding gets done before the dividing.

For this post, we also learned that in the UK they use BODMAS (Brackets, Orders, Divide, Multiply, Add, Subtract), while in Canada they say BEDMAS (Brackets, Exponents, Divide, Multiply, Add, Subtract). The more you know!

I don’t want my client to see this as a question, because I only want to use it to create a Metric for her (another reason you may not want clients to see the computed value is if you’re just keeping this number for yourself. You can always run a report on just this field by using the Data Lab’s Single Field reporting function).

Because I chose to hide this computed value, I’ll need to mouse over it to see or edit the field.

This hidden field means that the Worksheet looks exactly the same to the client as it did before.

Let’s build a Metric that pipes in the data from this computed value field.

This’ll be useful for my coaching, right?

And voila! You’ve got magically appearing Metric data from a question your client didn’t even know she answered.  By the same token, it’s often nice as well to have a computed value show right within the Worksheet.  That value will magically update itself as your client fills out the other parts of the worksheet which are part of the formula.  This can be quite nice for something like a total score that grows as your client answers the questions.  Hidden or on display, you can have it whichever way makes the most sense.

Which functions can a CoachAccountable computed value do?

Pretty much any valid mathematical expression of arithmetic will work!  This includes:

  • Parentheses
  • Exponents
  • Multiplication
  • Division
  • Addition
  • Subtraction

And if the formula as you’ve typed it is not valid for whatever reason, perhaps some parentheses don’t match up quite right or you’ve got a typo in your input names, the system will let you know right away so you can make needed corrections.


If, like Sue, you’ve got a complicated Worksheet for your clients and you’re ready to have the math automated for you (plus reminders and more), set up your free 30-day trial with CoachAccountable now.

User Spotlight: Icenhower Coaching

Do you scratch your head wondering how other coaching businesses scale beyond just one coach, and whether CoachAccountable can help you get there? Anissa Fulbright of Icenhower Coaching and Consulting graciously offered an inside peek into their rapid development. We’ve edited Anissa’s words below for length and clarity.


Brian Icenhower of Icenhower Coaching

Brian Icenhower

The Origins of Icenhower Coaching

Brian’s been coaching for 20+ years. We have this belief that people learn in their own way[s]: touch workbooks, watch videos, print the materials, listen to a podcast or an audiobook. They’re busy, [but they need] access to these materials in different ways.

[For example], we have audiobooks; [clients say] “I’ll do it while I’m on the treadmill.” We accept [those various learning styles and used them] to make training that was versatile and up-to-date.

Icenhower Resources

We have “therealestatetrainer.com, Powered by Icenhower Coaching,” which is a free resource for [real estate] agents. When subscribers come to us, they’re so tired, and they’re like, “I’ve been looking for this.” We also have the ICCOnlineLearningCenter.com for our online video courses.

By the end of the year [2018], [we’ll have] 11 books, all turned into a training series with video modules, workbooks, and online courses.

And that’s what we’ve set out to do. We didn’t mean to be a publishing company!

Life Before CoachAccountable

[At the very beginning, Brian] was spending much more like three hours a week with [each] client then. Now it’s closer to 30 minutes, and we’re able to get more clients [and] spend less time while giving them more value. 

With CoachAccountable in place, our number of clients has gone up over five times the number we had just last year, and we have been able to add more coaches to the team, too. We have had incredible growth that we wouldn’t have been able to do without CoachAccountable, especially onboarding [clients] and getting them into a system where they can feel the value. They don’t feel like they’re getting just a 30-minute phone call; they feel like they’re getting a lot more.

Anissa Fulbright, Icenhower Coaching

Anissa Fulbright, Icenhower Coaching

Icenhower Coaching + CoachAccountable

We’re branching out, but the bread and butter of our business is [still] one-on-one coaching. It’s the most effective way for people to grow; we’re seeing a 39 percent increase in our agents’ GCI (gross commission income) after one year of coaching.

These people are busy and they’ve been in the business for a while. They just need structure and a coach that can help them hire someone effective – not their sister who needs part time work.

We take them out of the “traditional age”; they don’t have business training, so we’re taking them to that level.

Communication

Poignant reminders – e-mails, texts –  [are] important because they are texters.

They don’t want more e-mails, so I can customize [the customer experience] with texts. We [as coaches] don’t work out of email anymore, because stuff is going to get lost.

A Client’s Full Picture

My favorite part about CoachAccountable is that it’s a centralized place for us to work with clients. On a daily basis, I can check progress and history. It’s a customized experience.

[Session] Notes have been really helpful. We actually started recording our calls. We just drop the [recorded] file right into the Stream when we’re done, so [both coaches and clients] can always reference [it]. It’s helpful for the coach to be able to make those Notes quickly right on the call. The function to add Notes that are either private or [visible] is really helpful.

[Using] the Stream, the files, and the Session Notes, you can see the trajectory of where the [client is] headed. [In the Stream,] you can also look back to see what they’ve been working on and the notes from each call.

The pre-check-in [Worksheet] is helpful for Brian and [the other] coaches, because it gets people in the right mind-state. They write down anything they were working on or struggling with this week, and they know exactly what they’re going to address on the call.  So, [during a coaching call], they’ll do “old business”, then jump right into the “new business”.

Brian Icenhower signing booksScaling a Coaching Business

CoachAccountable has allowed us to kind of duplicate [Brian]; we are able to scale because we can send actions and reminders and tasks to do between calls week to week instead of him having to spend more time on the phone [creating these systems].

Now that we’ve built out the Library, we can get 10 more coaches and they can all have at least 10 clients, then slowly work Brian out of the process. He’ll [instead] go into creating training materials. It’s really exciting to have that big-picture outlook. He’s going to be much more like, “I just get to write and build [programs].”

Brian Icenhower with coaching clients - CoachAccountableCoaching Client Feedback

We haven’t done a ton of marketing, but through CoachAccountable we’re able to impress the agents [who are our potential clients].

The feedback we get from our clients is that it’s a centralized place. They love working out of [CoachAccountable instead of] e-mail, because their email’s flooded. It’s really easy to use the [CoachAccountable] app. They often want to pull something up at a meeting, and they have that PDF right there.

When we unload the Library to them [in CoachAccountable], they’re stunned by the amount of [answers] they’ve been searching for. We have job descriptions and everything they need to hire, train, and grow a team. [We have the resources to] get their business plan on track and start turning their business into a machine.

Some of our agents are the top agents across the country. They’re selling 400 to 1000 homes a year and [because of our coaching], they’re spending their marketing dollars in ways that previously real estate agents weren’t doing.


Thank you to Brian Icenhower and to Anissa for sharing with us! If you’re like Icenhower Coaching and looking to scale your coaching business, try out CoachAccountable free for 30 days. If you’re building or managing a team of coaches, a Team Edition account can give you the freedom to be a real leader and help you to only do the boring work once.

Happy Birthday CA! Let’s Recap Year Six.

5 years of doing it has me quite proficient at Photoshopping on another candle.

What a year it has been!

Version 3 launched.  That by itself is enough to mark CoachAccountable’s 6th year a powerful one.  I keep hearing of other platforms whose efforts to upgrade or release a new version end up being largely, ahem, a bug-ridden shit show.  No such problem here.

And what a relief to have that done.  Much of the time I was working on V3 my wife and I had a new baby around.  Suffice it to say that building a major revision to a system as complex as CoachAccountable when you have a new baby is challenging.

But that’s all done!  And young James, our second, is now 19 months old: largely done with teething and sleeping beautifully through the night.

With that lovely foundation of well restedness restored, plenty of other good things have happened in CoachAccountable land during this 6th year.

Since Version 3’s launch a lot of the progress on the platform has centered around a theme of letting you guys run the more nuts-and-bolts aspects of your business more smoothly, and by “business” I mean selling your services and getting paid.

We added support for automatic subscription billing.  We made it so that you could accept payments via Square.  Most importantly, we launched Offerings and Offering Bundles which allow you to sell your coaching services right from your own website.

On the more human side of things, the talented and charismatic Morgan joined as CoachAccountable’s Director of Customer Love and Hand Holding.  She and I represented at the Association of Coach Training Organizations’ annual conference whereat I gave a talk on using technology in coaching.

Beyond that sort of outreach, we made some lovely strides in making CoachAccountable itself more approachable for you, your colleagues, and your clients.  A beautifully animated 2 minute video explains the gist of CoachAccountable like never before, we finally made it super clear how everyone can install CA as an app on their smartphone through a groovy simple trick, and we got all our privacy-respecting bits in order for full compliance with the GDPR (spoiler alert: we were never doing anything nasty with anyone’s data to begin with, we just wrote up the paperwork to make it official :).

And we had the usual bevvy of technical improvements to make CA just plain run better for everyone: direct sync with Google calendars, bulk client uploads, a new thing called “Calculated Form Inputs” (which we haven’t even had time to write up yet!), and a steady stream of other enhancements and polish that make their way into CA most every week.

In summary, with all that covert work on Version 3 done and launched, this year has been a delightful and swift march towards a more perfect coaching platform.

It has been (and continues to be!) our joy to grow CoachAccountable into all the lovely things it can be in service of you guys as coaches.  We hope you love these improvements and that they’re serving you well: empowering you to do your best, most difference-making coaching.

AND I’m happy to say here and now that we STILL have plenty up our sleeves.  As always, can’t wait to show you when it’s ready.

Thank you to everyone who’s been along with us for so long (and to those of you who have just joined!).  Together we’re forwarding a most worthy industry, making it more effective and more approachable.

Here’s to the game!
John & Morgan