As a business coach, life coach, executive coach or mentor, creating an expectation of accountability is crucial to ensuring that your client can get past their stops and can achieve success in your coaching program and in life.
During any coaching or mentoring session, you will help guide your client through a process that ultimately uncovers meaningful action items that your client will commit to in order to achieve the next level of success.
From a coaching system perspective, coaches tend to do different things with these newly discovered commitments. Some coaches will ask their client to write them down and be prepared to update progress on the next call. Others will write these commitments in their own coaching notebook. The most organized will keep some electronic record of these tasks, often in an excel file or perhaps using a simple e-mail message.
Generic project management tools like basecamp.com, and coaching and mentoring specific coaching software like CoachSimple.net help coaches create an on-line action plan where both coach and client can log in and update status on tasks throughout the week. They give clients the ability to review and update progress an an ongoing basis and even enter notes and start an electronic dialogue with their coach. The best systems will also send automated reminders to your client so you don't have to think about it between coaching sessions.
The benefits of using an on-line action planning tool include the following:
- Paper gets lost - Why store critical information on paper when a spilled cup of coffee, a lost notebook or an accidental trash dump results in losing everything?
- Excel can't be easily accessed everywhere by everyone - It is a very flexible program, but try sharing the file with your client, both editing or adding notes at the same time, or keeping track of multiple versions being e-mailed back and fourth. For this, working in a "live document" online is the only way to go.
- E-mails are out of sight, out of mind - When sending an e-mail to your client with the call notes, that is the last time they will be reminded of what they agreed to. However, when using a cloud based action plan system, they will be reminded again in a few days or before the deadline automatically.
- On-going dialogue is impossible - You know how easy it is to have a facebook style dialog about a shared photo? What about an equally easy to use but private discussion about progress made on your client's tasks and goals? This basic functionality is built into any good project or coaching software package but is nearly impossible in all other forms of traditional tools
- There's only one cloud - Can you quickly pull up your last week's notes on your phone or iPad from a Starbucks or in your car? If you use a cloud based solution, that is not a problem. Try that with your paper notes you accidentally left on the kitchen table or at the office.
So. Why not consider using an on-line coaching software tool like CoachSimple.net to create a simple, 2-way electronic dialogue with your clients, empowering them to stay accountable to their goals and action plans?
Tell us! What systems do you use? What are the challenges and benefits of each? We would love to know what works (and doesn't work) for you!