Teach what you know. For many, this approach creates a solid foundation for educating others. In fact, this methodology is widely accepted and used by business coaches to help educate and guide their clients.
But is building an entire coaching strategy on experience alone—the fundamentals of what made the coach successful—enough?
For The Covenant Group, coaching entrepreneurs and executives using experience is only one part of the value proposition. With an emphasis on helping its clients attain and sustain peak performance as they define it, the organization first recognizes the unique strengths and capabilities of individuals and businesses it works with. It then combines research and evidence-based practice with strategy and creative execution to round out its proven approach for success.
“A lot of people put themselves out there as coaches,” says Keita Demming, Ph.D., head of development and innovation for The Covenant Group, “but they don't have the curriculum or the rigorous, measured approach that we have.”
Since 1995, The Covenant Group has trained thousands of entrepreneurs and teams in some of the world’s largest institutions. And the organization’s client results speak for themselves.
For example, one client who began training filed his taxes a year later and found that he’d doubled his revenue because of what he’d learned and put into practice. Another who worked with the program over five years grew his business 10X and increased the size of his team from just himself and an assistant to eight full-time employees.
We have a track record of success and holding people accountable,” says Demming, “and that is why people want to work with us.”
The Covenant Group’s online learning platform—which incorporates multimedia and exercise-based learning—along with its one-on-one coaching, targets entrepreneurs who’ve hit a performance plateau and want to rise to another level. These individuals and organizations want to take what they’ve been doing and find ways to innovate and enhance performance.
Professionals can subscribe to the various coaching service plans offered by the organization on a monthly or yearly basis and as an individual, team, or organization.
The early days of digital transformation
Demming himself has been with The Covenant Group for the last four years. He not only works directly with clients, but he also spearheaded and continues to manage the product development of the organization’s online learning platform.
Demming’s post-secondary education, including his undergraduate, master’s degree, and doctorate, introduced him to a passion for organizational change, business innovation, and transformational learning.
In 2011, Demming was working as a project catalyst for a ‘think tank’ at the University of Waterloo. And it was during that time when he met The Covenant Group’s Founder and CEO, Norm Trainor.
As Demming explains, Trainor recognized his skills and thought he’d be the perfect candidate to bring together the software for a new online platform the organization was looking to develop.
“Basically, my background made me uniquely qualified to build this platform,” says Demming. “So, I got a stake in the business.”
While The Covenant Group was already bringing value to its clients with online learning, the platform it was using at the time was built in 2005 and was running on Internet Explorer.
This was a problem,” Demming says. “The content was amazing, but the user-experience was not. I had to try to figure out how to deliver that content in today's world,” he says.
Adding billing automation to the technology stack
The task was not for the faint of heart. Even though The Covenant Group had an abundance of high-quality coaching material, it wanted to redesign a new platform that would enhance the user experience, while offering its multi-faceted coaching approach.
“I built a new version of the platform in about one to two years and we relaunched,” Demming recalls. “In that process, I found Fusebill and we figured that it would be integral to building our software stack.”
Prior to using Fusebill’s automated subscription management platform, The Covenant Group’s billing process involved sending faxes to its clients for credit card information and then sending emails encouraging them to fax back. Clients would eventually fax back their payment information and payment could be processed.
“It was a completely inefficient system,” says Demming.
In fact, the organization’s billing and payments collection system was so inefficient it was common to have thousands of dollars in revenue outstanding that the team would have to chase down. And because it used QuickBooks for issuing invoices and Moneris for processing credit cards, the team would have to check multiple areas to see if a payment had been made to an account.
This meant the organization’s collections process took as much as six months—a lag that negatively impacted cash flow.
“If someone’s credit card bounced,” he says, “we didn’t even know for about ten days. Then we would have to verify what happened. We were never really looking at real-time data.”
Using automation to enhance operational efficiencies
Since implementing Fusebill, The Covenant Group has been able to automate its entire billing process and invoice all clients through the one platform—no faxes required. And the organization has dramatically reduced its lengthy 6-month payment collection process down to as little as a day, says Demming.
In fact, the team rarely needs to get involved with collections anymore. Fusebill’s dunning management system automatically retries credit cards after failed payments, sends out notices on credit cards that are about to expire, and automatically emails clients that have outstanding invoices. Those automated emails are sent on two separate occasions before anybody at The Covenant Group is even aware of a missed payment.
We often don’t even know about it,” Demming says. “If a credit card is updated after one of the two emails, the system automatically makes that adjustment without our community manager’s involvement.”
And when The Covenant Group team does need to get involved, it’s very easy for them to review the report in Fusebill that shows exactly which and how many clients are overdue on their payments, he says.
Transforming client experience and payment management with self-service portal functionality
Additionally, the team no longer needs to call clients for credit card information—a process that not all clients had been comfortable with. With its new self-service portal capabilities, clients can now log in, register, and enter or update their own information whenever it suits them.
“They put in their registration details themselves,” says Demming. “As soon as they're done, they put in their credit card information. Then, they can begin the coaching experience. They can watch the videos, they can do the exercises.”
If The Covenant Group team wants to send a client a billing- or payment-related message, he adds, it’s able to do it directly through the Fusebill platform.
Clients can also use the self-service portal to prepare for tax time.
Now they don’t have to ask us for the last 12 invoices,” says Demming. “They can just download them themselves, and they’re good. From day one, it just completely transformed our client experience.”
Better financial insight for planning and projection
In the past, reconciling finances at The Covenant Group took as long as five to six hours. Now it only takes one, which Demming says has been a tremendous asset.
“Once Fusebill came on board, it freed up our community manager’s time to do work at a higher level. I think that's incredibly valuable. He’s doing fewer procedural tasks and can focus more on strategy, which is a lot more beneficial to the company.”
The Covenant Group also now uses Fusebill’s reporting functionality to track its revenue, which is essential for planning ahead.
“When we're looking at our projections, we have a more accurate understanding of our cash flow. Now we can plan better when we're considering where we want to spend our money and what kinds of things we want to invest in,” says Demming.
Advancing solutions for future success
The Covenant Group followed its own advice when it rebuilt its online coaching platform and then selected Fusebill as its recurring billing software. The organization knew it had plateaued in terms of its technology stack and it needed to innovate with solutions to improve its overall experience, both internally and with its clients.
Since The Covenant Group teamed up with Fusebill, it has enhanced its overall client experience, improved its cash flow and financial insight, and increased its operational efficiencies.
“We haven’t added to the team,” says Demming. “We’ve just added the right software.”