What are the best note-taking apps and products for coaches? The best note-taking apps and products for coaches I would recommend today are a process of more than 3 decades of trial and error. My note-taking habits as a coach and trainer of coaches have had several overhauls over the years. It wasn’t just about finding a system that works most effectively but also about how and where I would like to coach. Having trained over 2.5K coaches, therapists, and others who do one-on-one sessions, I have definitely been able to observe what works.
I also know what really doesn’t work. What really doesn’t work because it messes with the experience of your client is doing your note-taking typing on a laptop. It may be easy for you, but the clickity-clack of the keyboard is just over the top, and it breaks any real sense of connection. It reminds people of contexts that are not personal or pleasurable. It reminds us of administrators, not coaches.
One of the most important things to me is that my coaching office is mobile, which means that my notes must be easily accessible anywhere in the world. I must also be able to quickly access notes from months or even years ago.
What are the best note-taking apps and products for coaches?
Notice: I will use affiliate links inside this article, when you make a purchase, I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please know I am in full integrity recommending these products, as I use them myself. I spent a great deal of time testing and comparing different products, and all technology used was recommended by an expert. Thank you Jeff Mendelson at Lasolas Tech.
What note-taking products and apps do I use?
I take notes digitally as well as on paper. For each, I will indicate all the products and apps I use, as well as the benefits.
The amazing thing is both my digital and paper solution integrate electronically seamlessly. Meaning I can keep all my notes digitally in one place.
After a lot of testing, I found Whitelines paper, and I never looked back. This paper was a total game-changer. Not only does it give me all the right feels, but it also allows me to easily take my notes everywhere.
What makes Whitelines so special?
– It comes with an app that converts your paper into a PDF that you can store and take anywhere.
– I can upload the PDF inside my iPad note-taking app (which means I can access my digital and handwritten notes in one place.)
– The app also removes the lines.
– Premium paper – honestly, I love how this paper writes and feels (texture is huge for me.)
– Available in different sizes (I prefer A4 or US-letter size.)
– Comes in different versions: ruled, dotted, graph-ruled, blank etc.
Visit the White Lines Store
The pens I like to use were a whole process on their own to find: Pentel Energel (size 0.7)
iPad + Apple Pencil
My iPad and Apple Pencil have become an integral tools for me in both my training, coaching, and online course creation businesses. Having an iPad as a second screen alongside my laptop allows me to work with and see multiple applications at the same time. I use the iPad as a notepad and my laptop for Zoom for example. I also quickly access other apps, images and documents on the ipad, while keeping zoom visible at all times.
Here is the hardware I use:
iPad pro, I prefer the 12.9-inch screen as I like the extra space, and it completely mimics an A4 or US-letter-sized paper. For just note-taking purposes you really do not need the latest model.
As my choice is the higher-end product, what works just as well are:
– iPad or iPad Air
– 11-inch screen.
Visit the iPad store on amazon.
At this point I prefer to use the Apple pencil for most of my note-taking, the ease of which I I can edit, drag and drop words or sentences elsewhere are things I will never be able to do with a normal pen.
To make the writing experience closer to having a paper feel, I use Paperlike. I absolutely love it.
Goodnotes note-taking app
GoodNotes is an innovative note-taking app that helps you stay organized and lead a paperless life. Quickly write down your thoughts with digital notebooks, or annotate imported PDFs to keep track of all your ideas.
What makes using the iPad to take notes so special?
– It is paperless.
– You can import PDFs, which you can write on – this includes pages I wrote on the Whitelines paper described above.
– You can import images such as life wheels (which you can color in the app), and screenshots of book pages, I use stickers that mimic post-it notes and bullet lists.
– I don’t personally use this, but you can record the audio of your coaching sessions, and write notes at the same time – they will perfectly line up.
– You can organize your documents in folders and notebooks.
– Easily email or share documents.
– I can drag & drop words, texts, or sections.
– Your handwritten notes are searchable by keyword.
– It cleans up messy handwriting.
– You can easily erase.
– You can draw and easily create objects that Goodnotes will make look good for you. For example squares, arrows and circles
– Different kinds of paper, flashcards, etc.
– It has highlighters, different pens, erasers, etc.
I have also purchased a small keyboard with my iPad.
The keyboard I use: Logitech Combo Touch
Though some people may prefer the Apple native product: Apple Magic Keyboard.
I have tested both, and checked all of the reviews from longer-term users, I loved both. Which is why I went with the Logitech because it has a better price point.
I do not regard the keyboard as a total must for a coach unless you want to use it as a laptop.
What are the other benefits of an iPad?
Some of you may find justifying buying an iPad and an Apple pencil quite the investment. I did too! More on this inside the conclusion.
Overall the significant benefits are:
– My iPad can entirely replace my laptop if needed, though I need to use an alternative app for video editing. There is a learning curve here, and it does require an investment in a keyboard.
– When I am not taking notes on my iPad, it functions as a second screen next to my laptop. The possibilities are endless here, and I pretty much replaced a 27-inch desktop this way. This solution can travel with me anywhere though.
– I use my iPad as an E-reader, often with a split screen with the Goodnotes app. This allows me to take notes and read at the same time. If I want to copy entire sections of a book, I upload entire screen shots of book pages inside Goodnotes.
– I can more easily show the things I am writing, creating or working on to others.
– Being able to write notes on PDFs and images, are not just great for annotation for learning – it is absolutely golden to communicate changes more easily with graphic designers.
– I use my iPad for entertainment, like watching TV and Spotify.
– An iPad is easier to use on flights and other more confined spaces.
– The iPad is more portable.
– My Ipad controls in my home the thermostat, the lights, apple TV, and music.
If I could go back in time and use Whitelines paper much earlier than I did, I would have all my coaching notes to date completely digitalized as well. This is such a shame, as we are talking boxes full of notepads at this point.
I bought the iPad in 2021 ,and it took a long time to pull the trigger on it. I really regret not doing it much earlier, as it is my preferred method for taking notes during my coaching sessions now. In addition, I literally use it for so many things, I can see myself going totally paperless at some point. It really has the best note-taking products and apps for coaches.
What are the best note-taking apps and products for coaches?
Whitelelines paper: https://amzn.to/3YZ82Lg (which comes with the PDF scanner & line remover.)
Pentel Energel Pen (0.7): https://amzn.to/3k7Vp1R
Ipad: https://amzn.to/3YVpwIz (store with all models.)
Apple Pencil: https://amzn.to/3xub52s
Paperlike screen protector: https://amzn.to/3Zf3SPV
Goodnotes app: https://www.goodnotes.com/
Keyboard: Logitech or Apple.
Tried other products or apps? Let us know what you think are the best note-taking and products for coaches.