Accountability Partner – It’s Not What You Think

by | Mar 27, 2023 | Coaching Tips Series | 0 comments

When a past client reached out to me wanting an accountability partner, I knew what I needed to write about this week, because I’ve just had a great experience of it myself. You know when you know something, and then something happens and you’re like “oh, now I know!”

Don’t worry, the rest of this post will make sense (and will have a lot less “knows” in it. I used them all up in that stunning sentence up there).

Accountability partner

If the thought of having to report your progress to someone deflates your motivation balloon, welcome to the club.

Having to check in. Perform. Show that you’ve been a “good girl” and done your homework. Tick the boxes. Tell that person if you’ve succeeded or failed.

Makes me want to dive into my crochet project and forget everything else.

While the technique of having someone hold you accountable can work, it feels like a grind. When you are accountable to someone else you can so easily feel like you have even more chores to do. #NeverEndingToDoList

Your goal goes from something you were excited about to a list of things you need to report in on.

As a professional accountability partner (one of the functions of a coach) this hurts.

I never want to feel this way, and I never want you to feel that way. omg how awful would that be?

What if, as a client, you didn’t do your “homework”? Would you approach your next session with “oh shit, what am I going to say?” Maybe want to delay the session? Start to feel bad?

Not with me.

Because that’s not want a true accountability partner is.

We’re not like a teacher setting deadlines, and then marking your progress.

Let me tell you about real accountability partnership from my recent session with my own coach.

There are some new health challenges that I need to address. It’s not acute, but it’s undermining everything like those ants under my patio slowly removing the sand from under the tiles. Eventually, those tiles are going to sink, and the structural integrity of my back yard will fail. And I’ll get sick eventually if I don’t address these things now.

Having a transparent conversation with my coach, she guided me to explore what it is I want, where I am now, and what I need to get from A to B.

Part of getting from A to B is being healthy.

(it’s why I always approach coaching by looking at the whole person, not just the professional goals)

We both know it’s not in my interest to wait any longer with my health. We came up with a list of things that are important to me, and I made them my action plan.

As our next coaching call approached, I realised that I’d only done a fraction of my list.

Thinking about turning up at that call, not having done the things I said was important, I wasn’t worried about what she would say.

Instead I challenged myself. I spent money on that coaching session. I chose to take an hour of her time and mine to talk about what was important to me. And time is incredibly precious right now.

If I meant it, wouldn’t I be taking action?

That’s when the accountability kicked in. Me holding myself accountable.

Yes this is important to me. Yes I agreed with all the actions I had listed. Yes I wanted to be able to look myself in the eye and say I’d done something.

My coach was my accountability partner. Not because she was going to check up on me. But because she helped me make a plan that I believed in.

That I could go back to in my mind when I found myself off course, and reset myself. This is a truth we don’t like to admit: that we all go off course at some point.

During that first coaching session we covered all the things we needed to cover so that I would hold myself accountable. That when I drifted, I could set myself back on track.

And it wasn’t a chore.

I didn’t think “oh shit, I haven’t done my homework”.

There was nothing negative in the experience.

Instead I looked at my list and felt calm because I knew what steps I had to take.

So with ease I started on the task I knew was the most important. Then I moved on to the next, and the next.

With flow.

Knowing that I was doing something that mattered.

Knowing that I was doing something that would make my life better, make me happier.

You don’t need someone to check in with and report to like a little kid.

You need someone who will help you figure out how to hold yourself accountable.

This post is part of my special Coaching Tips Series. This series was inspired by my clients and the core themes in their challenges. When we can apply these tips, we bring a lot of ease into our lives and step into our leadership. Want to talk it through with me? Call me and let’s make a Game Plan together.

Want to be first in the know?

Sign up here to receive the latest blog posts straight to your inbox