Staying accountable to what you said you were going to do, to what’s important to you, to what you believe will make a difference in your life or your business, is critical to forward progress but it doesn’t always happen, does it? Life and other seemingly important priorities tend to get in the way.
Why does that happen? There are probably a lot of answers to that question, but the biggest one is this: we were never really committed to it in the first place. Not fully.
As a friend of mine said the other day, commitments and priorities should be as entrenched in our lives as brushing our teeth. As busy as we are and as pressed for time, we always make time to brush our teeth because it’s SO important on SO many levels. We know what will happen especially if we go out in public without handling our oral hygiene and most of us aren’t willing to face those consequences. Those consequences create the motivation that causes us to make sure we include it in our routine. That’s our big “why.”
So, let’s think back on what you committed to this year.
- Did you write it down? Did you prioritize it? Did you follow-through and complete it? If you did, hallelujah and many congratulations. You are among the rare!
- Did you complete some but not all? Congratulations to you, too. Accomplishment is always a good thing and puts among the few.
- Did you let other things get in the way and end up with nothing to show but your good intentions? I get it. It doesn’t feel good, does it? It’s a common affliction and unfortunately puts you among the many. Maybe now is the time to consider what you’ll do differently so you can answer this question more positively next time.
What’s interesting about us human beings is that we seem to toe the line, so to speak, when someone else is holding an expectation of us. I know that’s true for me and I’ve heard countless others say the same thing. In fact, it brings out a competitive edge that definitely isn’t there when I’m making commitments within myself. In a partnership, I’m much more motivated to accomplish my goal, I get excited about reporting my progress, and I’m exponentially more successful than I would be on my own.
That phenomenon, in a nutshell, is what Accountability Coaching is all about. It’s the art of holding someone accountable for doing the tasks they know they need to do. I refer to it as an art because holding someone accountable isn’t for the Lilly-Livered. It means not letting them off the hook. It means not accepting their excuses at face value…and there will be excuses.
Just as we know the “why” associated with brushing our teeth, let’s talk about how to construct a big enough “why” around the goal we want to accomplish. At the base of it, commitment comes out of clarity and clarity comes out of breaking your goal down into manageable, doable chunks.
Here are 5 easy steps all Accountability Partners can follow to achieve the success they’re looking for:
#1 ~ Clarity
For the sake of simplicity, let’s assume that there’s just one goal you’ve been wanting to achieve. Start by spending quality time with your partner describing why it’s important to you to complete this task and what’s been getting in your way of doing so. Here are some questions to guide your discussion:
- On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the importance of achieving this goal?
- How will you feel when you’ve finished?
- What are all the benefits of doing this work?
- What will you be able to do when you’ve finished that you can’t do now?
- What does this work position you to do next?
- What will happen if you don’t do this work and how will you feel?
- What specifically does completion really look like to you?
When you finish your discussion, be sure you re-state your goal in no more than 2 clear sentences.
#2 ~ Steps
This may take some brainstorming, but it’s important for both of you to explore all the aspects of what it will take to complete your goal at the level you have stipulated. List the steps and then go through them to ensure that they are in a logical sequence of events. This process will deepen the investment for both you and your partner.
#3 ~ Time
Get real about the pace you truly intend to take with executing the steps for this goal in relation to the other demands on your time. Apply dates to each of your steps and build in a little buffer to accommodate the unexpected. Set yourself up for success.
#4 ~ Frequency
This is simply an agreement between you and your partner as to how frequently you will report your progress – once a week, twice a month, monthly? Once you’ve decided, schedule those calls on your calendars and stick to it.
#5 ~ Diligence
Come to an agreement with your partner as to how you want to be coached. Whether you’re partnering with a friend or colleague, you need to agree on the tone of the call. It’s important for your coach to be in no-nonsense mode with a soupcon of compassion. The phrase velvet hammer comes to mind.
Now you’re ready to start your calls. They should take no more than 15 minutes from start to finish. Save the weather chit-chat for another time. The entire conversation will revolve around the questions below.
- What did you accomplish this week?
- What didn’t you accomplish?
- What got in your way and what will you do differently, so it doesn’t happen again?
- What will you accomplish next week?
To your success!!