Rules for Accountability Partners

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-by Matt Leedham

In our goal setting workshops, we stress the importance of having accountability partners or groups. Having someone hold you accountable is a great best practice that many successful people use. But not everyone knows what it means to be an accountability partner – it’s not a skill they teach you in school.

Has someone asked you to be an accountability partner? Looking for tips to give your challenge buddy to be more effective? Keep the following in mind:

Ask a TON of questions. Goals do not exist in a vacuum. Goals are (or at least should be) connected to something deeper. If properly designed, goals should be aligned with both the achiever’s core values and personal vision. So, dig deep. Understand the “why behind” the goal. It will help you keep the real reason in the forefront. For example, losing weight is not just about shedding pounds – it’s usually about health, confidence, love, family, etc.

Ask permission. What type of coach is needed? Do we need the drill sergeant or the therapist? Or do we just need a friendly voice in our corner? The accountability coach should ask permission up front to have the uncomfortable conversation if necessary, and to confront situations that need to be addressed. Having this permission alleviates miscommunication and increases the effectiveness of the relationship.

Set up check-ins. We’re all busy. The worst thing that can happen to accountability partners is infrequent communication. Set up a time to meet regularly (e.g. every week or every other week) to check in on how the achiever is progressing. Set alerts to text or email the achiever with quotes of wisdom and positivity. This is a great indirect way to push them along.

Be generous. Offer up all of your resources and networks. An accountability partner needs to be resourceful and generous. You have agreed to be responsible for the achiever’s success or failure, so pull out all of the stops and help them get it done. Between the two of you, you likely have what it takes to make the goal a reality.

Celebrate the wins. This is the fun part! Celebrating the wins (even the smallest victories) helps create momentum and confidence. And confident momentum will propel anyone forward to keep achieving. Be a part of the celebration and keep cheering your partner on!

Being recruited as an accountability partner is a great honor. Accept it humbly. You are now co-responsible for someone’s personal success, achievement, and happiness. You are a critical piece in helping us build a community of achievers!

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