Why Accountability Is Critical to Coaches and Coaching

Bill Baren of Bill Baren Coaching recently raised the issue of accountability with a group of his coaches. They responded with varying ideas, some claiming that—as adults—clients have to hold themselves accountable, while others said as coaches their job is to find ways to hold their clients accountable for reaching their goals.

Accountability is an important theme of coaching because it’s not something we do intrinsically well. Rather than holding ourselves accountable, we’re much better at being accountable to others.

Indeed, only about 1% of people are really good at holding themselves accountable. Most are better at being accountable to others—they don’t want to let family, friends, clients, co-workers, or “the team” down. (That’s one of the benefits of joint ventures: You’re accountable to each other.)

In defense of those who sometimes struggle with being accountable to themselves andothers, they often don’t realize how much they can (or can’t) handle. They say “Yes” without realizing that they don’t have the bandwidth to do what they’re committing to. If you’re really good at being accountable, you recognize how long commitments will take, realistically, and you know when to say “No.” Some people, myself included, just don’t realize how long something might take or when we ought to decline an opportunity, thus making it hard to be timely and accountable.

Some who are good at holding themselves accountable have higher standards about what constitutes good work. In service to their accountability to self and others, they have to let go of perfectionist standards. It’s important to recognize when good enough is good enough.

Accountability is an important aspect of success. To develop your self-accountability you need to be able to…

  1. Gauge how long commitments or projects will take.
  2. Say “No” graciously.
  3. Recognize when something is “good enough.”

As a coach, ask your clients, “What is the best way for me to hold you accountable?”That question implies that accountability is important AND that they have a preferred way to be held accountable. For some a “kick in the butt” is more motivational than encouragement. As a coach, your job is to discover that and adapt to the style that works for them.

Your other job is to recognize what is preventing someone from being held accountable. You’ll probably find a problem with one of the 3 skills noted above.

Step back and objectively look at your ability to be self-accountable. You’re likely to discover that there are times or contexts in which you struggle. These are the areas in which coaching can be a great service to you. (You don’t have a coach? Then get one!)

I like to collect stories about belief change experiences. If you have any interesting ones, please share them below so I can comment on them in subsequent articles or posts. 

P.S. Do you want to share this post? Please do. Just be sure that it remains intact and includes the following bio.

About Terry: Terry Hickey, M.S., is a Certified NLP Professional Coach, Business Trainer and Consultant, a Certified Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and the co-owner of NLP Advantage Group. Originator of the Belief Breakthrough Method™, Terry specializes in teaching coaches and entrepreneurs how to rapidly resolve limiting beliefs about wealth and success. His tips and strategies can help you launch yourself into the future you want… NOW. http://terryhickey.com/

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