We are living in very challenging economic times and need to call upon every internal and external resource that we can to turn around this mess and start heading in a positive direction again. But sometimes the things that we should be able to do ourselves (like holding ourselves accountable to our new resolutions and commitments) are even more difficult than the external factors. Can you hold yourself accountable?
What do you mean by accountable?
According to Wikipedia, Accountability is often used synonymously with such concepts as responsibility, answerability, enforcement, blameworthiness, liability and other terms associated with the expectation of account-giving.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary suggests that Accountability is an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.
Being accountable means no more blame game and no more excuses; only action and personal acceptance of the consequences of your own action or inaction.
“Thinking well is wise; planning well, wiser; doing well wisest and best of all.”– Persian Proverb
What the heck is an Accountability Coach and why would I need one?
Most of the time, it’s not other people that get in our way, but rather, ourselves. Yes, we get in our own way. We prevent success. And we often need assistance to stay out of procrastination land and to leverage the motivation that we all have deep inside of us.
“Get out of my way. I’m getting things done.” That was a statement made by a new client of mine. She is top notch, successful financial planner, but even she needs help staying focused and getting important things done. She hired The Marketing Motivator as her accountability coach.
Motivation is a funny thing. It’s not a goal or objective that you achieve over time, rather it is a state of being that you can call upon any time you need it. Yet, it is do so challenging to sustain the personal motivation and to stay on track to completion. That’s why an accountability coach may come in handy for you: to remind you of your internal resources and your commitment to your specific goals. To hold the mirror up for you and to give you that daily dose of personal go-power!
You are accountable for your own success
Susan Nolte, Founder and CMO (i.e., chief mixologist officer) of the May Cookie Co, LLC hired me as her accountability coach. She’s an entrepreneur with a big vision. Here’s what she had to say about the experience. Given her focus on re-inventing the cookie mix, we naturally “mixed” accountability coaching with marketing coaching to help her stay focused and on-track to achieving rapid success.
“Having a coach has kept me from feeling isolated, and at the same time, provided guidance and ideas that I would otherwise be without. Kathy has pushed my thinking beyond what I could do on my own. She keeps me focused on making my product remarkable – about having a product (or service) that people will seek out and pay for.” – Susan Nolte, May Cookie Co. LLC
Even highly successful people need accountability coaches
CEO Coach, Marshall Goldsmith, author of one of my favorite business books, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, talks about how he has worked with an accountability coach for the past 15 years. Every night, his friend Jim who is also a professional executive coach, calls Marshall and asks him the same 12 questions. Every night, without fail, for the last 15 years Jim has asked Marshall these questions:
- How much walking did you do?
- How many push ups?
- How many sit ups?
- Did you eat any high-fat foods?
- How much alcohol did you drink?
- How many hours of sleep did you get?
- How much time did you spend watching TV or surfing the Internet?
- How much time did you spend writing?
- Did you do or say something nice to your wife?
- Did you do or say something nice to your children?
- How many times did you try to prove you were right when it wasn’t worth it?
- How many minutes did you spend on topics that didn’t matter or that you could not control?
That’s it. The list. Marshall selected these questions and asked him accountability coach Jim to ask them to him every night. Every night Marshall answers these same questions. There is no discussion. No excuses. Just focus and action on what he deems to be important in his life. Now, that’s accountability.
His results? Marshall Goldsmith, a man who travels more than 200 days each year and feels that there is no routine in his life other than the routine of being on the road, claims that he has seen great benefits from this intense follow-up and accountability regiment. Specifically, he is more disciplined about writing, cut down on his weight, reduced coffee consumption, less time wasted in front of TV, and is in better physical shape than he has been in years. Imagine what you could achieve with a little more personal accountability?
How to work with an Accountability Coach
Like Marshall Goldsmith, you can find a close friend or business colleague to serve as your accountability coach. However, it can be a lot to ask of that friend. This could either greatly enhance the friendship or destroy in a mounting feeling of guilt and resentment. (Iet’s face it, it’s tough to admit when you haven’t done something you said that you would).
So perhaps it would be better to hire an outside professional to serve as your accountability coach and put your money where your mouth is. If you are serious about making changes in your lifestyle, relationships and results, than stop talking and start acting. Isn’t it worth investing in some help?
Who would make a good accountability coach for you? A trusted friend, professional business or executive coach, health coach or someone who will stand up to you and hold you accountability. Spouses may not be the best choice, as there is so much more involved in your relationship. Accountability coaches must resist the temptation to “fix things” for you, to let you off the hook or to be too nice. They must be good at asking questions, probing, and being direct with you.
How can you work together successfully? Set up a regular schedule when you will talk (daily or weekly and at a set time). Limit the call in length (10-20 minutes max) and discipline yourself to get to it and through it quickly. Have the coach read the pre-agreed to questions and you, the coachee answers (with yes/no and with specific detail). No excuses. No long-winded answers. You either did it or didn’t do it. That’s accountability.
What’s your investment? Aside from your time and your pride, you will be investing your money. (again, put your money where your mouth is). I charge clients $250/hour. Sometimes more. I will engage new clients for a minimum of 3-4 month coaching period. Anything less usually has the hallmark of pre-ordained failure (i.e., no real commitment). I am also very selective about who I work with – no whiners, only motivated business leaders.
What’s your part in the relationship? When you engage the services of an accountability coach (paid for or otherwise), you are saying that you are serious about making changes and getting things done in your life. You have made a public proclamation about your commitment to your goals and dreams and made them specific and measurable. Your job is to fulfill it.
What’s the ROI? Only you can determine the value of getting things done in your life. Whether it’s changing your lifestyle to one that is more balanced and healthy, improving your relationships or finding smarter ways to accomplish your work tasks or career ambitions, getting it done and realizing the positive outcomes will produce value in your life. After all if it’s not worth doing, then stop worrying about it. Take it off the list. But if it is worth doing, then get the resources you need to master it. To achieve it. To get it done! t comes my way.
Here’s to your success in 2009! May you be proud to be accountable for it!
“Motivation. It’s concentrated inspiration put into action. It’s 10,000 steps in the right direction. It’s a goal on the horizon that you always keep in sight.”
– Mark Shepard, songwriter, “Motivation”, © copyright Mark Shepard, 2006-2009, www.MarkShepardSongs.com
About the Writer: Kathy McAfee is The Marketing Motivator and president of Kmc Brand Innovation, LLC, an executive presentation coaching and consulting company specializing in driving growth through innovation and motivation. Her company helps business executives, entrepreneurs, corporate professionals, and community leaders become the recognized leaders in their field by leveraging speaking, presenting, networking and personal branding
to their advantage. To learn more, please visit www.MarketingMotivator.net