Ever Tried Working with an Accountability Partner?

Have you ever had an accountability partner? Someone with whom you set goals and then do a regular report in to each other on your progress? If you don’t, I highly recommend you get one (or several) because they can definitely help you step up your achievement efforts. Let’s look at the benefits of an accountability partner and strategies for identifying the right partner for you.

I host a superachiever mastermind group and we have assigned accountability partners to help us move toward our goals more quickly. I have accomplished so much more knowing that I have to report every Friday to this individual – even while on vacation!

I recently was on day two of an amazing vacation. My husband and I had a fun morning and were chilling in the hotel room since it was raining. He decided to take a nap and I wasn’t tired, so I read a bit. But then I started thinking- I’m going to have to report to Pam on Friday that I wrote a chapter in my next book. So I decided to just get it out of the way…. well, I ended up writing two chapters and outlining a keynote I’m doing in the next month (and the hubby was still napping!) I was so happy on my progress, I wrote my check in email to her several days early, telling her of my progress and thanking her for being my accountability partner.

I have attempted the accountability partner thing in the past and it didn’t go so well. Let me share what I’ve learned:

  1. Your accountability partner cannot simply be anyone. I have found that the closer the relationship I have with them, either the more forgiving of me they are when I do not meet my goals or there’s emotional “stuff” wrapped up in them trying to help you remain accountable to your goals. It seems to work best when the person is more of an acquaintance – a colleague with similar goals that you respect and have a professional relationship with.
  2. Before you begin holding each other accountable, design your partnership. This is very important – identify how each of you likes to be motivated. Some questions to ask each other:
    1. How would you like me to respond when you are doing well in achieving your goals?
    2. How would you like me to respond when you are struggling with or not achieving your goals?
    3. How would you like me to respond when you are not challenging yourself enough?
    4. How would you like me to respond when you are beating yourself up unnecessarily?
    5. How will we check in with each other? (phone call, email, in-person meeting, Skype)
    6. How often will we check in with each other?
    7. Is there anything else we should design around our partnership?
  3. Once you build the foundation of your relationship, help each other ensure your goals are actual goals and not just wishes (read my blog titled “Do You Have a Plan? Or a Wish List?” if you’d like to know more).
  4. Adjust your relationship as necessary as you progress through your goals. You might need to change how you respond to each other to keep each other motivated or alter your partnership based on life events that may occur with one or both partners.

If you take the time to identify the right accountability partner and design your relationship with them, you will find yourself accomplishing much more than you thought possible in a shorter amount of time. I’d better go – I need to check in with my partner on my progress for this week.