April 3, 2023

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Reimagining Accountability: Achieving Goals with an Accountability Partnership

Have you ever wondered why accountability becomes challenging for most people?

If I ask you what comes to mind when you hear the word accountability, you might say it is being answerable to someone for something and you would be partly correct.

Most people’s experience with accountability comes with guilt, shame, fear, resentment, and negative judgement. As such, many have negative connotations about the word accountability, not because of the word itself but because of the experiences they have had in the name of accountability.

I have spent a lot of time reframing the concept and exercise of accountability in my coaching practice with leaders and employees because of the negative interpersonal energy that it generates at work, causing relationship break down. I have also created a course as part of our coach training program on accountability and responsibility that explains the differences between the two, to ensure our graduate coaches are aware of their role as accountability partners.

Accountability as an opportunity to partner

Accountability Should not be Punitive

In the course Coaching Accountability and Responsibility, we examine accountability without shame, without reprimanded or scolding. We shed light on the differences between accountability and responsibility. We discuss accountability as an opportunity to partner, in which one gets to choose how support will help them stay accountable.

Ideally, accountability should be self-directed. It should derive from a person’s desire for support to be accountable to self. Some questions to generate self accountability can be, how can I stay on track, how am I going to stay on task, how can I stop sabotaging my success? Most of us fail because we are getting in our own way, and accountability helps us identify the mind traps and excuses we use to not do the things we should. We fail at accomplishing our goals because we get distracted, we lose focus, clarity, or at times we just lack the drive, will, or motivation to keep on going to the prize.

Passion and Emotional Connection in Office

Passion and Emotional Connection

The importance of passion and emotional connection to our goals should not be overlooked. It is important to weigh your goals, discover your why, and stay emotionally connected to those goals to drive self-directed accountability. This keeps us enthused and energetically connected, which makes the steps necessary for reaching our goals less onerous. Sometimes we have clients draw a picture of their goal that they can see daily, to keep them connected and motivated to their goals, thus making accountability self-directed and self-driven. 

Accountability Partnership

The notion of accountability partnership works best when there is equality among the partners. Ideally it is enacted in the absence of relationship hierarchy. A power imbalance can affect the partnership, causing one to feel defensive rather than supported. In accountability partnership, it is important for the parties to identify upfront what accountability support is most beneficial, how often and for how long. Questions such as how you will hold yourself accountable, and what can I do to support you in the process, should be discussed when the partnership is negotiated.

The notion of accountability partnership as a process where one is dragging you back to do the things you don't want to do is a stressful way of viewing the relationship. Rather, a partnership should be seen as one coming along beside in a positive enthusiastic companionship to help you attain your goal and celebrate your success.

As a Coach and Coach trainer, it is essential that my students and clients understand the accountability partnership, so they can experience it as a positive support, without the noise of fear and embarrassment when they arrive at a roadblock.

I will be teaching the course on Accountability in the Summer Intensive Coach training coming up here. Join me to explore how you can improve your ability to be an amazing accountability partner for your colleagues, friends, clients, employees, or spouse. We are offering a 30% discount off our courses this Summer, so don’t miss out on the savings.

To Your Wellness,

About the author

Joyce Odidison is a Coach, Mediator, Facilitator, Keynote Speaker, and Thought Leader of the groundbreaking Well-being Intelligence Curriculum. With a career spanning over 27 years as a Conflict Analyst, Professional Trainer, University Lecturer, and Master Certified Coach, Joyce helps organizations solve difficult challenges and transition into psychologically safe workspaces that promotes inclusiveness and well-being. As President and CEO of Interpersonal Wellness Services Inc., she has designed transformative training sessions and curricula for her clients, as well as some offered exclusively through her company, such as the Global Workplace Wellness Summit and an ICF Approved Coach Training program. She can be reached at https://interpersonalwellness.com

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