How to Build Accountability That Ensures Client Action

build-accountability“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” – Proverb

The best coaching, with no built-in accountability, is a disservice to our client. Very often, the coaching I hear tacks on accountability as strongly as Eeyore has tacked on his tail – as an afterthought. Many coaches who have thirty minutes to coach ask their client about accountability at minute thirty-two.

The coach asks, “Is there anybody who could keep you accountable?” The answer to this question is a resounding “No!” I have found over the years that there is absolutely no one who wants to keep you accountable. There is no one who wants to ask you the tough questions. And if you find someone who wants to keep you accountable, run. Run as fast as you can. This is a horrible person.

And then there is the fact that people lie. They are tricky about their lie though. Let me give you an example.

Accountability Partner: Hey, how is your progress on those commitments we talked about?

Person who made Commitments: Pretty good. (Note there is no exclamation mark here. Both words are said with some positivity.)

Accountability Partner: So you’ve had some failures? (This is from third level listening. At a lower listening level, the Accountability Partner will answer, “Good.”)

Person with the Issue: (Breaks eye contact) Yeah. I’ve had some failures.

The client doesn’t want to disappoint anyone. They put a positive spin on the issue just to avoid the accountability that they originally asked for.

There is a better way. If you are coaching a thirty minute coaching session, be prepared to move to the accountability question around minute twenty to twenty-five. I know as a client that I usually come up with really good ideas for action, and I probably even sound enthusiastic about taking those actions. Then five minutes after the session I’m on to something else, and those well designed action steps are put up on a high shelf down in the basement. We’ll never see them again till we’re ready to move.

Imagine being a coach that is known for clients who take action and consistently make changes that improves their own lives and the lives of those around them.

Accountability isn’t about “who” but about “what”. I’ve identified three areas of “what” that will help a coach craft an accountability plan for a client, which is much stronger than any “who.”

Podcast: A Missionary to the Corporate World

Episode # 17

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In this podcast, Brian interviews CAM founder and coaching pioneer, Jane Creswell. This is must listen podcast as Jane shares how Jesus sent her into the corporate world to share Jesus. We don’t talk much about coaching until episode # 18, but Jane’s story is so intriguing, we didn’t want you to miss it!

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