Serving as an accountability partner is one of the most critical responsibilities and often the most challenging responsibility of a Coach. Critical because as a Peer-Partner in the Leader/Coach relationship, we must not only help our Leader self-discover their path to growth, but we must also hold them accountable for achieving their identified growth. And challenging because growth and comfort are mutually exclusive – as such, in our coaching role, we must facilitate our Leader toward a path we and they both know will be filled with sustained discomfort. Here are five “secrets” I have learned about being that uncomfortable accountability partner:
- Don’t get ahead of Trust & Safety: As you know, developing Trust & Safety is one of the Core Competencies of Coaching. But, as you also know, Trust & Safety takes time to develop. Make sure the Trust & Safety you currently have will support the Accountability you may suggest. I have gotten out in front of the current Trust & Safety in more than one Coaching engagement – and the Leader I was Coaching made it known pretty quickly!
- Facilitate to Specificity: When your established Trust & Safety permits identifying accountability milestones, make sure you facilitate specificity regarding that accountability. It is not sufficient for your Leader to commit to accomplishing a large Goal or intermediate Objective – take the extra step in your Coaching to identify specifics such “Key Results” in a precise timeframe, a number of iterations, or a degree of achievement.
- Coach Short, Mid, & Long Accountability: We use a 30-5-1-Today! framework for identifying and achieving Goals and Objectives. Where does the Leader want to be in 30 years – personally & professionally; therefore, where do they need to be in the next five years; and what do they need to accomplish in the next year; and finally and most important in many ways, what do they need to do TODAY – before they go to sleep? Concurrently, the Leader and Coach identify “Key Results” that measure progress toward the Goals & Objectives – in an accountability partnership to achieve and celebrate these short, mid, and long-term milestones.
- Drag the Elephant into the Room: If your Leader continues to self-identify a Goal, Objective, and/or Key Result (GOKR) but also continues to fall short of that GOKR, then request permission to drag that elephant into the room and address it. Pretending the elephant is not there serves neither Leader nor Coach. Talking about it will either reaffirm the GOKR’s legitimacy or present an opportunity to table or abandon it.
- Don’t Nag: Even though growth and comfort are mutually exclusive, if the goal is appropriate, then the growth will bring rewards greater than the discomfort. As such, if you are balancing your accountability correctly, Coaching should be the event on your Leader’s calendar they look forward to – not the one where they dread turning in their homework. And remember, it is the Leader’s self-identified Goals, Objectives, and/or Key Results. Therefore, it is ultimately the Leader’s responsibility to achieve them. Our role as their Coach is simply to remind them of the commitments they have made to themselves.
Good luck to you and your Team! If there is ANYTHING my team and I can do to assist you in realizing your goals, objectives, and key results, reach out to us at 2RL@FlatterInc.com. If you find these Blogs valuable, please link to us at www.TwoRoadsLeadership.com so that others may absorb the same insights. Likewise, please listen to our weekly Podcast, with distinguished guests from the Coaching world, published every Thursday at noon, Eastern Time (USA) at The Secrets of Leadership Coaching. Finally, I am personally interested in hearing your feedback – so please send your thoughts directly to me at JR.Flatter@FlatterInc.com.