I’ll admit, I was skeptical about needing accountability. After all, I’m responsible and motivated to get things done—unless I’m not… hmm.

And there’s the rub… the human factor combined with the reality of busy, hectic schedules, some known and unknown resistances to doing what’s needed to succeed whether at home, work or a work-home combination!

Do you relate to any of these scenarios?

  • Feeling excited about a goal and then not following through
  • Getting involved in a project and realizing that you’ve strayed from the original goal… again
  • Watching the unfinished projects stack increase, thinking, I’ll get to that later

Accountability can help with each of these common challenges.

Keep reading.

In this article…

I’ll discuss tweaks and tools for being at your best by welcoming accountability with an emphasis on what you could expect from a professional coach who becomes your accountability partner.

Here’s the definition of accountability I’m using…

The obligation of an individual to account for his/her activities, accept responsibility for them, and to disclose the results in a transparent manner.

These are the big, important activities you’ve identified for your business, personal and professional relationships.

In a coaching relationship, accountability is determined by coaches asking these questions:

  1. What are you going to do?                                                          
  2. By when will you do this?                                                        
  3. How will I know?   

Here’s how welcoming accountability is so much more than simply a tally of tasks done or not done…                                                     

1– Owning what you do and don’t do. You take responsibility for your activity and outcomes achieved. After all, it’s your agenda.

So, this is the beauty of accountability done right. You get to own the outcome. It’s your choice to be accountable in the first place.

It’s not the parent-child relationship or any other authority relationship (teacher, boss, athletic coach) who “held you accountable” for finishing homework, chores, getting to practice on time, completing projects on time. You weren’t in charge then, they were. The most important agenda was defined by them, not you.

Professional coaches aren’t attached to the outcome. They are however, interested in what you think, if you’re satisfied with the results, if your agenda/goals have changed and your okay-ness with it all. There is a lot of caring going on and sometimes the coach will confront discrepancies in the interest of your agenda.

2– Staying in your head, you’re dead or You’ve got action, but no personal traction… a kiss of death to meaningful accomplishments.

Are you wired to be action-oriented?  You jump into action quickly, but don’t feel connected to the energy you’re using or stirring up: You’ve got action, but no personal traction.

Maybe you’re the opposite and are slow to take action and can meander through numerous ideas, analyzing the dickens out of stuff never making concrete strides to move forward towards a desired outcome/goal: Staying in your head, you’re dead.

Professional coaches recognize both situations as accountability challenges. Designing action that meaningfully gets you out of your head and doing rather than thinking only is critical. Helping you connect your passion/life purpose to any action taken is important to long-term success and fulfillment. That’s why people hire professional coaches.

3– Keeping the big picture, the ultimate goal in focus.

Recently, I was asked to share how the activity I was taking, developing a relationship with another vendor related to my bigger business/life goals. Great question and one I fleetingly considered as I was caught up in the flurry of activity and excitement. Was all this activity related to my bigger picture? And if so, how?

The professional coach is going to ask this question. Not only is it important to come up for air occasionally and make sure you’re swimming forward rather than heading off sideways to yet another interesting place… because it happens. We change course. Sometimes it’s okay, maybe desired. The important thing is that you are consciously choosing to stay the course or make changes.

(By the way, the activity I was taking did support my bigger picture… now, that was validating!)

4– Go ahead and share how you want to be challenged when you’re coming up empty on completing actions.

Accountability actions can be designed and agreed to and then nothing happens… you are aware you’re not following through and feel uncomfortable, maybe avoidant. How do you want to be challenged when you’re not completing actions?

Some people set up consequences, both positive (like an ice cream cone or a heartfelt congratulations or stay with it message) and negative (paying a fine). Others prefer to be asked what happened and make necessary adjustments to the action for the future.

A favorite professional coach once suggested that he wouldn’t be available for another session until I completed the action I said I wanted to complete. Whoa! I certainly felt challenged… not in an entirely great way… but it put an importance on finishing what I said I wanted. I told him from the beginning I wanted to achieve certain benchmarks. He was taking me seriously. I liked that then, I respect it now. It was a risky move on his part… leveraging our relationship like that, yet, I did trust him. He cared. I revisited the action and determined it was still important. I got it done. We didn’t miss our weekly call.

Professional coaches listen to how you want to be challenged when you don’t do what you say you want to do. And then they follow-through, holding you accountable, using the trust established in the relationship, ready to take additional risks if it makes sense in the interests of helping you achieve your agenda.

The takeaway is…

Welcome accountability as a really great way to accomplish big, important goals and be your very best.

Professional coaches as accountability partners will help you stay focused on activities to get your desired results, a much bigger deal than merely keeping score on how many tasks you complete.


What do you want to accomplish and be accountable for this week?

By when will you do it?

How will I know?


Welcome accountability today and talk with me about a coaching relationship where we bring your best to accomplishing the big, important goals… and along the way, the smaller, important activities to achieve the results you want!

Go to “I’ve Got This!” Strategy Session and let me know you’re ready for a confidential, free session!