If you find it difficult to achieve your goals, having an accountability partner could be the perfect solution for you. But what exactly is an accountability partner, and why have one? And how can having an accountability partner help your productivity AND your personal growth?
I wrote last week about how being accountable is, in my opinion, a life-changer. No more blaming others, no excuses, no more whining. Instead, clearly state and work towards your goals, and along the way, improve your learning, self-awareness, and growth.
However, even for the most driven and focussed of us, an accountability partner can help us achieve those things faster.
Why Have An Accountability Partner?
Having an accountability partner DOES NOT MEAN you are delegating responsibility to someone else! It’s not about letting yourself off the hook! It’s your responsibility to be accountable, not anyone else’s.
It can, however, help us be better at being accountable and assist us in being more accountable. We often slacken off when there is no one else to ‘report back’ to: it’s all too easy to watch an extra episode of Netflix, or stay in bed all Sunday morning.
But when we know that we will have to admit to not having met certain targets, or not having done certain activities, we are more likely to turn the TV off or get out of bed.
Whatever you do though, don’t fib to your accountability partner about your achievements: it makes no difference to their life if you aren’t working towards your goals – you’re just lying to yourself. Being open and honest about your strengths and wins, as well as your weaknesses and failures, will benefit YOU most in the long run.
The Benefits Of An Accountability Partner
It’s not the accountability partner in him/herself that boosts your accountability, but rather, the effect it has on you to have an accountability partner.
When you start the week off by telling someone what you are going to do, it makes you plan better and identify your goals more clearly. Knowing you will have to report back at the end of the week keeps you better focussed on achieving those goals.
Having an accountability partner is a great way to get additional support and help us focus when things start to go off track. Their input might enable us to push past or find solutions to problems we are facing.
We can share our own successes and be boosted on by someone else encouraging us. We may also find that ideas come to us more freely when we can brainstorm with an impartial, but interested party.
If you have a specific project you’re working on, you might want an accountability partner just for that. Indeed, you may have several accountability partners for different things you wish to achieve.
What Makes A Good Accountability Partner?
The ‘who’ you choose as an accountability partner isn’t really the most important thing, so long as they show up for you and help you stay accountable to yourself.
They don’t need to be an expert in your field – you’re not looking for an industry-specific mentor – but rather someone to help you keep on track and meet your targets. To that end, they also don’t need to be wiser, more intelligent or more experienced than you.
Indeed, they don’t really need to know anything about the job you do, or the things you do that define you, in order to help YOU be more accountable.
What To Look For In An Accountability Partner
The essential qualities of a good accountability partner are that they are:
- on time
A good accountability partner will hold you to the list of things you said you were going to do, focussing only on the items you set out the week before and not getting distracted by other things.
Asking a good friend to be your accountability partner might not be the best idea: Your friend perhaps offers you a great shoulder to cry on in moments of crisis, but is totally unreliable in terms of time-keeping, for instance. Unless you think your friend can offer you the 4 points above, consider looking for someone else.
Very often, accountability partner relationships are 2-way: you will be the accountability partner to your accountability partner. YOU need to show up on time, consistently, committed to do the work and prepared with the list of goals your own accountability partner gave you about their goals the week before. You each need to be able to be purely focussed on the other for those few minutes each week that you get together.
How Do I Find An Accountability Partner?
Perhaps you already know someone perfect for the job. If not though, there are lots of possibilities for finding an accountability partner.
Since an accountability partner does not need to be someone you meet up with physically, it means s/he could live anywhere in the world with an internet connection. It’s so easy to hold free, online meetings via Skype, What’s App, Zoom or Facebook, to mention just a few.
Maybe you are part of a facebook focus group, a support group, mastermind group or forum? A message to your group might throw up multiple opportunities.
Once you have found someone that you think you will feel comfortable confiding in, draw up a plan together for how to continue. Consider: how much do you want to be pushed? Shame and bullying shouldn’t ever be part of any healthy relationship, so how can each of you best encourage and support the other when someone strays off track? What are your expectations? When will you get together and for how long?
When Your Accountability Partner Is Not Accountable
Maybe you’ve tried joining an accountability group and got off to a great start, just to find that gradually the other group members were no longer showing up? This has happened to me a couple of times. If you are very determined and motivated anyway (and are using your daily accountability journal to keep you on track), then perhaps this isn’t going to impact on you too much.
The first time it happened to me, I was one of the guilty, non-accountables in the group. I didn’t have my journal system in place back then. I didn’t understand the BENEFITS of accountability and how it could massively improve the chances of me reaching my targets and developing, personally.
The Accountability Peak Performance Partners Worksheet
You are welcome to use our Accountability Peak Performance Partner Worksheet. Here are guidance notes on how to get the best use out of the worksheet:
Goals for the week.
Complete the first section with your goals for the week.
BE REALISTIC. There is no point in writing down everything you hope to achieve in the next year. Just include goals that are doable for the next week. During the week, you will work to achieve those same goals.
If your scheduled time with your accountability partner allows it, you can complete the rest of the worksheet with them during your meeting. If not, complete them before your meeting.
Top 3 Successes.
Note your most important successes – only up to 3, don’t get carried away and lose focus! The successes should relate directly to the previously stated goals in section 1.
Losses / Failures.
What went wrong during the week – what mistakes were made, which tasks were left incomplete? Again, relate this to your stated goals.
Fixes / Solutions.
For each of the losses / failures in the previous section, note how you will avoid repeating the same mistake again, and if necessary, what needs to be done to fix what’s happened. This may become a goal for next week.
What I’ve learned.
What have you learned during the week? It might be a new skill, some wisdom, or something about yourself. It might not even relate to your goals, but rather life in general, a book you’ve reading, something you heard on a podcast, etc. Whatever it is, how can you incorporate this into your life? How will your future actions be guided by this?