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Tips for Working with an Accountability Buddy

An accountability buddy is someone (or more than one person) that supports you in making sure you meet your commitments. One of the underlying beliefs with coaching is that people who succeed gain support from others. In psychology, it's known as an external motivator. Someone, outside of you, that helps you stay motivated.

Studies show that writing down and sharing your goals with another person dramatically increases the likelihood of you successfully meeting the goal. Let's face it, it's pretty easy to get "slippery" and not do something that nobody knew you intended to do.

To look at from a slightly different perspective, from that of a buddhist and someone that believes in the laws of karma, it is believed that by helping others attain what they want, you will ultimately achieve your goals as well. It's that old addage of what goes around, comes around.

Accountability Buddy - holding hands When you choose an accountability buddy (or buddies), think of them as being along for the ride. They want to share in your journey and they want to see you succeed. They are likely following a similar journey and can be held accountable by you. The relationship has to be mutually beneficial.

Accountability Buddy Tips

Once you have made a selection, here's my list of tips for working with an accountability buddy or group.

  1. Meet Regularly - have the relationship be part of your formula for success. Mark it in the calendar and plan everything else around it. Start with once a week and go from there. By the way, a telephone conversation is sufficient. In-person meetings are great too but is a larger time commitment. As a compromise, maybe meet in person once per month.

  2. Set Time Limits - you don't want to waste time so give each person in your accountability group a select amount of time to give an update, ask for help, and make commitments for the week. Stick to the agenda and be mindful of other people's time.

  3. Respect Confidentiality - respect the confidentiality of each accountability buddy. As someone helping you succeed, you may speak of very personal matters that are best kept within the group. Even your spouse or partner does not need to know everything about your accountability buddies.

  4. Start with a 3 Month Commitment - the point is to make a commitment longer than a couple weeks. It helps to know that you are committed to the group. Also, it's a good idea to set up a "graduation" or some end point celebration to bring focus to the weekly work.

  5. Start with the End in Mind - consistent with the previous point, start out by discussing what you want out of the relationship by the end of the 3 month (or 6 months or 12 months). Exchange emails with your intended goals so you can hold each other accountable.

  6. Take Notes - it helps to keep notes of the conversations and the commitments made by others. Gently remind people of what they are up to and where they need to focus their attention.

  7. Think to Help Others - as a coach, it's amazing what I learn by coaching others. I begin to see my own blind spots and areas to improve. And, it's really fulfilling. Plus, if you have been reading and learning about what I've written about the definition of karma, you'll know that by helping others, good things will come your way.

  8. Use Coaching Skills - be a great accountability buddy by using coaching skills. I've written out some details on coaching skills for you to learn and use. Since the focus is on producing results, be bold and ask for firm commitments. Ask questions like: Do what? By When? How will I know you've done it? For us Canadians, holding someone else's "feet to the fire" can be a real challenge. We are too nice sometimes.

In the end, we all benefit by being held accountable. So start today. Get going!

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