What is an Accountability Partner and Why Do You Need One?

What is an accountability partner

Do you ever have days where you just can’t seem to motivate yourself to do what you planned to do? Maybe that day turns into a week or a month. You had all sorts of plans laid out to help you achieve your goals, but you just kept getting distracted by other things.

I had a mini-revelation about this a few days ago, after I’d put up a new pack of Goal Setting PLR articles in my PLR store. While it’s essential to lay out specific goals and action plans, it’s the follow-through that defeats most people. That’s where an accountability partner can make the difference between success and failure.

What is an accountability partner?

If you haven’t heard the term before, let me explain just what I mean by “accountability partner”. The term is traditionally associated with Christian accountability partners who help each other adhere to specific morals or behaviors. However, in the business world it refers to someone that helps you stay on track with your goals.

It’s easy to get off track, even with all the time management and action planning tools out there. Many highly successful business people have accountability partners who they talk to regularly to check in on progress and work through any distractions or obstacles that have come up. It’s not the same as a mentor or coach, because usually the two of you are on a more equal level. This is a mutually beneficial relationship in which each person holds the other accountable to themselves.

What are the benefits of having an accountability partner?

  • Forces you to be specific.  Just by sharing your plans for the day or the upcoming week with someone else can give you the clarity you need to move ahead.
  • Gives a dose of reality. When you tell your accountability partner what your plans are, you may just get a painful dose of reality that you didn’t expect. They can be the objective eyes that tell you that you’re trying to do too much, or you’re not being aggressive enough, or you’re being too aggressive. You get the point. They don’t even have to tell you the reality. The process of asking questions and forcing you to think about your actions can be enough to bring you out of your fog.
  • Mutual motivation. Everyone could use a partner who pushes and encourages them to keep working away at their goals. Especially in business, where your spouse or friends don’t understand what you do, it can be incredibly helpful to have someone who can relate to your efforts and struggles.
  • A swift kick in the rear. Then there are the times where you just need a metaphorical “kick in the butt” to get moving. It’s easy to let things slide or get lazy when it comes to attacking new plans. Having someone to remind you of what you’re working towards is priceless. Just be prepared for a little harsh love once in a while. If you’re not willing to give and take that kind of push, then your accountability relationship may not work.
What to look for when picking your partner

This isn’t a marriage, but you have to feel comfortable sharing fears and concerns with your accountability partner without being judged.  You should have some kind of connection or chemistry that makes it easy to understand each other. Your goals don’t have to be the same, but you do have to make a commitment to helping each other succeed.  In fact, some people have the same accountability partner for years and they claim that it’s one of the major factors in their mutual success.

A few quick tips

While I’m still at the early stages of my accountability partner relationship, I can share a few tips that I know will help us succeed:

  • Figure out what your goal is for having an accountability partner. Share that with the other person.
  • Keep notes of what you are holding each other accountable for. You can agree on what you’re accountable for achieving before you meet next. Then share that in an email or other format.
  • Set up a regular check-in time to see how you are each doing on your tasks or goals. A weekly check-in meeting is what we’re aiming for, but it’s going to depend on what obstacles or struggles come up along the way. I know one senior executive who only checks in with his accountability partner once a month and meets twice a year. Others check in with each other briefly almost every day.

I’ll do a post at a later date when I can share more about my own accountability partner results. I can already see that the impact on my success is going to be tremendous!

Do you have an accountability partner? What are your own experiences and tips?

Comments

  1. Hey Sharyn – I love the idea of having an accountability partner. Although being your own boss has loads of advantages, one good thing about having a separate boss is that they keep you on track with your work, no matter how motivated you feel that day.

    When I worked in an office, even if I didn’t feel like working on certain days, the thought of having to explain to my boss why I hadn’t done what I promised, made me always get the work done. An accountability partner sounds like a great way to get that feeling back without giving up being your own boss.

    • Hi Tom!
      I know what you mean. You have to set up your own accountability somehow when you work for yourself. Though you’re always accountable to your readers and customers, that’s not the same. I’ve already been far more productive this weekend getting stuff done since I told my accountability partner what I planned on doing. I highly recommend it!

      Best,
      Sharyn

  2. I see having an accountability partner has already helped you! I do not have one, but I can see how it would benefit me and keep me on task. My problem is finding the right person. It could be a trust thing. I donno. Sometimes I think I need to take the big leap and get a coach (someone who is where I want to be) to push me even further.

    • Hi Lisa!
      Sorry I missed your comment before. Something wonky with my email notifications.
      I did have a coach for a little while and it was fantastic. Definitely worth it. But it’s not the same as having an accountability partner on a long-term basis, which is more of a two-way relationship. I highly recommend both! I can share with you a little bit about my coach offline if you want. Just email me.
      Best,
      Sharyn

  3. Sharyn, what a fantastic idea..and one I hadn’t ever thought of myself. I have many days (even weeks) where I have a list of about 100 things to do, but I just cannot focus on one! I end up moving from one to the other to the next and don’t really accomplish anything. They are definitely frustrating days when that happens! Your idea is a good one, and one I should definitely look into…thanks!

    • Hi Dave,
      I highly, highly recommend getting an accountability partner. I know someone who even has 2 of them! That way, if one isn’t holding you accountable the other one will. Whew! That’s a lot of people to have breathing down your neck. Well, it that’s what it takes to succeed, then what the heck.
      – Sharyn

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