Engaging in a coaching session can be an uplifting and energizing experience, but we often fall short when it comes to holding ourselves accountable. Let’s talk about how to create accountability structures for the coaching experience to ensure results.
Where Coaching Can Go Wrong: Lack of Accountability
Perhaps your coaching session usually goes like this: the coach asks you powerful questions, you have an insight, you create your goals and your plan, and then the coaching session is over, and you leave with renewed hope and optimism. You think: This time I am on a different path, and I’m going to get closer to my goals! But then, Monday turns into Tuesday, and the week goes on, and you find that you didn’t take action on your insight and your plans remain undone. Soon enough, it’s time for your next coaching session, and your coach opens by asking you, “How did that homework go?” You go quiet.
How are you going to admit that you just didn’t do that thing that you were so energized about previously? What happened?
What likely happened was that even though your goal might have been SMART enough, and your path was clear and actionable, when it comes to being accountable to yourself, it’s just not working for you. You may need to build in some new and different accountability structures to help hold you to your commitments.
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How to Create an Accountability Structure for the Coaching Experience
First of all, you may be wondering, what is an accountability structure? An accountability structure is something that you put into place to encourage your follow-through on your chosen plan of action. Think about, for example, meeting a friend to go jogging every morning. If it were left up to you alone, you might prefer to lounge in bed, but knowing that your friend is waiting for you is motivating you to get up and get out the door. For an extra oomph, maybe you and your friend give each other your running shoes at the end of your jog – you give her your runners, and she gives you yours. Now you have *extra* accountability because if you don’t meet her, she can’t go for her run because you have her shoes! That’s a serious accountability structure, and you definitely won’t miss your morning run with your friend.
So, then, what accountability structures might work for you?
Of course, it’s going to depend on what your goals and plans are, but here are a few things to consider as you create your own accountability structures:
- Reflect on what has worked for you in the past to help you commit to your plans. If it’s worked for you in the past, there’s a decent chance it might work for you again.
- Consider who else you can involve. If you tell another person, or ask them to check in with you, or ask them to accompany you, then it might help you stay true to your commitment.
- Change aspects of your environment to make it easier to accomplish your goals. For example, if you wanted to do yoga every morning, set out your yoga clothes and mat right next to your bed, and have your laptop ready to go with your video instruction queued up. Make it easy and just roll out of bed and get stretching!
- Put your money where your mouth is. Some people find that if they pay for a service, they are more likely to make use of it. Paying for that 1:1 yoga instruction might work better for you than a free class.
- Don’t break the chain! This has been attributed to writers, such as Jerry Seinfeld, who have a writing habit of writing a bit every single day. Print out a calendar (this works best when it’s easily visible) and put a big red X through the date when you have done your coaching homework for the day. After a few days, the Xs form a chain – and you wouldn’t want to break that chain, would you?
- Put your money where your mouth isn’t! Choose a cause that you *don’t* believe in and promise that you will donate to that heinous cause every time you miss your action step on your plan. Didn’t call 5 customers today? You must donate $5 to that foundation that’s anti-butterflies. For some people, this “punishment” approach works better to keep you accountable.
Accountability structures help to keep you honest and on track in the coaching experience. Experiment – find one that works for you – and get closer to your goals, one step at a time.
Want to help your team learn to create accountability structures to acheieve their goals? Check out the Pluma online coaching platform and request a demo today. Our certified executive coaches are ready to support you and your team in building the strong relationship skills required to succeed in today’s business environment.