Three Rules of Thumb for Choosing an Accountability Partner

Someone asked me yesterday on my Instagram how one goes about choosing an accountability partner. I was really impressed by the wisdom of this question, because it is important not just to have an accountability partner, but to have the right accountability partner.

You could ask any Joe, Ken or Bobby off the street to be your accountability partner with not a lot of success. While what each individual person will need specifically from their accountability partner will vary, I've compiled three easy and specific rules of thumb for helping to decide who to turn to when picking yours:

  1. Choose someone you can trust and be vulnerable with without fear of judgement. Think about who you'll be willing to open up to about the goal(s) you're working on and why. Often, I find my clients feel embarrassed about their goals or why they haven't been able to achieve them on their own. Many clients hire a professional coach because they like the idea of an unbiased party to talk things through with, or because it's uncomfortable for them to discuss their progress (or perceived lack of progress) with someone close to them. Regardless of whether you hire a coach or decide to ask someone you know personally to be an accountability partner, ensure the person you're working with is someone you feel like you can be vulnerable with. Additionally, your accountability partner (professional or not!) should also be able to keep you accountable (duh) in a way that works for you. One of the bonuses of working with a professional coach is that they're generally skilled at ascertaining what type of accountability structure and approach will work best for each of their clients (I.e. tough love vs more easy going). If you're asking a friend or family member to help you stay accountable, you may need to be very clear with them on what kind of role you're expecting them to play and how you'd like to be held accountable.

  2. Built-in accountability partners are convenient and help you stay successful. As I mentioned in the opening, many people choose accountability partners such as spouses or other family members. In my experience, people who have these built-in support systems are more likely to achieve their goals than those who do not. Consider asking someone that is already "on your team" to step up and function in the role of your "team coach" or accountability partner.

  3. Team up with someone who is working on the same goal! Goals are more fun and easier to accomplish if you've got someone else doing the work with you. The benefit of having an accountability partner with the same (or similar) goal as you is that they know what you're going through and can commiserate, motivate and celebrate right along side you. It's harder to give up when you feel like you're letting someone else down. We all know the feeling that we HAVE to show up to an exercise class because we told our friend we'd go, right? Same principle applies here!

Still got questions about accountability, or anything else? Drop me a line!