I can do this…. I can do this…. Do you hear yourself saying this over and over? Are things getting done or piling up? Is there a sense of overwhelm? As entrepreneurs the nature of our existence and the term solo-preneur defines our working model. We get used to living in a silo. One of the best assets a beginning entrepreneur often overlooks is creating or engaging in a support system. Can you achieve your goals on your own? Yes, but why would you want to, it so much easier with an Accountability Partner (AP). EVERY entrepreneur NEEDS a support system. Even the most experienced entrepreneurs give credit for their success to their support system. It is a means to bounce ideas, get feedback and most important stay connected and grounded. In addition to an AP, you have probably heard the terms Accountability Coach and Mastermind Groups in similar context. So let’s define each and get clarification on how an AP is different from an accountability coach or mastermind group.
Let’s start by defining what is an Accountability Partner? An AP is a two-way relationship where both participants are engaged in keeping the other on track toward reaching goals and creating a life and business by design rather than default. Having an AP is a great first step to building a support system as an interactive collaboration for mutual benefit. It is a partnership, a one on one relationship with another like-minded individual, from a different industries or at least separate focus areas. Your mutual goals generally are accountability, responsibility, idea sharing, creativity, brainstorming, and motivational support, however as the relationship develops it may evolve into whatever is agreed upon. It is a collaboration and partnership where both participants gain equal value from the relationship.
In comparison, an accountability coach, just as the name implies there exists a hierarchy of the coach to client relationship. One individual is there to guide and keep the other accountable, set benchmarks and goals. The coach is not there to provide the answers but to guide the process of discovery. The ICF’s (International Coaching Federation’s) definition of coaching is, ‘partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential’.
On a larger scale is the mastermind group which offers a combination of brainstorming, education, peer accountability and support in a group setting to sharpen business and personal skills and achieve success. Participants challenge each other to set important goals, and more importantly, to accomplish them. It offers many of the same features of an AP but in a group setting which may be initially uncomfortable for some, especially if just starting out. The group requires commitment, confidentiality, and a willingness to be creative, brainstorm ideas/solutions, and support each other with total honesty, respect and compassion. Mastermind group members act as catalysts for growth, devil’s advocates and supportive colleagues.
Do I really need an Accountability Partner?
|6 Things An AP Will Do For You||5 Signs You Need an Accountability Partner|
|1.Get that extra push you need in your businessSometimes you just need that extra little push. Maybe you’re stuck on whether or not to move forward on a certain project or maybe you’re not sure if it’s even a project you should be working on. On a normal day, you would probably hem and haw over what direction to take and spin your wheels but an accountability partner will be there to help you make a decision and get things done.
2. Someone to bounce around ideas
It’s nice to have an accountability partner(s) when you’re stuck and not sure how to proceed on an idea or maybe you need help deciding on whether or not to sell a product for a certain price, what website to focus your attention, etc. Working online can be lonely at times and sometimes spouses/family/friends just don’t understand the type of help you need. Connecting with someone who does understand is a big deal.
3. Someone you can stay accountable to
At the beginning of every week, you’ll share your 3 biggest tasks for the week with your accountability partner(s). It’s really nice to have someone to tell when you have accomplished those tasks. Or on the flip side it’s nice to have someone there if you’re starting to feel overwhelmed and they can bring you back to reality. It’s great to know you have someone there that is counting on you to take action!
4. Someone to share accomplishments with
Did you make a big sale? Finish a project? An accountability partner is the perfect person to share those exciting times with.
5. Someone who can be totally honest with you
There are times where you might feel that you are choosing the right project or path in your business but you’re really not. In this case, you need someone who will be honest and who feels comfortable telling you like it is, in a nice but firm way.
6. You drastically increase your productivity
As mentioned above, having someone to stay accountable to makes you achieve more than you thought you ever could. You are focused on the most important tasks and are less likely to be drawn to all the mundane and most importantly non money making tasks. You will find yourself much more productive!
|1. You habitually start and stop.Do you set a goal, get revved up, pursue it with gusto for a week or two and then let it die? If so, an accountability partner is what you need. When you have someone to answer to – someone who is going to hold you to your word – you’re less likely to give up in the middle of something. A good accountability partner won’t let you give up just because the path gets rough. They’ll offer a shoulder to lean on, but will eventually push you back up and on your way.
2. You never get started.
Do you set goals and dreams, but never act on them? That’s another indication that you need an accountability partner. Many of us have some pretty big ideas. That’s great, now take that idea a step further and actually plan to do those things? An accountability partner can get you in the habit of setting and achieving goals for yourself.
3. You procrastinate.
Remember when mom would kick you out of the house because she didn’t want you wasting a beautiful day sitting around doing nothing? Well, an accountability partner can help jump-start you into action. Maybe you’re stuck in a dead-end, mental block, fearful or any number of reasons that we procrastinators choose. Your accountability partner can give you the kick in the pants and the motivation you need to make a change.
4. You settle for less than you should.
There’s a difference between being humble than being foolish. People who are foolish, feel they have no worth and simply accept what is offered (if anything) than what they are worth. Your AP will recognize your value and the potential for more. Often others see more than we see ourselves. Your AP will get you on the right track to move forward.
5. You’re indecisive.
Sometimes, after we experience failure, we find it difficult to make decisions for fear it’s going to be the wrong one. The result is that we end up paralyzed while opportunities pass us by. An accountability partner can provide you with mentoring and insight that you’ve never had before. They can often see the forest while you’re preoccupied with looking at the trees.
Remember that an accountability partner isn’t there to tell you what to do; they’re there to provide motivation and assistance when needed. It’s a great resource to have because, while we may not mind disappointing ourselves, we generally don’t like letting other people down – especially when they’re looking after our best interests.
Selecting and Establishing Partnership Parameters
- Be careful who you pick. Have you ever tried to be an exercise partners with someone, only to have them rarely show up, be perpetually late, and have a never ending line of excuses? To create a valuable partnership, you have to find someone who is as committed to their own success as you are to yours.
- Pick a time that works. Select a good time that works for both of you and stick with it. Begin by having weekly call, many like Monday’s because it can set the tone for the rest of the week. Meet at exactly the same time, put it on your calendar so that you’re less likely to forget or miss the appointment. Make it a priority.
- Set a good length for the calls. Remember the length of the call must accommodate an equal share of time on each other’s goals. In the beginning, you may worry that calls will be too long, but to get the value and result desired ample time is needed. Generally calls that run around an hour will give plenty of time to talk about accomplishments and challenges for both of you. By knowing how long to expect, you won’t book things too close to the call time. You never want to feel rushed.
- Be consistent. You and your accountability partner must honor appointments with each other. Recognize the value and how much it helps your forward progress.
- Plan your agenda. Planned calls are much more productive and get way more out of the conversation. Usually no later than the Friday before calls (if on Monday), email each other our respective lists, which include updates, what we’ve done, obstacles and things to discuss (if we’re having any particular challenges that we need help with).
- Rely on the agenda. It’s easy to go off on tangents, but try to stay close to your agenda so that you get the most out of the call. Generally, run through the lists, make suggestions and provide feedback to each other.
- Split the call. Always cover what’s been going on and what’s to come for both partners. It is not necessary to stick to set time frames, but might find it to be helpful to dedicate the first half the call to one person and the second to the other.
- Be ready to learn. There’s rarely a call when you won’t have “homework:” A solution or idea to look into on the recommendation of the other person. Have pen and paper ready to take notes so that you don’t forget things by the end of the call.
- Be ready to help. It’s likely that your partner will want you to review something here and there, so be available and try to follow up quickly. Remember that the purpose of this relationship is to help each other move your visions forward, and by being willing and ready to step up for your accountability partner, you’ll both reach your goals more quickly.
- Don’t wimp out. Be frank and direct with your partner. Don’t sugar-coat your opinions and say what you think the other person wants to hear. The only way you will get real value out of this relationship is if you can count on each other to be upfront and honest. If you think the person is doing the wrong thing, making a bad choice, or even lagging behind, say so.
Can you see why this type of partnership is crucial?
The value of having an accountability partner really can’t be felt or described accurately until you begin the process and start benefiting from the results. On a daily basis you will do more than you ever imagined. It is motivating, inspiring and provides a sense of pride as you recognize your own progress and becomes even more fulfilling as every opportunity arises to share accomplishments and progress with your AP. Oh and by the way, you’ll be serious about making money.
Dr. Victoria Boyd is Founder & President of the GALAXY group, LLC and The Philantrepreneur suite of services.