Entrepreneur Support by Helen Williams

Our columnist says when it comes to accountability, a tough-love approach is needed

Accountability – a term we often hear and say we need, but what is our real understanding and why do we benefit from having it?

To be held accountable to something means you have to do what you have said you are going to do and this is used in coaching to keep you on track with the work required to pursue your goals and targets.

Everyone benefits from this but not everyone takes a liking to it.

With true accountability, i.e. having someone like a coach, is going to keep you accountable and call you out when you are showing signs of weakness, doubt and all-consuming excuses. That means there is very little room for manoeuvre!

We are human.  If we are tired, we often find an excuse to not go to our 7am gym class. If we are late home from the office, we often justify the need to call a takeaway instead of cooking the perfectly suitable healthy food that our fridge is already stocked with. If we have just received rejection from a contract that we were sure to land, we can often shy away from picking up the phone to find our next proposal prospect.

All sounding familiar? You are not alone.

Be sure to find that coach who will ensure you are accountable. You aren’t going to like it, but your results aren’t negotiable if you have set your goals in the first place. You essentially sign a contract with yourself, to improve yourself and your situation whether this is in life in general or, indeed, your business.

Someone who is going to ‘let you off’ when the going gets tough is ultimately giving you permission to stop fighting towards what you had once said you wanted to achieve. This is why friends or individuals on the same peer level as you don’t make the most constructive accountability partners.

You may think this is all a little dramatic – a ‘one off’ won’t hurt. But the thing is, it does.

You undo all the hard work and momentum of the process. You take yourself back to square one just because of a split second of listening to your negative inner dialogue and the fact that no-one strong enough was there to keep you in the game.

While this can be, hypothetically speaking, true of someone actually being there in person, just knowing that your coach will find out and ask you, means you have their voice in your head – it works as a deterrent from your excuses and is where the power of a coach lies.

Being kept accountable in the first place means there is some chance that you will default at some point and not be 100 per cent self-motivated.

Taking all the relevant action, at the right time doesn’t come down to motivation and this is what the cusp of accountability is all about. It keeps the discipline in order through the challenging times when your motivation has long since passed.

Use accountability as a useful tool to help build your discipline muscle.

Accept the fact you won’t like it! But attach yourself to the outcome, not how you feel at the time.


Helen Williams


07881 917665

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