10 Tips For a Better Accountability Partnership

Yesterday, I wrote about the value of having an accountability partner. This is the perfect time to set up a partnership with someone for the New Year. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of the relationship.

  1. Be careful who you pick. Have you ever tried to be walking or exercise partners with someone, only to have him or her 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 his or her own success as you are to yours.
  2. Pick a time that works. Figure out a good time that works for both of you and stick with it.¬†My accountability partner and I began by having weekly calls, which turned out to be a little much for us, so we’ve since backed it up to every other week. We meet at exactly the same time with every call so that we’re less likely to forget or miss the appointment.
  3. Set a good length for the calls. In the beginning, we worried about our calls being too long, so we tried shortening them, but ended up feeling like we weren’t getting the same value from them as a result, so we’ve finally settled on calls that run between an hour and a half to two hours, which gives us plenty of time to talk about two weeks of accomplishments and challenges for both of us. By knowing how long to expect, we’re careful not to book things too close to our call time.
  4. Be consistent. My accountability partner and I are very careful to honor our appointment with each other. We know how much it helps us, so we rarely reschedule or cancel our calls.
  5. Plan your agenda. We’ve gone back and forth on this one, but my accountability partner and I agree that when we plan our calls, we’re much more productive and get way more out of the conversation. Usually no later than the Friday before our calls (we meet every other Monday), we email each other our respective lists, which include updates (what we’ve done the past two weeks), big rocks to move (what we intend to do in the coming two weeks), and things to discuss (if we’re having any particular challenges that we need help with).
  6. 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, my accountability partner and I run through the lists, making suggestions and providing feedback to each other.
  7. Split the call. We generally try to split the call so that we cover what’s been going on and what’s to come for both of us. We don’t stick to set time frames, but you might find it to be helpful to dedicate the first half the call to one person and the second to the other.
  8. Be ready to learn. There’s rarely a call when we don’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.
  9. Be ready to help. It’s likely that your partner will want you to review something here and there, so be available to him or her 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.
  10. 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.

The New Year is right around the corner. Take the initiative, find an accountability partner and set your first meeting for the beginning of January. Make a list of what you hope to accomplish in the coming year and let that be the topic of your first call. With the right person and a little bit of planning, you can have the perfect ally to help you have an amazing year!

If you have an accountability partner, how do you make sure that you both get the most from the relationship?

Image from Flickr by prakhar

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