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business coach accountability

There’s been some discussion swirling around my business coach community on the subject of accountability. Admittedly, it’s a broad topic that means different things to different people. However, accountability — primarily, the act of holding oneself accountable — seems to be most prevalent.

What comes to mind when you think of accountability?

As I ponder what accountability means in my universe, I define it as doing what I said I would do long after the mood in which I said I would do so has passed. That’s key — the mood thing.

It says I am reliable to do my part — even if I no longer feel like it. People can place their trust in me. It screams when I commit to doing something, I’ll follow through no matter what.

Frankly, it’s hard for me not to keep my promises (i.e., remain accountable) to others, no matter how much anxiety it creates. Staying accountable to myself, however, can be a unicorn.

The Accountability Argument with Oneself

business coach accountability

I’m not alone in my quest to hold myself accountable. One of the primary reasons people seek out a business coach is to keep them responsible for their goals.

What is it about the promises we make to ourselves or the goals we set that make it so challenging to hold our own feet to the fire?

It’s pretty easy to talk ourselves out of following through on a promise we made to ourselves. This is because it’s such an intelligent conversation. From the witty negotiation to the strong arguments against following through, it’s a surprise we’re not all allowed to try cases in a court of law without any formal training.

It reminds me of the cartoon with the devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other while powerfully presenting the case for or against. Whoever wins the argument rules the universe.

Owning Accountability

One of my favorite definitions of accountable is by Business Dictionary

The obligation of an individual or organization to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them and disclose the results in a transparent manner. It also includes the responsibility for money or other entrusted property.

It’s this definition that sheds light on our struggle.

As business owners, we are only accountable to ourselves. Unless your business structure consists of a Board of Directors or shareholders, there is no one to “scold” you for your “bad behavior.” As a result, there are seldom consequences — beyond the crushing disappointment of missing deadlines or treasured goals.

Beyond engaging a business coach to hold our feet to the fire and honor the commitments we make to ourselves — and then — it’s sheer willpower that seems to be the glue that holds it all together. But, unfortunately, it will lose its power throughout the day — much like a muscle loses strength from continual use. I can already see the epic flaw and failure in this strategy!

Knowing how easy it is to let ourselves off the hook, it’s essential to consider a better structure. Although I’m naturally going to advocate for hiring a business coach, after all, that is my thing — it is best to create your system of accountability.

With your system in place, you rely upon yourself. And, as the saying goes, you’ll never leave you. It’s foolproof.

The Business Coach Approach to Accountability

To help you create your accountability structure, here are a few considerations:

1) Make sure you’re genuinely committed to what you say you want to achieve. Lots of us say we want something. But, in reality, it’s more of a want, a wish, or a should. There’s no real commitment behind it. Unless you can settle upon a goal you are committed to achieving; you’re only fooling and frustrating yourself.

2) Once you’ve identified a goal to which you are genuinely committed, carve out time — dedicated, uninterrupted time — during which you will do what it takes to achieve your goal. Outside of time for achievement, it’s a Santa Claus moment as you await some miracle on 35th street.

3) Surround yourself with the correct information and the right people. You’ve set your goal and carved out time. You can’t continue to poke around on FB (or whatever other social media platform you use to kill time). Your goal, and your commitment to its achievement, are much too significant. And, you know the definition of insanity — doing the same thing and expecting different results. Ugh! What are you willing to change?

4) Put a little skin in the game. That worked beautifully for me recently during a 28 day no alcohol February. In the past, where willpower failed me miserably, I put my money where my willpower wasn’t. To hold myself accountable for my goal, I committed to donating $100 to the re-election of a particular politician that I absolutely, positively did not want to be re-elected for every drink I took.

It worked!

Every time I wanted to pour myself a bit of merlot at the end of a particularly stressful day, I thought of the check I would have to write for this so-called treat. Heck no!

Bottom Line: It’s a DIY World

There’s freedom in knowing you have built the internal and external structure to honor your commitments. Think about it. Your accountability framework eliminates the need or desire to blame someone else — to scapegoat others — if, for whatever reason, they don’t hold you accountable to your commitment. (Even writing this is a bit crazy-making.)

Yes, you can use the structure of a coaching appointment for accountability, but, honestly, a coach is not your boss, spouse, mother, or judge. They don’t have the kind of power for enforcing consequences — even those to which you have agreed.

You and your system of accountability, on the other hand? It’s a winning combination.

resilience

If there’s any skill the small business entrepreneur has cut their teeth on during the past 18 months, it’s resilience. And not necessarily by choice, but rather by chance. One’s adaptability to the significant — and sudden — adversity and stress brought on by the pandemic has certainly tested our limits in ways we never dreamt possible.

How resilient are we? Well, funny you should ask!

When questioned, most people consider themselves resilient. In fact, 83 percent of Americans believe they have high levels of emotional and mental resilience. The reality? Only 57 percent scored as resilient. (In their defense, that’s a rather significant feat.)

The Seven C’s of Resilience

My good friend and colleague, Dr. Ruth Hansten, knows only too well what it takes to be “resilient fit.” As a result of her own personal journey, she beautifully outlines the seven C’s of resilience in her mini-video series, From the Chaos of the COVID Crucible to Grit with Grace.

Whether one is knee-deep in adversity or not, insight and perspective from her mini-series is well worth the time as she takes you on the journey from compassion to comic relief.

Here’s what you can look forward to learning…

resilience

Part one: Compassion and gratitude toward ourselves and others hone resilience.

Part two: Commitment to your purpose fortifies resilience.

Part three: Connection with others strengthens resilience.

Part four: Curiosity helps us take a step back, gain perspective, and take back our power. 

Part five: Using challengecourage and reframing opens ourselves to a more positive future.

Part six: Control explores power, influence, and letting go in order to become more resilient.

Part seven: Comic relief discusses the use of humor in coping in the midst of COVID, natural disasters, civil unrest, and inequality.

My Personal Community Experience

I recently had a personal opportunity to experience a relatively unknown, unspoken C of Resilience — community.

Following an unforeseen healthcare dilemma, I became deeply immersed in community — two, in fact. This was nothing I requested — or wanted — but, like Dr. Hansten, I met it head-on with grit and occasional grace. (Seriously. What were my options, right?)

Being thrust into a community, especially one that was not my choosing, became part of the process.

One “community” was sorely missing direction, communication, collaboration, and support. It was frustrating. What’s the goal? What’s the plan? What do I need to accomplish to move to the next level? These are only a few questions that, unfortunately in this “community” went repeatedly unanswered.

The other “community” presented quite a uniquely different — and life-changing — experience.

Comprised of caring, compassionate caregivers with well-honed systems, communication of plans, goals, and expectations was clear and concise. Opportunities for collaboration were encouraged, lending itself to accelerated progress toward mutually developed goals.

Most importantly, their continual optimism, insight, encouragement, and support toward commonly shared goals kept me buoyed beyond what I would have expected or anticipated.

Little did I realize the tremendous value of such a community. And it was a stark reminder of the importance of community and its indelible impact on business growth, especially during challenging times.

The Role of Community for Resilience

As small business entrepreneurs, we are often “members” of a community, whether we realize it or not. These, also, are often by chance — not by choice.

Whether it’s a Facebook group, a Twitter chat, or whatever is happening these days on Linkedin, it’s natural to get caught up – sucked in, if you will – with what feels like affiliate groups. It’s a shared experience. These so-called communities can have a deep influence on ideas, beliefs, and, ultimately, our business growth trajectory as we invest more of ourselves into them.

The real question then becomes does the community to which we have become so devoted provide the bounce-back ability needed to rise to the next level in our business. Do they shore us up — inspire us to fight on — or leave our aspirations to wither away on the cutting room floor?

Calculate Your Community for Resilience Fit

Here’s a quick tutorial for calculating the value of your communities:

  1. Make a list of the communities with whom you spend time.
  2. Ask if you feel better, the same, or worse after being with them.
  3. Place a plus (+) sign next to those leaving you inspired and uplifted — resilient, if you will, an equal (=) sign after those with whom you feel the same, and a minus (-) sign next to those communities that leave you feeling “meh.”
  4. Based on the pluses, equals, and minuses, ask, “What am I doing hanging out with the equals and minuses?”

We need a place to build relationships with like-minded business owners. A place to connect in a more profound way. A place where questions are answered, support is provided, and encouragement is kindled. 

A place to work smarter and grow faster.

We need communityAndimmersing yourself in community is good — if they inhabit the plus (+) category for your business.

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Brooke Billingsley

Vice President
Perception Strategies

Synnovatia is a strategic coaching firm that is detailed and knowledgeable about business. i have a small business that grew from $150K to $750K because of the goal setting and resources that Synnovatia provided. It saves me years of learning on my own.

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