Coaching and Accountability
“Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to the result.”
As an ambitious person, you will no doubt have career goals. You may even have some idea about what you need to do in order to achieve said goals, and that’s great! All you need to do now, is draw up a plan to get you there and then stick to it.
That sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?
What’s stopping you? Are you too busy? Do you have other commitments?
Isn’t it rude how real life always gets in the way of your dreams?
The simple truth is, wanting something and knowing how to achieve it doesn’t necessarily mean you have the motivation, time and discipline to do so.
“Discipline is the foundation upon which all success is built. Lack of discipline inevitably leads to failure.”
The Marshmallow Test
Back in 1972, Walter Mischel of Stanford University led a study into ‘delayed gratification’.
He offered 32 children (with a median age of 4) a small, edible reward, or a bigger reward if they were able to wait for a period of time without indulging.
Mischel left the child alone in a room with the small treat for 15 minutes and then returned. As you’d expect, some children gave into temptation and others waited for the bigger treat.
The subjects were then revisited later in life to understand if the self-control they exhibited in the test, was predictive of their adult behaviour.
Interestingly, the children who were able to wait longer without eating the treat, had higher SAT scores and fewer behavioural problems; thus, highlighting a connection between self-discipline and success.
Do you have the self-discipline required to achieve your goals?
To anyone who has ever owned a gym membership and not used it, I feel you.
Working towards any goal requires extra graft and frankly, after a hard day at the office, the last thing anyone wants to do is more work.
“Work is hard. Distractions and plentiful and time is short.”
Life is full of fun distractions!
The lure of the couch is strong and owning a smartphone means we have live streaming, social media, games and Google at our fingertips. We now have to be more disciplined than ever if we want to achieve our goals.
According to the American Psychological Association, ‘willpower’ is the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.
So, how’s your willpower?
Do you remain resolute in the face of distraction, or do you have the breaking strain of a KitKat?
If it’s the latter, you are not alone…
Around a third of my clients have some level of challenge when it comes to completing their actions. They’ll leave their coaching session completely inspired to take action, but return the following week with excuses and apologies; ‘stuff’ always gets in the way.
The thing is, it’s not really me they should be apologising to; the only career they’re hurting is their own.
Your goals are your responsibility!
If you choose to ignore your goals and sit on your backside watching Netflix, then own it.
We’re all allowed ‘weak’ days when it comes to self-discipline and we do need to relax, but if deep down you know you will always have the willpower of a lemming, it’s time to do something about it.
All is not lost.
One of the most successful ways of overcoming life’s distractions and staying focussed, is to get yourself a coach who can hold you accountable to your plan.
“People are 65% more likely to meet a goal after committing to another person. Their chances of success increase to 95% when they build in ongoing meetings and their partners check in on their progress.”
The American Society of Training and Development.
Holding clients accountable to fulfilling their dreams is a huge part of what I do. I even have clients who use my services solely to hold them accountable and ask me to not to listen to any of their excuses.
These clued-up clients completely understand that self-regulation is not their thing and have outsourced the behaviour.
As their coach, I always challenge any lack of progress against their goal (which they are paying good money to achieve) and support them in their attempts to get back in control.
“Procrastination is the thief of time.”
The Art of Self-Sabotage:
Self-sabotage is when a person exhibits behaviours that hinder their own success. They may do this for a variety of reasons, but the most common are low confidence or self-worth, fear of failure or feeling vulnerable, cognitive distortions and self-limiting beliefs. (I have touched on several of these in earlier articles, please follow the links above for more information.)
Self-sabotage can manifest in many ways and here are some examples: procrastination, perfectionism, self-medicating, comfort eating, over-thinking and the refusal to leave one’s comfort zone.
“You can always find a distraction if you’re looking for one.”
As a coach, it is my role to encourage clients to recognise self-sabotaging behaviour in themselves, and understand the cause. I then support them whilst they work on whatever it is that is holding them back.
Stop standing in your own way!
When clients come to our sessions with reasons as to why they aren’t ‘on plan’ to achieve their goals, their excuses will usually revolve around them being pulled away due to the demands of their job or personal life. Of course, there are going to be some matters that will require immediate attention, but a surprising amount of the ‘obstacles’ my clients face, are completely self-perpetuated.
They have poor time management: When it comes to time and prioritisation management, there are heaps of tools and methods out there to help improve efficiency. It’s my role as a coach to enable my clients to identify skill gaps they have around productivity and then hold them accountable to learning to master their own time.
They have warped expectations: If clients are going to be held accountable to achieving a goal, it’s important that their expectations are realistic. If expectations are too high, it can lead to disappointment and poor motivation. If expectations are too low, progress will be slow. Whether their warped expectations are to do with their abilities, the abilities of the people around them or timescales involved, it’s my role to encourage clients to challenge their own beliefs and help them to keep perspective.
Not wanting it enough: Sometimes, once a client has started their coaching journey and done a bit of self-discovery, they find that the thing they thought they wanted, they really don’t want at all. My coaching clients always learn new things about themselves and these realisations often lead them down a different path and that’s okay! Course corrections are common; that’s one of the reasons we start coaching journeys by looking inwards. Meeting regularly with my clients makes tweaking their plans easy, meaning they are always on course to achieve their goals.
Can coaching help you to achieve your goals?
Once my clients have a solid foundation for growth and feel they are ready smash some targets, I help them to do just that. We break their plan down into bitesize chunks and each week, I hold them accountable to