Who’s Your Coach? - The Power of Accountability

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Inspiring Examples

I want you to think about some professionals that inspire you. Think about huge sensations like Adele. Or fitness gurus and celebrity trainers like Jillian Michaels. There are athletes like JJ Watt, or TV personalities like Al Roker. All of these may be people you look up to, whose successes you admire or aspire to.

You’d agree that they all had support as they rose to the top, right? They all needed some type of assistance, whether with business, photography, social media, public relations, or something else altogether. Along the way, I believe that they all had mentors that they reached out to for advice as they established their careers.


Who’s your mentor?

Who has experience at the level of success that you desire? Finding the right accountability partner is key to having substantial success in your field.

So where do we begin? Well, first of all, think about the categories of your life. There are seven major categories: career, finance, spiritual, physical, intellectual, family, and social. I would encourage you to choose accountability partners in any or all of these areas where you want to make a commitment of growth and development. To stay focused, I’ll stick with choosing an accountability partner for your career.

As mentioned before, this is someone (or a few people) who have reached a level of success that you desire. We’re going to start with a brainstorm list. Take out a timer and set it for fifteen minutes. Remove any distractions. Set your cell phone in another room, make sure there’s no social media distraction.

If you get easily distracted like I do, you may want to go to a coffee shop, or somewhere else where you may be able to focus more easily. And then simply write down a list of all of the successful individuals or companies that come to mind, without stopping and without restrictions.

Then go through each person and company and write down who they know or who works for them that could be the right person for you.

Here’s an example: I knew that my friend, Jacob, was a successful real estate agent, so I put his name on my list. I could reach out to him directly, but I could also reach out to his boss, because I’ve heard Jacob mention that his boss offers amazing education, and has been a tremendous resource for him. So, in other words, I want you to think outside the box and avoid any temptation to think, “Oh, they’d never have time to talk to me,” or “They’re too busy,” or “I couldn’t reach out to them, I don’t know them.”

You don’t necessarily have to know the person. They don’t necessarily need to be in your field or specialize in the things you’re specialized in. And this is also just a starting point! You just need to make a huge list without overthinking it.


Mentors to Avoid

There’s only one rule to your brainstorming session. You cannot list any friends, family members or other relatives.


Because you don’t want to choose someone you can manipulate. If I choose my husband as an accountability partner, I’d rip his frickin’ head off if he ever tried to tell me that what I was doing wasn’t right. And maybe that’s saying too much about our relationship…and we’re going to work on that!  But you definitely don’t want to choose someone you can manipulate, or someone who can manipulate you!

Number two, you don’t want to select someone who’s going to let you off the hook! People who are very close to you are going to empathize at a higher level. It’s good to have a mentor who can say, “I can empathize with you, however, these are still the expectations that you and I agreed you were going to hit!”

Then you also have to consider that you don’t want to choose anyone you’re going to hold a grudge against if they hold you accountable. You don’t want to have anyone to blame but yourself if you don’t reach your goals. I think it’s so important to choose someone you aren’t close with. There’s a different mindset to valuing one another when you do that.


You Get What You Pay For

Have you ever thought about hiring a coach, but hesitate out of fear?

I’m going to share my success story with you. In 2010 I founded my upscale salon boutique. It was my first business with actual, W-4 employees. Prior to this, it was just me operating as an independent contractor. Three years after opening the salon, I had great success. We had approximately twelve employees. But I hit a plateau. I got as far as I could based on what I knew I needed to do. But I wanted more, I was seeking more. I knew it was time to find help, and I had heard this business coach stand up and speak at a networking event.

And it just hit me: this my guy, I have to talk to him. So I met with him, and I have to tell you, it was not cheap. I was very scared of the cost. For weekly sessions, it was $2,000 per month. That’s $500 per hour! I knew that it was a fear of mine to spend that kind of money. At the time, I wasn’t even spending that much money on advertising. But I asked myself this question, and I want you to ask yourself this question also: What would it cost if you didn’t hire a coach?

That’s what I thought to myself, “What would it cost if I didn’t hire a coach?” When I was weighing the costs, the fear of receding, or falling behind, or going backwards; that fear outweighed the fear of the money part. So, when I thought about that, it was very clear. I took the risk and I spent the money. I hired a business coach. So after one full year of working with my coach, what happened? Our salon expanded! We added an additional 50 percent on to our working space. And are you ready for this? We had 838 percent increase in profits during the first quarter alone, compared to the year before. It was huge! We also hired our first full-time manager, and it gave me the freedom to work on the business instead of in the business. There is no way that I could be here with you today, investing the time and educating others had I not had support inside of the salon. If it was me there running everything, this would not happen.

So, as a result of hiring the coach, our team has now doubled, we have four managers, all full-time, we have our first two apprentices, which are young stylists-to-be who learn from you and your team. From our education and direction they will be able to go forth and take their state license exam and become official practitioners.

Looking at my story, wouldn’t you agree that it was worth every penny? I certainly do.


Choosing Your Mentor and Reaching Out

Now that you’ve narrowed down your list and you’ve looked at who’s on your list, we get to the really hard part: having the guts to reach out to them. So, let’s get this fear out of the way right now. You all know that the worst thing that could happen is that they say, “No, I just can’t do that, that’s not going to work for me.”

And that’s okay. Everything happens for a reason. Either they aren’t the right accountability partner for you, or right now isn’t the right time for the two of you. But that’s exactly why you made a huge list of options.

And if you’re wondering how you’d reach out to someone on your list, I would recommend using a simple message. I mean a short, simple message that won’t overwhelm someone. I suspect that no one, not even you, would want to open up a message that’s four paragraphs long. It’s too daunting. You don’t have to tell them everything that you’re looking for right now. So here’s an example:

“Hi, Jacob. I hope you’re doing well. I wanted to see if you had time this week for coffee or a drink after work. I have an idea to run past you and would appreciate your input. Thanks!”

And then sign off. I’m assuming if you’re picking somebody that is really to the level of the success you’re going for, this is probably going to be an email, or a voicemail. Because you don’t know them very well yet, and if they’re really high up, it’s probably going to be even harder to find out that information or to get a hold of them. So I would go through their website to email them, usually using the “contact us” page. And again, this is why we create a huge list of options—sometimes you may be unable to contact someone.

Then when you get face to face you can really say, “You’re someone that I would love to learn from, and I would love to form an accountability partnership. Here’s where I am, and here’s where I want to be. How does that feel for you? Would that be in line for something you could work with me on?”

And when you’re meeting face to face, I’d hope that these will be transparent people. I don’t believe that very successful individuals are usually timid. Typically they’re more assertive and willing to tell you “no” if it’s not right for you or for them. So if they do say, “I won’t be the right fit for you,” I hope they’ll also say, “Here’s someone else I’d talk to if I was you.”

They’re probably going to volunteer that information if they know they’re not right for you. But if they don’t tell you, you can also ask, “Who would you recommend that could be a good fit for me, based on what you know now?”

We tend to want to help one another, and they’re going to be flattered that you respected them enough to consider them. I believe they’ll want to help you.  Now we come to the point where you meet with one or three or five or fifteen prospects, until you’ve chosen a great partner who is ready to work with you.


Establishing Boundaries

The final step is to come up with clearly defined boundaries. Here is my personal list of questions for you to consider:

  • First off, how often will you meet?
  • Will you meet in person, speak on the phone, or communicate online?
  • In between meetings, will your mentor still be accessible?
  • If so, what is the preferred method of contact? Is that text at this point? Email? Social media messaging?
  • Will there be homework to complete before each meeting? In other words, establish some concrete goals, rules and steps to success.
  • And there probably should be some expectations between meetings! This is the main point of having an accountability partner!
  • If one person cannot meet when you’re intending to, what are the expectations on notifying one another? Is that 24 hours? Within the week? Of course, there is always the chance of unexpected disruptions, but make all efforts to attend your meetings, and find an accountability partner who will do the same for you.

Simply put, clearly define your boundaries before ever beginning.

This is also why it’s so important to choose someone who isn’t close to you. Once they’ve been established, the boundaries will never become fuzzy. If you pay for a coach, the boundaries issue becomes a nonissue, because you are following their guidelines, and playing by their rules. That’s the opportunity that having a coach allows for.

Think about this. If you take these steps and stick with an accountability partner, you will undoubtedly have tremendous success.

And you may be thinking, “How can I be sure?”

Well, think about it. Compare this to professional athletes. None of them are without a coach, let alone a team of coaches. Why shouldn’t you find success in a similar way?

If you are ready to hire a coach, Beyond the Technique can help! Check out our services page to learn more. 

Emily Kelly