ACCOUNTABILITY: EMPOWERING CHANGE

ACCOUNTABILITY: It isn’t sexy – but it works

It’s a pretty simple concept that will make or break your success, but it’s got a bad rap. Just saying the word out loud – ACCOUNTABILITY — I can feel my defensive hackles rising. And I know better!

According to the dictionary, it’s about accounting for one’s actions. In the business world, it’s used to define expected outcomes and performance goals according to a timeline.

Here’s what it’s not: nagging, judging, forcing. Guilt trips.

COACHING DEFINITION: Am I Doing What I Said I Want To Do?

Accountability is a critical, fundamental tool for empowering people to make real and lasting change. I use accountability every day in many different ways to keep clients motivated and moving towards what they want to accomplish. It’s so basic, it sometimes seems invisible!

The art of accountability in coaching pivots on reflecting an individual’s goals, learning styles and motivation points. An accountability program which fits the person is a powerful tool for success.

Why It Works

Accountability in coaching works because:

  • It creates an external stimulus for transitioning from idea to reality
  • It’s a measuring tool for action and progress
  • It incorporates learning

Ultimately, it’s a structure which empowers people to make meaningful and lasting change.

Three Key Ingredients for Effective Accountability

When you commit to practicing accountability, there are three vital elements: Identifying a metric, tracking, and reporting.

METRIC: What will you measure/observe?

Identify what specific action you can track that will help you achieve your goal. Is your goal to write a book? Writing for 10 minutes a day would be a good metric. Trying to get more exercise? A daily walk may be your metric. Want more clients? Your metric might be reaching out to 10 prospects each week. Don’t make your metric “getting five more clients each week,” because that’s not within your control.

For the best chance at success, start small. Remember last month’s blog? Starting small helps guarantee success because you bypass the part of your brain that goes into overwhelm with big changes.

TRACKING: How will you keep track of what you are measuring?

  • Write it on calendar
  • Create a tracking sheet
  • Daily email/hourly text with your accountability partner
  • Record in journal
  • Maintain an end-of-the-day accomplishment list

Pro tip: try to make it a game. You are more likely to follow through if you make it fun!

REPORTING: Who will you tell?

Pairing up with an accountability partner is the critical ingredient for effective accountability, as well as effective coaching. But you’ve got to have the right person for the job. What qualities make a great Personal Accountability Partner?

  • A relationship of mutual respect and trust
  • Both parties willing and able to give honest, direct feedback
  • No judgment
  • Mutual encouragement without attachment to the outcome

What do you report?

  • Actions taken AND not taken
  • What am I learning?
  • How do I want to apply that learning going forward?

Accountability to Reach Goals and Fulfill Potential

By providing an external structure for measuring action and evaluating your learning process, accountability is a powerful way to discern whether the actions you take are creating the new improved reality you seek.

WHO ARE YOUR ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNERS?

Mary

Small Is the New Big: Take Small Steps to Achieve Big Change

Recently, I rediscovered a book that has been on my shelf for years, called One Small Step Can Change Your Life by Robert Maurer. I love it so much that I want to share it with you.

Dr. Maurer’s big, audacious, surprising notion is that we don’t need to take (and in fact aren’t served by taking) big, audacious, surprising steps. Instead, harness the power of small steps. It’s called the Kaizen Way, after a Japanese principle of manufacturing improvement.

Big Changes Tend to Backfire

The idea here is that those crazy big steps, promises and pivots encouraged by our “CAN DO” culture, are actually more likely to spark fear, overwhelm and cause frustration. When we make big promises, our subconscious puts up big resistance, and while we might start off with a bang, we’ll ultimately lose momentum and feel discouraged. By taking small steps, we avoid setting up that dynamic of internal resistance, finding a natural, graceful way to move securely toward our goals.

Playful, Creative Change Instead of Forcing It

Change – big or small – is scary. By practicing the strategies of the Kaizen Way, we work around our brain’s natural fear response. These strategies lay down new neural pathways that unleash our brain’s natural capacity for creatively and playfully creating change, instead of forcing it.

Instead of making big promises, figure out small steps. Here are three of the six small steps outlined by Robert Maurer!

Three Strategies of the Kaizen Way

Number 1: Ask Small Questions, Repeatedly

Our brains LOVE to play and questions help open the door to our natural creativity. Small, gentle, open-ended, positive questions allow us to tip-toe past the fear and playfully explore! Big questions may trigger our automatic fear response.

Here’s how it works: Instead of asking yourself “how can I lose 30 pounds?” try asking “how can I be physically active today?” Instead of wondering “how can I find my soul mate?” wonder “what would an ideal mate be like?”

Part of this strategy is repetition: ask yourself repeatedly over days or weeks. Post your questions in places where you see them regularly. Mull it over, don’t force it…But do noodle on all the possible answers to your questions. Try writing the answers down.

Number 2: Think Small Thoughts

Dr. Maurer explores the technique of mind sculpture developed by Ian Robertson. With this strategy, you use your imagination/mind to develop new skills. Mind sculpture is more than guided imagery, visualization, or just thinking. It is a total imaginary immersion, engaging all the senses. When you practice mind sculpture, you use your mind to fully immerse yourself in the activity. Your brain believes that you are actually engaged in the activity. This way of practicing engages your mind and neutralizes fear at the same time.

Number 3: Take Small Actions

This is the heart of the Kaizen Way. No matter how much you entertain your brain with puzzles or questions or mental rehearsals, at some point you have to take action in order for change to unfold. These actions need to be so small and seemingly insignificant that they trick that brainy brain of yours! They might even seem small, trivial–even laughable. But they will comfortably, naturally, organically lead you to a second step, then a third, and so on until you have accomplished your goal!

Examples include marching in place for one minute (instead of pledging 45 minutes in the gym), going through one quick conversation in your French textbook (instead of vowing to do a whole chapter), or cutting down your portion size by one bite at each meal (instead of cutting out a meal).

Gentle, Playful, Compassionate Change

The Kaizen Way is a life-long practice that kindly and respectfully encourages you to move towards your goals. Don’t force these small steps: They only work if you allow them to work in a comfortable and easy manner.

All change takes time. Building these new habits requires compassion, trust, optimism and patience. Be kind to yourself, and open to the possibility that small can be huge.

Mary

WHAT’S YOUR THEME FOR 2018?

Now that we’re a few weeks in to 2018, how’s your mojo?

The new year brings the excitement and magic of new beginnings. I love the fresh start, blank page, anything is possible feeling. It energizes me wondering What will this year bring?

You know what doesn’t inspire my mojo? Resolutions.

Invigorate Your New Year with a Theme

Instead of the dread of resolutions, I get my inspiration from a theme.

What themes have kept me revved up and committed to my best, most satisfying life?
Here are a few from the last few years:

“The answer is always there.”
“Yes! Bring on the best!”
“Now is the time for Wild Ass success.”
“Let’s Dance”

They’re dynamic, playful, full of energy: they reflect me. More importantly, my themes inspire me in all areas of my life, grounding me and keeping me focused throughout the year.

Craft Your Theme for 2018

Would you like to try creating a personal theme for your fresh new year?

Grab two pieces of paper and let’s get started. We’ll start with a look back at last year.

Yahoo / Boo-Hoo / Ah Ha!

This is a great year-end exercise. Think back over 2017 and write down…

Yahoos: What were your best moments? What did you accomplish or achieve? What are you proud of? What
delighted you?

Boo-Hoos: What were the tough spots? What didn’t you get to? What were failures or disappointments? Where were
the sad moments? What do you regret?

Ah Has: What did you learn?

Pause. Review. Say Thank You for the experiences of 2017. Really feel that sense of gratitude – from your heart.

NOW…say Farewell: fold up your paper and set it to the side. Better yet, tear it up and throw it away! ADIOS!

2018–What Is Next?
Take sheet number two, and write at the top: 2018–What is next? Reflect on these questions:

  • What do I want my life and career to feel like this year?
  • What do I want more of in my life?
  • What do I want less of? What can I let go of?
  • What fires me up? What will make me feel more alive?
  • What are the challenges?
  • Where can I be more courageous?
  • Where do I want focus?

An Exercise of the Heart, Not the Mind

Let the answers come – this is not something to figure out in your head. In fact – put your hand on your heart, and ask What Is Next? Jot down what comes to you.

Notice any consistent threads? Sometimes a theme pops right out. Other times it takes a while for the words, images, or ideas to emerge.

There is no right way to do this. Allow yourself time to percolate on the questions and answers. It takes time and attention to craft a theme that sparkles and excites you. When you arrive at your right theme, you’ll know–you’ll feel your creative juices surge.

That’s how I felt when I came up with my simple theme for 2018: “Let’s have fun!!” I invite you to find your own perfect theme for the new year, and let it feed your mojo!

Mary

Happy Mid-Year!

Yes, you read it right! I am celebrating the middle part of my year. I know most people are busy setting New Year’s resolutions.  For me, this is the best time to evaluate the plans I made way back in September.

Whatever your preference, this is a great time to stop and check in on where you are.

TRY THIS: Set a 30 minute appointment with yourself in the next week.  Hold your meeting in a quiet, distraction free space.  Bring blank paper and your favorite writing/drawing tools.  Start by closing your eyes and simply focusing on your breath.  When you are ready, ask yourself a few of these questions:

  • What is important to me in this moment of my life?
  • What is humming along quite nicely?
  • What needs fine-tuning?
  • What would I love to DUMP?
  • What are the challenges and obstacles I am facing?
  • What are my goals or aspirations for the next year?
  • Who is on my success team?
  • When will I hire Mary? ;D

Write down or draw your answers.  Remember, the most valuable answers come from your heart!

I’d love to hear what you discover.  Use the comment section below or send me an email: Mary@coacholk.com

Gratitude: It Takes Practice

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.”
~Melodie Beattie

What are you grateful for today?

Sometimes it is as simple as that – taking a moment to notice. I have a gratitude journal that sits by my bed collecting dust most days because I forget that gratitude takes practice.

When I take the time to simply notice what I am grateful for and write it down, I become aware of the fullness of life. My attitude shifts. I am able to let go of the thoughts and habits that artificially stir up trouble. I feel more centered, more grounded which means when I bump into a real problem, I am able to respond with more grace and a sense of humor.

Today I renewed my commitment to a simple practice of gratitude. I started the day by writing down 3 things for which I am grateful and I am committed to do this simple practice for 40 days. Hopefully by then it will become a daily habit!

What simple practice of gratitude will you do?

Goals That Get You Grooving – Free Teleclass

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I know it isn’t January but this is the time of year I stop and take stock of my life and my business. One of the things I do is set my goals and objectives for the next year.

This month in the Growing Edge Teleclass my friend and colleague, Jim Earley [Trailblazer Coaching] will join me for a lively conversation about creating goals that engage and inspire.

Be sure to bring your goals to the conversation – especially if they are dragging you down. We guarantee that you will leave the conversation with a point of view that will inspire your success!

Join us for Goals that Get You Grooving and Moving!

Thursday, September 9 at 10:30 a.m. CT

Register for Goals That Get You Grooving in This event is a teleclass.  on Eventbrite