The PSP Accountability Buddy Guide

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The complete PSP Guide to Accountability Buddies!

 

In this section:

What is an Accountability Buddy?

Accountability Buddy Guidelines

How to be an Effective Accountability Buddy

What to Watch Out For

How to Find an Accountability Buddy

Accountability Buddy FAQs

 

Click HERE to download the Accountability Buddy Guidebook.

 

What is an Accountability Buddy?

An Accountability Buddy (AB) is someone who can help you strive to meet goals, focus your energy, and help you accomplish more than you will if you try to do it alone. Since you’re buddies, it also means you provide those same services to them. An AB is generally not your spouse or a close colleague; either could have too much of an interest in particular outcomes to be impartial or objective. Your AB is your idea bouncer, encourager, feet-to-the-fire helper who can make a difference to your career or project goals.

 

Here are Some Guidelines for working with an Accountability Buddy

Commitment

-          Start with a 3 month commitment. If it works out great, you can continue as long as you want. Plan to assess your AB relationship at the end of the three months and evaluate how you both feel it’s working.

-          Have a goal in mind. Do you want to finish a book proposal? Finish a business plan? Update your website? Your buddy needs to have a clear idea of what you want them to be accountable for.

-          Maintain Regular Meetings. These are planned and unmoving. They can be via phone/Skype but at least a monthly face-to-face is crucial.

-          Ensure Confidentiality. This is imperative to building trust. Assume confidentiality unless told otherwise.

-          Make sure the relationship is reciprocal. This is a two-way street. If you want help without the responsibility of giving back, a career/life coach is a better option.

 

Meeting Structure:

-          Have an agenda for each meeting. Include topics and time frames.

-          Stick to your time limit. Allow equal time for each buddy to help and be helped.

-          Stick to the topic and avoid small talk. You can always get together at other times if you want to socialize too.

-          Take notes. Review your notes before the next meeting so you can hold the other person accountable for what was discussed.

-          End with Action Items. Be clear about just what will happen before the next meeting. Make sure those items are punctuated with words of encouragement – given and received.

 

Practice your Listening Skills

-          Ask your buddy, "What do you need from me?" or “How can I help you?” It may be to question, paraphrase, empathize, support, analyze, evaluate, or advise. Find out what your buddy needs before you assume and behave on what may be the wrong goal.

-          Know what type of listener you are. Are you Action Oriented? Time Oriented? People Oriented? Content Oriented? You may need to stretch into areas you don't typically use to be the best buddy you can be. Broadening your listening skills will not only help your buddy but be useful to you in other interpersonal situations.

-          Be an active listener. Paraphrase what your buddy is saying and check to make sure what you are hearing is correct.

-          Keep yourself in check. Make sure you aren't trying to one-up your buddy or be the fixer when it's not what your buddy is asking for.

 

Ask Questions

-          What are the reasons ___________ will be successful?

-          What are the potential barriers you'll face? How will you overcome these?

-          What's next?

-          What is the next small goal that will feed into the larger goal?

-          What is the ultimate goal and how does this little step support that?

-          What support do you need? Who can help you with this support?

-          What are you learning?

-          How would ___ (the person's idol) tackle this issue?

-          What is your legacy?

-          What is distracting you? How can you remove this distraction?

 

How To Be an Effective Accountability Buddy

-          Be Open Minded, Closed Mouth. They need someone who can actively listen and really understand the problem before trying to fix things.

-          Do Construction Work when needed. They need someone who can see from the outside things they may not be able to see.

-          Work on Problem Solving. When they are struggling, you can help strategize things that might help overcome those struggles.

-          Cheerlead/Encourage. When your AB doesn’t believe they can do it, they need someone who can cheer them on and make them believe. Your belief in their ability to succeed can remind them of other relevant successes..

-          Keep your Buddy Focused. They need someone to keep them on task and keep things clear and concise. Once they start wandering it's hard to stay focused.

-          Honesty is best (but be kind!). They need a buddy who is honest and doesn’t just think everything they do is great.

-          Work on Goal Setting. They need someone to hold their feet to the fire and push them to succeed.

-          Be a Curious George. They need someone who can ask open ended questions and delve into the reasons they want to do something.

-          Exude Compassion. It's tough to be challenged on your desires and work. They need someone who can be tough and kind simultaneously. If they feel like you are interrogating them it's not a safe atmosphere.

-          Be your Buddy's Advocate. They need someone who can represent them to others and help them network where possible.

-          Mirror Mirror. They need someone who can show them the best in themselves and finds their strengths to overcome their shortcomings.

-          Energizer. At the end of your sessions they should feel like they've got a great set of goals and that you've helped get them there.

 

Watch out for these less than helpful Accountability Buddies:

-          Wendy Whiner. You need to find someone who can push you to succeed, not help you justify why you can't.

-          Disingenuous Dave. You need to both walk the walk and talk the talk. Be authentic. If you didn't make your goal, don't try to cover it up to save face.

-          Naysaying Nancy. This is a buddy who spends too much time telling you why it won't work without guiding you and helping you to define how it could work.

-          Platform Paul. If you buddy is constantly turning your issues around to focus on him/herself to one-up you, then you will not get support.

-          Debbie Dictator. Your buddy is ONE person who has his/her own opinions. Don't let one person's opinions dictate if you are going to make it happen.

NOTE: If you feel that your Accountability Buddy needs professional support it's in both of your best interest to make that happen for them. Accountability Buddies are not professional therapists, life coaches or counselors.

 

How to Find an Accountability Buddy

Do you want an Accountability Buddy (An A-Bud)?  Join the PSP Career Subgroup A-Buds HERE to make that happen! Post a brief introduction about yourself stating what you are looking for and hopefully you can make a connection.

Tips for writing an introduction:
-          State your name and business
-          Highlight a strength
-          Succinctly describe what your goal is or what opportunity you want to grow
-          Briefly describe your availability/ schedule and what type of communication works best for you.
-          Avoid promotional language

 

Example:

Hi! My name is Tracey.  I run a Personal Training business (10+ years!).  I'm a great motivator but need someone to help me stay on track as I develop a Fitness/ Diet blog.   Because I see clients all weekend, morning and evening, early afternoon in the week works best for me.  Let's talk goals and steps over coffee!

 

Accountability Buddy FAQs

 

Should your Accountability Buddy be in the same field?

You can choose your AB by any industry. When choosing your AB the most important thing to consider is who will be a best fit and offer you the kind of support you need.

NOTE: while an AB in your industry might be helpful to pool contacts and share expertise, it could also foster competitiveness or cautiousness which could hold you back.

 

How often should you check in with your AB?

A set time once a week is encouraged. This weekly check-in is a fixed time that is unmoving. In between monthly check-ins, it helps if there is a scheduled call time weekly or bi-weekly to check in on action/ inaction.

NOTE: A successful AB relationship will only work if both parties honor the time committed and allocated for check-ins. If you move the time frequently then you (or your partner) may not be committed enough to the relationship.

 

What is the best way to communicate with your AB?

It depends on the person! Some people work better by email, others in person or over the phone. You can send daily texts to help encourage your buddy or as a check in that you're fulfilling commitments without it being so "formal." A fixed, monthly face-to-face meeting is highly suggested with Skype/phone calls in between your monthly meet up.

 

My AB keeps cancelling our check in at the last minute. What do I do?

You need to go behind the smokescreen of excuses. Find out the real reason behind their excuse to cancel and work that into how you set up your appointment. Find out where there is a spare 30-60 minutes and try to set up a 7:30 breakfast meeting; meet at the café next to where the kids have their weekly class; go to the Park with a picnic.

NOTE: Feeling stressed out?? Go for a long walk for your meeting – fresh air, exercise and a great conversation can do wonders to clear the head!

 

How do you differentiate between the big picture goals versus weekly action steps?

The AB relationship initially starts as a minimum 3 month time commitment. To begin with, think about what you would like to have achieved 3 months from now. Action steps are a specific change that will achieve a specific outcome. Action steps are what push a project to completion. Breaking things down into actionable steps will help the feeling over "overwhelm."

 

How do you keep the AB relationship peer to peer and avoid a mentor/coach/ therapist scenario?

An AB relationship is about mutual respect and part of that is honoring boundaries. If a relationship has turned into a therapist/client scenario it’s only because you have let boundaries slip. If you fear that your meeting might be heading into that direction, it is crucial to focus on goals and actions that you can do instead of worry about why you can't do it.

However, you may find that there are people who need more help than you can give. If you find that this is the case it is important to acknowledge the problem and quickly redirect the conversation. A useful thing to say might include:

“Gee, that sounds like a significant issue for you to address. Honestly, I don’t have the right skills to handle this with the importance it deserves. It sounds like a career coach/ HR/ therapist/ might be great for working out this particular problem with you. In the meantime, let’s get back to your goal at hand – and maybe setting something up like this needs to part of your action steps.”

In your next meeting, check in to see if they have sought out professional help.

 

What do you do if an AB doesn't pull their weight?

Tell your AB with how you feel! It is important to be communicative. Tell them what you need from them and be specific.

 

What happens if the relationship/ dynamic isn’t working?

It is important to honor your three month time commitment. If you are feeling frustrated by your AB, focus on the positives and think about what you can learn from them. Turn a problem into a solution and see it as a personal challenge. Turn obstacles into opportunities for personal growth. For example:

Is your AB a stickler for specifics? Think of that as an opportunity to become more detail oriented. Is your AB combative? Turn that into ways to advance your presentation style. Does your AB appear apprehensive? Strategize ways to communicate your ideas more effectively.