There are a few things that have a huge impact on how likely you are to achieve your career goals.
Accountability is one of THE most important.
Before we start talking about how to achieve career success with an accountability partner, first let’s consider how personal accountability will help.
The very act of writing down your career goal and saying it loud makes you personally accountable.
Accountability helps you track progress.
It keeps you engaged.
It holds you responsible.
Therefore you are more likely to achieve your career goals.
For an even bigger difference, work with an accountability partner
When you work with an accountability partner, there’s an even bigger difference, because you’ll get called out when procrastinating or hesitating.
The trick is choosing the right partner.
How to choose the right accountability partner for your career success
When you choose an accountability partner for your career success, it needs to be somebody who knows you well.
Not necessarily a close friend because they may be too close to call you out when you’re procrastinating or prevaricating.
It needs to be somebody who’s known you a while, who understands your skills and strengths. It needs to be somebody you respect, somebody you trust and somebody who can be objective about you and your goals.
Your manager at work or your sister may well know you well enough, but sometimes they’re the worst kind of accountability partner, because they can’t be completely objective about you and your goals.
When you’re focused on a career goal, your best accountability partner is somebody who knows you in the work context. Maybe a colleague in another department, or a former work colleague.
Not somebody directly in your team because, again, even with the best will in the world, they may find it difficult to be completely objective.
It’s essential that your accountability partner goes into this willingly – there’s no point working with somebody who said yes but isn’t really into goal setting or who said yes grudgingly.
It works best when you are working towards similar career goals but they don’t need to be exactly the same.
How to ensure that your accountability sessions work
To ensure that your accountability sessions have an impact, focus on one step at a time.
For example your goal might be to earn that next promotion. In order to get promoted you might realise that you need to speak up more in meetings; use more visuals in your presentations; get involved in the bigger client pitches; network with different peers.
Pick just one of those steps towards the goal then focus on that step for the accountability sessions. When you feel you’ve achieved that step, then decide what to focus on next.
At the start of the relationship, agree whether you’ll meet weekly or fortnightly, or even monthly. It works best when you agree a regular day and time e.g. every Friday at 10am. Book that time out in your diary as an absolute priority and commitment.
Your regular catch up need only be 30 minutes. 15 minutes for you, 15 minutes for your partner.
How to set up accountability for career success
In the first meeting, identify the bigger goal you’re working towards.
Brainstorm what steps will help you achieve it.
Agree what step towards your bigger goal you’re going to focus on first.
Before you get started on accountability, first you need to discuss boundaries and ‘rules’.
For example, how are you going to call each other out? What will the structure or format be for each session? How will you ensure that you both keep to time? What length relationship do you both commit to e.g. 3 months, 6 months?
How to structure your accountability session
A simple structure for your accountability session is:
1 – Actions taken since last time
2 – Wins and celebrations
3- Obstacles or barriers
4 – What actions do you commit to now.
Always write down the actions that you will take before the next accountability session. The actions needs to be specific and realistic. It maybe that one action is enough. Better to focus on ONE thing that you get done than too many things left undone.
Write down your actions and your partner’s too.
That way you’re holding each other accountable, and you can use your notes to check in with each other at the next accountability session.
The accountability relationship
A healthy relationship is built on respect, trust, confidentiality, honesty and a willingness to listen.
If it’s not working the way you expect, you both need to feel comfortable to say so.
On the other hand, if it’s working brilliantly, maybe you want to agree to extend the commitment.
How to achieve career success with an accountability partner
When you are working towards a career goal, an accountability partner can make a huge difference to how quickly you achieve career success, as long as you select the right person, get clear on your goal, work with a structure in your accountability sessions and develop a health accountability relationship.
p.s. If you liked this, you’ll love my newsletter that sends career and leadership tips for women in technology straight into your Inbox every week. Sign up for the newsletter HERE.