Showing posts with label Accountability Coach. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Accountability Coach. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Three Steps for Building a New Habit

When you decide to make a change, you've taken an important step. Now you need to follow through on your commitment.

But there’s a problem.

As you begin this undertaking, you find that your old way of doing things kicks in more often than the new way. That’s because your brain is literally wired – it has physical connections – for the familiar pattern you’ve been using.

It’s like putting on a pair of old, comfortable shoes. Breaking in a new pair takes time and can be somewhat painful for a while.

When you want to change a habit, you have to move through this “Crunch Point” until the new, awkward way starts feeling natural.

Following a three-step process can facilitate the change process.

The first step is FOCUS. You may have several areas you could work on, but success comes from working on just ONE habit at a time and learning how to do it the right way. Trying to address several changes at once simply doesn't work.

After identifying what to work on and how to do it right, you’re ready to take the next step: ACTION. You apply what you learned. And not just once or twice. Dozens or even hundreds of times. It takes a lot of repetition and practice to rewire the brain circuit so the behavior becomes comfortable.

You can accelerate the rewiring process by using the third step, REFLECTION, to learn from your experience. Instead of simply repeating the behavior, you think about what happened. The lessons your take away will refine your skill. Each time you repeat the new behavior, you answer a series of five questions:
  1. What happened?
  2. Why did it happen that way?
  3. What were the consequences?
  4. What would you do differently in the future?
  5. What are your next steps?
Completion of these three steps - Focus, Action and Reflection - is what we refer to as a “rep,” or repetition of the desired behavior. Learning what to do, then practicing the behavior in real life, followed by learning from the experience.

You repeat this cycle of focus, action and reflection many times until the behavior becomes automatic. It takes many reps to reach the ultimate goal…a new, established habit.

As with any skill, the key to ingraining it is practice, practice and more practice – a lot of repetition over time.

To keep you on track, enlist the help of an accountability coach who will make sure you follow through on your commitments and stay on track.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Best Kind of Accountability Coach

Several years ago we retained the services of a marketing consultant who gave us some terrific ideas for growing our business.

In the process of working together, I got to know “Brian” well, both personally and professionally. On occasion, he’d confide in me about challenges he was facing with his college-age son.

I remember one time in particular.

Brian described how he’d responded to one of his son’s many requests. I was dumbfounded. This dad was clearly engaging in what any counselor would call “enabling” behavior – doing something for another person that he should be doing for himself. Creating dependence. Not preparing this young man to become a responsible, successful adult.

I made the decision in a split-second to jump in with both feet and ask him some hard questions.

Questions that forced him to think about the consequences of his actions.

He was clearly uncomfortable trying to come up with responses to my questions, but I persisted. I could envision the disastrous father-son relationship unfolding with all kinds of undesirable outcomes. I felt compelled to help Brian see what could happen if he continued to rescue his son.

Later, Brian thanked me and said that conversation was a turning point in their relationship.

And then he used a phrase to describe me that I cherish to this day:


I pride myself on speaking the truth to people, but I try to do it gently, to maintain the other person’s dignity and self-esteem.

I got to thinking…we all need at least one person in our lives who’s willing to be that kind of coach for us, an accountability coach.

Your motivation increases – sometimes by a factor of 10 or more – when you know you have to answer to someone else for your actions.

The founders of 12-step programs understood this. When people start attending meetings, they are encouraged to get a “sponsor.” This is a person who will be there to support them and ask the hard questions to keep them on track.

If you’re trying to make a significant change in your life – whether it’s related to your career, a personal relationship, an addiction, eating habits, or exercise routine – make it a priority to find someone who will agree to be your accountability coach.

This person’s main job is to contact you regularly and ask whether you did what you said you were going to do.

Knowing you’ll have to face this person’s questions helps you stay on track during moments of weakness, distraction or potential excuse-making.

Who’s the best person to ask?

1. Someone you trust. You’re going to be opening yourself up to scrutiny and making yourself vulnerable. So you have to feel confident that he or she will have your best interest at heart and keep confidential anything you share.

2. Someone who will be honest with you. Who would make the best “velvet hammer” for you? You need a person who will tell you the truth without sugar-coating it.

3. Someone who’s willing to contact you regularly. Who can you count on to follow through and stick with the schedule you both agree to? Consistency is key here, so you need a person you can depend on.

Having an accountability coach doesn't have to take a lot of time for either party. The goal is to keep you on track with frequent touch-points. Your coach’s role is to ask questions that reveal if you've been completing the actions you committed to. You can even create the questions you want the person to ask you. After all, YOU know better than anyone what you want to achieve…and what sort of accountability structure will best keep you on track.

If you’d like to investigate a technology that combines a proven process for building new habits with a group of support coaches, check out ProStar Coach. A one-year subscription to this online development system can help you develop the strengths and skills you need to be strong for every aspect of your life.

Monday, February 6, 2012

An Accountability Coach Can Help You Get Results

Do you have an area in your life that you need to improve, but for some reason you’ve lacked the motivation or commitment to make the change? Maybe it’s being more productive at work or scheduling more time with your family. For your long-term health, you may want to establish a regular exercise program or eat more nutritious foods.

It’s the rare person who can change a habit or master a new skill without the aid of a coach or support system. All athletes have a coach who shows them how to do the skill the right way, gives feedback, and offers encouragement along the way.

One of the most effective strategies you can implement is to get yourself an accountability coach. This is someone who will hold your feet to the fire to make sure you do what you say you’ll do.

You want to choose this person carefully. You have to be able to count on your coach to keep appointments and be committed to your success. Because you may expose your imperfections and vulnerabilities along the way, there also needs to be strong trust. And your coach needs to know how to give encouragement since you’re likely to hit some rough spots along the way.

Schedule daily or weekly contacts, whatever works best for both of you. Just make sure it’s often enough that you’re motivated to take action and make real progress between phone or in-person conversations.

Be clear about what you want your coach to hold you accountable for. You can even create the questions you want the person to ask you.

In his book, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, Marshall Goldsmith describes how he works with his own accountability coach. His coach calls him every night, no matter where he is in the world, and asks him a series of 12 questions that Marshall gave him. Here are just a few:

-  How happy are you?
-  How much walking did you do?
-  How much time did you spend writing
-  How many times did you try to prove you were right when it wasn’t worth it?

These questions keep Goldsmith focused on aspects of his life that he’s identified as important. They serve to keep him on track as he goes through his day, because he’s keenly aware of the answers he'll have to give later.

You may have just one area you want to improve. In that case, you can structure just a few questions for your own coach to ask you. Here are a couple of examples to stimulate your thinking:

To get more done in your work:
-  How many hours of uninterrupted time did you devote to your #1 priority project?
-  How often did you check email and phone messages? 
-  Did you let anyone call you or come into your office and just chat without an appointment?

To become more physically fit:
-  How much time did you spend on cardio workouts?
-  What strength training did you do?
-  Did you eat at least 6 fruits and vegetables?
-  How many high-fat foods did you eat?

In the opening words of one of my favorite books, The Road Less Traveled, author Scott Peck states that “Life is difficult.” As you grapple with the challenges you’ll inevitably face on your journey, you’ll find the path easier to navigate with an accountability coach – someone who will support you and make sure you follow through on your commitments.