By now we all know the importance of mentors and sponsors in helping us achieve our career goals. Sponsors can help us get promoted while a mentor gives us guidance. While having both of these are instrumental in our career progression we sometimes forget that we need support and maybe a kick to accomplish our goals. That is where an accountability partner comes in.
Think of it like this “if you make a promise to yourself only, chances are you will easily break that promise. If you have an accountability partner than that person will hold you responsible to that promise,” says Shir Nir, founder, and CEO of Handel Group. Nir, who has been a life coach for over 20 years is a big fan of accountability partners and uses them in his coaching methods. “I see many benefits to having an accountability partner, you have someone who will always support you and is willing to fight for you,” he says.
Michigan based attorney Courtney Gabbara would agree with Nir’s sentiments. Gabbara and colleague turned friend Carla Laroche, a law professor has been accountability partners for a few years now. “She is so motivated and driven and encourages me to take small steps. She will listen and help me cultivate an idea and develop it into a tangible goal,” Gabbara says of Laroche. “She has a goal she wants to achieve, and I want to help her,” chimes in Laroche.
While an accountability partner can be a friend, family member, or colleague it is not necessary for them to be someone you are close with. In fact, when choosing an accountability partner it is important that you have some level of comfort with the person rather than be close. “Setting a goal and accomplishing it requires a lot of vulnerability and you might not want to share everything with a family member or friend,” says Angelina Darrisaw Cheeks, founder, and CEO of C-Suite Coach. In those instances, Cheeks would recommend a career coach. When deciding if someone would be the perfect accountability partner, Cheeks add “find someone who is willing to give direct feedback, someone with whom you can have an open dialogue with.”
Nir states “find someone who isn’t afraid of you and whom will not give you a way out.” “ Your accountability partner must hold you to the promise that you made.”
For Gabbara and Laroche a more laid-back approach has helped them sustain their accountability partnership. Through their regular chats, they will check in on one another regarding a goal. “We aren’t overbearing when it comes to checking in, we will just casually ask each other about how are things going and offer support, we just genuinely want to see each other succeed,” says Laroche.
Adding an accountability partner to your life can be beneficial to your career progression. Accountability partners hold you to benchmarks, are supportive, and help you on your journey to success.