When working with clients I ask them, "what does accountability mean to you?" Most reply with a version of "accountability means that I’m going to tell you what I’m going to do and then I’m going to do it."
My next question is, “what happens if you don’t do what you say you’re going to do?” and almost everyone says something like, “then it’s my fault, you give me hell for it, and I have to accept the consequences.”
This framework of accountability is based on blame, fear, and shame. Even in talking about it, people’s expressions, tone, and body language tell the story of a time when they were made to feel responsible for a failure or shortcoming and “less-than” because something didn’t go right.
It is a judgmental lens that highlights shortcomings.
This definition sucks! We can do better.
A New Definition for Accountability
Accountability is a relationship where every conversation is about growth and learning toward creating consistently positive outcomes.
In this definition of accountability,
Accountability is never punitive!
Every outcome is about growth and learning.
Trust, ownership, and communication are the foundation of a healthy accountability relationship.
The purpose of accountability is to get positive results, consistently.
The accountability relationship is in service of your growth and learning regardless of the outcome.
As a coach using the co active model, this is the framework of accountability that I create and hold with my clients.
Your role is to:
Commit to what you will do and who you will be to create the change you want to see.
Own the action and the outcomes, towards growth and learning
Communicate with me about what you experience.
My role is to facilitate:
Conversations that lead to new actions, attitudes, and outcomes.
Insight from your successes, disappointments, and experiences.
Accountability through courage and compassion that allows you to accept your own good advice.