What would you do with this situation? “I am struggling with my coachee because he’s my close friend. Sometimes we come up with action plans, but they don’t get done. I think it’s because my friend can appeal to our friendship to avoid accountability. How can I improve our coaching?”
Here are 5 ideas I’d suggest on how to address accountability in a coaching relationship:
1. If I’m a real friend, I’m not going to let the coachee “take advantage” of my friendship to avoid accountability. I’m going to encourage my friend to be serious about action steps or find a new coach. (Of course, I’d do that even if the…y weren’t a close friend).
2. My job isn’t to provide accountability for anyone’s action steps – my job as a coach is to help them discover what steps they need to take and to identify what accountability will help them to succeed in moving forward. It’s important to resist the temptation to provide “accountability” for your coachee and to help them discover their own accountability. (The fact we are meeting again in two weeks provides “built in” accountability – but that may not be enough for your coachee. Ask them what accountability they need.)
3. If there are obstacles that keep my friend from accomplishing their desired outcome and completing their action steps, I often help them identify the obstacles and determine appropriate actions to overcome them.
4. When action steps are written down at the end of a coaching session, I try to help the coachee articulate how committed they are to taking these actions. I often ask: “How confident are you that you will complete these action steps by our next appointment?” If they lack confidence, then we coach around the issues to help them succeed.
5. If action steps don’t get accomplished, whether they are my friend or not, it’s important to determine how important it is to the coachee to still accomplish them. If they still want to take those steps forward, it is often helpful to break the action step down into smaller steps to ensure progress is made and to avoid a repeat of “no action taken” at your next appointment.