Does the Accountability Model Even Work?
Accountability is a huge focus for many organizations. Employees are accountable to managers who are accountable to CEOs who are accountable to business owners. Those in leadership positions assign tasks then consistently follow up with their team to ensure that said tasks are done well and in a timely manner.
Likewise, most coaching models encourage coaches to hold their clients accountable – in other words, to monitor their actions until they reach their goals, or to call them out when they don’t follow through.
Does Accountability Even Work?
Kim Ades: Why don’t I like the accountability model? It’s because, let’s say I hold you accountable and it works and you’re happy. Then what happens when I go away? You’re left to your own devices. So what I’ve done is I’ve created a dependency, and that’s not very ethical.
But it gets worse. Why do people come for coaching? Typically people come for coaching because they are frustrated that they haven’t achieved their goals. Typically they are frustrated and they have a whole set of beliefs about themselves: “I should be further ahead,” “I’m not doing a good job,” “I can’t do this on my own,” etc. What happens if the accountability model doesn’t work? Now I’ve made the situation worse.
So at best it’s unethical and at worst it’s detrimental. They walk away in a worse spot than when they started.
From my perspective, coaching isn’t about accountability. Coaching is really about examining a person’s thinking and helping them line up their thinking with their goals and desires. And once we line up someone’s thinking with their goals and desires, they naturally do the things and have the behaviors that lead them to those goals.
I don’t have to monitor, or keep track of or hold anybody accountable. My interest is in what’s preventing you from holding yourself accountable. What’s preventing you from keeping the promises you make to yourself? That’s an interesting question.
You don’t need to answer to me – who am I that you should answer to me? But why aren’t you answering to you?