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April 9, 2020

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When we go from childhood to adulthood, we have teachers. We learn things from a lot of places: school, books, podcasts, documentaries, friends, family. And as we enter adulthood, we learn things from our workplaces, our employers, coworkers, and leaders. These are all teachers, sometimes mentors, and sometimes our coaches, like sports team coaches in high school and college. But when we leave the structure of school, we lose the built-in accountability. Adulthood is when we most need an accountability coach.

What is Coaching?

If you Google this question, the first result says it’s “unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.”

Think about the people who have unlocked your potential in life. Maybe it was a basketball coach in high school. Or a podcast host who offered you new thoughts and ideas that opened up your world. Or even a friend who never bullshitted you when you got in your own way.

Even if you feel you have no one to lean on, no one to learn from, you’re wrong. There’s always someone, even if you don’t know them in person.

An accountability coach for people burned out on their personal goals is the kick in the pants they need. They helps them work through things like burnout, stress, confusion, and building their own circle of people who get them and what they’re going through. All the things that hold them back from pursuing their dreams and reaching their goals.

Accountability coaches point out where you’re standing in your own way. They expose the underlying problems to your issues and show you how to think about things differently. My burnout might not look like your burnout, but I can offer perspective and point out where you might be spinning in your thoughts about it.

Coaches challenge you to break past your limiting beliefs about yourself. They show you what kind of future you could have if you really believed you could get there.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

What Coaching has Done For Me

I have a lot of coaches—some of whom I’ve never met in person. I’ve found that authors and podcast hosts are amazing mentors/teachers/coaches for me, even if I’ve never met them face-to-face. I’ve found valuable coaches and mentors in real life, too.

My manager at my job is an extremely important mentor for me. I consider him both my friend and family. Because he offers me alternative ways of thinking, I also consider him a coach. I have a mentor in my Toastmasters group. Her role is to help me improve my speaking and communication skills instead of figuring it out on my own. She provides guidance and support in my club. I think of my pastor as a mentor. He’s a source of wisdom and spiritual guidance, and sometimes that touches on my relationship with my diabetes.

Mentors and coaches can double as your support network. Both my manager and my pastor have been invaluable pillars of support through the grief of losing both my Dad and my Grandma within 2 months of each other.

Self Coaching

One of my biggest coaches right now is Brooke Castillo. She’s the host of The Life Coach School Podcast and the creator of Self Coaching Scholars. I binged her podcast over a year and a half and learned so much, but I learn by doing, and I needed to start doing instead of just keep listening to the podcast.

I joined Self Coaching Scholars in January, and it’s been amazing for my self-awareness and for my perspective about my diabetes care. My one-on-one coaches right now are through Self Coaching Scholars.

Working with coaches who can hold space with me instead of immediately agreeing with me has a lot of value. It challenges the way I think and makes me reconsider if I actually want to do some things. The more I do it, the more I open up to my coaches, the more I coach myself—the easier it is to see my own thoughts when I do things like rage bolus or eat too many rolls of Smarties in the middle of the night.

Why You Need Accountability Coaching

How many times have you gotten home from work and collapsed on the couch because you’re just so done for the day and don’t even want to think about the plans you had for the evening? When you made those plans last week, you were so excited, but now it just feels like a chore to do them.

You know they’d move the needle on that goal you’ve tried to reach through the last three cycles of New Years Resolutions… But you just. Can’t. Move.

I don’t know about you, but I have a voice in the back of my head that NAGS me ALL the time. It’s a running commentary about the things I should be doing, the things that distract me, and the things that it feels confused about but doesn’t want to dig into.

Sometimes the inside nagging voice is pretty persuasive. But more often than not, I ignore it, because nobody will know if I don’t do the thing. I can keep putting it off for a while.

But what happens when that nagging voice is another human? A real person who not only asks if you did what you said you were going to do, but doesn’t let you give any excuses like “I was too tired” or “I didn’t feel like it”? What if you had someone to talk to every week (and every day if you needed to) whose job it was to make sure you smashed your goals out of the park?

That’s what an accountability coach does.

An accountability coach will be the voice in your head, nagging you and checking in with you each week.

Real-Life Accountability

If you’re familiar with The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, you’ll know that Teddi Mellencamp is an accountability coach focused on helping people hit their fitness and weight loss goals.

Disclaimer: the only reason I know about her is because of the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast—I’ve never watched The Real Housewives and have no intention to start!

But people pay Teddi to hold them accountable.

Why does this work?

We attribute more meaning to the things we pay for. We feel more invested and commited when there’s money involved. Some accountability coaches charge penalties if you don’t follow through on your action plan. Of course, this depends on the client, but for a lot of people, this works.

Why You Need an Accountability Coach

You need someone to point out what’s holding you back from achieving your dreams. You need someone who understands what it’s like to not want to do anything when you get home, and then later feel like trash because you put it off, yet again.

Having a built-in support system and someone who can hold you to your choices and actions is one of the fastest ways to break out of the overwhelm and lack of motivation that’s holding you back.

Coaches are the people who call you out and tell you the hard truths that other people are afraid to say.

If you’re someone who knows that you do better with finishing things when someone’s holding you accountable and regularly checking in with you, sign up for a free 60-minute consultation.

About the author 

Colleen Mitchell

Mindset & accountability life coach, writer, podcaster, and full-time analyst in the power industry. I'm passionate about showing people that how we think determines our realities.

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