Managing Progress and Accountability

Dreams don’t work, unless you do

~ John C. Maxwell ~

It happens all the time doesn’t it. We plan, plan, plan. We make tonnes of intentions for transformation or change. We gather feedback after feedback. YET, at the first hurdle, we tend to quickly give-up! We are fast to provide ‘reasons’ aka excuses, and cite many limitations from our own skills, right up to even feng-shui. Sounds familiar? It certainly isn’t rocket science. We have given-up when it gets too hard, or takes too long, failing too many times, or getting derailed too often. At least in the beginning, we will need to learn, practice, continue to build on our dreams / goals, and we ARE going to face obstacles.

In the current definition of the ICF Competencies – this final competency Managing Progress and Accountability is defined as —Ability to hold attention on what is important for the client, and to leave responsibility with the client to take action.

The sub-competencies on this are:

  1. Clearly requests of the client actions that will move the client toward his/her stated goals.
  2. Demonstrates follow-through by asking the client about those actions that the client committed to during the previous session(s).
  3. Acknowledges the client for what they have done, not done, learned or become aware of since the previous coaching session(s).
  4. Effectively prepares, organizes, and reviews with client information obtained during sessions.
  5. Keeps the client on track between sessions by holding attention on the coaching plan and outcomes, agreed-upon courses of action, and topics for future session(s).
  6. Focuses on the coaching plan but is also open to adjusting behaviors and actions based on the coaching process and shifts in direction during sessions.
  7. Is able to move back and forth between the big picture of where the client is heading, setting a context for what is being discussed and where the client wishes to go.
  8. Promotes client’s self-discipline and holds the client accountable for what they say they are going to do, for the results of an intended action, or for a specific plan with related time frames.
  9. Develops the client’s ability to make decisions, address key concerns, and develop himself/herself (to get feedback, to determine priorities and set the pace of learning, to reflect on and learn from experiences).
  10. Positively confronts the client with the fact that he/she did not take agreed-upon actions.

It seems to hold much of the responsibility and success on the coach as well. However, from November 2019, the new set of 8 ICF competencies, this competency is embedded in Facilitates Clients Growth, where self-ownership and self-accountability is placed on the client, and the coach’s role is more of a partnership rather than a manager.

The challenge is also for coaches to partner and help the coachee envision their end in mind. I simply love the 9 questions that was crafted by Mel Leow, MCC to enable us to capture and hold what is important for the client, helping them be self-accountable.

  1. How will you demonstrate ownership of this?
  2. How will you like me to hold you accountable?
  3. How will you respond if things go off-course?
  4. How would you measure your success?
  5. How will you continually drive (manage) progress?
  6. How will you know when you have fully arrived?
  7. How will you know you’ve got it?
  8. How different will your life be as a result of the learning in this journey?
  9. How will your life message (mantra) be moving forward?

So, here’s the catch. A few of the questions there hits me hard, based on my journey so far.

Question no. 4: How would you measure your success?

We all want success. But how do we define OUR success and measure it? What will our success do for us? For example, would having 10 paying clients consider a success or would having 10 paying clients amounting to RM100k consider a success so that as a coach I can pay off my housing loan? Another example, would losing X kg make me successful in my goals or would losing X kg and changing my eating habits so that I can maintain the new weight?

Question no. 3: How will you respond if things go off-course?

There will definitely be obstacles, and bumps. The point is to be prepared to manage them when they come. It is important to accept and re-chart if necessary. Failure is success in progress. What will you consider when sh*t happens? Even, to ask hard questions, like what is my limit? or when will I decide that quitting is an option? is quitting even an option?

Question no. 9: How will your life message (mantra) be moving forward?

I feel that this question really anchors the transformation that is needed to elevate the client to the next level. I believe when they have truly transformed, their viewpoint of the world will also change. For example, a manager that struggles with work-life balance, a new life message could be ‘weekends are precious’ or ‘MY weekends are precious times with my family for bonding’.

My key take-aways from this module:

  • As much as our success is dependent on the achievements of our clients, we need to oscillate the ownership and accountability in a stronger momentum at the client. It is after all, their dreams, their action plans. We are there to hold the space, partner and cheer them.
  • I must not lose sight of the intrinsic value of progress and actions, that lead to success. Often times, we could be too focused on the to-do list, rather the emotions of success.

Published by Shereen Kaur

Coach, Consultant, Wellness Advocate, Artist, Mom

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