Jacky Sherman

The Consultant's Consultant

07970 638857


Business Coaching Is Like Tough Love

But it's good to be accountable ...



Sometimes it's the off the cuff remark or a sentence someone writes that hits a note with you and makes you see things differently. And so it was for me when I asked Kathy Bassett of ActionCOACH to contribute to my blog post this week giving her take on accountability in her role as a coach ...

Your business coach is responsive to your doubts and uncertainties and doesn't let you off the hook!

Your business coach is responsive to your doubts and uncertainties and doesn't let you off the hook!

copyright: tashatuvango / 123rf stock photo

Kathy wrote, "We all need someone to be accountable to; someone who cares about us, wants us to be at our best and won't let us off the hook, very like tough love, like a parent trying to instil good behaviour into their children."

The word love is usually reserved for our more intimate private relationships, and can seem inappropriate in a business context. So I'm going to hand over to Kathy for the rest of this blog post to explain how she sees the role of tough love in helping her clients achieve their business objectives.

What is accountability in coaching? It's a simple concept that if you contract with your coach to report back by a set time, you are more likely to do it. I believe that we all have occasions where we make excuses for not having done the things that we know we should and actually want to do.

"Does this situation resonate with you?"

Logic says do it, emotions let you off, and you say let's not bother, there is always tomorrow. You can always then justify to yourself why you haven't done it. If you have made yourself accountable to someone else and they challenge you, then you tend to get the stuff done, the right stuff, at the right time. You also feel good about your achievement.

As a business coach, I encourage people to set goals that suit them to provide the future that they desire. They then break the goals down into bite-size chunks with specific timescales. I then expect them to stick to them.

"The challenge comes when I tease out of them the real reason they are prevaricating!"

An example can help to see this in action. One of my clients was having a long-term problem with a supplier which was hindering his product development and thereby delaying product updates to his customers.

The situation came up at every coaching session and was getting in the way of delivering other goals, and both directors were really fed up with the situation.

Despite many efforts to get the supplier to change his behaviour, it was like banging their heads on the proverbial brick wall.

After yet one more incident recited in a coaching session, I brought it to a head and asked how they felt about the situation. The response was basically fed up, stressed, frustrated. So what were they going to do about it? Well, there were other potential suppliers; however, they felt it would be difficult to change when they had used someone for so long, and the change would be complex.

"Better the devil you know, right?"

This time, however, simply by explaining it to me the frustration won, and they decided to explore possibilities elsewhere. We broke the whole issue down into small chunks with timescales and deadlines for each part reporting back to each weekly coaching session.

They are much happier as they are taking decisive action, rather than wasting emotions and time on something that they realised, for the good of the business had to be solved. The reporting back to me each week keeps them motivated and on track.

"Why? This is where the tough love comes in!"

When we promise to do something for someone, we then do it for them. Even though it is the right thing to do and we gain the benefit. Always having someone to be accountable to, motivates us to do it because we don't want to let them down, even though we are the person who benefits from the result. Illogical creatures, aren't we? But then, it is an emotional commitment and emotion isn't always logical.

Accountability to this other person includes their emotional commitment to you in return. They challenge you to set your goals, you develop as a person. Ultimately, they assist you to grow your business over time, as you will be taking the right actions at the right time and learning on the journey.

Kathy Bassett, ActionCOACH

Your business coach is responsive to your doubts and uncertainties and doesn't let you off the hook. A great coach gets their satisfaction out of your success.

Have you ever heard of an Olympic athlete not having someone to be accountable to? It is a coach who helps them to focus and pushes them from being good atheletes to being great athletes.

"It is no different in our business lives!"

I have someone I am accountable to, and have had since I started my business over 5 years ago. I so wish that I had had someone earlier in my life to help me to identify and achieve my life goals sooner.

We all want to be the best we can be, don't we? So who would make a good person for you to be accountable to? Someone who cares about you, wants you to be at your best and won't let you off the hook, and someone who will give you the equivalent of tough love.

Thank you, Kathy, for a new insight for me. No direct referral tip out of this except to emphasise the value of finding someone who will hold you to account whilst supporting you to achieve your business and personal objectives.

If you don't already know Kathy and you'd like a conversation with her about how coaching would help you, then call me on 07970 638857 or click here to ping me an email and I'll introduce you.

Until next time ...


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07970 638857