by Certified Coach Alissa Gauger, MBA
When I speak with prospective clients I ask them what they are looking for in the coaching relationship. A common answer is “someone to hold me accountable.” If that’s how someone wants to work together, I am not the right coach! I refuse to agree to the impossible. I cannot hold anyone accountable except myself. That’s true for everyone.
When you want yourself to do something, do you try to find someone who can “make you” follow through? Perhaps you imagine a drill sergeant hovering over you as you do push-ups or a coach with a whistle and clipboard sitting with you while you phone. Did you know that this is the weakest form of motivation? In fact, I consider it giving away your power.
Many under 5 year Financial Representatives are used to having someone externally try to motivate them by chasing them with a stick and also offering them carrots regularly as they struggle to make it to year five in the business. Once you achieve five years in the business, statistics show you have a 93% of retiring from Northwestern Mutual. Managing Partners, Managing Directors (MD), Unit Directors, Mentors, RACE Coaches…we all want to give you the best possible chance at making it!
However, despite our best intentions to help you, all of the professionals who are there to help you can create an environment where you become dependent on them.
-Your MD texts you constantly about how many New Seens you have on, how many are you ahead, how many dials, etc. Even though you know he or she is trying to help, it feels like nagging and it actually makes you not want to try.
-Your mentor asks you what you “would like to be held accountable for” by him or her every time you meet. You start to feel like you need this person for you to be able to follow through on anything.
-Your RACE Coach combs through your numbers and questions you on all of your activity.
-You make a promise to do better, but it feels half-hearted.
All of these people have the best intentions. They want to see you make it more than anything. A huge amount of time and resources has gone into getting you this far! "Won’t you please, please, please just do the activity," they implore, assuring you that it is statistically proven that you can and will make it if you just try. But you don’t. You keep meaning to try. But week after week goes by and your calendar is just a sham. Your numbers are weak at best. You wonder why you waste so much time every day.
Is it possible that somewhere along the way you: -Outsourced your motivation to other people? -Stopped digging deep to do things because YOU believe in yourself? -Became too dependent on others to try because there is so much “try” coming at you every day?
If you relate to this, it’s time to stand on your own two feet. Stop leaning on everyone around you to push your lifeless body forward through the motions. You can do this and it has to come from a deep, deep fire in your own belly. A burning need to advance yourself, make a difference, take on challenges and be great can only come from you! Look at the greats in this business—they are striving to bring their A-game because they want to do it, not because they are being “held accountable” or made to do it!
If you are serious about the goals you are working on right now for next year, look within. Everything you need is inside you. You can do it—but not because I, or anyone else, made you, but because YOU can do it. Yes, you.
Coaching Tip If you like to work with accountability, there are ways to set up systems that work. Instead of handing off your accountability to someone else, share it. Ask someone to be your accountability partner. Help each other check in regularly and provide support and encouragement. That type of accountability program works because it is two-sided.