How to Find an Accountability Partner to Reach Your Goals

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 6, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you have personal or professional goals you want to achieve, having someone that can keep you accountable increases your chances of reaching those goals. Pursuing an accountability partnership allows you to do this. Learning more about this partnership and what it entails can help you develop an effective support system.

In this article, we explain what an accountability partner is, discuss the benefits of the partnership, outline what qualities a good partnership may have and how to start one, and offer tips for maintaining it.

What is an accountability partner?

An accountability partner is a person you trust to help you complete a commitment or goal you made. This person helps you consider your responsibilities, actions, and behaviours that can influence your progress toward reaching a goal. An accountability partnership can mean that two individuals work together to complete their commitments and goals. Accountability partnerships may work best when two people are working toward a similar goal.

Benefits of an accountability partnership

A primary benefit of an accountability partnership is that it increases your chances of achieving your goals. Here are some other benefits you may enjoy:

Gain a new perspective

If you've been working toward your goals with little success, gaining a new perspective may help. Your partner can offer a new point of view on different ways to approach situations. For example, if your goal is to onboard 10 new customers a month, your partner may offer a sales tactic that works for them. To ensure your partnership is effective, actively listen to your partner's perspective and apply their suggestions when possible to show that you value their feedback.

Monitor your progress

Your partner can help you monitor your progress in many ways. For example, you may set short-term goals to work toward your long-term goals and update your partner every time you complete one of these goals. Regularly updating your partner can motivate you to complete these goals on time.

Offer a support system

Your partner can support you while you work toward your goals. They may do this by offering encouragement or actively listening to you so they can provide accurate feedback. Celebrating with each other when you reach your goals can also be a way you support one another.

Related: 9 "Thank You for Your Support" Examples (And Benefits)

Help with motivation

One reason many people struggle to reach their goals is they feel unmotivated. Having a partner who possesses empathy and high-quality standards can help motivate you to keep working hard. If your partner is working toward similar goals, you can motivate each other by comparing results and ensuring you're both maintaining regular progress.

Related: How to Be Motivated at Work in 4 Steps (Plus 9 Tips)

Qualities of a good accountability partnership

To help you find a great partner, consider the following qualities of a good accountability partnership:

They have self-discipline and commitment

To help you achieve your goals, it's important that your partner remain committed to their own goals. Being self-disciplined and organized allows them to achieve their goals so they can help you create a plan to achieve yours. Being disciplined also allows your partner to help you reach your goals by setting strict deadlines, not listening to excuses, and communicating with you to ensure you're following your plan.

They're honest and offer useful advice

When choosing a partner, it's important that you're both able to be honest with each other. This allows you to share constructive feedback to help one another grow. It may take time to build this bond, but it's essential for a good partnership. To develop this relationship with your partner, consider assessing each other's plans to help create new strategies you can use to achieve your goals.

Related: What Is Honesty and Integrity in a Workplace Setting?

They have exceptional communication skills

Good communication is essential in any type of relationship, but it's especially important in an accountability partnership. It allows you to listen actively to any feedback you receive so you can apply it to achieve your goals. It also allows you to offer feedback that genuinely helps your partner so you can form a collaborative relationship. Excellent communication skills can also help you be honest and direct without offending your partner.

At the beginning of your partnership, consider creating a communication plan to decide how you can communicate and how often you may do so. For example, you may decide to meet for coffee once a week to update each other on your progress.

Related: Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples

They promote a positive perspective

When working toward your goals alone, you may feel discouraged if you're not making the progress you hoped. Having an optimistic partner can help you overcome these obstacles by giving you reasons to keep progressing and celebrating your achievements. They may use their optimism to help you find new ways of thinking positively, which can help you develop better coping mechanisms and solutions to common challenges you experience.

Their goals can help support your goals

A quality partner often agrees with your values, morals, and goals. Before committing to a partner, it's important to define clear and concise goals to help them understand what objectives you want to achieve and if they're able to help. Agreeing to support an individual means encouraging you while you try to meet goals, promoting open and constructive communication to find areas of improvement, and listening to your ideas and concerns regarding the goal. A partner may also provide words of encouragement to support and motivate you.

How to find an accountability partner

If you're interested in forming an accountability partnership, here are the steps you can follow:

1. Define your goals

Finding a suitable partner involves having defined, measurable, and attainable goals. To do this, create SMART goals before meeting with potential partners so you can clearly describe what you're working towards. SMART is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. Ensure the goals you create include each element to increase your chances of achieving them and help your partner understand you better.

Related: SMART Goals: Objectives for Your Career

2. Talk to coworkers

It's important to find a partner you can trust and respect. Let your coworkers know that you're searching for a partner to determine if anyone may want help to improve their work habits, productivity, or work strategies. You can find a suitable partner more quickly by making your intentions clear and direct during the discussion. This may also encourage candidates to approach you if they hear about your search for a partner.

3. Ask questions

Interviewing potential partners can be useful to gain insight into their experiences, skills, and what they may bring to a partnership. Asking questions can also help determine if a partnership can succeed. Some questions you can ask a potential partner include:

  • What qualities are you looking for in an accountability partner?

  • Do you believe our goals align?

  • What kind of work do you perform?

  • What skills can you contribute?

  • What's your schedule like?

  • Are you able to communicate frequently?

  • How do you prefer to communicate?

  • What are some of the goals you want to achieve during this partnership?

  • What are some of your strongest personality traits?

  • Are you willing to establish and commit to deadlines?

  • What strategies might you use to meet your goals?

  • Why are you seeking a partner?

  • How do you overcome obstacles and avoid distractions?

  • What are some work habits you have?

4. Review their potential

Once you understand someone's goals, traits, and habits, you can identify if they're a good fit for a partnership. Personalities that align can promote a healthy relationship and support building a productive plan for accountability. It's also important to review the time you spent with them and evaluate how comfortable you felt while explaining your goals. You might also want to evaluate if they're trustworthy and able to maintain confidentiality. Comparing your goals and personality traits to theirs can give you perspective and help you predict if you two can effectively collaborate.

Tips for maintaining an accountability partnership

An accountability partnership often develops over time and may need adjustments as goals change to maintain the relationship. Here are a few tips you may use to maintain your accountability partnership:

  • Schedule regular meetings and check-ins.

  • Provide feedback that's specific and honest.

  • Limit distractions.

  • Show commitment by meeting deadlines.

  • Change perspectives.

  • Use active listening skills.

  • Collaborate to complete work.

  • Reserve time to socialize with each other outside of work.

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