One of the most difficult parts of becoming a leader is holding others accountable for performing delegated work.

It’s tempting to think it might be easier and more time efficient to do the work yourself; coaching someone whose style and approach to the task may be different from yours can be challenging—but it’s worth it.

CMOE has helped (and continues to help) many leaders increase their effectiveness by learning a simple accountability-coaching process.

The accountability-coaching process is one that can be used with all direct reports, regardless of their performance level.

It can help all employees increase ownership and accountability and reach higher levels of productivity. You will focus on different areas of accountability for each person.

The process is intended to be used in conversations 10–30 minutes in length outside of regular staff meetings.

This approach allows staff meetings to be more forward-focused and effective. The key to the process working in the optimal way is its consistent use. You will be required to meet with some individuals more frequently than others.

Before the first coaching meeting, identify an educational focus area for the individual. It should be related to a work responsibility where you have an opportunity to help the person learn and grow.

During the first meeting, you will show that you are interested in their ongoing development and take 5–10 minutes to teach the new skill.

Coaching ConversationAfter taking up to ten minutes to discuss and demonstrate the skill, jointly identify three areas you would like the team member to focus on or tasks they should complete before the next accountability-coaching meeting.

Focus areas could be an assignment, a behavior, a piece of a larger action plan, or expected results.

Be sure to clearly identify the specific activities the individual will be held accountable for before you meet again.

You will want to make sure the three focus areas are those that the person can make progress and move forward on within the allotted time frame.

Larger tasks can be broken into smaller pieces if needed so the person is not overwhelmed by the size of the assignment. Being held accountable can be a new experience for some people, but most will appreciate your interest in their performance and development.

When you meet again, you will start by focusing on the three accountability areas. You could begin by saying, “Tell me what progress you have made on your three focus areas since our last meeting.”

Then, allow each employee to describe the progress he or she has made. Be sure to use active-listening skills and don’t forget to take notes.

If some people have not made any progress or have failed to complete their assigned tasks, let them know that they have let you down.

For example, you might say, “What I’m hearing is that you haven’t made any progress on this. I’m disappointed, and I’m hopeful you will be able to make better progress going forward. What could prevent you from making good progress this coming week?”

Work together on a plan to remove obstacles to their success and follow the same teaching and demonstration process used in the first coaching meeting. Then, identify focus areas and goals to be met prior to the next meeting.

It’s as simple as that: Review progress, teach, and identify accountability focus areas. By following this simple three-step process, your entire team can reach new levels of confidence and performance.

If a lack of follow-through becomes a consistent problem, you may need to engage in a longer, more-formal coaching discussion.

CMOE has helped many leaders master the art of coaching for performance and growth. Contact CMOE to learn more.

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About the Author
CMOE’s Design Team is comprised of individuals with diverse and complementary strengths, talents, education, and experience who have come together to bring a unique service to CMOE’s clients. Our team has a rich depth of knowledge, holding advanced degrees in areas such as business management, psychology, communication, human resource management, organizational development, and sociology.

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