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Commentary by Kim Ades

RISMEDIA, Feb. 14, 2008-This business of accountability, with respect to coaching in real estate, has created a huge amount of confusion. Many coaching programs insist that the lynch-pin to success is a system where the coach holds the client accountable for his or her actions, ultimately leading to higher performance. The coach and the client come up with a plan and each week, the coach is there to make sure the client adheres to the plan. If the client comes to the weekly call with a short-fall, the coach does what he or she feels is appropriate to keep the client on track, be it a little motivating push or a kick in the pants to get the client moving in the right direction.

Either way, the job of the client is to please the coach.

Here is the shocking reality: any time there is a system that is set up to please someone other than yourself, it simply cannot be sustained over the long term, including social systems like marriage, friendship, and traditional work arrangements. Any time accountability is placed onto someone else, there is a fundamental problem in the structure of the arrangement.

What happens is one of three things:

1. The client doesn’t achieve the results he or she was hoping for and blames the coach.

2. The client does achieve the results but cannot hold onto them beyond the coaching term (which is a coach’s dream for contract renewal).

3. The client does achieve the results and begins to feel uncomfortable with the coaching expense and pulls away from the coaching relationship thinking, “I am successful now; I don’t need a coach any more,” and breaks the tie of accountability, leaving him or her to fend for himself. Accountability to a coach assumes that we have a natural tendency toward weakness and mediocrity, and are unable to be responsible for our own quests and actions. This thinking bestows upon us the onerous task of walking through our lives and careers holding hands with our coach, and checking with him or her to make sure it’s safe for us to metaphorically cross the road. It squashes our natural propensity toward doing what inspires us and fuels the fire that is primarily responsible for so much failure in the real estate industry: doing what others want us to do rather than what is right for us.

I propose to shake up the misconceived notions and dispel the myth of accountability in coaching in order to initiate a serious shift in this thinking and propel the idea of accountability to the self, borne out of inspired action and desire for tremendous success.

As you are reading this, I bet you’re thinking, “If people had the ability to be accountable to themselves, they would already be more successful. But most of them are struggling, so clearly they need help with accountability.”

But the truth is this: people struggle because they have limiting beliefs that get in their way of success and they get trapped in self doubt, fear and insecurity.

So where does coaching come into play and why do we even need to hire a coach? A coach is there to help you: a) Dislodge your limiting beliefs so that you can move forward without anything blocking your path. b) Hone your knowledge and skills so that you can move to the next level of performance. A coach is there to accompany you as a partner for a portion of your journey, to give you a boost up as you climb over the fence and continue on your path. A coach is there to help you own up to your real passion and help you use your natural talent to head in the direction that inspires you. In this scenario, accountability to yourself is as easy and as natural as breathing.

Question your coach’s philosophy on accountability and find out where he or she stands. That point of view is truly the lynch-pin of your success!

Kim Ades, MBA, is president of Opening Doors and Frame of Mind Coaching.