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He was Breaking Promises, and it was Time for Accountability

I received an email that says he's not going to have the assignments complete because “I forgot that we...” “I will do it later this afternoon...”
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He was Breaking Promises, and it was Time for Accountability

It’s like that Bryan Adams song of the 90’s – “Everything I Do, I Do It For You.” However, in the case of working with Jay he should sing this song in a mirror.

When we first started working together, Jay and I discussed accountability and what that looked like for him. Jay really didn’t know how to provide an accountability requirement at that time, because he was really focused on how he needed to make some changes in his life. Being that it was just the beginning of our relationship, I wanted to see how he shows regarding all that he promises he will do before I came up with his accountability requirements.

But before I continue on about anything else between Jay and myself, let’s talk about this thing called accountability requirements for a moment.

In the coaching relationship, accountability is a process by which we help people keep their commitments they have made. It is NOT about blaming someone for what they didn’t do, it’s more about learning from what is not done than what is.

I know I’m not telling you anything that isn’t obvious, but what often is not realized is how as a coach (speaking only for myself here) “invoking” the accountability requirement is not a pleasurable experience. When he sets his goals between our coaching sessions, I’m Jay’s biggest cheerleader, cheering for him to accomplish all that he promises that he will do.

So let me get back to the story and why I reference a Bryan Adams song in the first place.

After a few weeks, I decided not to hold Jay accountable to anything he promised he would complete, because we were in the “creating awareness” stage of our relationship regarding who Jay was at the core for Jay. He’s had so many breakthroughs, AHA moments and realizations of what works, what doesn’t and how to simplify his goals to a manageable level that he can and will complete them. In fact, it was Jay who said to me two weeks ago that it was time for him to have a “real goal” and how he wanted to be challenged. He is now fully aware of how he shows up in his every day actions, know what he wants to accept as what is and what he wants to change, and is ready to be held accountable to what he says he will do. THAT IS AWESOME!!!

Accountability comes in many forms, but with Jay, finding what would work was a bit tough. He has such an enormous heart and loves doing for others that asking him for charity didn’t make sense, he does it anyway. But then it hit me and I had a big smile. Jay had shared a video from the Biggest Loser with me as it related to something else, but around the 1:30 mark he talks about Bob making him do more than he thinks he can do and then I see it: Jay going hard core, not loving it but knowing he will get it done.

After communicating with Jay’s personal trainer, Thomas Madden at Heroes Journey, we decided that Jay’s accountability for not completing his assignment will be to complete a 100 calorie burn on an Airdyne bike and his wife gets to film it for all to see. Jay’s goal was to journal every day for 7 days from the moment he wakes up and tell us what his sleep was like (Jay has sleep apnea and requires a CPAP machine), what he eats, and what his actions are until he goes to bed. He promised to have it to us by first thing in the morning. He accomplished this goal, felt great and was ready for the next one. Jay received two assignments on Wednesday of last week and HE decided that he would turn it in on Saturday by 9am, as well as to keep journaling.

And then it happened!

At 8:10am on Saturday, I received an email that says I’m not going to have the assignments complete because “I forgot that we…” “I will do it later this afternoon…” Then it became Sunday, then Monday and by Tuesday I hadn’t heard a peep and Jay started submitting his journals late. He started breaking his promises and it was time to hold him accountable. Now all of the “reasons” why Jay couldn’t complete his assignment are seemingly perfectly great reasons why he pushed them off, and anyone would understand. The awareness to bring is how this can be a slippery slope of everything else becoming more important than keeping my promises TO MYSELF. Were the reasons related to taking care of himself and his family and his life? Yes. Was it the result of a breakthrough and tremendous growth? Yes. Was he making his life better and simpler? Yes. So why would I want to hold him accountable if he was doing some incredible self work?

Jay and I had talked about before saying YES to anyone or anything and committing to anything, that he will look at his calendar. It is completely understandable that things will come up in life and you will cancel, and sometimes on yourself. However, when Jay kept putting his promise off by a few hours, then a day, then another, etc. he broke his promise to really see when he could do his assignments and submit them.

On Tuesday, I decided to invoke holding Jay accountable to his promises. It was 12pm and we hadn’t received his journal nor did I receive his assignments yet. I wasn’t going to hold off any longer, as much as I wanted to. As I said earlier, I’m Jay cheerleader and to hold him accountable is tough. My goal was to help him take a step back, look at what was happening and to get back on track as quickly as possible. The toughest part about holding someone accountable is how they will receive it. It wasn’t about Jay failing to do what he promised, it’s the learning of staying consistent and what does that look like.

As of writing this blog, I haven’t spoken with Jay about the accountability. We did email back and forth, and he knows that I find no pleasure in the anticipation of seeing him look like he did in that video. But a promise is a promise and I promised to help him move forward on the path to reaching the goals that he desires. That is why I reference Bryan Adams because everything I do, I do it for Jay and his desire to be vibrantly fit in all areas of his life. It’s a beautiful thing!

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