Accountability: A Healthy Bumper and Not a Club

Kay KotanTo continue this month’s discussion about keeping people accountable, here are some thoughts about accountability from our newly appointed regional coach training directors. First up is Kay Kotan, Midwest USA Regional Training Director


Accountability: A Healthy Bumper and Not a Club


Many church leaders are sometimes leery merely thinking about holding anyone accountable. This is especially true when it comes to the pastor. That is why coaches can be tremendous accountability partners for pastors.


We just need to understand that accountability is not done with the proverbial club in our hand, but instead it is done with healthy questions to move a pastor into becoming the most effective he/she can be. Accountability is truly about giving a pastor the best chance to succeed by encouraging their best work.


Here are two key points for coaches when it comes to accountability:


  1. Drill down the action step so it has absolute clarity and can be measured. For example, if one of your pastor coachees says they will make two phone calls as part of an action plan, ask what day and time they will make the calls. What will they say on the calls? What is the desired outcome of this action step? What are they looking for as an outcome of this action step? You may even ask your coachee to email you when they have completed their action steps and report the results.
  2. In forming the coaching relationship, it is imperative to understand how your coachees want to be held accountable. Let them establish what accountability looks like and how they are best held accountable. As a coach, you step over nothing and at the same time you hold the coaching relationship in high regard.


Next we have thoughts from Don Eisenhauer, Northeast Regional Training Director, who writes:


In my coaching, I almost always conclude a session by asking the question, “Who will hold you accountable to complete your stated goals?” It has become clear that before the coachee can effectively identify someone who will fulfill that role, he has to want the accountability. He must grasp his need for accountability. As long as the coachee thinks he can do it on his own, he will probably attempt to do so.


Sometimes the awareness of the need for accountability comes about through powerful questions that enable the coachee to realize the value of someone checking in and giving encouragement. Other times, this awareness comes only as a result of the coachee’s repeated failure at self-discipline. When he sheepishly states that he never got around to completing his goals, I quietly celebrate those failed attempts. He may seek accountability when he realizes its value.

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J. Val Hastings

J. Val Hastings, MCC, is the Founder and President of Coaching4Clergy, which provides specialized training for pastors, church leaders and coaches. Val is the author of the book The Next Great Awakening: How to Empower God’s People with a Coach Approach to Ministry and the e-book The E3-Church: Empowered, Effective and Entrepreneurial Leadership That Will Keep Your Church Alive. Val currently holds the designation of Master Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation, the highest coaching designation.

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