Accountability Requires Action


Accountability Requires Action

Photo Credit: David Castillo Dominici

As a minister or leader committed to helping people create lasting change, you may wonder what it takes to keep people accountable. I suggest a three-phase approach, with the first step being to brainstorm from a fresh perspective on the problem, issue or situation.


Once you’ve finished brainstorming with the person or group, it’s time to look at these thoughts and ideas and ask, “What’s the next step?” From a very practical point of view, most people get stumped here because it seems so overwhelming. Don’t let them off the hook.


Instead, encourage people to take baby steps. Ask, “What’s the smallest of steps you could take? What’s something we could do right now, before we leave this room?” I once literally held a group hostage until they could come up with actions they could take immediately.


If they’re still stuck, here is another strategy that’s been successful for me. Start at the end – what is the goal you want to accomplish? What will that look like? What has to have happened in order for you to have gotten to that point? Use this form of “backwards planning,” and lo and behold, actions begin to emerge.


Once the person or group has identified some actions, run them through the SMART test, to make sure they’re:


S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Attainable

R – Realistic

T – Time-Based


It’s easier to steer a car once it’s already moving. As a coach or ministry leader,

you can play a central role in getting people into action.


The third and final phase of the accountability process is follow through, and we’ll talk about that in the next post.

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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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