Here’s something so few people realise until they really roll their sleeves up, and get into the nitty gritty of being a coach, or creative professional:
When it comes to creating great results, it’s not affirmations, or cheerleading, or scribbling in a planner alone that are going to do the trick to really make sure goals are smashed, and milestones are hit.
(And you know I love a good pom pom wave and a pretty planner! So hear me out, lady.)
Personal experience tells me that if you really want to help your clients hit and surpass their goals, the one thing that’s going to get them across the finish line is the big A: accountability.
Accountability is the cornerstone of any successful service; whether you’re a coach, a creative pro like a graphic designer or copywriter, or something else entirely. If you’re working with clients, accountability is crucial.
Our job is to help our clients get from A to the rocking B they want, and keep them moving forward every step of the way.
That’s where accountability comes in.
Once you master your own accountability systems, your clients won’t just start seeing incredible results. Transformations for them also means your work will be able to make an even bigger impact, and you can start really making a difference in the lives of your clients.
And when you start helping the people you work with see awesome results? You’ll also organically start generating incredible word of mouth buzz about yourself, because your clients won’t be able to help sharing about you to their friends and communities.
So if you’re ready to create that kind of experience for yourself and your clients (if you haven’t already!), lady it’s time to get your accountability systems in place ASAP, and I’m here to help.
(This is especially important for you if you’re a newbie coach or creative pro, too. The earlier you get into good habits of holding clients accountable, the better!)
So, today I’m sharing the systems I personally use to make sure I help my coaching and consulting clients get their homework done, hit their milestones, get results and generally smash their goals etc. (But they’ll work for whatever steps are part of your client service processes, too!)
Let’s jump right in:
Accountability Tip 1: Set up a collaborative environment, where it’s clear you and your client are partners and equally invested in the outcome they desire.
One way I like to do that is to set up a ‘where-in-this-together’ vibe at the beginning of our working relationship by literally saying just that and discussing my intent and exactly what that means in terms of our work together and turning up for each other.
This gets us off on exactly the right foot — because there are no mysteries about the process, or boundaries, or their role in their own success. Let’s hear it for communication!
Accountability Tip 2: Set up a clear program agreement up front.
Contracts are queen, lady – specifically, contracts you’ve had checked by a lawyer that require your client’s autograph BEFORE you start working together.
I know it doesn’t sound particularly heart-centered, but I promise it can be! Getting on the same page, clearly stating and agreeing on the expectations and boundaries of your work together, specific milestones, and protecting your own and your client’s IP dramatically reduces potential confusion and risk – and that’s a wonderfully giving thing to do for your new client up front!
Contractual agreements should be a part of every onboarding sequence for every new client. Do not work with a new client until that’s agreed on. Make sure you set this important precedent up for accountability!
Accountability Tip 3: Set up all meetings in advance.
If I know up front that I’m going to have a group or 1-1 session with a client, I make sure to schedule it in advance, and get on my client’s calendar asap.
I’ve found over and over again that when I’m actually on my client’s calendar in advance, they are much more likely to come to calls prepared to really rock n’ roll, with all their stuff ready to go.
When I’m already on the calendar way ahead of time, my client’s usually honour our commitment and book all the other things that come up around our pre-scheduled session. This act seems to reinforce that our work is an important priority (which, duh, it totally is!).
Accountability Tip 4: Explain important policies in plain English up front.
Sometimes, all that legal-speak in program agreements/contracts can sound super confrontational, confusing, and even a little scary! That’s why I make it a habit of talking through the most crucial/biggest impact parts (like my cancellation policy and important milestones) in plain English with my new clients upfront.
I find conversations and #realtalk brings the easy-to-ignore legalese to life, and makes it waayyyy easier for my clients to commit to the policies/dates/agreements I’ll be holding them accountable to.
Accountability Tip 5: Create a Commitment Certificate.
Listen up guys, because this is something I don’t see any other coaches using – but it’s been crazy powerful for me!
A Commitment Certificate is a one-page document that has a list of exactly how I expect my client to show up for themselves while we’re working together. It’s different than my program agreement and covers stuff like what they’ll do if they’re stressed out about something, how we’ll resolve any issues, and all the important collaboration points that will make our work together shine, and give them the best results possible.
An important tip: I ask my clients to sign their Commitment Certificate with their bonafide pen-to-paper autograph. Not an electronic signature, a real-life signature that they can scan and send back to me.
I usually ask clients to keep their Commitment Certificate somewhere easy to refer to – stuck on the wall next to their desk or inside the front cover of their notebook etc.
It’s super powerful – and has made all the difference for the way my clients show up to their sessions and their progress!
Accountability Tip 6: Set up a culture of weekly accountability.
When it comes to creating a thriving environment of accountability, it’s way better for me to have a high touch relationship with my clients than risk them losing their focus over periods of silence. So every week (or whatever agreed timeframe) I pop in with a brief, friendly check-in, and I expect the same from my clients. It’s easy and very impactful.
Why do I do this? Because I never want clients to feel out to sea when they’re working with me, and I want them to know (in the nicest, least stalker-ish way possible) they can’t hide from me. I won’t let them get lost in the crowd.
To make these weekly check-ins super powerful, I have a particular series of questions I ask clients to respond to. Seriously lady, if we ever work together, you should expect I’m gonna want to know where you’re at, what’s coming up for you, and what’s happening next.
Bonus! Accountability Tip 7: Make sure everything is easily accessible.
I use Dropbox with all of my clients as our virtual workspace and have shared folders with copies of their agreement, homework, work in progress etc. in each. This houses absolutely everything they need, so it’s really easy for both of us to get to, and keep track of things throughout the relationship!
And that’s it!
Helping your clients stay accountable in these ways doesn’t just create great results, or even help you get the word out there about yourself easily — it also helps you build powerful, easy-flowing relationships with your clients, so they keep coming back again and again.
Have any accountability tips of your own – or other ways you help your clients get killer results? Share them in the comments – I’d love to hear about ‘em.
Planning to use any of the tips above? Give me a shout below, too! I always love to hear what you’ll be taking action on.