Coaching, Accountability & Getting Things Done

you-can-create-a-planI’ve been involved in one on one business coaching since 2005 and I’ve learned some tough lessons. That old saying, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” has never been so true than in coaching relationships.

You Can Create A Plan But You Can’t Make Them Follow It.

Cleaning out some old files I ran across an amazing plan I’d worked out with a client back in 2008.  I remember being so jazzed about it.  The client was full of potential, seemed to have a foot in the door with a promising business niche and there was a real fire in her belly. Sadly, as great as our plan was, it wasn’t acted on.

Curious, I went looking for her online.  She’s still around… still apparently in the learning stage from what I can see from her blog. Why, when she had a clear plan did she fail to execute?  What held her back?  Did I do something wrong?  Did I fail her in some way?

My tough lesson in situations like this is to realize I’m not responsible for the actions they take – or fail to take.  

As a coach, I have to let this person go.  I can’t carry them around in a weighty basket of ‘failed clients’ which I’ll admit – I was falling into awhile ago. Some people will take action and follow through and some won’t and I can only influence them as far as they’ll let me.

Knowing Someone Is Paying Attention Helps.

Accountability is one of the greatest gifts I can bring my clients. I take notes during each session.  Actually, I record the whole thing.  I mail them a ‘Coaching To Do’ and I ask them to report back on their progress before we meet again.   I keep track and notice when this doesn’t happen and call them to account.

Client after client thank me for this, saying the firm expectation keeps them focused and driven.

This accountability is especially appreciated by those who have recently left the day job to be 100% self employed.   They’re used to answering to someone for their productivity and find that they get distracted without it. I can’t ‘be their boss’ but I can pay attention and ask the tough questions when things aren’t moving along as fast as planned.

Everyone Is More Capable Than They Think

This is a lesson I learned while working with my own business coach.  I’ve accomplished greater things, faster than I would have imagined because they push me to stretch.

One of my clients, an older gal with very little internet experience, has impressed me.  She came to me, we worked out a plan with a few specific end goals in mind.  We recently wrapped up the project having met every goal.   Technically she exceeded our original goals because she concurrently signed up for my small reports coaching group that required a significant amount of writing.

If anyone might have had an excuse for not finishing on time, it would have been her – but she simply followed instructions and got things done. I don’t think she even realizes how rare she is.  She didn’t do a good job when you consider her age, lack of experience – she just plain did a good job.

Fortunately I’m going to get to continue working with her. I’ll get to see what she continues to accomplish. What if you followed her example?

What if you signed up for coaching, followed instructions and got things done?   It really is that simple!


  1. says

    This is so true Kelly. I realized a while ago that I actually need to start executing the plans instead of always being I planning mode. It’s just another form of procrastination. I also find with my organizing clients there are some that just won’t do what is necessary to get out of the mess. I can only show them how, I can’t make them. Your so right about not carrying around that baggage.

    Thanks to your inspiration and support I will be launching my first product soon. Like before the weekend is out.

  2. says

    You have enlightened me in so many respects with this post Kelly! It can indeed be frustrating to be giving your all at coaching people and not seeing results. On the flipside, it makes you feel so proud of yourself when you succeed at helping others help themselves.

    It’s scary to be coached! It takes so much humility and courage. When you don’t have these, you could gather all the excuses you can just to get out of the situation. Only when you’ve mustered and mastered these virtues can you see your coach eye to eye and rise above the challenge.

    Thank you for such valuable insights you’ve given me. I sure look forward to being coached!
    Maria Silvo recently posted..Video Marketing Practices for Business SuccessMy Profile

    • Kelly McCausey says

      You make a great point Maria! It does take a humble spirit to pursue coaching. To invite a coach into your business is to admit you don’t have all the answers :)

      That should be easy for everyone because there is no way to have all the answers – but it’s amazing how stubborn an individual can be about admitting it.

      I’ve no doubt you’ll do great with a coach!

  3. says

    Having coached with the amazing Kelly McCausey TWICE now, I can definitely say that you have to be ready for coaching. It’s one thing to make a plan, but the execution is a whole different ballgame. The first time I was definitely not ready. I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t know how coaching even worked. The second time, I am getting much more out of the process and actually making time to do the work, not just get the direction. Maybe there needs to be a “pre-coaching” program for beginner coachees? :)
    Cindy recently posted..The Confidence to Say “Yes” (When Your Inner Voice is Calling You a Fraud)My Profile

  4. says

    I’m so glad to hear that I’m more capable than I think. I’d forgotten about this so tomorrow I’m gonna get out and fell more confident :-)

  5. says

    Great article and great advice however, I can assure Solopreneurs that big business has exactly the same challenges. I always ask my clients “What would you like me to say to you when you fail to follow through on what you agreed to do?” I write down their answer on a 4 x 6 card and gently pass this to them any time they have failed to follow through and then stay silent. This way I am never a critic or judge, just a supporter.
    Iain recently posted..Unique Selling Point Examples – Discover Your OwnMy Profile


  1. Three Lessons Learned From Coaching Solopreneurs

    That old saying, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” has never been so true than in coaching relationships. You Can Create A Plan But You Can’t Make Them Follow It. Cleaning out some old files I ran across an amazing plan I’d…

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