How to Be an Effective Accountability Partner

Hi elite educators! I recently recorded a podcast about how to be an effective accountability partner. I thought it was too good not to share with my readers as well! Bringing you information about personal and professional growth that not only lights a fire within you, but brings so much joy to your life as well, is so exciting for me. I’ll share a story, a lesson, and practical tips to help you put it into action.

How to Be an Effective Accountability PartnerStory

One of my strengths is helping people move from “I wish” or “I hate it when” or “I’ve always wanted to” to the exact destination they thought was far from reality. Just like great teachers plan backwards, I am able to help folks create a manageable, practical pathway towards their goal. But I don’t just solve their problem and send them off… do you know the likelihood that would even happen? Slim to none! I sit copilot along their journey, prompting them with course correcting questions, celebrating progress, connecting them to resources and people to best assist them in getting where they are going, and so much more. Accountability is the secret sauce to get dreamers and planners to actual achievers. Psst- that’s about to be YOU!


I thought I would use this strength to share a lesson with you today on accountability partners in terms of teaching with coaches. Having somebody that I trusted and that I could be honest and open with, because they weren’t the administrator, and they weren’t the one doing my walk-throughs was important. I could be like “I really want to try this thing, I’m really nervous and really excited and want you to help me think this through.”

My former coach was one of those pivotal accountability partners without it being an official thing. I was always talking things out, and she was always supporting me and asking questions. It forced me to take my idea to a new level and consider things I hadn’t thought of before. I was like “Yes, this is what I was missing.”

All the way back in teaching, I can track how accountability partners have helped me grow. When I started the business side of Always a Lesson I needed other edu-mamas in my corner. It felt like I was the only one trying to be two things, and trying to be amazing at two things. I needed to talk to other people who got it, understood it, who were living it, so we could swap strategies and ideas. I found some folks and we used the app Voxer. It’s a walkie-talkie app, and it is real-life, informal conversations. I am so thankful for that group that I hand-picked, hand-selected, and then put in this Voxer group. I could talk things out and allow it to help me develop into the next phase of what Always a Lesson was going to be.

Then fast forward to when I work with my teacher leaders in my mastermind. What sets it apart from other coaching programs, is I am not the one sitting there being the guru telling you what you need to do. I have curated a group of people sitting around a virtual table, talking about your specific obstacle, challenge, idea, dream, future goal, or vision. Then we all help you decide the best pathway to get there. And that’s accountability, because the thing that these folks say each meeting when they report back on their achievements for the week, the highs and the lows, and the “oh my goodness I barely made it,” was “I knew I had to come back and report to you all, and I didn’t want to disappoint.”

And that sounds awful, because it’s like “why are you doing it for other people?” But sometimes, if we have no one to tell, and no ones going to know, we relax a little too much, we pull back a little bit, and then we have no one to blame but ourselves when we don’t get to our goal. So when we speak it into existence, we say it out loud, we tell people that we care about, “I’m doing this thing, and you’re going to help me do it” it forces you to show up and keep that commitment to yourself.

Over these years from teaching and then coaching, to having this business, and then helping teacher leaders, I’ve learned what works, which is a consistent check in. I’ve also learned what doesn’t (wishy washy partners with different dedication levels). I know how to do it better now (norms, agreements, check points, re-evaluations, etc.). I figured out how to find the right partner (psst it’s not going to be your BFF or mama unless they are already where you want to be, which is not likely). If accountability partnerships have worked REALLY well for me, it turns out they will probably work really well for you too!


When you let others know what you want to accomplish and invite them to be part of your cheerleading/help squad, you can decrease the amount of time it takes to achieve it AND surpass your goal because of momentum and better habits. If you’re falling short of your goals or believe you can go further than imagined but not sure how, an accountability partner is just the solution you need to add to your growth strategy.

8 Tips on How to Find an Accountability Partner

  1. Get clear on the goal
  2. Make a list of eligible mentors and potential ride-alongs (folks going the same place but aren’t quite there yet either)
  3. Put your feelers out there and make the ask
  4. Try it on for size – chat informally, swap goals, keep it positive
  5. If it’s a good fit, make it official – contract, verbal commitment with deadline, draft out goals and next steps, choose a communication tool and meet regularly
  6. Hold them accountable- pay attention to their goals, make sure actions align, notice commitment and consistency levels, cheer-cheer-cheer, ask questions, provide suggestions when asked, ask how they need you to show up
  7. Have them hold you accountable- be honest about what you need in a partner and how you wish to be held accountable (hard core or soft and nice?), be open and honest with how things are going, check in without be asked, toot your own horn, ask for feedback
  8. Make adjustments as necessary- if life gets busy, pull back on how often you check in, tweak your goals, or even if you outgrow your accountability partner and are ready for whomever is at the next milestone check point, restart this process as often as needed

Your goals are only as great as your follow through. Part of that follow through is an accountability partner. Choosing the right one, staying committed through the process, and putting in the work to get to your destination. It’s a partnership, back and forth and you’ll be thankful you took the time to find the perfect match. (Not just someone who tells you everything you do and say is amazing, but someone who helps broaden your perspective and grow your skillset). That is the ideal candidate.

Being an effective accountability partner is achievable. You have 8 steps to ensure it works for you and not against you. Be your best for someone else and it will attract others to be the same for you. Together, you will go far.

Are you a more of an audio learner? Check out the podcast that inspired this blog post here.





Do you need have an accountability partner, or find a new one?

About the author, Gretchen

I am a teacher trainer and coach. Working elbow to elbow with teachers and teacher leaders to ensure instructional proficiency and student achievement soar lights me up. We have a real need in our nation for strong educators to remain in the field. My blog, book, podcast, courses and instructional materials are geared towards empowering teachers (and those that lead them) to receive the support needed to grow and thrive today, tomorrow and always.