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Buddy Up: Peer Accountability Partners




This is a story of happenstance evolving into a meaningful connection—and what we learned about having a peer accountability partner.  

 

Rebecca Jackson and my paths crossed in 2021 during a ten-minute virtual breakout session of a business development course for coaches. Remarkably, from that encounter, we established a connection—and have convened online every month since.

 

Neither one of us had expectations for this informal partnership. We simply enjoyed each other’s energy and shared common goals of growth and professional camaraderie as business owners. Looking back, we recognize our chance connection has aided us in ways we never imagined.  

 

The benefits of informal peer partnerships like ours can often be underestimated, yet the insights, perspectives and mutual support can be a game changer for those in leadership roles. 

 

Here are a few ways you can benefit from a peer partner:


  • Learning together. Partnering with a peer to realize your professional development goals is a good place to start. You might read the same book—or take the same online course—then compare notes around your take-aways and how you’re implementing those insights.

  • Learning from each other.  Time spent with a peer will undoubtedly spark an idea or new perspective that you can bring to your own work. Likewise, you will discover resources, tools, systems that someone else uses that might help you address a business challenge or a leadership conundrum. 

  • Getting unstuck. It’s easy to get stuck and often not as easy to get unstuck. Having a peer partner will increase your motivation and give you a push when needed, sharing insights and lessons learned to help each other move forward. Sometimes a different perspective or friend on your side are all you need to get out of a slump. 

  • Sustaining—and marking—progress. Knowing that you’re each working towards specific goals, means that your commitment is shared and helps you sustain momentum. Regular conversations provide a prompt to reflect on and recognize what you’ve achieved—and to celebrate those milestones. 

 

Taking a page from our story, here are lessons we’ll share to get the most from a peer accountability partner.

  • Find someone you respect, enjoy, and who is truly a peer—and with whom you do not compete. We believe the last point is most important. While we are both coaches, we live in different countries and have slightly different business models. It’s easier to support someone and forge a healthy peer partnership when there isn’t a feeling of competition.

  • Have a goal in mind. We started with a similar goal of building from what we learned during the business development course. Since then, while our conversations have evolved our overarching theme is supporting each other’s professional growth. We always learn something from each other when we meet.

  • Commit to regular check-ins. Monthly works well for us. You may find something less or more frequent works for you. Most important is to stay the course and honor your commitment to each other. You’ll be surprised at the value of a simple check-in. So, don’t bail if you’re too busy or haven’t done what you wanted to do between sessions. If your partnership is right, you’ll still gain from your time together. 

  • Adjust if it’s not working. From our experience, it should be easy, something you look forward to. If you find yourself not gaining from the partnership, figure out what will make it more meaningful. Maybe you need different goals for yourself; perhaps you need a more open mind; or perhaps it’s not a good fit for you or it’s run its course, in which case, you should wind down, take your wins and move on.

 

We hope you’re inspired by our experience to establish your own peer accountability partner. I’d love to hear from you.  


[A version of this article first appeared in Smartbrief on Leadership.]

 

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