Posted in MoHow by Dr. MO I’ve been asked many times whether an individual can become more accountable and develop greater self-esteem through coaching. My answer is an emphatic “yes”! However, I need to make one point very clear… some people define ‘accountability’ differently than i do and think that making a person suffer the consequences of their actions is the same as being accountable. I look at it in a very different way.
In my coaching I use Effective Positive Self-Discipline (EPSD) methods to teach accountability. In this process I facilitate accountability by helping my clients learn how to ‘learn from their mistakes’ instead of the methods they usually have been informally taught..ways that ‘make them pay for their mistakes’. In the EPSD method my clients and I explore the consequences of any choices through ‘what’ and ‘how’ questions. This is much different than imposing a consequence on a person because of a certain behavior. I help clients understand by asking them (not telling them) what the consequences, both good and bad, of their choices are. We explore what happened and what they have learned from each experience. they are then in a position to use this information to make better future choices.
This approach is based on the philosophies of Alfred Adler and Rudolph Dreikers who believed that all human being have equal rights to dignity and respect. All Effective Positive Self Discipline methods are non-punitive and non-permissive. They are kind and firm at the same time. Kind, because they show respect for the individual involved and firm because they show respect for what needs to be done. All EPSD methods help individuals develop healthier life skills and good character.
I believe in allowing people to experience the consequences of their choices with dignity and respect instead of adding blame, shame, and pain to what they are already feeling. For example, a young adult may have to go without any money for several days if they spend their allowance too quickly. Instead of saying, “Well that’s what you get. Maybe next time you’ll listen and do what you’re supposed to do”, a parent might say, “Wow, that’s too bad. I can see you aren’t pleased with that. I have faith that you will figure out what you need to do to get a better result in the future. Let me know if you want to talk about it”.
I have found that individuals of all ages are much more willing to be accountable when they have been involved in setting their own boundaries or limits, or in finding solutions. They feel empowered and motivated to follow guidelines they have helped establish.
Punishment and reward do not teach self-accountability. It is the other person in these situations (the spouse, partner, or parent) who is accountable for ‘catching’ the person being good to dole out rewards, and ‘catching’ them being bad to enforce punishments. But what happens when there is no other person? Adding punishment and reward diminishes the individual’s opportunity to be truly accountable. Attempting to ‘make’ anyone be accountable through control and punishment fosters resentment, rebellion, or fear-based compliance. This is not healthy experience.
One of my favorite themes is “mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn”. So, I believe in creating a safe environment where clients become more and more willing to be accountable (take responsibility for their own actions) because they know they will be supported in learning and finding solutions.
Most of my clients are adults. Many of them become more self-disciplined and feel better as a result of coaching. I have found that they then become more capable of using their skills in many life situations. Some become more adept at demonstrating and fostering accountability in their relationships with spouses, children, family, friends, and at work. In their own families their mates and offspring learn accountability when they live with an adult who is accountable – accountable for living a life of integrity, accountable for looking for win/win solutions instead of winning at the expense of someone else and accountable for treating others with dignity and respect.
This type of accountability training fosters improved self-esteem and helps individuals maintain momentum in many aspects of their lives. The EPSD methods helps individuals change their thinking from Automatic Negative Thinking (ANT) to Automatic Responsible Thinking (ART) and is an important component of developing the Momentum Mind approach to life and living.