Holding Accountability Accountable

  • Don Payne
  • Nov 9, 1998

Accountability is central to effective mentoring relationships. Some resist it. Others abuse it. Having become a cliché, however, it is still confusing for many. If we are to recapture the power of accountability we must hold it up in the light, see it for what it is and hold it accountable. Here are some tips for utilizing accountability effectively in mentoring.

First, focus accountability on growth, not just preservation. Realize that accountability cannot replace personal responsibility. The goal of accountability is for us to grow strong and take responsibility for our lives.

Second, make the terms of accountability clear. Be specific about goals, objectives, strategies and means of communication. This type of clarity allows trust to be built and helps prevent self-justification. 

Third, do not allow accountability to become invasiveness. Remember that every person's life is sacred territory, deserving our utmost respect even when we must venture boldly into sensitive areas.

Fourth, realize that accountability is always mutual. Even mentors need to be held accountable for their mentoring by those they mentor. We cannot function as the Body of Christ through one-way relationships. 

Fifth, be patient. We all tend to be more open to accountability as we sense we are safe, as we experience growth and as we feel the touch of God's grace through each other. Powerful accountability takes time.

As we hold accountability accountable it can be transformed from frustration, intimidation or confusion into a life-giving resource!