Buddy up: What we learned as peer accountability partners

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

Our paths crossed in 2021 during a 10-minute virtual breakout session of a business development course for coaches taught by Dorie Clark and Alisa Cohn. Remarkably, we established a connection from that encounter — 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.  

It’s easy to underestimate the benefits of informal peer partnerships like ours, yet the insights, perspectives and mutual support can be a game changer for those in leadership roles. 

Benefits of a peer partner

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 an excellent 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 you can bring to your work. Likewise, you will discover resources, tools and systems that someone else uses that might help you address a business challenge or a leadership problem. 
  • 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 is all you need to get out of a slump. 
  • Sustaining — and marking — progress. Knowing that you’re each working toward specific goals means your commitment is shared and helps you maintain momentum. Regular conversations prompt you to reflect on and recognize your achievements and celebrate those milestones. 

Getting the most from a peer accountability partner

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

  • Find someone you respect, enjoy and who is genuinely 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 has been 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. Don’t bail if you’re too busy or haven’t done what you wanted to do between sessions. You’ll still gain from your time together if your partnership is right. 
  • Adjust if it’s not working. From our experience, it should be easy, something you look forward to. If you do not gain from the partnership, determine what will make it more meaningful. Maybe you need different goals for yourself; perhaps you need a more open mind; or maybe it’s not a good fit for you or has run its course, in which case, you should wind down, take your wins and move on.

 We hope our experience inspires you to establish your peer accountability partner. Let us know — we’d love to hear from you.  

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