Accountability: Tips and Tools

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Mentors are a catalyst for change, but maintaining motivation is vital. 

Some mentees will be more motivated than others. Structured programs (like this one) strive to create great matches - not only in skills sets but also personality.  Some will see mentoring as energising and something they embrace whole heartedly. Others will see it as one more task to complete.

Personally, I have been in formal programs where the skills match, and the personality match just doesn't click. I didn’t have the skills or the confidence to discuss this with my mentor, so it became just another task for me to fulfil for the program. 

The Acorn Mentoring Program is creating an environment where the advice, coupled with some short articles will help nudges us into action that pushes us OUT of our comfort zone! 

But how do we do this?

  • Think about to a mentor who had a "significant impact" on you. 
  • What did they say (or make you feel) 
  • How did this spur you to create a change or see a perspective differently? 
  • What did you do differently as a result? 
  • What was the result?

When we set goals, it can be incredibly easy to just forget about it and continue as normal e.g. having an awkward conversation, organising a day to job shadow a colleague, or even to get to the gym earlier to help with your stress levels.

Sometimes the goal chosen will scare us. We avoid it. Even though we know it’s important, we might fail to meet/complete the goal because we just can’t take that mental leap. 

Being a mentor is creating opportunities to be a catalyst for change. Accountability can feel unnatural in a mentoring relationship. But it works. This responsibility comes from a place of trust, support, and genuine interest.

Accountability is showing your mentee that they are understood. Goals are to be encouraged. We all are driven to succeed.

Keen for some actionable tips and tools? 

Task accountability

  • Review the to goal (or task)
  • Break it into smaller, achievable steps
  • Set realistic time frames for your mentee to email you updates and progress reports (S.M.A.R.T.E.R)
  • Dig a bit deeper ...
    • Are they disinterested? Maybe it’s time to reflect on why they chose this goal in the first place.
    • Stressed and unsure? Maybe something is underlying their apprehension (fear of failure? fear of success?). Time to dig a bit deeper ...
    • Do you need more information? Look at TED.org, HBR.org and other websites to identify resources that can help get your mentee on the right track.

Relationship accountability

  • Sometimes mentors can get stuck in the teacher phases of the relationship. Focusing on providing learnings and asking questions to deliver insights. Moving into the space of learner can open up whole new levels in this relationships. If you were able to learn and experience along side your mentee, that would be incredibly beneficial to you both. e.g. attending a conference or webinar, you can both attend and debrief?
  • Conduct a 360 feedback review on your mentee and use this to discuss the current mentees role, their program goal, and identify opportunities for further development.
  • Reflect on how they view the feedback you have been providing. Is it what they were hoping for? Are you providing them with the direction they were after? How can you monitor, support and improve as a mentor? 

Mentoring requires time and effort from both mentor and mentee. Creating environments where understanding, inspiration, and support are provided. Accountability creates space for the process to learn and grow to happen. Are you ready to embrace it?