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Accountability Partners

7 Dangers Accountability Partners Should Avoid

by Scot Chadwick

As an accountability partner, you can play a key role in helping your partner succeed. But take care to avoid these seven dangers.

1. Doing the Work for Your Partner

Avoid the tendency to want to take over your partner’s plan and fix things. Let your partner make choices and take actions, being responsible for any change that may or may not happen. This is their work, so cheer them on when they succeed and challenge them when they stumble.

2. Opposing Your Partner

Do you disagree with your partner’s goals and values? Then you probably are not the best person to help them gain success in that area. Instead of being an antagonistic partner throughout the process, you might consider expressing your concerns to your partner and decline their invitation to help.

3. Focusing on the Negative or Falling into Your Partner’s Error

Is your partner coming out of destructive behavior? It is usually best to avoid discovering the degrading details of the error. Instead, acknowledge the mess but keep pointing to the future goal to be attained.

And don’t make the same mistakes! Sometimes the mess your partner is coming out of can defile you and tempt you to share in it yourself. Be on your guard especially if you have struggled with the same error in the past.

4. Sharing Private Information

The information your partner shares with you generally ought to be kept in confidence. It is their news to share, not yours. You have been entrusted with sometimes sensitive facts that should be kept private. Only share with others if your partner has given their permission or if someone else needs to know. You should share pertinent information about illegal activity, self-harm, or danger to others.

5. Being Hard to Relate to

Accountability requires conversation. So, follow through on your commitment to talk with your partner regularly. Try to be available and keep the lines of communication open.

When you talk with your partner, be reliable and willing to help. Allow the relationship to benefit both parties. Don’t present yourself as nearly perfect and untroubled by failure. Acknowledge that everyone can and should succeed. Seek to advance your partner’s success to the best of your ability.

6. Flattering or Condemning

Avoid excessive or untrue compliments. Sincerely praise and encourage your partner’s victories. Appropriately point out consistent failures and refuse to accept their excuses.

Listen to your partner as they explain their situation. Don’t assume the worst. Refrain from condemning or shaming them without sufficient reason.

7. Expecting Perfection or Dismissing Progress

Anticipate your partner’s successes as well as failures along the path. Be realistic about their performance and help them strive for consistent growth. Recognize their successes and encourage them to persevere toward their goal.


Be mindful of the types of dangers mentioned here and strive to serve your partner to the very best of your ability. Read “How to Be a Good Accountability Partner” to learn more about what you can to help your partner succeed.

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