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Does Accountability Work?


The biggest buzz word in coaching is accountability. Whether it’s in-house or the kind you pay a thousand dollars a month for, they’re shouting: YOU NEED ACCOUNTABILITY. But does it work?

Can You Hear Me Now?

When I was a kid it worked. Didn’t do my homework – got grounded. Didn’t do my chores – got grounded. But now that I’m an adult, does telling me I have to send a check to someone I hate force me to keep my commitment?

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I committed to it but didn’t do it. Is that pain enough? Is not getting the win enough?

Do higher stakes equal more commitment? If you lose out on the gain you would have made, is that enough pain?

Punishment and peer pressure is not the way to get results from me. What about you? What works?

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Written By

As a lifelong resident and local Realtor, Vicki has established herself as a respected member of the San Mateo County real estate community. She’s known for her wit, sarcasm, and her personality that shows through in her posts. You can find her spouting off at Twitter, here at ag, and her personal blog, San Mateo Real Estate



  1. Dan Connolly

    July 21, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    Well looking at accounts receivable usually does it for me. I have never been a big one for coaching
    etc. Personal goals are a pretty good motivator for me.

    I think if you feel pain by not getting some gain you should or would have gained, you probably aren’t really cut out for this business. I don’t feel any sense of loss over listings that don’t sell or buyers who don’t buy, for me it just goes with the territory…. that is why it is important to generate a lot of business leads.

  2. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    July 21, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    Dan took the words out of my mouth. If the bank account gets skinny, the incentive to try something different goes up, independent of whether there’s a whip involved or not. So no, I don’t think that peer accountability works regarding real estate sales. If you have a broker who holds you accountable and you don’t perform, they may reprimand you, support you, or whatever but if it’s not to your liking, you’re probably going to switch brokers instead considering yourself “accountable.”

  3. Eric Blackwell

    July 21, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    I think at the end of the day it is each of our responsibility to motivate and hold ourselves accountable. While I LOVE teaching SEO to REALTORS and others, and that DRIVES me….the bank account is a solid motivator…as is a picture on my desk of 4 kids and a wife.

    I’d agree with Dan about the requirements for this business.

  4. Paula Henry

    July 21, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    A peer coach told me once, ” Everyone wants the freedom, flexibility and untold wealth real estate offers; the problem is too many take advantage of the freedom and flexibility to obtain untold wealth.” That same freedom and flexibility mentality will keep many from meeting their goals, because they need to buckle down and accept responsibility for where they are in their career.

    Do we need coaches or accountability? – not neccessarily Does it help? – It depends on the person. Punishment and peer pressure doesn’t work for me either. I do like having someone who has been where I am helping me make good decisions. Then, it’s up to me to make it happen.

  5. Vance Shutes

    July 21, 2008 at 6:48 pm


    I recall one of Covey’s seven habits, to wit: Begin with the end in mind. When you do so, you are accountable to yourself, to accomplish what you have in mind. Ultimately, to be accountable is to be self-disciplined, a worth end by itself.

    I’ve been down the coaches path, and all they did was anger me. I don’t work well when I’m angry. I work well when I have a clear picture of the end in mind. Couple that with the courage to pursue what you have in mind, and you have an unstoppable force.

  6. Matthew Rathbun

    July 21, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    No coaching accountability doesn’t work. At the end of the day, the coach is still an employee of the agent. It’s as well with Brokers now-a-days, the Brokers are trying to hard to out do one another in recruitment that they’ve allowed the inmates to take over the insane asylum.

    Brokers and Associations provide countless tools, services and educational offerings and the all the agent needs to do is show up…. yet only 20% or so do.

    I can educate agents all day, but I refuse to try and hold them accountable. When I was managing it was my job; now I have the options on concentrating on those who wish to make real estate a career and are motivated by professionalism and eagerness to provide good services to their clients.

  7. Brad Nix

    July 21, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    This is what makes AG so great! Just this morning I was approached by a potential new recruit to Maxsell and one of the questions was “Do you provide accountability for your agents?” My answer was honest, I have never hired an agent who needed me to hold them accountable.

  8. Chuck G

    July 22, 2008 at 5:44 am

    Whenever it was in our lives that we decided to become a Realtor — whether it was the first job, or a career change like I did — at that moment, we made a clear and conscious decision to be our OWN bosses… By definition, that means you are accountable to yourself for your business success. Your broker isn’t your boss — YOU are your boss. Being able to chart my path to success (still in progress, by the way!) and being 100% in charge of that path (accountability) is one of the most gratifying things I have ever done in 20+ years of professional sales.

    Does that mean I can’t learn from others along the way? Absolutely not. But if an agent is in the position that they need an “accountability coach,” they have chosen the wrong profession, and should probably go back to the corporate world where they have a boss who will tell them what to do and exactly how to do it…been there, done that, thank you.

    I’m fortunate enough to have a broker whose only “accountability” requirement is to uphold the reputation of the firm by being a good person and an ethical agent. The rest of it is up to me…..and I couldn’t be happier about that.

    Great topic, Vicki!

  9. Matt Stigliano

    July 22, 2008 at 7:11 am

    Bank account statements work. Encouragement of those I admire or respect works. My own excitement of figuring out something that is doing well for me works.

    Paying someone to tell me what I should already know, although I haven’t tried this, probably wouldn’t.

    In my office we are encouraged to pick an accountability partner, but for me it has more been about someone I can go to when I need a question answered or need a bit of uplifting advice. One day, I felt like I couldn’t deal with time management very well, so a fellow agent sat me down and told me her story…and it made me feel like I wasn’t alone. It did more for me than she probably could imagine. That’s the kind of “push” I need to succeed.

  10. Glenn fm Naples

    July 22, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    This post raises a question – shouldn’t a broker be a coach? If the broker is not fulfilling this role, are the “professional coaches” step up? Also accountability isn’t really the readiness of accepting responsibility? Vicki as you pointed out your parents taught you responsibility and accountability.

    Of course, there are coachable and uncoachable individuals – innate talent that is not fully realized.

  11. Bob

    July 22, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    At the end of the day, being in real estate is still just an owner operated business.

    Take a walk down Main Street and pop into any of the successful mom and pop/ sole proprietorship businesses and ask how many employ a coach that hold them accountable. When the laughter subsides, I’ll bet the answer is zip.

  12. Vicki Moore

    July 22, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    Thanks for all of the input. Personally it was a great help. I did personal coaching. I agree with Vance – it was annoying.

    I don’t want to pay someone to reprimand me or remind me of what I didn’t do. I already know I didn’t do it!

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