The Value of an Accountability Partner and How to Pick a Good One

The Value of an Accountability Partner and How to Pick a Good One

Having an accountability partner can be extremely helpful when trying to reach your academic goals. Many students attest that we can benefit from partnering with someone who will help us keep our commitments. When it comes to studying, the value of having someone there for you when you need to discuss your project and/or have someone who understands what you’re going through can be invaluable.

You should be comfortable enough with your accountability partner that they can provide you with honest, immediate second opinions. While some decide to occasionally share their workspace with their study buddy, other people might prefer a more individualistic approach to the relationship. Even introverts may sometimes benefit from a buddy to provide them with a fresh perspective or get feedback regarding research ideas. There is usually a certain thrill to sharing and discussing your research with a genuinely interested person who is there to help provide some insights.

You won’t necessarily need an accountability partner at all times. You might just need them to get through a rough patch, or to get some new creative juices flowing.

When choosing an accountability partner, it’s good to consider some pointers, so the whole experience can be more useful and rewarding. For instance, as a general rule the person you have in mind should be willing and motivated to be your partner.

Here are some other considerations to get you started:

  1. Partner up with someone who is at a similar stage of their studies/research as you. This will enable the two of you to share something you are both going through simultaneously. Also, the insights and experiences of a fellow student will probably be more relevant to your project than — for example — your parents or your spouses.
  2. Choose a person who is reliable and trustworthy. It is beneficial to be able to contact your accountability partner and get a prompt reply. Meeting up to discuss things can also offer an opportunity to progress and evolve, although, in this day and age, digital technology allows for virtual meetings too. If you sometimes want the conversations to remain private, you need to be able to trust the person to keep it that way.
  3. You should feel comfortable in the presence of your accountability partner. Don’t choose someone who might be overly judgmental or condemning and who doesn’t necessarily want to see you progress. On the other hand, you also don’t want to partner with someone who just panders to your research ego and might not provide you with genuine help and advice, because…
  4. You need a solid person who is not afraid to express their opinions and can give honest feedback. You two of you should be able to challenge each other in a constructive way that can support progress and growth. Remember, you don’t need a cheerleader. You need someone you can rely on.

Some people might want to consider partnering with more than one person. This gives the advantage of having more reliable people around you. Different people often excel at different things and having more than one partner means different people can offer support at different times. What is most important is to find what works for you, find the right partner, and then implement a system that keeps you accountable.