About gjhiatt

Gina Hiatt, Ph.D. is the president and founder of Finish Agent® Inc. She helps coaches get recurring and passive income by running online groups that get amazing results. Based on taking small steps and daily accountability, the Finish Agent software and methods help clients become raving fans and stay in the system to get more and more success.

Group coaching beats 1-on-1 for accountability

Group accountabilityI’ve been thinking a lot about why accountability is so effective in groups.  I think the number one reason is that we care what others think of us.

We are social animals, and it matters to us what our status is in our “tribe.”  But there is a hierarchy of how much we care what others think, depending on who the others are and how well we know them.

We feel more accountable to people when we know them better, and also when they are more like us.  Being held accountable by someone with more “status” than us can start to feel like an exercise in being ashamed.  Sometimes it’s hard when you are the coach, to draw that fine line between, “I understand; you had a tough week” and “What excuse do you have this time?”

So let me sum this up.  Groups work for accountability better than individual coaching because:

  • We are social animals and we care what others think.
  • The more people who are paying attention to what we’re working on, the more powerful the accountability is.
  • There is no power imbalance among group members, so they are freer to question excuses.
  • Other group members are in the trenches with you, so have a more immediate understanding of the struggles
  • Each member becomes quite familiar with each others’ activities and goals, so there are more eyes on each person.  This multiplies the accountability effect.
  • Members grow to care how the others are doing, which make the accountability much strong.
  • Peer pressure and peer modeling is more powerful than just coach pressure and modeling, again because they are peers.

Groups still need leaders, so I’m not saying coaches are irrelevant!  But in planning your own practice or coaching business, keep in mind the power of groups in keeping your clients accountable and in helping them achieve.  They are cost effective, and they work! You can bring in more clients and impact more people.

What are your experiences with keeping people accountable in individual coaching and in groups?  What works and what doesn’t?


Facebook Groups don’t work for accountability

I often see coaches and trainers claim that accountability is a major focus in their groups or classes.

But when I look at what kind of accountability methods they are using, I’m never impressed.

The most common claim is: “In my program, you will be held accountable in our special Facebook Group.”

Unless you run a tiny group and you are ultra diligent, your Facebook Group will not make your clients feel accountable at all!

In a Facebook Group, the members don’t think, “Oh, I’d better do that thing today, because someone will notice if I don’t.” I don’t know about you, but when I know that nobody will notice I haven’t done something, I’m less likely to do it.

To keep them feeling accountable, you may create a post asking people to post what they’ve accomplished. BUT, a very small percent will post anything in response.

How does the coach remember each person’s commitment and goals?

If people do post their progress, it’s not easy for you to remember what they committed to do in the first place.  This is important, because people tend to drift and not stick to the more difficult actions that they want to consistently do.

In order to hold someone truly accountable, you need to constantly have their goal in mind, and the specific actions they committed to taking.

The other group members will certainly not remember, so their support of that person will be hit or miss.

There’s no way for group members to visually track their progress.  The awareness that they can’t keep track and neither can anyone else, makes it feel like nobody cares.

What if some group members dominate the airwaves?

A common problem in Facebook groups is that the people with the most “wins” dominate the posts. It is rare, although usually quite welcome, that somebody opens up about their struggles and failures in a Facebook Group.
I’ve been in countless private Facebook groups that were especially set up for a course or coaching program. They were helpful and fun, but they were very poor at accountability. Heck, I’ve run accountability groups on my Academic Ladder Blog, and I got a couple dozen sign ups, but no follow through!

To summarize what makes real accountability almost impossible to achieve in a Facebook group:

  • It lacks an easy way for the coach to track each client’s actions, connect them with their commitments, and comment or keep them accountable.
  • It also doesn’t have an easy way for group members to do the same, so they have a harder time supporting their peers
  • It doesn’t have a visual system for tracking their progress
  • Facebook groups are dominated by the people doing well. It’s not a system where it is easy to be vulnerable and open about problems.


What’s your opinion about Facebook Groups and how well they work for accountability?  Let me know in the comments below!

And please Pin, Like, Share and Tweet this post!

How FONK — Fear Of Not Knowing — is blocking your business success

Most coaches don’t succeed in growing a business. They don’t have enough clients, don’t make enough money, or don’t know how to expand from a practice to a business.

Why is this? What separates the successful from the less successful?
The answer is that the successful people take goal-oriented action, and the less successful don’t.
And here is a major reason that less successful people don’t take decisive action:


*Fear of Not Knowing

FONK results in the mistaken belief that if we only KNEW a little more, we’d DO a lot more.

It leads to:

  • The futile search for more important knowledge
  • The passive taking in of knowledge instead of more active goal-oriented steps
  • “Busy-Ness” instead of business-growth-oriented action


You just learned that by becoming a guest blogger, you will become better known and be able to add more people to your list.  Your first step would be to email or call the person that you’re hoping to blog for.
Suddenly, you’re not quite sure how to word the email. Also, you might not be a good match for this person, who might reject you.  
“Wait!” you exclaim. “Here’s another course on how to be a guest blogger! It’s bigger and more extensive than the last one I took! I don’t really know enough about doing guest blogs. I’m signing up right now!”


Because it’s always scary to take that next big step, and because you have Resistance to taking a risk (after all it could flop and make you feel like a fool), you never feel ready.

Never feeling ready leads to you seek ways to get ready, and to a belief that you just don’t know enough. If you only knew more, you could do a perfect job.



But as we all know, you learn more by taking imperfect action and making mistakes, than you do by learning and thinking and planning.  None of those things are bad, but they are NOT the same as taking action.

Mind you, I’m not against courses; after all, I teach courses and I’ve taken plenty of excellent courses!

But there’s a problem:  Most people never take a step unless the next step is to take a course.

The problem is, it doesn’t matter how much you have learned, if you never take action on what you learned.



If you think about it, most of us are saturated with too much information. We’re so overwhelmed with knowledge that it’s hard to think clearly!

That’s why I believe that

In other words, the most useful and valuable courses provide (wait for it)…. COACHING.

Real coaching involves discussing the plan with the client, and then the client goes out and implements.  Whether s/he learns from their action or not, it is reported to the coach so that further coaching can happen. Without action, there is no coaching.



That’s why I always provide coaching (through Finish Agent’s online accountability system) with my classes.

It’s also why I follow people like Danny Iny, of Course Builders Laboratories, who I will tell you more about later in the week. He teaches you how to create courses that work, and he provides coaching in his courses. As a matter of fact, his ebook, “Teach and Grow Rich” is available for FREE for 5 days starting Jan. 26, 2017.

I urge you to consider upping the coaching element in your own courses, and to take goal-oriented action in your own life.



How do you add more coaching to your courses?

I could write a book on this, but let me give you some ideas:
• Do more spoon feeding of tiny action steps
• Break down all the steps into small and smaller steps
• Make sure that ALL your students take those steps
• Find out why any of them didn’t take the steps and teach around that.
• Offer daily support and accountability

How do you take action yourself when you take a course?

• Only take courses that help you get it done/implement
• Make sure you focus on action steps
• If you are not sure what the next action step is, ask.
• Write down the reasons that you are not taking action.
• Think back to why you took the course in the beginning. Are you achieving your goal?



Do you have FONK? Have you taken more classes than you needed, and have you implemented them far less than you intended? Would some coaching along with these courses have made a difference? How do you get yourself to take business-growing action.

Tell us about your experiences or observations below!


“Change One Thing” Guest Blog Post by Kim Clausen

Note from Gina:  I love Kim Clausen’s description of why “one tiny step at a time” can make all the difference in the world.  We teach people to know what their goal is, but to concentrate on the next thing that they can do to move towards that goal.

Change One Thing

By Kim Clausen

Sometimes it seems like nothing works the way it should. If you’re a human, you have probably hit that point where work is no fun, relationship is a struggle and you don’t even feel comfortable in your body.

At times like these, changing your life can seem overwhelming. There’s so much to do…where do you even start?

It’s quite simple, really…just change ONE thing.

Change one small thing

Read a magazine article you would never typically even consider. Try a new type of restaurant. Take a different route to work. Any simple change of scenery can shift your perspective, and has the potential to drastically transform your life.

It’s like a ship at sea…if it changes course even one degree, 100 miles later it’s in completely new waters.

Of course, the most profound shifts are the ones you make on the inside. Annoyance can easily be turned into fascination. Frustration can be flipped to become gratitude. Even anger can be transformed if you simply turn it into a song.

You don’t have to tackle the whole enchilada, just make one simple shift.

And the best part is…it’s all experimentation. If you don’t like your new perspective, you can always go back to your old one.

What “one-degree” shift can YOU make TODAY?

Seth Godin: We thrive on immediate feedback

We want immediate feedbackI love this post, “Short term, long term” by Seth Godin.  His point is that if you want to get people to change, give them feedback as soon as possible after they do something. Note that this is true for both positive and negative feedback.

That’s why I designed the Finish Agent software to allow you (or your coaches) and the small group to give daily online feedback to your clients about their behavior as they implement their coaching goals.

The “old school” style type of coaching is to meet weekly.  At that time, the client will recount his progress and you can reinforce what they’ve done or help them see that they are not going in the direction they had wanted to.  The weekly check-in-as-accountability session is frequently the model in group coaching.

Of course, weekly coaching is an effective technique.  But in some cases, it doesn’t help the client achieve their coaching goal.  Because, frankly, many coaching clients don’t make any progress during the week.

What happens during the week where nothing has happened?  (I know that’s a nonsensical question, but bear with me.)  Here are some of the things that stop clients from moving forward during the week:

  1. Clients forget what they had said they would accomplish that week
  2. Negative thoughts enter their head and take route, leading to Resistance
  3. It’s hard for them to remember at just the right time what they’ve already learned from you
  4. Other people make discouraging remarks
  5. Outside distractions take on urgency, and derail them from their primary goal

It seems pretty obvious that daily feedback from the coach would be more helpful than weekly feedback in each of these situations:

  1. You would remind them of their goals when they stray
  2. You reframe negative thoughts and thus fight Resistance
  3. You remind them at just the right time of what they need to remember, so that they can progress
  4. You empathize and help reframe when others are discouraging
  5. You steer them back from distractions, or help them rework their priorities

As is typical in these situations, it’s not the clients’ motivation, ability, or intelligence that holds them back.  It’s the psychology of getting things done, especially the One Big Thing. Everyone needs support, reinforcement and feedback, and frequent small sessions of this are sometimes better than a longer weekly session.

This is the premise of our Finish Agent software.  We provide an online environment for you, the coach, to run a small group membership site; a place where your clients can easily be accountable on a daily basis to taking small steps towards their goals.  The immediate, short-term feedback that Seth Godin refers to is a huge and important part of the success of coaches who run Finish Agent groups and membership sites.

Have you ever had the experience of getting feedback when it was… just too late?


Seth Godin — Get Big Things Done by Climbing Molehills

Get things done one molehill at a timeSeth Godin’s blog post, “The Simple Power of One a Day,” is perfect for those of us who want to get important things done, but are overwhelmed with the sheer volume of our big projects.  Molehill climbing is important skill for coaches to teach their clients.  Just as our licensees do when their clients use our our Finish Agent software, he reminds us to climb small mountains (molehills) each day, so that it adds up to a tremendous outcome (mountain) eventually.

His post also jibes with my emphasis on DAILY ACCOUNTABILITY, and not weekly or monthly.  We have to take those molehills one per day, not all of them on Sunday night.

My free webinar coming up soon, called “The 3 Top Reasons Your Coaching Groups Are Getting Blah Results, and What You Can Do About It,” is going to teach you how to use online groups to define and climb those tiny little molehills on a daily basis.  Sign up now, and you will learn what simple steps you can take to turn your teleseminar series, coaching groups, masterminds, or trainings programs that everyone is talking about, because your clients get RESULTS.  The biggest thing that we all want is to go into action and get things done.  So learn how to help you clients do just that.

Thanks, Seth Godin, for helping us get through another mountain of a day.

Membership Websites Based on Group Accountability, Not Content? YES!

It’s so hard for me to listen to experienced coaches, trainers and mastermind leaders say that membership websites are too difficult to maintain, and ultimately end in failure.

Of course, they believe that the only way to have a membership system that can give you any kind of online income is to base it on creating and providing great content, month after month, forever.

First of all, let me define “content.”  That word is used to mean articles, PDFs, recordings of classes, and videos that teach you something.  Content is wonderful; it’s how we learn.  I’m a big fan of content.Membership website all content

The problem is that the person running the membership system has to come up with content.  For many, that is fun.  They love to teach and train.  BUT, and this is really a big but, what if you get tired of providing content?  What if you get tired of people signing on, downloading your content, and leaving?  What if you have not stockpiled a lot of content and you happen to get sick, or a family member needs you, or you want to take a long vacation?

The fact is that the person in charge of the membership website often just burns out.

That’s why I developed member software and a system that does not rely on content.  Of course, it does allow you to put content in it.  But it relies more on the process of getting things done, by providing an online accountability system that creates a support network with deep bonds, and a community that keeps your clients on track.

When the process of getting things done is front and center, the dynamic of a membership site undergoes a huge shift.  People will then rely on their small group and their online coach for support, encouragement, and reminders of what they should be doing on a daily basis (I’ll save my “daily accountability” secret for another post).


And as you see on my home page, I have already used this system to grow a membership site that has well over 400 members paying $70 a month (or less with long-term plans).  Many people have stayed with my site over four years.  The reason they stay is that the site is amazingly effective.  They have had incredible breakthroughs that they never would have had alone.  and have been able to make more progress in their lives and careers than ever before.  See the testimonials page for just some of the thousands (yes, thousands) of comments from the incredibly grateful and excited members of my Academic Writing Club have written.

And right now, I do none of the hands-on online coaching.  I have 10 coaches who do that for me.  How’s that for a source of passive online income?


Please post below what comes to mind when you think about running a membership site — does it seem worth it to you?

Accountability Systems for the Blog Phobic

Let’s face it:  I’ve got blog phobia.

How do I know?  It’s simple.  Just look at the date of my last blog post.

Did I not have 30-40 minutes once a week to write?  What about 15 minutes, twice a week?

Of course I had the time.  So I obviously chose to do something else.  Whatever that something else was, it caused me less anxiety than writing a blog post did.  And I’m not aware of having any anxiety in the first place!

What’s going on here?  Where is this blog post phobia coming from?

Who cares?

All I care about is that I want this situation to change. I have so many thoughts to share, and I want them out there.

So, finally, after a long hiatus, that’s what I’m doing.

You might be wondering, “How did she force herself to write this post?”

The answer: an accountability system.  In this case, my coach told me that by the next time we talk, I have to have written a blog post. We didn’t discuss the reasons I haven’t posted — we just decided I would do it.

As is usually the case, I’m my own best client.  That’s probably at least part of the reason why I came up with the accountability software that is the Finish Agent system:  I unconsciously hoped some coach who helps people blog regularly would license my software, so I could join and get daily accountability on my blog writing.

What is it about accountability systems that make people engage in a behavior they normally avoid?  Well, face it — we’re social animals, and we care what others think of us.

That’s why I made sure the Finish Agent accountability system was interactive. Without the daily interaction with your group members, you might as well just fill in an Excel spreadsheet and read it to yourself at bedtime.

The power lies in knowing someone else knows whether you did what you said you would do.

Or you didn’t. (And who likes owning up to THAT?)

So here I am, blogging.  And it was only after starting to write this post that I realized how much I need my very own accountability system.

What is it the number 1 task you really should be doing to build your business, but are avoiding?  Everyone has something, no matter how small.  Let me know what you’re not doing, or not doing enough of.  Just comment below!

How to Toot Your Own Horn

I’m working with my business coach to think about myself as a successful business person, as opposed to only defining myself by my non-business background.  It’s so hard for me to toot my own horn or “brag,” even if it’s in my own head, about being good enough at something.  My coach is getting me ready to think about myself, and present myself to the world, as an accomplished businessperson. After all, it’s necessary for an entrepreneur to do this in order to market successfully. I realized upon reading the following quote that my reluctance to “admit” my achievements is partly due to lack of compassion for myself.

I have made the parts I like the best italic and bold.

“The biggest reason people aren’t more self-compassionate is that they are afraid they’ll become self-indulgent. They believe self-criticism is what keeps them in line. Most people have gotten it wrong because our culture says being hard on yourself is the way to be.” “…Self-compassion is really conducive to motivation. With self-compassion, if you care about yourself, you do what’s healthy for you rather than what’s harmful to you. .. The problem is that it’s hard to unlearn habits of a lifetime. People have to actively and consciously develop the habit of self-compassion.” — Dr. Kristin Neff, professor at University of Texas at Austin, as quoted in The New York Times, February 28, 2011. My thanks to Jayne London for calling my attention to this quote.

Why is it so easy to tell other entrepreneurs that they are doing a good job, that they are successful, and they are achieving things that they don’t even perceive? Do you find it hard to “brag” about yourself, in your marketing copy, your bio, and other places where it’s really important and necessary to toot your own horn?  I’d like to hear about whether you’ve experienced this and how you’ve dealt with it.

Get it Done, Already

I’m tired of people’s excuses.

Even my own. Especially my own.Solitaire Laptop

“I want to write a book, but I never have enough time.”
“I’ll run a teleclass once I read enough books about the subject.”
“I’ll start finding clients soon because I visualize it daily while I’m watching soap operas.”

Ok, maybe I got carried away with that last one.

My point is that we’re all procrastinating. And we’re not just procrastinating on those unpleasant things like doing your taxes and cleaning the toilet.

We’re procrastinating on the very thing that matters the most to us. The thing that will make use feel like we’ve really done something – something we can be proud of, something that will help people, something that has a legacy, or something that has some other deep meaning to us.

If we do this thing that we’re not doing, it will give us a sense of deep satisfaction.

I have lots of ideas about why we avoid doing something that we actually really want to do. But first I wanted to see what you think about it.  Why do we put off doing something that will enrich our life and make us feel much better in the long run?

Oh, what have I been procrastinating on? Writing this blog post.

What was my flimsy excuse? “I don’t know what the readers are thinking.”

Give me a break.