Coaches and accountability partners transform. They help us redefine our goals and offer support when we need it most. Whether that’s in sports, during a career transition, or on-the-job to help navigate daily ambiguity, coaching matters. But while the ‘coach’ tag is often put on people who’ve followed officially certified courses, there’s still room for those with that natural spark. Some people are just born with it. Take James Gunn, Senior Executive Recruiter at adidas.

James Gunn happily training. Accountability partner, GamePlanA
James is committed to sharing his passion for fitness.

When it comes to the day-to-day grind of balancing working across four global time zones and sport, James role-models this balance with discipline, consistency, and commitment. Those around him recognize that, so it’s no wonder people at adidas from across the world seek him out to learn how he manages to maintain a rigorous workout routine while balancing his executive search role.

Having a fitness accountability partner in the workplace can be incredibly fruitful and that’s exactly what James is renowned forHe encourages others to get moving. While he isn’t a certified coach or trainer, he is a primary motivator to others. Known for moving people off of the couch and into a fitness lifestyle, James actively listens to peers and colleagueslearning what’s most important for their individual goals. He then offers suggestions to help people get moving.

Young man training indoors. accountability partner, GamePlanA
A sports buddy can be great boost for your health journey.

Whether it’s making better lunch choices or using lunchtimes to get active, James is sought after for his ad hoc input and support as an accountability partner at work.

Shifting mindsets

James’ approach as an accountability partner is direct“There’s a sense of courage that comes with facing our nutritional and fitness truths. Once I have an honest conversation with a colleague about their barriers, they understand their truth and become able to face their fitness fears.” He is known for helping colleagues shift from “I can’t” to “yes, I can”. His mantra is rooted in Maya Angelou’s quote, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. James explains, “Most of the time we realize we can’t change poor habits overnight, but we can change our attitude fairly quickly. This transcends exercise, work challenges, etc.” Having a #GrowthMindset is essential. 

Men and women training indoors. accountability partner, GamePlanA
Having the right mindset is key if you want to progress.

Allowing flexibility and treats

While keeping people on the right path is an important part of being an accountability partner, there is room for flexibility. When it comes to snacking throughout the day for exampleJames gives a thumbs up, recommending “snacking is healthy as long as the snacks are healthy snacks. Snacks help me stay productive at work and keep my energy levels high. James is also quick to encourage peers to take days off to treat themselves.

“Cheat days are important, so we don’t feel deprived. Additionally, if you have a person working alongside you, a peer partner, it helps to keep the motivation high and encourage one another to keep moving and share mutual accountability. People who don’t have a motivation partner can check in with people at work to help them stay on track.”  

Healthy snacks are vital part of the diet. accountability partner, GamePlanA
Snacks aren't bad for you, so long as you choose them wisely.

In-person or virtual?

James firmly believes that going digital is advantageous, however at some point, you need to see people inperson to get the full picture. He goes on to explain, “If you don’t have an in-person accountability partner at work, focus your energy on creating an environment that is conducive to encouraging team members to speak up with trust.” Prior to COVID-19, James believed in sharing accountability in-person, however once COVID-19 hit, he increased his commitment to supporting peers by offering digital motivation. “Sometimes, it’s simply a phone call or videoconferencing chat to help a peer feel great about getting started in changing their fitness. Digital has helped! 

Men looking at smartphone while smiling. accountability partner, GamePlanA
Stay connected.

Do you have someone you turn to, to help guide you? Whether it’s in the office or in sport, having that one person to guide and motivate you can make all the difference to your growth and development.

Share your thoughts in the comments below.


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by Renee Kearney 27.05.2020
Wow! This snapshot of how James is supporting so many people as well as his day job is amazing! I believe that your mantra makes sense, it’s all about our attitude and how we can choose what we want to do with our minds and bodies. Great article, very inspirational and I’m sure going to find someone who loves fitness like James.
by James Gunn Renee Kearney 27.05.2020
Thank you Renee for the comment...I love seeing people find what works best from them as it relates to being active and moving daily.
by james gunn James Gunn 27.05.2020
by Vicki 27.05.2020
Totally agree with you Tina! We can find inspiration and natural coaches from those around us. I'm lucky to have James in the same office as me - he really sticks to a healthy diet which motivates me to do the same!
by tina nicolai Vicki 28.05.2020
He really is great at exactly what you motivation!! He got me off of the couch 10 years ago.
by James Gunn Vicki 28.05.2020
Vicki, thank you for taking the time to read the blog. I miss seeing your face in the office. Let's do a check-in soon via TEAMS!
by Ginnie 28.05.2020
Tina! You described James to the letter! When James came to Panama on his Short Term Assistant as the Director LAM TA, his fitness lifestyle came with him. He trained consistently without fail. We are all connected on Instagram and his post training snapshots motivate me every time - especially when I can clearly see how his runs are improving! This is truly contagious! It is much more than the posting the action. Nothing motivates me more than to see the results and benefits of discipline, consistency and effort! Kudos James! Keep knocking it out!
by Tina Nicolai Ginnie 29.05.2020
Hey Ginnie! That's terrific that you experienced James' fitness lifestyle in Panama! He truly role models training and health across the globe! #GetItDoneGunn inspires so many. #GunnsGuns IS all of the things you described! Thanks for commenting!
by james 29.09.2023
Great story
by Tina james 29.09.2023
So glad you like it! 😁