Executive Coaching Questions & Answers

What is shadowing?

To accelerate the development of a leader receiving executive coaching, shadowing is an option to consider for many engagements. Shadowing means observing the leader in day-to-day interactions (in-person, or more likely these days, on Zoom, etc.), watching her in real-time, and seeing how others respond to her.

Coaching should not occur in a vacuum. Watching the leader in action provides the coach with deeper insight into the executive’s leadership and communication style, work context and how the leader is perceived by others. When conducted by an experienced coach, this type of observational coaching can be profoundly effective, shedding light not just on what skills the leader needs to improve or deploy, but how she needs to exercise those to be most successful in that particular system.

Shadowing uncovers how specific behaviors are showing up for the leader in the context in which she is leading, and helps inform strategies for showcasing desired behaviors in a visible way. The coach is able to provide in-the-moment feedback to the client so she can make adjustments, try new behaviors, or simply think and reflect. The coach gains better insight into the culture of the organization and “how things work”, and assists the client in making connections.

Finally, by having her coach visibly present at work, it provides an opportunity for the leader to be transparent about her development, including her work with a coach, which may help foster a pro-development, coaching culture within the organization.

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