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Member Benefit

What Is Shadow Coaching, and Why Do Your Leaders Need It?

Published Fri May 12 2023

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Leaders need training, too, but the approaches to supporting and educating this cohort must match their needs. This is where “shadow coaching” comes in. Shadow coaching involves pairing a leader with a coach who observes and provides real-time feedback on their behavior, communication, and decision-making. The coach can offer insights and suggestions for improvement in the moment, which can be more effective than traditional coaching approaches that rely on feedback after the fact. One study found that leaders who received shadow coaching had significantly higher ratings on leadership effectiveness and organizational performance than those who received traditional coaching. That said, this is an underutilized approach because it requires a significant investment of time and resources and a high level of trust between the coach and leader. However, the benefits of shadow coaching are worth the investment, as it can lead to more effective and successful leaders in your organization. Start with a small pilot program to test the approach and gather participant feedback. It’s also important to select coaches with experience in leadership development and ones skilled at providing constructive and supportive feedback.

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