In this episode listen to Robyn and Andrea Lee talk about Shadow Coaching. Discover how this program can effectively advance your level as an experienced coach.
Robyn: Hi, everyone! Hi, it’s Robyn Logan here at CoachStreet and I have with me as always my co-host, Andrea Lee. Hi, Andrea!
Andrea: Hi, hi!
Robyn: Hi! Are you coming to us from Vancouver now, or which particular location in the world are you?
Andrea: I’m at home, yeah. It’s, like, the middle of summer. It’s when, you know, this is what people who live in British Columbia suffer all year for the weather we have right now, for the next six weeks. (laughter)
Robyn: Just to get a little piece of that, little piece of that sunshine.
Andrea: It’s heaven. It’s heaven here right now, so, yeah… Kayaking and fresh strawberries and… you have to come visit, Robyn. You keep teasing me that you’re gonna come visit
Robyn: I know.
Andrea: I don’t know if you’re just leading me on or when is it happening but…?
Robyn: I would love to, but it’s just, like, I tried to plan out my year for travel, and with kids you really have to keep it. Particularly now that they’re older, it’s sort of, it seems, um – what’s the word – anti-intuitive, but when they’re younger, it’s easier ‘cause they don’t really know time that much…
Andrea: You just drag them along like marshmallows and they don’t even notice.
Robyn: (laughter) Yeah! You know what else I was wondering ‘cause I went to this conference last week and the week before. I was thinking, wouldn’t it be great if I could do like I do with the chickens? With the chickens, I just can hang one bowl of food and one bowl of water and they get a whole week out of that.
Robyn: Is it bad to think like that?
Andrea: I don’t know. Bad for the chickens or bad for the kids?
Robyn: Bad for the… you know, don’t I lose my parenting, you know, mettle or whatever it is?
Andrea: No, I think it’s fine to feed the kids chicken feed.
Robyn: Yeah, indeed (laughter). Anyway, we’re gabbing on and we haven’t even told anyone what this episode is, so episode number five is shadow coaching and we mentioned this last time in episode 4. When we were talking about niches, you put up this idea that you’d been doing some shadow coaching for one of your clients, and I was really intrigued by that because I have heard of it, but it’s not something that I’ve come across a lot, and we certainly don’t teach that at the ICA, although it would be great. What a great short course! A couple of CCUs on that one…
Andrea: Hey, you could twist my arm.
Robyn: I would like to twist your arm on that. I think that’s a really… Anyway, let’s go back a step and find out, so I’m gonna be interrogating you in this episode, basically. What is shadow coaching?
Andrea: Shadow coaching. I would describe it as… it is an advanced kind of coaching that is based on real time observation so you are right on the playing field as it were, whether your client is parenting in their family environment or a corporate executive in their board meeting, an author, speaker or trainer who’s leading their first live event as was the case about I know a short while ago when I went to London to do shadow coaching. You know, there are shadow coaches who do this in the political system. There are people who go into the medical system to shadow coach doctors. It’s a fairly advanced thing ‘cause there’s a lot going on, but for those of you who are sort of veteran coaches it could be a really high value addition to your business that relatively few people are doing, so it can be a good way to distinguish yourself.
Robyn: Yeah, and it’s interesting when you say relatively few people are doing it. I guess people would think… It’s that thing again about not thinking big enough in your practice, didn’t think about, “Oh well, I could just fly over there and shadow coach” and maybe it’s also clients don’t know about it.
Andrea: It’s true. I can’t speak more highly of it. I mean, it is a very intensive level of coaching that you have to be on, but to just imagine all the things that you can see by being in the physical environment of the client together… So much coaching is done by phone where a lot of visual cues are missing. This way, when you’re in the physical environment, you get to really see all sides of the person’s personality. You know, how many times have you wondered whether a client has been on the phone with you presenting their best self then hang up the phone and then go be like a dork, you know, and letting that side show, and you have no idea that that’s happening and you can’t add value there in a spot that you could be the most impactful. So, yeah, I love shadow coaching and I wish more people would do it. I wish I could find people to do it for me.
Robyn: Yeah, there you go. Who shadow coaches the shadow coach?
Andrea: Yeah, I don’t know. The shadow shadow coach.
Robyn: The shadow shadow coach. Hey, um, so I’m just trying to think what’s an example of that. Like the perfect example you gave then was someone who was running a live event so you went for the three days and you can spot, I guess, not only just the coaching opportunities there, but also because you know about live events. You run quite a few; you could give heads-up on things she might not have seen, correct?
Andrea: Yeah, I mean, prior to the actual three day live event, there was this workshop. We did all the business coaching that you would expect – so what are you gonna price your workshop at, what is your invitation going to be for people who finished the workshop, what is your program going to look like, when are you going to teach what, how are you going to fill the workshop… all of these business coaching things that, you know, are pretty standard and you can do on the phone, no problem, but when you get to the actual event and not before you can start to say things like, “Okay, so now it’s the night before. The most important thing you need to do is not to do any more work. You need to rest, but you need active rest because if you just lie about you’re gonna fret and worry, so ideally you have, you know, some fun television or you go work out or you have your spouse take you out on some romantic evening or go see a movie, something active to take your mind off…” The best possible thing to do, and if you are in the position to see them do that or not do that then you can, of course, correct them and say, “Listen, you’re really asking for it if you don’t go to bed right now.”
Robyn: So, it’s interesting. It’s sort of like coaching on the phone or even in person but you’re coaching-coaching in the traditional sense. You’re coaching on what your client says, so it seems to me that here it’s more observational coaching; you get to coach on what they do.
Andrea: That’s a beautifully put distinction. It’s a beautifully put distinction. What they do, their body language, how they’re relating to other people, like if a client is on the phone telling you something, they’re not relating to anybody with you. So you can coach a dynamic. You can coach a relationship even when they’re on their own, but you get to look at them and they may not be actively doing something, but you could see that they’re upset or they’re keyed up or something or they’re tripped up by something and those are things you can’t do on the phone.
Robyn: And so surely this is used in the workplace. Wouldn’t that just be the most perfect. Like, I’m thinking leadership coaching, how perfect!
Andrea: Yes, there’s definitely… For example there’s actually a really lovely lady by the name of Donna Carlin who I know lives in Ottawa who actually does a lot of this and organizations and political bodies as well.
Robyn: So tell me how that works. You go into the workplace; don’t people think it’s weird that you’ve got this coach running around?
Robyn: Not the person being coached but the people they’re talking with, like, how does that work?
Andrea: You know, they just get introduced as someone who’s here to support me personally and it’s just like having an assistant sitting against the wall watching, so, yeah, it can initially feel strange, but really it’s no different from-
Robyn: Like in the workplace, you wouldn’t butt in and say… you would be more sort of a backseat observer and then perhaps so say a leader or an executive has a meeting that they keep having conflict in or something or there’s a team that’s not working well together, you might be invited to come to the meeting, sit there, and then after the meeting you could give effective feedback.
Andrea: Yup. Or if you get invited or it’s clear beforehand that this person is here to help then it may be that you get the client, the leader could look at you and say, “Could you help me out here?” You could step in. Usually the shadow stays in the background.
Robyn: So, do you think people need specific training in this? I’m just wondering. I’m thinking about our coaches. Is this something you could just, like, have a go at and start to introduce with your clients or is there a particular skill that is different?
Andrea: I think it’s both, honestly. Like, you don’t actually need to get trained, but then again, you know, it depends on where you’re coming from. If you’re a great coach and you’re quick on your feet and you’re not overwhelmed by the additional data, I think you could just go ahead and practice it. Obviously, you’re not promising, you’re not saying you have a credential or et cetera, so it’s perfectly fine. It’s just like meeting a client and having a coaching session in person. You don’t need an extra training for it; however, there are certain things that I believe can be trained and can be additional like there are certain things with regards to timing, there are certain things with regards to coaching the client, and then including or not including the other parties that might be involved in the dynamic.
Robyn: Oh yeah, that’s interesting.
Andrea: There’s different layers of things that can come up that are particular to shadow coaching, especially within organizations that I think they’re a really good study.
Robyn: You know, and I was just thinking of shadow coaching in family dynamics ‘cause I was running it through my head going, “Would that ever happen? Would that work?” But, you know, what I know is that psychologists sometimes do that particularly with kids, you know, if they want to develop a plan or even assess a child that’s got behavioral problems, they might come to the family dinnertime in Supernanny style. Maybe Supernanny is a shadow coach.
Andrea: Yes, Supernanny, The Boss Whisperer, all of this sort of reality show type things.
Robyn: Oh, it’s a whole genre. I’m so excited about this! This is great. I love it! You see, you think you’ve been doing something for twelve years you can’t learn anything new. There you go.
Andrea: Yeah, I mean it is particularly… because when you think about those situations you really are talking about leadership and cultural change or change management and things like that – organizational development – are hotspots that benefit from shadow coaching.
Robyn: Okay. So in terms of like practically speaking and setting this up, if I was a coach now, and I wanted to just add that, stick that little menu on my website — shadow coaching, what sort of fees can I charge that surely it’s more expensive?
Andrea: Yeah, I mean if you’re doing it for the very first time this goes without saying for anything, if you’re, it’s your first time and you’re just giving it a college try, I wouldn’t suggest you give yourself the pressure or charge a whole ton more. However, you do need to charge for your travel, you do need to charge for accommodation if that’s involved, and usually I recommend that you charge of bit of a per diem like an honorarium. So whether it’s a hundred dollars for a day for food or just you know, taxi back to your hotel or something like that, sort of a little bit of like an allowance. And then it’s kind of like a 20 to sometimes even as high as 30 or 40% premium on your regular coaching fees to sort of count for your shadow coaching.
When I do it, like when I went to London to do it, that was part of a private coaching package that was negotiated separately and actually had a couple of cases where our shadow coach events , not just the London one, you know there’s the opportunity to negotiate for upside incentive for example, you know. If your event, you initially had hinted that the International Coach Academy might do an event…so if you were to hire me to shadow coach then there might be, like well, if I do a good job then Robyn, you might, you know, write me a bonus or something like that… that would be the kind of thing I would negotiate as a shadow coach.
Robyn: Hmm, that’s a great idea… interesting. Back to the workplace end, so is it if a… who employs the shadow coach? The executive or the leader? Or the company? Do companies actually employ shadow coaches?
Andrea: It will depend… both actually can, but they do it for different purposes. So, leaders who are thinking “Oh I’d love a shadow coach,” – if they want the coach for themselves, like for their own personal growth to support their own goals of advancement or not advancement at the company, et cetera, they’re gonna really want to hire that shadow coach for themselves. If on the other hand they are in a position and they are being offered a shadow coach that’s fantastic, it can happen. Perhaps they’re being groomed to be the next successor of the CEO or something, in which case though, just know there’s a distinction that when the company hires, obviously, the goal is to fulfill the company’s needs, not your personal needs. And that’s really…
Robyn: That’s a good, like just normal executive coaching, isn’t it… whether you’re hired by the individual or the company? Okay, I’m jumping all over the place here now, ‘cause now I’m thinking back to the idea of shadowing an event right, so to just say that now we’ve picked out a perfect location, we have an ICA event planned, and you’re coming along as our shadow coach, what about shadow team coaching cause I’m thinking there’s no way if walked up as a shadow coach for the event that it would just be me getting the coaching, everybody would be, “Andrea, I just had this situation with the food… none of the vegan food has arrived!”
Andrea: Yeah, yeah, no, that’s a really smart way to do it and in fact, I have another client in California who hires me as a shadow coach for that reason and it’s she wants her whole organization to be coached. It’s sort of a bit of a combination like you can have team coaching that’s on the phone. So you know, a client who comes, she’s the CEO but now she wants her director of operations to be coached as well, so that’s team coaching but it’s on the phone.
And you know, if you have an organization for example, especially change management let’s say a company’s being bought by another company and the company, the smaller company is being asked to help you know transition the new owners, there’s a change management situation there that the shadow coach could come in and help all of the team members…
Robyn: Yeah, yeah…
Andrea: It’s fairly clear.
Robyn: I love this. The thing is I’m so glad we decided to do a podcast together because before CoachStreet we always wanted to catch up, yeah let’s catch up… we did make time but we were both running, you know, busy businesses, we just never got enough time to catch up. I’m finding through the podcast, “Oh yeah great. What a great idea, maybe we could talk about that later, maybe we can talk about this later,” it’s perfect.
Andrea: Yeah. It’s fun to spark brains off of one another and I think that’s really the point of CoachStreet is to really take what’s happening in the trenches that’s working that might not be in any textbook or in any e-course yet, and go for it.
Robyn: Yeah, yeah, totally.
Andrea: I hope to see shadow coach training at ICA seriously (laughs).
Robyn: So, what better way to work out what we’re both doing in our businesses than inside the CoachStreet podcast? We should do a… I’ve always thought that would be a great episode or something to do as well, is actually live. Do something… I’ve got this friend, Ezra Firestone. He’s an unbelievable e-commerce specialist. Seriously, what that guy doesn’t know about e-commerce, and he did this thing… just going off the tangent just slightly here for a minute… he did this thing recently where he offered people, he decided he was gonna to show people how to set up an e-commerce business and make a sale in 7 days. So, from the beginning right? So pick a product, credit a website, got the cart up, got some traffic, paid traffic to it, and I think it wasn’t much that money though… I think day 4 and 5 he was freaking out because there weren’t any sales, but by day 7 he had made like $500 or something.
Robyn: What an awesome idea and I often think, you know, that would be a great idea to do with coaching and coaching businesses because a lot of times new coaches either through confidence or just not being exposed to the business models, they just can’t see how they’re ever gonna make a business out of it or they don’t believe that you can, like we often get the question, can I really make a business out of this, but can I really make an income out of this?
Robyn: Okay, good question huh? I look at their question and think I just don’t get it because to me I look at… my theory is, if someone else is making an income out of it, then you can make an income out of it, and there’s no lack of coaches making good incomes out of coaching. So then I was thinking after watching what Ezra was doing, OK you know what would be a great way to do this, I wouldn’t do it in a week though because I think it’s different type of business but, in a month, just to take someone, like a real person and say, OK let’s get you a client in a month and document and show everybody the process and prove that it can happen.
Andrea: Yeah, that’s a fantastic idea, I mean you put a lot of… on the leaders of that but…
Robyn: You wouldn’t want to fail, would you?
Andrea: Well, I mean, I think you’d have to be open to the possibility otherwise it’s just like wrestling, it’s rigged…
Andrea: (laughs) But uhm, yeah.
Robyn: What time frame, what time frame do you reckon you wouldn’t have the possibility, the very minimum possibility of failing? In one month, possibly? It might not…
Andrea: What do you think, what would be the criteria like? One client?
Robyn: One client, one paying client that’s paying. Well, actually, it doesn’t do well. What about the criteria’s a thousand dollars a month – just the beginning, just to get some cash in.
Andrea: To minimize risk I’d give it two months but I think that’s doable. You know, if a business coach is worth her chops, you should be able to do it in 30 days, unless the person is particularly agonized or depressed or something (laughs), not that it’s a laughing matter, but if they’ve lots personal issues to work through that could take time, but if they’re ready to go and they’re really like groomed.
Robyn: Definitely three months, three months for sure.
Andrea: Yea. The trick is that it would depend on whether you really wanted to prove that a certain kind of coaching could get done, like if you wanted a Blue Ocean strategy or their thought leadership coaching business that could take longer. But if it’s just any coaching, like a life coaching client or something general, you don’t need three months for that, not at all… you could do it in 30 days.
Robyn: Yeah. Interesting.
Andrea: But how did we get on that from shadow coaching?
Robyn: I don’t know, I went off on a tangent? (laughs)
Andrea: Come back! (laughs)
Robyn: I’m coming back. I’m lost in the shadows, lost in the shadows… (laughs) Okay, so back into shadow coaching. So I’m thinking this is a great add-on because you know coaches always need, I think “Oh, he’s ready for this?” I think they always need multiple streams of coaching income… (laughs)
Andrea: Yeah, that’s a fantastic idea.
Robyn: It’s a fantastic idea. For those of you don’t know we’re just having a bit of joke because I think that Andrea’s walls has the multiple streams of coaching income clean back in the day and prove they still are.
Andrea: I did submit a request to be cleaned but I actually did not get cleaned so I just, I wrote a book about it so yeah, I know what you mean like it’s good to have more than one income stream. It’s like, like say, if you’re an apple farmer, it’s nice to sell apples but it’s great to also consider selling apple pie, or apple sauce or apple juice. It just increases the likelihood of someone buying something.
Robyn: Yeah, yeah, totally. So that’s a great multiple stream is the shadow coaching. And you particularly offer inter-groups as well, combining group coaching, shadow coaching – that’s the thing, there are so many different ways to package this up, and there’s no need to go into your coaching business thinking that it’s a one model, one-on-one coaching situation.
Andrea: Where would you add it, do you think? Would you, would you consider adding shadow coaching to your offerings?
Robyn: You mean to my coaching offering or to the training school?
Andrea: To… you know, if you were an active practicing coach looking for clients, would you add that?
Robyn: If I was an active practicing coach looking for clients… Well, my coaching now is you know, limited. I’m really coaching one or two clients, every now and again in the foremost…
Andrea: But as the leader of ICA, you got one or two other things keeping you…
Robyn: Because basically, I’m businesswoman more than a coach really these days. But when I was a coach, my coaching niche was people wanting to get into small business, women wanting to move out of workplaces into businesses. How would I shadow coach in that area?
Andrea: I mean, just theoretically, do you like the idea or what?
Robyn: Oh yeah, I love the idea but I think it might work well in… it’s gonna work better in some niches like for example, executives, leaders, anyone who’s working in an organization because organizations are places where you got all other sorts of environmental factors that impact. So schools, for example or anything like that, it will work really well. Would it work within individual surroundings, just coaching an individual? I think it’s gonna work where there’s in the issue involving other people so it has to be something where you’re trying to do something and for whatever reason it’s not working or it’s a new thing that you might have a lot of fear around or that it’s a leap, you’re taking a leap.
Andrea: I mean, I’m curious if you feel like, like is the International Coach Academy a proponent of new forms of coaching like this, like do you like creativity being expressed in terms of packaging and coaching?
Robyn: Yeah, definitely, definitely for a couple of reason that’s why I’m really interested in this whole idea of the shadow coaching. The first thing is I think it’s a great short course for people who already trained as coaches. So, it would work really well in that area because you know, it’s a way of adding extra skills and plus it can be accredited with the ICF or CCU. So I think that’s one good reason, the CCUs. And then I think the other reason that would work really well for our students is because we’re always looking for ways that they can think about not having the one-on-one coaching model because it’s often, I often talk about to new coaches about you know not… don’t head down the business plan path, head down the business model path, then once you got the business model, then do the plan.
So don’t start with like, who’s the type of market, you know the traditional business plan that you download from the Internet or whatever. Start with a business model, which is at the heart of every business is the sale. You’re selling something. So what is it that you’re going to sell? What model will you use? And people just sometimes don’t take that step. They just sort of automatically move into one-on-one coaching. Which, if you’re charging $20,000 an hour, it’s fine. But if you’re a new coach you have to think of other ways, and I think shadow coaching is the way to add a stream of income. Group coaching or team coaching is a great way to do it. Workshops and seminars is great. So in that context, yeah I think I’m really interested in it.
Andrea: That’s cool. Well, I hope that you do follow through on that idea of having an event for ICA. Really, don’t feel obligated to hire me as a shadow coach. I don’t want to stand in your way.
Robyn: Yeah, you don’t want to stand in my way… that’s a joke, right? I can’t believe it! (Laughs)
Andrea: Well, I think the ICA community is really, I mean I can’t speak for everyone obviously, but I think you guys will have such an amazing… You will be the best party…
Robyn: Oh yeah, we have great parties. You should see in our website, there’s a great video we took at the last ICF Conference in London. Such a great video, the guy who edited did such a great job. And you know what? We shot that video using an iPad. And I was just there, in the moment. And I was thinking, oh man, we should have organized the camera. All I have was the iPad. So I shot the video using the iPad and it was pretty good!
Andrea: That’s great.
Robyn: I’ll put a link so that people can take a look at it.
So let’s move into “Spot The Coaching!”
INTRO: And now, “Spot the Coaching.”
Andrea: I have a really funny thing. It’s actually a little bit of an older story but it’s my favorites and it actually harkens back to an old article, one of my first articles that edited in an e-zine called Today’s Coach. It’s defunct now, but we talked about the edge in coaching, and how, a lot of times when you deliver coaching it’s in the tone of what you’re delivering. You can be soft if that’s appropriate, you can be edgy if that’s appropriate and any other flavor in between. And I’m sure you’ve got examples as well to share. But the best example that I’ve ever, ever demonstrated which is really funny was at a retreat in front of a hundred business owners and I said, The difference between coaching without an edge and coaching with an edge is tone. So a way that we can all practice is to imagine your dog. There’s a difference between saying, like our dog’s name is Oz, he’s over there snoozing right now because he’s been at doggie daycare and so I hope I don’t wake him up doing this, but…This is the soft part without edge. It’s like, “Oz, sit.” Right? The difference is in coaching you can use a tone that… Of course I’m not saying that your clients are dogs… but demonstrating tone using this example: “Ozzie, sit!” Right? There’s a “sit!” edge. So, “if you’re going to choose a niche market you’re going to do it NOW. It’s really important, it will save you six months or more of time and energy and you’re going to earn a WHOLE lot more money if you’ll do it now.” Right? There’s an entirely different body language you can just sort of feel but… so, spotting the coaching in terms of the tone you use with your dog if you have one. The punchline of this story is that in front of these hundred people there was actually a dog in the audience.
Andrea: And it actually got up from lying down…
Robyn: Oh, what are the odds? That is unbelievable.
Andrea: It wasn’t really incredible because I actually had the whole room saying, practicing “Sit!” and so this whole room with a hundred people saying “Sit!” and the dog got up and sat. It’s adorable. So I had to go down and thank him after.
Robyn: You know what? That is such a great story. I have a couple of examples exactly the same. I think dog training, honestly, can be used across all levels of life.
Robyn: Parenting, for sure. Coaching…
Andrea: Your spouse (laughs).
Robyn: I actually said to our trainer we have to get a dog trainer in because we had some issues with our colby… She was unbelievable. I said to her afterwards, “Do you do children?” She didn’t, so… But she was like, I’ve been going to a group with her and this woman was trying to get her dog to sit. And she was like this: “Fluffy, sit, Fully.. Fluffy come on, sit.. Please sit?” And the dog trainer was like, no no, no. “Fluffy. SIT.” Just so different.
Anyway, the funny story I got on that one was when my kids were little and we got our first dog we’d go to the park. And I always at every crossroad, you know, “sit” for the dog to learn to sit on the side. One day without even thinking, my kids sat down as well (laughs). So I had a dog and two kids sitting on the side. It’s very funny. I’ll try it on the father. That’s the way it is!
Andrea: Well, that was fun! Thanks for all the questions about shadow coaching. It was fun to talk about it.
Robyn: Yeah, it is. It’s good. It’s really great. So looking forward to the next topic which we don’t even know what’s going to be yet.
Andrea: But it’s sure to be something spectacular.
Robyn: I’m sure. Thanks everyone!