describes the practice of accompanying/observing someone for a defined period of time during their work and learning from this observation.


Shadowing can be applied at any phase of the U-process. It allows you to:

  • observe and learn from an experienced practitioner/leader.
  • step into someone else’s daily work experience.
  • connect to someone who is facing similar challenges.
  • observe and absorb practical and intuitive knowledge from a colleague, customer, or other interesting person, and by doing so gain a new perspective on your own work.
  • develop real-time insights into the practices of an experienced leader.
  • access someone’s daily routine without their being “on stage.”
  • identify barriers and opportunities that need to be addressed.
  • form new ideas for your own leadership practices.
  •  improve clarity about your own leadership challenge.

  • Embrace a beginner’s mind: Shadowing works best when participants select a person they don’t know and a business area that is unfamiliar or “at the other end of the corporate universe.” Shadowing is not an interview or a visit with an old buddy. It does not follow a structured program.
  • Suspend your voice of judgment (VOJ) in order to see the situation with fresh eyes. Observe. Observe. Observe. Try to look at the situation from the perspective of a video camera, or a first day at work, or a researcher.
  • Access your ignorance: As the day unfolds, pay attention to and trust the questions and observations that occur to you; record questions and important observations in your notebook.
  • Be empathic. Try to observe from the other person’s perspective. Try to understand their task and appreciate their approach and way of handling things.

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