Shadow Coaching

Convert Outliers To Service Superstars


Low-scoring providers often have no clear understanding of why patients rate them poorly, and what to do to improve. An effective technique for helping a doctor raise his or her patient survey scores is to “shadow” him or her for a day. One-on-one shadow coaching by an experienced, objective third-party gives providers immediate feedback during a typical workday, in a natural setting, with their actual patients.

The Shadow Process:

1. Introductory meeting

We contact the provider by phone to establish rapport, review the positive, non-punitive purpose of the shadowing, and answer questions about the shadow process.

2. Shadow day

The coach accompanies the provider for a full day as the doctor interacts with patients and staff members, giving feedback and recommending techniques for improvement. At midday, we discuss the morning's encounters and offer further suggestions for improving performance. At day's end we review the entire set of observations, with emphasis on which communication habits to continue and which to avoid.

3. Written report

Within 24 hours, we provide a written report of recommendations for the doctor to review. We also call within two weeks to see how he/she is doing with the recommended communication techniques, and answer any questions.

4. Accountability

To ensure the physician is making a good faith effort at following our recommendations, we suggest pre- and post-shadow patient surveys.

Meryl Luallin of SullivanLuallin Group discusses the benefits of shadow coaching and characteristics of the ideal candidate.

Thank you so much, Meryl!

Your suggestions and advice were very useful and I am following them every day!

I never imagined it would take such a small change  on my part to improve patient satisfaction! Thanks Again.

Anupama Velpuri, M.D.Bay Valley Medical Group

 This was not cookie-cutter consulting…

Thanks Meryl, appreciate the coaching.  I will likely incorporate most of your suggestions into my repertoire one at a time.  I appreciated your time.  You surprised me with the genuine nature of your observations.  This was not cookie-cutter consulting.  Thank you for taking the time to work with me.

D. Tony Jolly, M.D. Children's Primary Care Medical Group