Research into leadership is expanding beyond individual leaders to include relational, dynamic and contextual qualities. As such, research into shared leadership is growing. As part of a Doctoral Dissertation, this study provided a phenomenological examination of Co-Active Leadership. This is a form of shared leadership used within the context of coach training, where workshops are concurrently delivered by two equal leaders.
Specifically, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 18 workshop participants, six assistants and four leaders. The aim of the study was to understand how this approach to workshop leadership was experienced, and its impact.
Analysis of interview data emerged key themes to describe Co-Active Leadership and understand its impact. Models emerged to describe how the two individual leaders were seen to ‘complement and complete each other,’ blending together to form a Single Leadership Entity. The impact of this Single Leadership Entity was experienced at individual and group levels. Overall, this impact was described as rich, safe and immersive, characterised by group and individual flow, authenticity and high-quality relationships.
This study showed that Co-Active Leadership can be a positive form of leadership to support the positive engagement of individuals and groups within a workshop environment.