In business coaching, culture, leaders, leadership

Business coaching and training Hamburg native English and German Cary Langer-DonohoeI stumbled across this interesting impulse on empathy and caring, both topics that have been on my mind a lot recently. Since last year I have focussed on care and what it means to me, balancing my loves for what i do, the beloved people in my life and caring for myself.

As with leading from the inside, I believe empathy and caring are most easily achieved by trying them out on oneself.

If I cannot find it within myself to empathise  – ie in the sense of trying to understand or understanding – with the feeling I am experiencing, and spend my energy trying to avoid it, escape it,…. then how can i do that for others?

If it matters enough to do it for myself, then it matters enough to do it for others.

If I can be generous with myself in terms of paying attention to my emotions, I can more easily do so for others. As well as do it from a basis of better understanding. I often find in coaching processes that offering customers the space where they experience empathy enables them to create empathetic working relationships.

But is empathising alone enough? or even useful? What help or use am I as a leader to my employee if I join them in their despair, frustration, anger…? It is a great basis to go from, as I am trying to understand where someone else is, step into their shoes. Where does the willingness to step in to their shoes come from?

Here I believe it is care that is key in making leaders want to share the perspective of their team members.

Empathy allows us to understand someone else’s view, to name what someone may be feeling, to make sure they feel heard. Caring allows us take the next step and do something about it. To go beyond that step of perception and observation and being in the moment with someone, and show them we care by either proposing an action or asking how we can help.

I believe these two skills unfold their full power when combined.

What do you think?

If I have piqued your interest, get in touch. I look forward to hearing from you!

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