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Coaching with Empathy and Leadership

| 3 Min Read

Coaching is something we all think of when we see the best sports teams, but have you thought about applying empathetic coaching in the workplace? Understanding someone's emotions helps you to draw accurate judgments to support them and set realistic goals. Your ability to empathise with others will assist you in choosing strategies that an employee responds well to. Empathy can assist you in developing a relationship with an individual while understanding the person's abilities and skills so you can provide adequate guidance as a mentor.

Leaders who understand people's emotions will employ empathetic techniques to best support their employees. Employees being the most crucial resource organisations have, a company must understand the complexities of their thoughts and emotions. The ability to deal with people as emotional beings will help leaders to solve problems and build trust with their employees.

Empathetic leadership is the concept of having the ability to understand the needs of others while being aware of their thoughts and feelings. It is the ability to perceive and relate to the emotional experiences of others. 

Understanding a situation from another's perception opens up a highly empathetic relationship where the individual can react with compassion. However, it is essential to remember the discrepancy between sympathy and empathy, as the two can easily be misunderstood and confused.


Sympathy is the feeling of pity for another without having an understanding of what their situation is.


Empathy can be seen as the opposite, referring to the ability to submerge oneself directly into a situation, understanding the individual's emotions, ideas and opinions.


Empathy is essential to avoiding workplace judgement and creating a cohesive and successful team. Engaging in workplace leadership programs helps to build the skills that ensure that other feelings and perspectives are understood. These workshops are an effective way to build empathy in your workplace as they help cultivate connections throughout the company. Moreso, programs developed around empathetic strategies allow a 1-on-1 relationship to establish with leaders, where valuable advice and guidance are received and where employees, in turn, grow their network and become more visible within their company.

Communication is vital to accomplishing business goals and tasks. To reach these business objectives, empathetic communication is critical as it helps you create and develop a cohesive team that works well together. By engaging in empathetic communication, individuals can step into the shoes of another and see the problem from their point of view. This new perspective allows the individual to understand the situation and devise solutions that suit all parties involved. As a leader, it is essential to follow this process throughout the workplace; here are some ways empathetic communication can create a more open and inclusive workplace culture:


Understanding different communication styles.

Everyone communicates differently, and it only benefits the workplace and its functions if each individual understands their co-worker's differing communication styles. Knowing your communication style helps you as a leader to adjust to help you connect with the employees better. This approach of adjustable communication style enables you to be empathetic to the other person and make them feel you understand them personally.


Bring positivity to the conversation.

How we present ourselves to others can affect the way they feel. Involving empathy in the conversation and being upbeat can bring positivity to the individual and leave them willing to talk again in the future. A positive attitude is conducive to solving problems; it signals that you are a leader looking to find a solution rather than just giving up.


Listening to others

Empathetic communication surrounds active listening. Active listening allows you to understand perspectives that are different from your own. To be empathetic when listening, don't jump to respond to what is said; rather, really know what you are told. Watch for communication cues to help you understand how the individual feels. Picking up on body language and tone of voice will allow you to understand better where your employees are coming from and help you build a trustworthy relationship as a leader.


Find common ground

Finding things in common between yourself and your employees will make it easier for you to cultivate a stronger relationship. Commonality doesn't necessarily have to be work-related either; maybe you go for the same sports team or have similar hobbies. Either way, finding something you have in common is likely to boost your understanding of one another and listen to each other; this is the grounds for an empathetic relationship.  


Being a good leader as a mentor

Being a good leader is about recognising your own mistakes and being able to make the proper adjustments. Being a leader means you need to be ready to admit when you've made a mistake and be honest about it. Here, you want to recognise the problem and apologise if necessary. Creating a work environment that accepts flaws will help to build empathetic communication between employees.


Understanding others perspectives

Being empathetic is having the ability to put yourself into someone's shoes and understand what it is they are dealing with. As a leader, you want to know how to connect with your mentee. Empathetic communication can be excellent here as it taps into the emotional side of the individual, making them more likely to feel understood and heard.


Encouraging empathetic leadership in your mentors can help people develop greater empathy within the workplace. It ensures good attitudes are bought into the workplace and, in some places, can lead to a more productive workplace. Empathetic leaders are essential assets to a company as they hold the ability to build and maintain healthy relationships. As such, it is crucial to lead with empathy.