7 Habits of Highly Empathetic Coaches

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7 Habits of Highly Empathetic Coaches

As a person, empathy is important. As a coach, empathy is crucial. Learn more about empathy and the habits you can employ with your team.

· Agile Zone ·
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“We think we listen, but very rarely do we listen with real understanding, true empathy. Yet listening, of this very special kind, is one of the most potent forces for change that I know.” - Carl Rogers

This thought came to my mind when we were doing the design thinking workshop. We were emphasizing the empathy aspect with the people who will build a product and consume the solutions. Why do we not, as coaches, practice the same our coaching teams? That’s how I started digging more into this.

A few of my fellow coaches are sharing stories from their team, speak about how Scrum Masters will not allow others to talk. He/she will keep talking about what Scrum guides say and what we should do according to them. He/she as a Scrum Master will not listen to the team members.

Later they come to the coaches for help, complain is "team members had stopped co-operating with me, what can I do? “

When my fellow coaches looked into this problem they realized, as a coach we have to explain what empathy is all about and how empathy can help others.

As a Scrum Master or Product Owner, we all should develop this skill.

Why Empathy Is Important as a Coach

  • It helps us to understand the unspoken parts of our communication with others.

  • It helps us to understand and motivate others.

  • It helps us to understand the pain points about others so that we connect with them a better way.

  • It helps us to understand what they need from us, and how we can treat them according to how they want to be treated.

  • It helps us to evaluate more clearly how our words and actions affect or influence the people around us.

  • It helps us to resolve any potential conflict that may arise from misunderstandings.

What is Empathy?

Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, i.e., the capacity to place oneself in another's position. It means being as good at listening to the thoughts of others as saying your own.

We all have our own viewpoints, standards, experiences, and cultural understandings that make us distinctively us. When we amalgamate these together, particularly in an original situational or cultural setting, we are broadening our skill to understand and empathize with others.

When we are empathetic toward someone else, we consider before we speak or act, and instead, find a way to make them feel supported, loved, cared for, or even just simply understood.

Three Types of Empathy

Psychologists have identified three types of empathy: cognitive empathy, emotional empathy, and compassionate empathy.

Cognitive empathy is understanding someone’s thoughts and emotions, in a very rational, rather than emotional sense.

Emotional empathy is also known as emotional contagion, and is "catching" someone else’s feelings, so that you literally feel them, too.

Compassionate empathy is understanding someone’s feelings, and taking appropriate action to help.

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What Are the 7 Empathetic Habits?

  1. Get curious about strangers.

  2. Listen and be vulnerable.

  3. Offer your support.

  4. Practice emotional detachment.

  5. Be fully present when you are with people.

  6. Try another person’s life.

  7. Ask better questions.

Practice these 7 habits for 6 months to build empathy into your personality, things will start changing for you.

agile, agile coaching, agile transformation, coaching, empathy

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