Is empathy logical in Coaching?
Before going on to understand empathy, we need to understand the logical and emotional part of the human brain. Read my previous blog to have a good understanding of the human brain.
What is empathy?
Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings of other/fellow human being. I have read a different version of empathy on the internet from different authors stating that empathy is feeling what others are going through. We all watch movies and they are all from different genres. Some movies have an impact on us and that stays from a couple of days to weeks. Have you noticed why? It’s because we are trying to feel the same feeling of what the other person going through in that movie. It gets heavy and more emotional. If for a movie, you could let yourself down with emotional trauma which is not your own, it’s too easy when a real person is involved.
Empathy is stepping into someone else’s shoes and looking at the problem to get a firm understanding of how someone looks at something. Make sure you step out of the shoes when done. Most people are emotionally attached and tend to carry those shoes with them. It’s a serious problem and you will have more shoes and less of YOU at a later point of time in your life.
What’s logical about empathy?
As you know now that you should not be too emotional for your decision-making skills to work. When you are too involved in the problem, it’s hard to find a solution to it. You need to be emotionally distant for a solution to pop up even for your own problem. When you are discussing other’s problem, you need to be logical to step into someone’s shoes, understand their perspective, their emotions and step out of the shoes to provide a perspective for the person who is emotionally down or drowned.
In Coaching, the emotional and logical part of the brain of the coach needs to be perfectly balanced to achieve a flawless breakthrough. Too much emotion can lead you astray from client’s agenda and a bias towards your coachee. Too much of calculative thinking will lead you to be emotionally distant from your coachee.
From my experience, empathy should be perfectly balanced and the coach should trust his/her intuition on when to put on the shoes and when to leave it.
Empathy is natural in all living creatures for its fellow ones. It is not a new thing or a concept in the industry. There is a wonderful article on empathy with tests conducted on mice. Read here.