Does Being A Football Operations Assistant Help Become A Coach What is Empathy?

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What is Empathy?

“Sympathy is trying on another’s shoes – empathy – wearing them.” unknown

Empathy is an emotional skill and must be both understood and practiced if you are going to be one of the greats.

The best way to understand empathy is to recognize it. Following are some examples of empathy in motion.

1. “Would it be possible to get a new pair, as it is a manufacturing fault and I have to go jogging this evening?” asked the disgruntled customer instead. “I’m sorry sir, but our companies policy is to send the shoes to the supplier and they will let us know what to do with the replacement within 7 to 10 days” the assistant store manager replied apologetically. Tone “You know, they don’t really fit me” the customer replied with a mixture of frustration and anger, “What am I supposed to jog in if I give you back these defective shoes?” The assistant store manager replied as politely as possible, “I’m sorry sir, but it’s our company policy, written on the back of your receipt. The best I can do is send the shoes to the supplier. Panic!” “Well that’s just absorbent” said the customer, unable to hide his irritation.

“I’m talking to your managing director!” He continued and left in a huff, even though the assistant store manager could do little to change company policy, and for the purposes of the story, let’s assume there was no other option open to him. What could he have done to remedy the situation? He could have used some sympathy. The assistant store manager could have acknowledged the customer’s feelings. He would have replied “I see how disappointed you are. We really let you down, didn’t we?” It reflects the customer’s feelings, this empathy would have reduced the customer’s disappointment and frustration, even if everything else remained the same. Without empathy, all the assistant store managers heard was content with what the customer was saying. He never heard the feelings of hopelessness and despair.

2. “I can tell you really want them. They look really nice.” Rita fed the customer heartily. “Yes! They look great and feel great; I’m just concerned about the price. Is there anything you can do for me to lower the price?” The customer replied. “I understand you’re disappointed, especially since it fits so well,” Rita continued. “Is it hard enough trying to find something you like and fit and then find out it’s out of your price range?” She added, “Look I can’t promise you a discount, but what if I talk to my manager real quick and see what he says. If I can arrange something, would you like to take it?” The customer smiled lightly and nodded appreciatively

3. “So that’s the thing,” said my best friend, ending his sad story and trying to make light of his feelings. “But these things always happen for the best, don’t they?” “You’re so sad about the whole thing?” I replied. “You’re right” he added, “it’s true I’m sorry, how can I tell you?”

4. “It’s ridiculous to pay these prices when he would have raised them at the end of the season” she complained. “I agree,” Eric replied, tying a football boot on the youth’s left foot. “It seems crazy to spend that much when you say he’ll only get one season. Have I shown you something less expensive than that?” “How would the quality be though?” asked the worried mother. “I can appreciate your concern.” Eric replied “The quality is fine, my concern would be around the width” he added “This young man has a really wide foot and cheap shoes will probably be too narrow to cause blisters.” “Well I guess we’ll just have to bite the bullet then won’t we,” said the customer patting her son on the shoulder.

5. “Good morning John, how are you this morning?” I asked. “Yeah…well…” John replied with a sigh. “Your voice is a bit out of whack this morning, what’s up?” I questioned. “I’m fine” John replied, “I had a rough night with the kids last night. They were all sick and Sammy had a bug too, so I’ve been mum, dad, doctor, nurse and housemaid. It’s about 1am this morning.” Feeling rough, can I help?”

Did you find empathy in the above situations? Read the quotes and explanations written below. Then re-read the vignettes above. You will then have a better understanding of empathy and it’s power as a tool of communication and persuasion.

Empathy is:

“The ability to imagine oneself in another’s place and to understand another’s feelings, desires, ideas, and actions. The clearest example, perhaps, is of the actor or singer who really feels the part he is playing.” Sam Vaknin

“Empathy depends not only on the ability to recognize the feelings of another, but also on the ability to put yourself in the other person’s place and experience the appropriate emotional response” Charles G. Morris

“Empathy is like giving someone a mental hug” Lawrence J.

Bookbinder, PhD

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