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How to Find Empathy Training for You and Your Team/Community

Require that Empathy training and continuous support is part of your job/team/community.

Shelton

As I continue to grow The Empathy Lab, I’ve come to recognize that there are many amazing organizations and coaches out there offering similar workshops, trainings, coaching, and support as Empathy Lab is AND that is incredible. What this means is that if Empathy Lab doesn’t have the right flavor of empathy/mindfulness/compassion training for you, there are plenty more people out there to choose from. With options, come decision problems. How do you pick what kind of empathy workshop, training, coaching, support is best for you and your team/community?

So in this quick-ish blog post, I hope to uncover how you might take the first step in finding an empathy / mindfulness / compassion offering that suits your needs. Many corporations are piecemealing it together, so feel free to ask your Lead People Person at your organization. If you fear being judged for asking, email me and I will find out for you!

What’s out there when it comes to Empathy training?

Here are a 2 question to help you understand where to go.

Do I know the basics about empathy and how to build it, use it, and help others learn about it?

  1. Yes – Great, you are further along the path than most. Look for some Advanced Empathy Implementation Workshops.
  2. Maybe – Always good to start with the fundamentals, find an Empathy 101 Workshop or Series.
  3. No – Dig into the fundamentals and find an Empathy 101 Workshop or Series.

Does my team/community currently have an approach to building and supporting a more empathetic workplace?

  1. Yes – You are at an incredible company, I want to know more about you and learn what I can!
  2. Maybe – This is okay, ask around OR let me do the dirty work for you in order to find out. You might need to start at Empathy 101 for good measure.
  3. No – This is okay, many businesses are solely focused on the bottom line and pushing products. Dip your toe in and bring a quick Empathy 101 Workshop onsite to help you plant the seed.

Some Solutions to Consider

Empathy 101 Workshops

If you are an adult and not educated in a country where social and emotional learning (SEL) was part of the curriculum, you probably need to start with some general empathy training. Build your general knowledge base, learn a bit about the psychology around empathy, figure out the basics about our neurobiology, and get a taste of how empathetic communication works. There are many players here, including Empathy Lab. General Empathy Workshops can last from a 45 minute Lunch-n-Learn to a few hours where people can start practicing what they’ve learned.

Advanced Empathy Implementation Workshops

Assuming that most of the basics have been covered, next you need to know how to utilize your new found knowledge. Empathy workshops that help you implement your learning will most likely do some of the following as well:

  • Practiced mindfulness
  • Observational ethnography
  • Self awareness training
  • Empathy Role games
  • Conflict Negotiation
  • Deliberation and Critique
  • Leadership + follower facilitation
  • Meeting organization and facilitation

Organization Specific Empathy Workshops

Community and organizations are different in their business focused needs, yet empathy basics are the same throughout. Some empathy training coaches and or teams focus on specific types of communities. Here are some industries where empathy-based training is currently present:

  • Medical colleges for training physicians (see Stanford’s Compassion Cultivation Training)
  • Elementary schools (Through Social Emotional Learning curriculum)
  • Innovation Organizations that follow Design Thinking methodologies

Personal Empathy Coaching

One-on-one coaching, a place where you can open up to a trusted individual and get coached on how to improve your self empathy (self awareness) as well as your external empathy. While this similar to General Empathy and Organization Specific Training, this is face to face.

Continuous Empathy Training and Support

This is where I believe the most help is needed. Since we were NOT taught how to deal with our emotions in most US elementary school education systems, we are at an emotional intelligence deficit. That being said, I haven’t found many 3rd party consultants that work with companies to support the continued training and practice of empathy and mindfulness. Empathy Lab is in the process of building a curriculum and support tool to make Continuous Empathy an offering to any group of people.

Many larger organizations create their own training in house under Continued Education and/or Inclusivity and Diversity. The companies that embrace empathetic practices and are working on becoming human first organizations talk about it and show how they are doing it.

Here are a couple examples so far:

More to come!

This post was written on the fly, thus it is not perfect and a work in progress. The main call to action is this, require that empathy & compassion training and continuous support is part of your job/team/community. Go and find the solution that works best for you OR put together a “Mindful Leadership” program for your team like Alex Latraverse did for his team. Have the hard conversations, listen with an open mind, remember to breathe, and start building a future where we can all bring our full selves to the table!

-Shelton

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