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Building Empathy

This exercise is a continuation of the subtle, yet important leap teenagers take in the Powerful Relationships exercise. Empathy is one of the core emotional intelligence competencies and grants us the ability to accurately understand the thoughts and emotions of another human being. In the previous exercise a student was asked to make that leap and think from their future self’s point of view.

This exercise asks the student to use their imagination to empathetically experience what life would look like in another person’s shoes, whether in the present or the future. There are no wrong approaches in this exercise, it’s simply here to help the student grow accustomed to using their imagination in order to be more empathetic.

High school students are going through a huge transformation period. Developing emotional intelligence allows a student to mature and grow rather than simply develop with Western culture, which tends to involve itself in a self-centered perspective, and doesn’t require empathy in order to succeed. This perspective is pervading in other regions of the world. Coaches working in Dubai, India, and Africa have similar experience with teenagers honing in on their inner selves, trying to figure out who they are and how they best fit in the world.

However, when students only think about themselves, their lives are simply not as rich. They’re missing out on forming a deeper connection with others. In this exercise, students are asked to imagine and explore what it would be like to be another person and ask powerful questions from the point of view of another person.

How to Best Support Your Child

By recognizing that empathy is a skill, one that helps students develop a strong foundation of emotional intelligence, parents can better prepare their kids. As a parent you can help your child build empathy by asking similar questions to the ones in this exercise, including what it must be like from another person’s point of view. You can expect that your child will become more empathetic with practice. Empathy is a skill, and students who are asked to be more empathetic will develop the skill more easily.

From the Academic Life Coaching Workbook

Excellent communication is essential for a fulfilling life. One of the main ingredients of outstanding communication is empathy. Empathy is the ability to accurately know what another person is feeling and thinking as well as being able to see situations from their point of view.

The First Level Communication is listening and speaking for the sake of yourself.

The Second Level of Communication is listening and speaking for the sake of another and imagining their experience from their point of view.

Both levels of communication are necessary and valuable. The first level is not necessarily better or worse than the second. However, most people spend most of their time in the First Level of Communication. The worksheet below helps you practice Second Level Communication and helps you to further develop an important emotional intelligence skill: Empathy.

Person’s Name:

From their point of view, what is their reality like?

What is most important to them?

What are their biggest dreams?

What are their biggest worries and concerns?


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