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Called to Coach
How to Improve Your Wellbeing With Empathy®
Called to Coach

How to Improve Your Wellbeing With Empathy®

Webcast Details

  • Gallup CliftonStrengths Wellbeing Series, Season 1: Empathy
  • If you have Empathy, how does this theme relate to you and your wellbeing?
  • How can you use your Empathy theme to support others, personally and professionally?

Below are audio and video plus a transcript of the conversation, including time stamps.


Your CliftonStrengths® can empower the 5 elements of your wellbeing -- career, social, financial, community and physical. But how does this happen if you are struggling in one or more of these elements? If you have Empathy, Appendix 1 of Gallup's Wellbeing at Work book has Strengths Insights and Action Items that can move you from struggling to thriving as you apply your Empathy talent to fuel your wellbeing. Join Jaclynn Robinson and Jim Collison on this CliftonStrengths Podcast to discover how.


This person [with Empathy] is thriving when they can pick up on their own and/or others' emotions and ... drive them towards something positive.

Jaclynn Robinson, 2:00

If you are a manager [with Empathy], your natural ability to sense the highs and lows of each team member can assist you in customizing your conversations with them.

Jaclynn Robinson, 6:33

Jim Collison 0:00
I am Jim Collison, and welcome to the CliftonStrengths Podcast. On this podcast, we'll be covering topics such as wellbeing, teamwork, professional development and more. Now enjoy this episode.

Jim Collison 0:10
In this CliftonStrengths Podcast, we'll look at the Strengths Insight and Action Planning items from Appendix 1 in the Gallup book Wellbeing at Work one theme at a time, and today's theme is Empathy. If you're listening live, love to have you join us in chat. If you are listening to the podcast version or on YouTube, and you have questions, you can always send us an email: Dr. Jaclynn Robinson is our host today. She works as a Gallup Learning and Development Consultant and was the primary contributor in Appendix 1 in Wellbeing at Work. And Jaclynn, always great to be with you. Welcome back!

Jaclynn Robinson 0:46
Thank you, thank you.

What's the definition of Empathy?

Jim Collison 0:48
As we start this, let's think about Empathy. And, and let's just do the standard definition. What do we say about Empathy?

Jaclynn Robinson 0:54
All right. People that lead with the Empathy theme can sense other people's feelings by imagining themselves in others' lives or situations.

Jim Collison 1:01
We're gonna really dig into this today. And as we think about this theme definition in the context of ourselves and others, what does that look like? Just expand on it a little bit.

Jaclynn Robinson 1:10
So how it relates to you, as someone in touch with senses and emotions, you are able to experience the highs, lows and everything in between when it comes to your day-to-day experiences. And I think that brings much color and insight to your life and the lives of other people. How it relates to others: Others value how much you understand them and, you know, feel comfortable coming in to you, coming to your, your office coming to your, your household to share out their experiences and their feelings.

How does Empathy look when it's thriving vs. struggling?

Jim Collison 1:39
As we're recording this in early 2022, I think it's no secret of what's going on. But to be honest, throughout time, there's always difficult moments, and folks with Empathy, as we think about their own wellbeing, let's talk about it in the context of What does Empathy look like when it's thriving? And then what does it look like maybe when it's struggling?

Jaclynn Robinson 1:58
Yeah, so thriving, this person is, is thriving when they can pick up on their own and/or others' emotions and, I would say, drive them towards something positive -- whether it's working through adversity and coming through it stronger as a team or family, or understanding emotions and thoughts so they can be understood and managed or, you know, we could even switch out the word "managed" for "regulated." Struggling is when this person is carrying the emotions of the world on their shoulders, with no outlet for offloading that emotional burden or toll. And this also makes it much more difficult to attend to their own wellbeing and emotional needs.

Jim Collison 2:37
I think what's been different, as we think about the last couple crises, crises -- I don't know how to say that word right -- but crises?

Jaclynn Robinson 2:44
It's the morning; we'll give you a pass.

Jim Collison 2:46
What's the plural? Financially, maybe we think about 9/11, at least here in the United States, but what that meant for, around the world. Think about the Great Recession of '08 and '09. But then we think, you know, certainly what, since, since early 2020, what this pan, the pandemic has meant, and I think it's, it's, it's jostled or changed or messed with folks' emotions maybe more than any -- the other two did before that. And so I think it has this big wellbeing effect on it. And so I think those high with Empathy, this is one -- I haven't said this for the others -- but I think this is one high in Empathy need to check themselves in this, right. Really, really important from a wellbeing standpoint, as well as having the superpower to check in on the wellbeing of others. How are they feeling? How is this, where's this happening? This is just presenting new and more opportunities, right. I don't know, anything else you want to add to that, to that thought on the wellbeing side? And then we'll, we'll talk a little bit about it compared to, to wellbeing specific.

Jaclynn Robinson 3:46
You know, I love that, you know, with that, that spidey sense they have of how other people are feeling, they really can check in on them and say, "How are you?" and already have a sense for what's happening. But, you know, they can be their, they can be their, their rock during this particular point in time. But you also said something that's really important is, you know, are they still taking time to manage their own emotions?

Jim Collison 4:13
Does that spidey sense work for themselves? And I'm genuinely, I don't know. Like, we talk about that with others, but does that work internally? I don't know, maybe the chat room can, we can talk about this in the postshow. But what does that look like? Any, any thoughts on that working for, for, for themselves?

Jaclynn Robinson 4:35
What I've heard is that quiet time helps sort through, What is my emotion and what are the emotions I've picked up on through the day? So there is that spidey sense to be able to process what you're going through. But it's -- that process time I think is often fundamental. I wouldn't even say a bonus but fundamental, in order to manage and regulate the emotions. It's what I've certainly heard from those with Empathy over the years that have this high.

Jim Collison 5:03
I've been doing this for 7 years; this is the first time I've thought about it. This is why I love what we do and like it never gets, you never know it all, right?

Jaclynn Robinson 5:12
Yes. Constantly learning and building our knowledge base.

Jim Collison 5:15
Yeah, no, it's great. I've got some thinking to do, which I won't do in a very disciplined or empathetic way. But we'll figure out some ways to get it done. In the back of the book, in Appendix 1, we look at each, each of the 5 elements of wellbeing by the theme. And Jaclynn, what do you have for us today, as we, as we look at this?

Jaclynn Robinson 5:34
We're looking at social wellbeing. It's a perfect time for those with Empathy to just take a breath and think about that social element. So the, the context here is, friends and family value how much this person understands them. However, because of their high Empathy, they might not pay attention to their own needs. Encourage them to spend time with people who give them positive energy. That is your way to recharge.

For those with Empathy, how can it be used to support others?

Jim Collison 6:01
I love that. There are four other examples in the back of the book. And while I think it's definitive in Jaclynn's mind, it's certainly not definitive from the, from the world. We'd love to hear your, as, as far as you take those wellbeing elements based on these themes. I think there's just a million different things we could be doing available there in Appendix 1. So Jaclynn, with Empathy, how can this really be used then to support others? Because this is really why we do this: not about us, but about others. How do we use this to support others?

Jaclynn Robinson 6:32
If you're a manage, if you are a manager or you're leading a team, your natural ability to sense the highs and lows of each team member can assist you in customizing your conversations with them. And you might quickly recognize when they need a cheerleader or a mentor or a coach and ask questions that will open up the conversation more. If you're on a team, others around you feel seen, heard and valued due to your ability to sense what they're going through. Your understanding, particularly when it's used with purpose and intention, can help them work through obstacles or you can help them celebrate those wins. And then as an individual, journaling or meditating daily can really help you sort through the emotions of the day. So some emotions, you may be able to just, you know, disregard or discard, once you've processed them, while others might require some additional attention. So if they do require attention, what's the next step that you need to take? You know, sorting regularly might really help you regulate your emotions more effectively.

Jim Collison 7:34
When you were talking about being a leader or manager, I think you said to hear the conversation more, there was a phrase you used. What, what was that phrase, when we look at the theme? Say that again for me.

Jaclynn Robinson 7:46
Yeah. So if you are a manager leading a team, that natural ability to sense the highs and lows of each team member assist you in customizing your conversations. So you might quickly recognize when they need a cheerleader, a mentor or a coach, and you can really just ask questions that are going to open up the conversation more based on that spidey sense that you're picking up on.

Jim Collison 8:05
"Open up the conversation" -- that's what I was looking for -- open up the conversation more. I think this is the, sometimes we think Empathy, so we sense this, but then the activity is, is now, open up the conversation more. I'm not saying it's not enough just to sense it. But, but to the, the, I think that positive action, right, is whether that's leading, you know, this, this can be done both as a manager and team -- even maybe on the individual level -- of understanding what, what do we, how do we, how do we talk about this more? How do we get, how do we communicate better on this? Maybe really speeds up that conversation on it. Great stuff. Any other, any other thoughts on that before we, we move on?

Jaclynn Robinson 8:46
No, I'm ready for the, the asks in the best practice.

Jim Collison 8:50
All right, in Appendix 2, sorry, in Appendix 2, we have a framework that we work through -- actually, I think really helpful in a coaching conversation, this frame, this framework. Walk us through a little bit of this framework, as we think about this Empathy.

Jaclynn Robinson 9:03
Yes. So Ask Yourself: "How can I spend more time with a friend or colleague today?" So I'm pulling from that social wellbeing piece earlier, when I spoke of connecting with people who are positive. This might be a question you ask yourself, to identify who those folks are. So "How can I spend more time with a friend or colleague today?" Ask Your Team Members: "Who needs your support and attention today?" And you might help them think through how they can hold that conversation with the individual. And Take Action is: Get to know each other's personal interests and hobbies. People might not have the, the sensory that you do to pick up on feelings and emotions. But the more that, as a team, you all kind of unite together, even as a family, and understand hobbies and interests, they can now find a way of really connecting and adapting to individuals around them.

Jim Collison 9:56
I was having a pretty hard Monday this week, for whatever reason. By the time I got to about 2 or 3, I was just, you know, it's like I was done. And I got on the Zoom call. And you know, you're just trying to push through, right? So I got an a Zoom call with somebody and, and, and I don't know if they have high Empathy or not, but they, I was talking, they're like, "How are you?" And, you know, so I'm telling them. And they're like, "OK. What's going on?" Like, they just knew in the tone, right? In, in the tone of it, like, and we're, we're bold enough to, like, "Is everything all right? I mean, is everything OK?" Again, I don't know. But that's, I think that's that Empathy coming out, to be able to sense it and have the, have the time to get to the, you know, kind of get to the bottom of it and help, and help push through. It is a productivity -- of course, the better I feel, the more productive I am. And so to get to the bottom of some of those things, right. We, we, I think we often thought of that as a soft skill, which by the way, I don't hear anybody saying "soft skills" anymore. It seems to be something that disappeared.

Jaclynn Robinson 10:59
No, "soft skill" is gone. "Emotional intelligence" I don't even hear, you know, in, in orbit too much anymore. It's wellbeing.

Jim Collison 11:09
It's, it's, it's very interesting. Anything else that you want to add to this, Jaclynn, before we close?

Jaclynn Robinson 11:15
No, only from those that lead with Empathy, I would, I would just say, I hope you're finding an outlet for yourself, especially in these last couple of years. Seeing how the emotions have been running high across the world, not even just within a nation, I hope you're, you're finding time to reflect -- in your own way, whether it's journaling, meditating, being out in nature, just centering yourself for a moment. I hope you're finding your, your support as well.

Jim Collison 11:43
Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of the CliftonStrengths Podcast. Make sure you like and subscribe wherever you listen, so you never miss an episode. And if you're really enjoying this podcast, please leave a review. This helps us promote strengths globally.

Jaclynn Robinson's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Achiever, Strategic, Maximizer, Positivity and Relator.

Learn more about using CliftonStrengths to help yourself and others succeed:

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