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Leading With Empathy

This meta-skill requires people to dig deeper

Experienced coaches and leaders are almost always equipped with key skill sets needed to perform in their role. Yet we’ve all happened upon very smart leaders or coaches who are simply not easy to connect with—something is missing, and without this something, it’s hard to work together well. The common missing link is often empathy.

Turns out our skills are the easy stuff, but an essential meta-skill like empathy requires us to dig deeper. Whether a leader or an executive coach, we’ve all honed a wide array of skills that serve our role -- project planning, strategy building, a great collection of questions, good contracting skills -- skills that can easily be learned and rapidly become second nature.

It's often a bit harder to learn the meta-skills required to be great at the how of what we do -- those higher-order skills that shape how we show up, connect, engage, and lead the way. Our meta-skills are under the surface and harder to assess and grow; yet these “higher-level” skills shape who we are in our work and either serve us or become barriers to our success.

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