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Empathy, soft skill of the courageous

Empathy is a major contributor to success in life and life.

Empathy is ‘the ability to share someone else’s feelings or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in that person’s situation’. (Cambridge Dictionary)

The emotional intelligence expert Daniel Goleman refers to empathy ‘the foundation skill for all the social competencies important for work’.

When we dig deeper into different types of empathy, we start to see how complex this skill can be.

To add to the complexity, we know that being empathetic does not necessarily make someone a good person. A torturer will be most effective if they are empathetic!

Here’s how Dr Brené Brown explains empathy. A reminder we can only create a genuine empathic connection if we are brave. Brave enough to really get in touch with our own vulnerability.


Empathy is not a soft skill, it’s an essential skill.

Let us help you understand how much empathy is a strength for you, and how it works in balance with your other strengths.


Updated post – originally published in October 2014.

About Susan Rochester

Susan is Senior Consultant and Coach at Aster HR. She also co-hosts the Work Wonders podcast with Angela Gauci. With over 20 years experience in consulting and coaching, Susan provides clarity and insights for our clients based on past experience and the latest research.

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