In this episode with Certified Strengths Institute Coach, Chris van Deventer, we speak volumes about the value of Empathy.
About Chris van Deventer
Chris hails from Cape Town, South Africa. He has studied personal and potential development for as long as he was able to choose coursework. He also studied genetics, physiology and psychology at the University of Pretoria. He helps his clients around many topics of Life Coaching including leadership development, career Counselling, relationship coaching, and soft skills. One fun fact about Chris: In 2014, he sold all of his belongings and went on a year-long backpacking trip through South America to help local communities in whichever way they needed.
Chris’s Top 5 StrengthsFinder Strengths
- People with Empathy are not wishy-washy about this Strength. They either believe it is an incredible gift or something that makes someone soft, weak or emotional.
- Empathy understands why people feel the way they do.
- Emotional expression benefits your health, both spiritual and physical.
- As a person with high empathy, you can create a safe space to help people share and open up.
- A challenge for people with Empathy is that people do not like feeling emotionally exposed—vulnerable.
- Empathy in overuse can lead someone into complete burnout, as people with this Strength take on the emotions and issues of those they work with and care for.
- Developing emotional intelligence (EQ) takes real work. You must be aware of your own feelings and you must make effort to be aware of how people are reacting to things around you.
- A mismanaged Strength is a detriment!
Time-Stamped Show Highlights
- [2:45] – About Chris’s unique blend of Strengths
Oftentimes, we see Relationship Building and Influencing themes together, and Executing themes and Strategic Themes together. The Executing Strengths are the “get it done” Strengths and Relationship Building Strengths are the “let’s connect with one another” Strengths.
- [3:36] – Chris’s definition of Empathy
It’s a constant radar! Together with connectedness, you can pick up the atmosphere and read emotions. When they tell you their story, it’s like a movie playing in your head. It’s a very animated, lively theme.
- [6:39] – The role of vulnerability
- [9:23] – A discussion of emotional intelligence
- [12:55] – Replacing judgment with curiosity
- [14:33] – Strengths versus talents
In their raw form, your top StrengthsFinder themes are really just talents. They do not become Strengths until you develop them!
- [15:19] – Dealing with statements like “Man up!” or “Don’t be a baby!” as a child
- [17:36] – Empathy in relation to other Chris’s other Strengths
- [20:57] – Empathy in overuse
- [21:45] – Empathy’s needs to feel fulfilled and protected
Empathy needs freedom to laugh and cry, non-judgment, acknowledgement, a sounding board and boundaries.
- [26:45] – Final words of advice for people with high Empathy
Enjoy it and celebrate it! It helps bring vulnerability into the world and helps with awareness for everyone.
Selected Links for the Episode
Maximize Your Strengths Resources
- Maximize Your Strengths Facebook Community
- StrengthsFinder 2.0 test
- StrengthsFinder 2.0 book by Tom Rath