3 types of empathy for a better life (and business)

3 types of empathy for a better life (and business)


Empathy: a definition

The term empathy was introduced to the English language by American psychologist E.B. Titchener. He coined “empathy” as a translation of the German word “Einfühlung”, but at the time, he was referring more to other phenomena, such as motor mimicry (an imitation of other people’s behaviour).

But what we understand today, is different.

Simply put, empathy can be defined as the ability to comprehend others’ thoughts, feelings and behaviours. It is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand what is going on, without needing to have had the same experience.

Empathy takes more time and effort than sympathy and it is built on self-awareness.

Why? Because mastering your own emotions leads to being open enough (and willing to) understand others’ emotions as well.


“(…) when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection – or compassionate action.”
― Daniel Goleman, Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships



What will we be covering here

The importance of empathy

Which results?

Three types of empathy

Words matter

Empathy in the workplace

How to practice empathy

How to improve it


Ever since my first blog post about Emotional Intelligence, I’ve always said that empathy, like any other skill, can be learnt and improved. Just like a muscle. You can take it to the gym to prevent decay or work on it daily to make it strong and significant.

The importance of empathy in our daily life is pretty understandable; but why are its results of such vital importance when it comes to business?

Because if we can tune ourselves to our customers, co-workers, peers and superiors, we might be able to get better and faster results.


Just to name a few of them:

👉 Improving timing and quality in the delivery of goods or services, according to our clients’ needs

👉 Making important and long-lasting connections with key members in the organisation

👉 Being able to solve difficulties or help others with hindrances in time

👉 Creating bonds and connections forming the basis of loyalty

👉 Opening the doors to innovation based on mutual trust and respect


Empathy has its roots in self-awareness, nurtures itself in self-management and paves the way to relationship management.



As with any other skill, empathy needs to be interlinked with other competencies and work in tandem with them to really perform at its maximum potential. 


The three types of empathy according to the Goleman model

Psychologists Daniel Goleman and Paul Ekman broke down the concept of empathy into the following three categories: Cognitive, Emotional and Compassionate.

Let’s take a quick look at them:

Cognitive empathy

This refers to the ability to comprehend what a person might feel or think. It is like a channel of “information”.
It answers the question: “What is the other person going through?” For example, “Tom would like to speak with his supervisor about a possible promotion, but he seems to have difficulties in finding the right way to open up a conversation ” or “My clients have been asking for a direct channel of communication with my business; the Q&A page on my website does not seem to be enough for them”.

Emotional empathy

This refers to the ability to understand the feelings of another person through an emotional connection. It answers the question: “How does the other person feel?” For example: “Tom feels his supervisor is not going to pay attention to his request, he feels intimidated and insecure and this is why he is delaying the conversation” or “My clients feel frustrated as they would like to have a direct channel of communication, with a real person and not a bot”.

Compassionate empathy

This is the third type, and goes far beyond the first two, as it involves action: if we understand and share the feelings of the other person, we can actually help. It answers the question: “What can I do to help?” For example, “I might help Tom to find ways to open up and be confident” or “I will implement a direct channel of communication on my website and a customer service line on Social Media”.



TOP TIP: words matter.

Showing empathy through words helps.


After encountering a new situation and needing more information: “Would you mind telling me more about this? The more I know, the quicker we can get it sorted”

After discovering a new event or situation: “I just wanted to let you know that I understand what you feel”

After receiving an email with a request or comment: “Would it be more convenient for you to discuss this over the phone or in person?

If you feel ready to take action: “Is there anything I can do for you? ”



Empathy in the workplace

In their 4th annual empathy study, Businessolvers’ report shows that:

📌 72% of CEOs say the state of empathy needs to evolve

📌 58% of them struggle with showing it in a consistent way

It is clear that there is still a lot to be done. Even though corporations are aware of the importance of incorporating empathy into the culture of the organization, there is still a gap between the intention and the action.

Making empathy part of the company’s culture calls for a conscious effort.

Why is it so important to build emotional empathy and implement it?

Research has already proven that empathy, among other things:

👉 boosts productivity
👉 accelerates innovation
👉 increases loyalty and customer satisfaction
👉 creates long term bonds and cooperation


So, given that there is still so much to do in this field, let’s take a look at simple but effective solutions that we can implement right away:

• Show gratitude: say thank you more often, appreciate the time and effort that others invest in you, your product and your service. Give credit for the things well done. Being grateful not only creates bonds but also shows respect and helps with dignity.

• Show you listen: practicing active listening restores confidence and helps build loyalty. A high percentage of employees, as well as customers, feel their opinion doesn’t matter. Make yourself available: create surveys, ask direct questions, handle 1-to-1 meetings, be sure that your customer service is giving the needed assistance.

• Share stories with a positive outlook, whenever you can but especially before beginning a meeting. Sharing creates a bond and helps to set an ambiance of collaboration and willingness, openness and receptiveness.

• Listen to your co-workers and team members. Make some extra time to give others the opportunity to share. Make room, physically and emotionally, for the others’ experiences. Let people talk and listen to their stories.


3 top tips to improve your empathy

👉 Know yourself and your emotions

👉Practice active listening

👉 Open up space for reflection



👉 Know yourself: self-awareness and self-management are the first steps that will help you improve empathy. Both will help you with: knowing yourself, your emotions and reactions, and also, being ready to manage your own feelings, creating, with confidence, a space to listen carefully to others.

👉Practice active listening and connect with the other person. Be interested in speech but also in body language. Open yourself up to understand and if you don’t, ask questions, be curious and willing to learn and understand new perspectives. Focus on understanding the situation (cognitive empathy) and how the person feels (emotional empathy).

👉 Open up space for reflection and practice self-awareness: you can relate to the others’ experience if you have had a similar one, but you can also imagine how it looks if you don’t. Explore your own feelings and emotions and ask yourself what you would do in a similar situation. Get ready to implement a solution and take action, showing compassionate empathy. Simply, ask: how can I help?


By now, you know that developing these skills will certainly help improve your social and emotional intelligence quotients.

If you are curious about how Emotional Intelligence can effectively benefit your business, go ahead and book a free 15-minute consultation with me. 👇 




Achievement orientation: the secret weapon for meaningful impact

Achievement orientation: the secret weapon for meaningful impact

Setting high goals and working hard to achieve them,

calculating – but ultimately taking – the appropriate risks

in order for them to be accomplished,

is the perfect definition of Achievement Orientation.

Achievement orientation is a skill that shows your capacity for permanent improvement. It generates new interests and gives you a reason for continued learning and the expansion of your horizons.

But before we go on, let’s remember that any Emotional Intelligence skill refers to how you manage yourself, your relationships and the situations you encounter daily.

All the competencies, in fact, speak to us about a different way to be smart. Fortunately, Emotional Intelligence is something that we can all learn and improve.

Achievement Orientation, in particular, is one of the key features that can help us achieve our dreams. It falls under the umbrella of self-management and it is nurtured by a positive outlook.

Furthermore: it is a distinctive trait in successful entrepreneurs and leaders.

In this article, we will unveil all the secrets to mastering it.


What will be covered here?

Is your passion enough?

What is Achievement Orientation?

Motivation and Persistence

Main features

Note to Leaders

Route map

A coach can help


Is your passion enough?

We all have dreams and want to pursue our passion in life. We know that following your passion is the secret fuel that keeps you going forward.

But, is it really?

I mean: when you find an obstacle along the way, when you experience a setback, or when you are challenged beyond your limits, is it your passion that keeps you going or there is something else?

The truth is that dreams and passion are not enough to achieve your goals: achievement orientation is the critical element for success.


What is Achievement Orientation exactly?

This key competence entails striving towards your goal whilst maintaining a standard of excellence, accepting the challenges you might encounter en route, not in a blind way but in a calculated way, and at the same time, improving performance to be ready to welcome the opportunities whenever they present themselves.




The importance of Motivation and Persistence

For this Emotional Intelligence competency to flourish, you need to welcome motivation and persistence in equal parts, especially in the face of setbacks.

Motivation is a powerful tool you can fuel on a daily basis by remembering your values and goals. Motivation, which belongs to the self-management area of Emotional Intelligence, is the hidden force that will drive you, relentlessly, to your final destination. If accompanied by enthusiasm, it is invincible.

External factors like prestige, money, power, are the typical external factors that ignite motivation, but the internal force of persistence is the one that makes the difference, converting a dream into an attainable goal.

For that, those who feel the need to get better and better by improving performance attaining more and moving up the ladder, are those who feed their motivation with their unquenched desire for, simply, achieving.


In short, an achievement-oriented person will look forward to

👉 learning the new and improving the old
👉 fostering excellence
👉 encouraging feedback
👉 accepting  challenges
👉 daring to explore
👉 knowing how to calculate risks
👉 going out of their comfort zone
👉 being open to innovation

One trait that every person with achievement drive distinctly presents is their unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Like the renaissance man, knowledge is seen as a mark of distinction, and being open to innovation; a passport to the future.


Leaders who have developed this skill are able to create an achievement culture within their organizations.

They set the scene for performance orientation by encouraging each member of the team to feed their own personal achievement orientation and thereby enable the whole team to make good use of it.

Great leaders coordinate actions and act with empathy, fostering relationship building and opening channels for better communication.



Achievement Orientation Top Tips


Learn to detect and feed your motivation. Be ready to adapt yourself and to explore and conquer new horizons.

Take a piece of paper and make four columns. Complete each one with the following:

What are my core motives?

What goals have I set?

What I am doing to achieve them?

How can I make room for improvement?





What steps should be taken to hone this skill? 

Route map

📍 Give yourself time to de-stress: a relaxed mind is a successful mind
📍 Develop the ability to gain (and regain) focus with ease
📍 Identify your next objective in the “big picture” of your plan
📍 Design a step-by-step strategy
📍 Calculate the risks
📍 Divide the next objective into small, attainable goals
📍 Identify the external resources you might need (people, materials, hard skills)
📍 Identify the internal resources you might need (motivation and balance, soft skills)
📍 Once each little goal is achieved, reward yourself
📍 Constantly monitor progress towards your ultimate goal


How can a coach help to develop, cultivate and improve this skill?

Mainly by working to identify your motivations and remove your internal blocks, help with self-esteem and challenge assumptions.

The right coaching can also support you throughout your strategy planning journey and help you create new spaces for growth and exploration.

Coaching can also help you to gain focus and create new habits; small actions performed in a consistent way can act as precursors.


But remember: you need to balance all the skills and work in tandem with them to really perform at your maximum potential. Isolated skills, even if at 100%, will leave you with a sense of imbalance and won’t add any real value to your work.


There is always room for improvement, so it doesn’t matter if you’re a “natural” and motivation is your daily fuel, or if you need a little push now and then.

Achievement drive can benefit us all: freelancers and entrepreneurs, leaders or employees.

By cultivating this skill we will be able to perform any task, to the best of our ability.


If you want to improve this important skill, book a free 15-minute consultation with me. After the call, you will get a follow-up email with my proposed plan of action.



Marketing Automation 101: a look at the basics and the ethics involved

Marketing Automation 101: a look at the basics and the ethics involved

Automation ethics: this week I have a different kind of article for you, and it has come as a result of a video I published last Thursday on Linkedin, talking about an automated email I received.

The many comments left, publicly and privately, led me to reflect on the topic of Automation, GDPR and our work in the Marketing industry more deeply.

For that reason, I decided to dedicate this blog post to this topic, specifically to how and when to apply automation and the ethics that need to be considered.

Personally, I think marketing automation benefits are multiple.

It is a fantastic method that can help any business owner and it can be applied to many things (emails, social media, customer journeys, website, etc); but we need to remember that we do business with people and for that reason, ethics are involved.


What will we be covering here?


Personal use vs. Marketing Automation

A matter of Ethos

Automation: a simple definition

The do’s and don’ts

Best practices

7 recommended Automation Tools


The Artificial Intelligence era has brought many new terms (and practices) to our daily lives and Automation has been “the” buzz-word of recent years.

Automation is a practice that has become more and more common for everybody. But it is not a new thing, at all.

Remember that rule you created years ago in your Outlook, the one that forwarded all the emails received from a specific sender into a particular folder, so you could have all those emails in the same place and save yourself time?

Well, that was also automation.

The difference, in that case, was that the tool you used to create the automation and its results affected only you and in fact, saving yourself time and improving productivity were the reasons that made you create the rule.

Automation is fantastic at optimising performance, especially with some of the more repetitive tasks.

A completely different question arises when automation (and the algorithm used) affects others, as in the case I mentioned in the video.

This includes all the practices that allow you to have data and use it to communicate a message to your targeted audience, at each step of the customer journey. Here, we are talking about Marketing Automation.

This is the automation you use in your marketing practices, including everything from Social Media posts to messages like the email I received.

In short, automation here is directly related to your ethos (or the ethos of the company you work for), and this point is paramount because it will define the limits of your automation as well as how you use it, when you use it and with whom.

And the truth is that, when done correctly, it can produce the highest ROI.



This major topic has been under debate for some time. So I want to simplify things here and give you a short overview of automation and its uses.

Automation: let’s break it down into a basic definition:

Automation refers to any action that is being carried out automatically thanks to the use of certain tools. It can be applied for personal use or within the context of any small business or organization’s marketing plan.

Let’s take a very simple, daily automation as an example: you write a Social Media post today and schedule it to go live in a week, using a tool (like Buffer, Hootsuite or any other), so you can reach your audience at a precise time (you can then use that time to do something else).

So, why do you use automation in this example? Well, the goal is similar in both the personal and business contexts: to save time and increase efficiency but mainly from a marketing perspective, the ultimate goal is to generate more revenue.

Automation also makes dialogue between a couple of apps possible even though they are not necessarily connected.

For example, you can use automation to save email attachments to your Google Drive, improving productivity and helping with general file organisation.

But if a business uses segmentation in their email communications (a particular technique that divides email accounts into groups to better target the message), the goal is to provide a better service to the reader but also, and ultimately, to gain or keep a customer.

This is the realm of so-called “Inbound marketing” where a business uses all the data to better understand the client’s interest and offer them the right information at the right time, so they can make a purchase.



The Do’s and Don’ts (just a couple of particularly important ones)

It is evident to those of you, working in the marketing world, that the “customer journey “concept is important and here, one of the most important things to remember is that relationships take time to build.

So, the very first step is to have a good plan with a solid pipeline, so when you send out your content (based on your audience’s needs), that content is seen as relevant.

People do business with people, so remember that even if you use automation, we need to treat our leads and customers with utter respect, and if possible, make them feel special.

If you receive a message that is tailored to your needs and moreover, to the need you have in a certain moment, you will be inclined to pay attention to the content and probably willing to close a deal.

But the right moment is crucial: too soon can be seen as threatening; whereas too late would be useless.


So, what was wrong with the message I received?

Let’s summarise it in three main points:

👎 They open the email stating that they know which page I was browsing (which can be, let me tell you, pretty intimidating for anybody)

👎 They offer a trial believing that I was ready to try and buy (so, the automation failed in the segmentation and assumed I was in a different part of the customer journey)

👎 In the EU, you have to respect a regulation known as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679), which, in short, protects your privacy. So, they would’ve needed my consent (via email) to send me any sort of communication.

But, you know me.

I like to have a Positive Outlook on things.


What have we learned from this about when to use marketing automation?

👍 Revise your marketing plan periodically

👍 Use segmentation

👍 Use your funnel wisely

👍 Nurture your relationships (always, ALWAYS)

👍 Be patient and never, ever, pushy

👍 Respect the law


I use automation, privately and also for my business.

Some of the automation tools I can recommend (among so many others) are:

👉 Buffer for social media

👉 MailChimp for newsletters

👉 Autopilot for customer journeys

👉 Hubspot for CRM, marketing and sales

👉 Zapier for connecting apps

👉 Drift for conversational marketing

👉 Infusion soft for small business


But again, the tools perform a function; how you choose to use them relates, entirely, to your ethos.

If you are curious about how automation can be used in an intelligent, respectful way and benefit your business, book a free 15-minute consultation with me.




Want to be more productive? Pay attention to your Circadian Rhythms and Chronotypes

Want to be more productive? Pay attention to your Circadian Rhythms and Chronotypes

Would you like to know the best way to function at your maximum performance level and be able to prioritise and manage your tasks (maybe even your entire day)?

Well, your own body might have the answer.

What will we be covering here?

What is a Circadian Rhythm?

What is a Chronotype?

Knowing Larks and Owls

Dr Breus and the question of “when”

The four mammals

Synchronicity between your chronotype and your life

Manage your energy

Take an assessment


Get to know The Circadian Rhythms and the Chronotypes

What is a Circadian Rhythm?

In short, the Circadian Rhythm is a sort of internal clock, controlled mainly by the hypothalamus, which is the part of the brain that controls many things, such as your hormones, temperature, appetite, sexual behaviour and emotions.




This internal biological clock is reset every day by sunlight, and is different for each person, although its main function is exactly the same for all of us: to regulate the periods of sleepiness and wakefulness during the day.

So, this is the clock that tells you which part of the day you are more alert and which part you’ll find your energy levels lower and you feel more sleepy.

Because the circadian rhythm likes regularity, it functions at its best when you follow routines: going to bed at the same hour, eating at the same time each day etc.

This is why you might feel uneasy when you disturb this rhythm (for example, travelling abroad and dealing with jet lag).


What is a Chronotype?

When we talk about chronotypes, we are referring to the manifestation of the circadian rhythm, in the form of personal behaviour. Even though it is passed through the PER3 gene and therefore its origin is genetic, it might change over the years due to a number of reasons such as age, environment and hormones.

A more common classification describes people as either larks or owls, larks being the people that perform best in the mornings, and owls being the ones that are more alert in the evening.

Larks and owls can be differentiated, not just by sleeping patterns, but also by other behaviours and needs, such as appetite and exercise.


“According to conventional wisdom, there are three chronotypes: larks rise early, owls rise late, and hummingbirds are somewhere between the two.”


So, how can we adjust our daily performance for optimal business productivity in relation to these chronotypes?


If you’re a lark If you’re an owl
Try to concentrate on analytical tasks during the early hours  

Leave all analytical tasks for the late afternoon or evening



Leave all creative tasks for the afternoon



Try to do more creative tasks in the morning



To make it all easier, create a table with three columns where you can list your tasks and divide them into two big groups:

🖊 tasks that require focus, concentration and analysis

🖊 tasks that require creativity and expression

🖊 Then the third column is for notes.

If a task falls into both groups, you simply repeat the task in both columns and add a note about the aspect that you will tackle, specifically, during each part of the day.

Top Tip: For example, writing an article might require creativity (mainly with regard to the idea but also the writing), lots of research about the topic and of course, proofreading. Each one of those tasks would fit into a different column.



Top Tip: a task might belong to more than one column

For example, writing an article might require creativity (mainly with regard to the idea but also the writing), lots of research about the topic and of course, proofreading.

Each one of those tasks would fit into a different column.



Dr Breus and the question of “when”.

Dr Michael Breus, a psychologist and sleep specialist, described 4 different chronotypes following different structures but based on mammals. Mainly because we – humans – are not birds.

That question is “when.” “When” is the ultimate life hack. It’s the foundation of success, the key that unlocks a faster, smarter, better, and stronger you. – The Power of When

In his book, The Power of When, Dr Breus highlights the fact that our ancestors were deeply connected to their bodies, knowing when to perform certain acts like hunting, cooking or procreating.

Daylight and night time were perfectly distinguished as well.

Later on, civilization imposed its own rules and now, the modern era sees us doing all kind of activities in a perpetual “night”, with artificial lights, in front of all sorts of monitors.

The Four Chronotypes

Let’s take a brief look at the four chronotypes and their relationship with periods of alertness and drowsiness.

Dolphins: they wake up feeling fatigued and in fact, they can continue to feel tired late into the evening. They are totally alert late at night and might even suffer from insomnia. Their productivity ebbs and flows throughout the day.

Lions: they wake up early and do not feel tired until the late afternoon. They can fall asleep pretty easily and they are more productive in the morning.

Bears: they are slow risers as they do not wake up feeling fresh and awake. They tend to feel tired by the evening. Their productivity peaks before noon and they feel most alert from mid-morning to the early afternoon.

Wolves: they are evening types, so waking up in the morning can be a difficult task. They don’t feel tired until midnight or even later, so it’s in the late evening that their productivity is at its best.


Let’s take a look at the ideal routine for each chronotype, according to Shana Lebowtitz’s chart published on Business Insider and based on Dr Breus’ book.




But, what happens when your schedule and your chronotype cannot sync?

Let’s say you are a wolf, and your work (a well paid and interesting job) requires you be at the office by 8 a.m.

Well, you force yourself to adjust. Knowing your internal rhythm can help you to alleviate the burden and make the most out of the situation.


Manage your energy as it is needed, when it is low, try the following:

📌 Do some exercises to help you with your focus and concentration (young lady or old lady?)
📌 Close all the unnecessary windows on your computer
📌 Get some fresh air and replenish your energy
📌 Do some breathing exercises to increase your stamina (like breath of fire)
📌 If you can, take a 15-minute nap


Going beyond your type, there are some universal recommendations that work for everyone, both morning and evening types:

📌Set meal and sleep times and try to stick to them
📌Breakdown your work into manageable tasks
📌Take regular breaks
📌Plan your breaks in advance


If you want to know what type you are, try taking any of the following assessments:

AutoMEQ: Automated Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire (AutoMEQ)

Dr Michael Breus’ Chronotypes


If you are curious about how Emotional Intelligence, Gestalt and other proven and tested approaches from psychology and neuroscience can effectively benefit your business, book a free 15-minute consultation with me.



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