Practice role-play for Showing Empathy and Active Listening

Showing Empathy

Respond to feelings and thoughts with “You feel….because…..”

Mary: “I could kill her! Jane didn’t come for the meeting again and this is the last one. She promised me that if I got her into the group she would change and be more responsible. How am I going to answer to the rest of my team members for this behavior?”


Active Listening

Listen to feelings, thoughts, behavior and strengths.

John: “I’m a horrible student, no matter how much I study my grades are just as bad. The teacher absolutely hates me and keeps picking on me. I don’t see the point in working so hard any more, I’m going to fail badly in my exam anyway”


Clarify what you think you are hearing

“Let me understand better…”

“What do you mean when you say…”

“Are you feeling/thinking/suggesting…”


Sally: “Its entirely possible that two people can come up with the same approach and answers right? I mean it could be Jane that copied my work, who’s to tell? In fact, maybe I should tell the teacher that I had shared my approach to Jane before the test.”



Identify what gets in the way of life-enhancing opportunities

  • Self-defeating mind-sets e.g prejudices
  • Self-limiting internal behavior e.g ‘I must always be’ victim of the past.
  • Self-defeating expressions of feeling and emotions e.g anger
  • Dysfunctional external behavior e.g putting other’s down
  • Distorted understanding of the world
  • Discrepencies of thinking and behaving
  • Unused strengths
  • Predictable dishonesties of life.


Blind spots

Questions to ask:

  • What problem am I avoiding?
  • What opportunities am I ignoring?
  • What’s really going on?
  • What am I overlooking?
  • What do I refuse to see?
  • What don’t I want to do?
  • What unverified assumptions am I making?
  • What am I failing to factor in?
  • How am I being dishonest with myself?
  • What’s underneath the rocks
  • If others were dishonest with me, what would they tell me?
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