I’m so glad you asked this, because it’s the thing that comes up so often in our conversations when we meet someone new and talk about empathy. THere’s often someone in the room who I refer to as the “tooth sucker,” the person who leans back in their chair, sucks on their teeth, and is the skeptic in the room. Oftentimes people equate empathy to being nice. And being nice, or kind, is not empathy itself: empathy unto itself is something entirely different. It’s important to note that there are 3 primary types of empathy: there’s affective empathy, what I sometimes call “Golden Rule empathy.” It is “I was sad before, you are sad now, I would have wanted to be treated like this, so I will treat you that way.” While it’s a critical and beautiful human behavior we have, it’s hard to train, you have to have a degree of EQ, challenging to measure, and doesn’t always have a direct line to helping an organization work through a problem or evolve. Another form is somatic empathy: that’s when a spouse has sympathy pains when their partner is pregnant. When you physically feel something someone else is going through. That’s not what we are doing. The third type is where our work begins, and that is cognitive empathy. This is about projecting yourself into the mind of somebody else. How we define applied empathy is as “self-aware perspective taking to gain richer and deeper understanding.” And what we do with that - empathy onto itself is neutral, but it’s in the applied where the rubber meets the road. So it’s our tools and methodologies that lets you take that understanding and put it into meaningful action with your colleagues, customers and partners.