Kids who have an empathetic coach know they will be listened to, that their perspective and experience will be heard and understood without judgement. When young people experience empathy they will feel more connected, be able to make friends more easily, have a higher capacity to learn and grow, and can experience less damaging effects of repeated stress.
Empathy fuels connection. It shows kids you know they’re experiencing something—even if you don’t understand exactly how it feels to them. Empathy says: “I want you to know you’re not alone. And I want to understand how this feels to you.”
This message is critically important for kids to hear, particularly from a trusted adult. When kids feel understood and supported, they’re more likely to stay motivated. Your empathy can also help kids become more self-aware and better able to identify emotions, and speak up for what they need.
Coaches who use empathy understand that kids’ experiences impact how they show up in programs. Instead of reacting to kids who have trouble managing their emotions, a coach who uses empathy will seek to understand the story behind those emotions.
Empathy can help you and your players work together as a team to handle challenges as they arise and will help you connect with kids during difficult moments.