The Atticus Finch School of Empathy | Justine McGrath | Skillshare

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The Atticus Finch School of Empathy

teacher avatar Justine McGrath, Executive Coach and Trainer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (16m)
    • 1. Introduction to course on empathy

    • 2. The Atticus Finch School of Empathy

    • 3. Who is Atticus Finch?

    • 4. Why does it matter?

    • 5. How do we develop empathy?

    • 6. Practical learning and project see class discussion for new link

    • 7. Final Video empathy

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About This Class

This class will cover the what, why and how of the importance of Empathy 

  • Students will learn what empathy is (and how it differs from Sympathy)
  • Who is Atticus Finch and what does he know about empathy.
  • Video 1 explains and tells the story – in the talking head with photos of Atticus.
  • Students will learn why empathy is so important through the story of Atticus.
  • They will learn how to relate to others – using the example of Atticus.
  • They will learn about the cognitive dimension and the emotional dimension of empathy
  • They will learn how empathy will make them better communicators
  • They will learn how to motivate their team using empathy
  • I will use stories and examples from To Kill a Mockingbird to illustrate the power of empathy in action.

The class is geared to leaders, managers and those who must be good at communication. 


Meet Your Teacher

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Justine McGrath

Executive Coach and Trainer


Hi.  I'm Justine.  I'm an executive coach and trainer with over ten years' experience. 

I run ProACTive Coaching ( where I provide coaching to leaders, managers and employees.  

My specialist area is Emotional Intelligence.  I have always been fascinated by what makes people behave the way they do!  I provide psychometric testing in Emotional Intelligence (I am an advanced facilitator of the EBW Emotional Intelligence assessments -

I am results driven, passionate about what I do, and I love to witness people have their light bulb moments!  I believe we have so much potential and developing your EI is a way to fulfill that potential. 

I have also written a book ... See full profile

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1. Introduction to course on empathy: hi and welcome to this class, which is entitled the Atticus Finch School of Empathy. When I decided to create a class on empathy, I was looking around for examples off people who show great empathy. And it wasn't long before my mind drifted towards books because I love books. They're never far from my mind. And soon I thought about Atticus Finch because he must be, in my opinion, one off the characters who shows the greatest amount of empathy in all of literature. Now, if you don't know who Atticus Finch is and you have never read to kill a Mockingbird, all I would ask you is Do you like stories? Because if you like stories, I will be filling in the gaps on you will soon come to understand what a great man this character waas. If you have read to kill a mockingbird than all the better, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. So why should you care about empathy? Well, we're gonna look at it today from two perspectives the world view of empathy on the more personal view. So taking it from a per a greater perspective of what's going on in the world at the minute . I don't know about you, but I personally think the world has gone a little crazy. And I realized that if our leaders and our politicians could develop their empathy a little more on, understand, a little bit more water is going on for other people. We may not be in quite the mess that we're in, but on a more personal level, you might be saying to yourself, Why is that person behaving the way they are? Why is that person being such an idiot? You might have a work colleague that you just do not get along with, or maybe a family member or friend who is behaving in such a way that you just cannot understand for the life of you. What is going on with, um, now, by developing your empathy, you're not only gonna help yourself, but you're gonna help them. You're all developing yourself awareness, and it's going to give you a greater understanding on day. I am sure that that is what this course is going to do for you, so it's very important. It might be a short course, and it might be very to the point, but it is going to help you to develop your empathy on it is a skill onda trait on a characteristic that, in my view, is not to be underestimated. I think it's a hugely important part of emotional intelligence. I have seen the benefits of what, developing your empathy conduce, actually, more so for the person involved who develops their empathy. It helps them, I think, sometimes more than it helps the person to whom they are showing empathy. But obviously both parties will benefit. So I hope you enjoy the course. Please feel free to write some comments at the bottom on. Give me a review if you would like on there will be a class project as well, so thanks very much on on with the course. 2. The Atticus Finch School of Empathy : 3. Who is Atticus Finch? : so I hope you enjoyed that short introduction off the dulcet tones off Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch on the course is called the Atticus Finch School of Empathy. Empathy, because I have chosen him as a character from literature who displays an awful lot off empathy. And that's why it's important. As I said in my video introduction, You don't have to have read to Kill a Mockingbird. You just have to like stories. And really, I'm using Atticus Finch as an example off one of the most empathetic characters in literature. So what we're going to be looking at today is the what the why and the how off empathy. But we're going to start with the Who who is Atticus Finch? He is the main character in To Kill a Mockingbird, which is the famous novel by Harper Lee. He is a lawyer and a single father, and he defends a monocle Tom Robinson, who has been accused of rape. On doing this. He really brings down the wrath off the neighborhood on his head because they believe that he shouldn't be defending this man because he does. He teaches his Children, Scout and Jem, to have empathy, not just four Tom Robinson, but also for the people who do not understand why he is defending Tom Robinson. He is definitely a man full off empathy. Aunt, He is our example of empathy in this court. 4. Why does it matter? : So to give you a brief recap off the course, we're going to look at what is empathy, why it's important on how we develop it to make us more effective. And that's really the most important aspect of the course. And then we have. Of course, the learning and the class Project on experiential learning will help us to develop our understanding of empathy on, to reach a deeper knowledge and experience of empathy. So if we move on then to what is empathy, empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. So what Atticus Finch says is you never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view until you climb into his skin and walk around in it. So the difference is that empathy is not sympathy, and there is a very important difference. Rebecca O'Donnell, the author, says Empathy is walking a mile in somebody else's moccasins. Sympathy is being sorry. Their feet hurt. So it's really about the ability to get under somebody's skin, really figure out why they are behaving the way that they're behaving. What is going on with them, try to read their body language treasury between the lines. But more important, try to identify with what's they might be going through because there's usually a reason why somebody is behaving in the way that they are. So why does empathy matter? When Atticus Finch defends Tom Robinson, he says to scout and Jem that if he didn't he couldn't hold his head up in town. He feels that it is his moral obligation to defend Tom Robinson and he whether or not he believes he is innocent, although I think he does believe that he is innocent. Hey, feels that it's a moral issue and that Tom Robinson deserves to have the best lawyer that he can. So what Atticus Finch actually shows is great moral courage. He feels that even though this is not, I mean, the easy thing would have been not to defend him would have just two bean step aside, not get involved. But he shows us moral courage by taking on this case. He also shows that he's a very caring man and he is able to empathize with the situation that Tom Robinson is in, and in so doing, he shows his great aspect off humanity 5. How do we develop empathy? : So now we come on to the important part of the course, which is the how to develop your empathy. And there are two aspects to developing your empathy. There is Thedc og knitted dimension on. There is the emotional dimension. The cognitive dimension of empathy is understanding the task or the challenge faced by the person you were dealing with. So, for example, in the story of To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus agrees to defend Tom Robinson from a cognitive point of view because he understands that he is a per man with no money. He understands the challenges that he faces because of his race because of his culture, because of the situation that he's in but from an emotional dimension, he also feels a certain amount of compassion for Tom Robinson. The other aspect off to Kill a Mockingbird, where Atticus Finch uses his empathy, is in the emotional dimension. There is a man in this story called Bob you'll who spits on Atticus when he finds out that he's going to defend Tom Robinson on what Atticus says to his son. Jam is gem. If you can stand in Bob, you will shoes for one minute and see what he's going through her. So he says, I destroyed his last shred of credibility. So if spitting in my face and threatening me save Mayella, you will one beating That's something on gladly take. So he actually sees that he's happy to take on some of the anger off Bob you'll because he was so empathetic. So when you are looking at your own development off empathy, look at it from those two different dimensions. So the cognitive dimension will be What's the task faced? It could be an employee situation where you have an employee and you say, What's the task that they are they have to undertake? And can I understand why they may be struggling or why they may be resistant? Or my why they may be behaving in the way that they are. But then it's also the emotional dimension so acknowledge and validate their emotional experience because they might be going through something that you just haven't understood yet or you have realized. And that can also make it much easier for you when you understand where that person is coming from. So as I said it, it is an amazing thing empathy because it actually helps both the person practicing the empathy on the person receiving the empathy 6. Practical learning and project see class discussion for new link: So now we come to the experiential or the practical learning aspect of the course, and we're going to start with the question on the left. How is effective? Empathy learned If you're one of those task oriented people who is primarily focused on achievement, In other words, there are some people who have a very low level of empathy, and there's no judgment here. It's just they're not used to having to think about how people might be feeling or having to consider what they might be going through. They are just very much about getting the task done. And I've met a lot of managers on a lot of people in work. A lot of leaders who say to me I haven't got time Justin and far too busy. I have to get the job done and I completely understand that. But if you would like to get the job done effectively Andi in a good, timely fashion, then it will actually benefit you to take some time out to be a bit more empathetic. So be aware if you're that kind of person, if you haven't showed any empathy before to any of your staff or any of your colleagues, then it might be worth just considering that and thinking, Could we get a better job done here? Could we get this done in a more effective on a more timely way? If I just maybe take five minutes out to understand why? For example, Joe is struggling with this task or why we don't seem to be moving ahead. Five minute conversation sometimes is all that is required. So in order to develop on that, I'd like you to think about a scenario. Now it. This may not necessarily be a work related scenario. I've used that as an example. You could be a manager. It could be an employee situation. It could be a family member. It could be a friend. It could be any sort of scenario. But what I would like you to do is think of a scenario you faced recently, where you've perhaps at an argument with somebody or a situation has not gone down. Well, there might have been some anger in a meeting. Could be any number of things. What could you have done differently? Hard. You used more empathy, so I want you to think about if you could have taken some time out to perhaps understand on , Develop your empathy a bit more and think about what that person may be going through or why they might have behaved in the way that they did. Would you have done it differently the next time around? Or would you do it differently the next time around? And you can also use this in a situation that may be ahead of you that might be coming up. If you know that you have a difficult meeting coming up, try a new some empathy. And honestly, it is astonishing what will happen because what you'll find is the other person responds to that. It's very hard to respond negatively to somebody who is showing you empathy. Okay, because you get that they are trying to understand you better on this will help you in many situations in life, particularly in the workplace where we were, we have to work with a wide variety of people, Andi. We sometimes need to be a bit more understanding and be a bit more empathetic. So try and read between the lines. Look at the body language, see what's really going on, and honestly watch your relationships transform. I guarantee you of that. It is such an important trait on there have been a lot of studies done and emotional intelligence which have shown the importance of empathy. So that brings us to the end of the course on what I would like to do now is just to share a video with you. Andi, honestly, if you don't find this video moving, then I don't know where your heart is. I think it's an absolutely fantastic video, and it's really about moral courage but empathy as well. Empathy is a part of moral courage, and it is about Atticus Finch on the moral courage that he shows. Now, if you are watching the video, you can forward fast forward through the first. It's quite a long video, so you can fast forward through the first couple of minutes and just watch the last half of the video because that's the piece that is all about empathy and is all about the moral courage and empathy that Atticus Finch shows. I really hope you enjoy the YouTube video. I thought it was great on Band. I hope you have enjoyed this course if you have. I'd love it if you had put some reviews. Or indeed, if you haven't, If you have any suggestions, please put some reviews and comments onto the onto my page. Andi, I will be sharing some information with you. And as I said, I look forward to connecting with you online, and there will be a final little concluding video that I will do as well. So thank you very much indeed for your time. Andi, may you be for more empathetic person as a result of this. 7. Final Video empathy: so thank you very much for watching this course on empathy. I hope that you found it useful. I hope you know, going to be able to develop your empathy and put it into practice on. I would love any feedback that you have on the class project or by all means. Ask me any questions, really happy to answer any questions that you may have on. I look forward to seeing you in one of my future courses if you do have any suggestions for topics that you would like covered. I am a specialist and emotional intelligence, but I am also an executive coach on I do psychometric assessments. So please do feel free to offer any suggestions for future courses and future areas that you might be interested in studying. Thanks very much indeed, for your time on my hopes, Connect with you online.