Empathy Map for Self-Retrospective

Are you trying to become a better person professionally or personally?
Are you looking for techniques for personal growth?
Are you trying to become a great leader?

There are many techniques and models that you can use to understand yourself. One of my favourites is “Empathy Map.”

Empathy Map is one of the techniques used in human-centred design to understand the customer. It helps you know your user’s needs while developing a deeper understanding of the user as a person.

I have been using this for quite some time. As users are people, so I thought one day, why don’t I try to use it to understand myself. It turned out to be very powerful.

In this article, I am going to explain step by step how you can use this model on yourself.

1. Think about an event for self-retrospective

Think about one event in your life. It could be as small as a quick conversation or a big decision making struggle. This event should have a substantial impact on you. For example, if after that event, you keep thinking about any of the following questions:

Selecting an impactful event

The entire experience happens based on your personality, mindset and beliefs.” This model helps you reveal some patterns that are inbuilt in your nature and need your attention to bring focused improvement.

Sometimes we spend too much time in understanding others, and we forget to understand ourselves. People who try to understand themselves and continuously improve, become good leaders, achieve their dreams and live a fulfilling life.

2. Fill out the Empathy Map

Empathy Map
  • What did you SAY at that moment? Capture some notable quotes or keywords used.
  • What did you DO? Describe what your action was?
  • What did you THINK? Dig deeper and scan your mind. What were the thoughts that emerged? What were the motivation, goals, biases, desires that arose and might have impacted your action? What does this tell you about your beliefs?
  • How did you FEEL? What emotions did you notice? Did you feel happy, sad, angry, frustrated? Choose the word that is closer to your felt emotion.

3. Analyze the map

You now have some data to analyze. Look closely and try to understand what has happened. Ask yourself some questions, for instance:

Sample questions for analysis

If you closely monitor your feeling, you will discover a lot about yourself. For example, I felt angry when my team member didn’t let me speak at the meeting. Ask yourself: What made you feel angry? How this feeling impacted your reaction? May be your need was to present your idea, and you didn’t get a chance. Hence, the anger.

All this analysis will help you figure out your need, goals and personality traits.

4. Create patterns

Now is the time to capture your learning. You may save it in a separate sheet or at the bottom of your empathy map.

To find your behavioural patterns, you should fill the empathy map for multiple situations.

You will start noticing the situations that motivate you to take action, and others make you frustrated. You will also discover how much the external environment impacts you.

You may find some surprising facts about yourself, which you weren’t aware of. Sometimes self-discovery becomes complex when you are not ready to explore some unpleasant facts about yourself. So don’t worry, it’s part of the process. Look yourself as an individual who is trying to improve and be empathetic to yourself.

5. Action Items

You have come so far in the self retrospection. Now is the time to decide what you would like to work on.

Don’t get tempted to improve everything in one go. Take one small step. Think which improvement area will make your life a little better, and that would be your focus. You may even choose to drop some issues. You may decide that you can live with this behaviour, and change would be painful. Therefore, you aren’t ready right now to begin the improvement journey, and that’s ok. Start with what seems right, and you feel prepared for it.

Don’t forget to appreciate yourself once you accomplish your improvement goal.

Tips for a productive self-retrospective:

  • Don’t hang up with the details. High-level reference of the situation based on your memory would be good enough to start.
  • You don’t have to be alone in your improvement journey. Take help from your family, friends.
  • Be comfortable with your exploration. Just tell yourself that you are on the journey of self-growth, and it will take time.
  • Adapt the map as per your need. If you want to add or delete any area, feel free to do so.

Originally published at https://coachingsaga.com on July 9, 2020.

Seasoned Enterprise Agile Coach, Leadership Coach, Mentor, CEC, CTC, ICF ACC, Founder of CoachingSaga.com, linkedin.com/in/savitapahuja/

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