Introvert or Extrovert? How to be the Coach you are and Succeed, Part 2: Strengths of the Introverted Coach

I’m so excited to write this article! I’ve been talking to people about introverts and extroverts ever since I wrote Part 1: Introvert or Extrovert? How to be the Coach you are and Succeed. In that article, I talked about what the differences were between introverts and extroverts, and how extroverted coaches could use their strengths to promote their businesses.

In this article, I’m going to focus in on introverts and how they can use their unique strengths to promote their businesses.

Extroverts! Stick around – many of the people you know, love and work with are introverts, and you most likely don’t even know it. This article will definitely give you the secret to understanding and connecting with them, so stay tuned for some “aha” moments!

In my recent conversations with people, I’ve discovered that very few understand what an introvert actually is, much less what their strengths are. Unfortunately, the general impression of introverts is less than favorable.

Being an introvert is often considered undesirable, especially by extroverts. It’s widely believed that introverts are “mousey,” “shy,” and “lack confidence.”

What a misconception! Nothing could be further from the truth. None of that has anything at all to do with being an introvert. Introversion is about what is going on internally, not about what people see on the outside. Introverts can actually be highly energetic, motivating, and great with people.

The main, critical difference between an introvert and an extrovert is introverts are energized by going within: by contemplation and reflection. Even though they may like people, they are drained by them and need “alone time” to re-charge afterwards.

Extroverts are energized by talking to people. They don’t need alone time to re-charge after a party because the party itself energized them. They tend to become bored and restless when alone.

I’ve taken the major strengths of an introvert and shown below exactly how to use them to grow a strong coaching business. Remember, what makes you successful is leaning on your strengths!

  1. You are good at networking one-on-one because of your great listening skills, and your ability to focus and ask well-formed questions. You go below the surface, forming lasting and mutually beneficial relationships with depth
    So don’t worry about “making as many connections as possible”, that’s not your thing. It will stress you out and drain  you. Focus more deeply on a few well-chosen relationships, use your planning skills to follow-up, and you’ll walk out of any networking situation a winner. 
    When you sign up for your own coaching, lean toward programs that are one-on-one, semi-private, or have 6-12 people in them.  You’ll shine more brightly and get more benefit from a smaller group.
  2. You are great at developing content to share with your market: Your ability to process information, reflect, absorb, then explain it well helps you create information products and offer rich, fluff-free teleseminars, value-packed articles and other free tastes, attracting and building relationship with your ideal clients. 
    Your writing reflects all of this, plus your ability to put your thoughts down on paper. You can write a great newsletter to stay in touch with your market – just remember to choose one person in your market to keep in mind as you write it, imagining you are speaking directly to them.
  3. You are good at connecting with your ideal clients: Introverts love defined roles. Your affinity for meaningful conversations helps you shine in one-on-one enrollment situations, as long as you’ve had time to process internally and get very clear on what you offer, and on what the benefits are to your prospective client. 
    Using your natural abilities to connect one-on-one, you create a solid bond with leads who quickly become clients. Your ability to strategize and plan not only makes you an awesome coach, you can use those abilities to plan who you want to talk to and when, and then to create an effective follow-up strategy.
    You are probably more comfortable as the designated speaker at an event, rather than as a participant: Using your abilities to create great content, your love of a defined role, and ability to strategize, as long as you put a lot of thought and practice into it, you can easily walk away with a ton of hot leads after one of your amazing speeches!

Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, I truly hope you’ve found this two part article helpful. Being the introvert that I am, I put a lot of thought and effort into it.

It gives me great joy to imagine that I’ve helped even one person stop trying to be something they’re not, and use their strengths instead to achieve their dreams.

12 Responses to Introvert or Extrovert? How to be the Coach you are and Succeed, Part 2: Strengths of the Introverted Coach

  • Tammy Walls says:

    I really liked this article and the one prior to this. I am an introvert who gained some new insight on myself. It helps explain why I am wired the way I am. I am thinker, analyzer and observer. Great article! Thank you.

    • Kellie deRuyter says:

      Hi Tammy,
      I get it! That’s exactly what happened for me when I discovered the truth about what an introvert actually was. It’s great knowledge because it helps you choose the kind of marketing that works for you, and it also helps you stand up to the extroverts who think you ought to be doing it their way. Thanks for the feedback!
      – Kellie

  • Marial Shea says:

    A timely post for me, Kellie. I’ve recently had an awakening that, like our culture at large, I’ve been living with a bias AGAINST my own introverted nature. This was a rather shocking discovery, but it sure explains some of my chronic self-criticism.

    Recently, I did a training course with a major coach training program and realized only days afterwards that the course content and leaders were also biased toward extroversion. Many of the introverts attending (including me) were encouraged to be more “out there,” and to live “bigger, bolder” lives. I found the course exhilarating, but it took me several weeks to recover my energy. Since then, I’ve realized that stepping out of my true nature is exhausting! I’m really struck by your recommendation to choose smaller groups for coaching. Do you think this might apply to coach training as well?

    Thanks for your great work!

    • Kellie deRuyter says:

      Hi Marial,

      Thank you for the thoughtful comment. I’ve noticed the same exact phenomenom amongst many successful coaches who coach entrepreneurs and coaches. I really can’t blame them – it’s obvious they are extroverts and have no clue that an introvert’s brain is actually wired differently. I know I’ve had the same experience as you, and came to the conclusion that I had some “issues” I needed to “handle.” I think it’s perfectly natural for an introvert to feel that way, or “self-critical,” as you say, when there are extroverted coaches out there telling us we should be doing it their way. That’s why I wrote the articles – to educate and liberate introverts. It’s such a relief when you realize there is nothing wrong with you!

      I agree, if someone can find a good coach training program that works in small groups, that would be ideal. However, I think the most important focus for coaches needs to be on finding ways of marketing that work for them, instead of trying to be something they’re not and “fake it” as extroverts. That’s why I now offer all my new Platinum clients an assessment to see where they fall on the introvert/extrovert scale. It’s a helpful tool when we’re developing a marketing strategy for them. -Kellie

  • HT Lee says:

    Thanks Kellie for the articles. As a new coach and an introvert, I’ve been wondering how far can I go. And this article offers me comfort and some useful tips. I came across a popular coaching book last night that said something along the line, “If you’re shy and an introvert, coaching is not for you. You have to be very interested in people…..”

    As I examine further, I thought introverts make great coaches because we can listen deeply and offer very few advices. I guess the challenge is in marketing my coaching services as an introvert. And I love writing so much but hate speaking in a crowd. I guess it’s all about preparation. That’s why I dislike impromptu speeches.

    Thanks again. I’ll be back to read more of your articles.

    • Kellie deRuyter says:

      Hi HT,

      As an introvert myself, I can tell you it’s hogwash that coaching is not for you! Whomever wrote that book is obviously an extrovert and doesn’t understand introverts. First of all, being an introvert does not mean that you’re aren’t very interested in people. Second, you are absolutely right, we can listen deeply, and offer thoughtful responses. Finally, there are many different ways to market your business, as an introvert you simply play to your strengths, which is exactly what coaching is all about anyway, right? So we are leading by example 😉 Thanks for the comment! -Kellie

  • AM says:

    Great insight-thanks Kellie. I was thinking that I just had to get over the fact that I am uncomfortable trying to make small talk in a large gathering or I would never be successful in productive networking.
    Whenever I am in this situation I always seek out the people who are standing alone and I thought it was so the rejection would be less public. Now I realise why I am more comfortable and successful with this approach. What I am reading into your article is that introverts don’t have to use the shot gun approach, we are better to be more focused with our approach to networking, but just need to do more of it.
    I enjoy reading your articles as I work towards to building my business.

    • Kellie deRuyter says:

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Audrey. Isn’t it great to feel validated? You are exactly correct: we need to focus on our strength, on building relationships. What you’ve been doing is perfect, and yes, do more of it! -Kellie

  • Julia says:

    Hi Kellie,

    I realize this article is a few years old, but I wanted to let you know how glad I was to find it anyway.

    I am an early-30s introvert, happily married to another introvert :), and I have worked and done very well in two different fields (publishing and education). I’m currently studying in a 9-month coaching course with a focus on stress management. In recent years, I have come to accept and nurture my introverted personality and think I’ve absolutely been able to build upon my introversion as a strength, and I’m generally happier just being the way I am.

    However it’s been a real challenge dealing with the extrovert bias in the coaching course! Not only do almost all the participants seem to be extroverts, but when we discuss cases most of my colleagues seem to see introverted ways of being as wrong or in need of fixing. And these are ways of being which I myself immediately recognize as being just the introvert way of doing things, of staying healthy and mentally fit.

    Most of the other participants already have completed a full course in coaching, which makes it even more difficult to see how they cannot see that there is not just one – extraverted – type of person.

    I was glad to find your article, saying that introversion can definitely be a strength in coaching, which is what I’ve been thinking all along.

    What I do wonder, however, is this: Is it just my perception are are there really this few introverts in the coaching profession? As anywhere, I suppose there is actually lots of them but people don’t realize it because they think introverted means shy and boring. So where does this bias come from?

    I would be very interested to read about your perception of this issue. Meanwhile I’ll try to continue to educate my colleagues about introversion 😉

    Thanks again for the reassuring article,

    from Germany

    • Kellie deRuyter says:

      Hi Julia, Thank you so much for the thoughtful reply. I’m sorry you seem to have found yourself in a course with so many extroverts who don’t understand, however please let me reassure you that there are many introverted coaches out there. Most probably don’t realize they are more on the introverted side, but remember, introverts are the ones who tend to be deep thinkers, and that type of person is attracted to coaching! They also make great coaches: A coach can only go as deep with someone else as they can go within themselves. Coaching is not just about being upbeat and motivating others, it’s also about being able to dig down to the core of the challenge. So take heart! You’ll find your niche 😉 (And if you need help, you know where to find me!)

      • Julia says:

        Hi Kellie, thank you so much for your kind words. You really made my day. And yeah, I’m definitely confident that I will find my niche. Which may very well be the coaching of introverts 😉

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