Updated: Nov 8, 2018
Imagine the ideal life coach. Who do you envision? Probably someone outgoing, expressive, and an all-around “people person.” While the extroverted style of life coaching certainly has its place, not all effective coaches are as naturally outgoing--and that is OK. In fact, you might even say that the best life coach is in fact an introvert--someone who is thoughtful, calculating, and above all, someone with an extraordinary ability to truly listen and internalize someone’s viewpoint.
Life coaches are powerful allies as you work towards living your best life, and a naturally introverted coach has the focus, listening skills, and sensitivity to your needs that will get you where you want to be.
Here are some reasons why I believe natural introverts make the best life coaches.
Clarity and Focus
An introverted life coach is thoughtful and calculated - in a good way. Sharing your emotions, goals, challenges, and secrets with a professional who is sensitive to your feelings is freeing and safe. Since a life coach clarifies your next steps in life or pieces of your routine, having that introverted and thoughtful perspective allows you the focus to build your next actions in a way that makes sense for your goals.
When you’re overwhelmed with work, children, and keeping up with your health, a life coach who is laser-focused on your words helps you prioritize your projects, helps you delegate care for your children, and sets realistic goals for your workouts and healthy meals.
Have you ever had a conversation with someone who was not truly listening to your story? Chances are, you have, and you hated the feeling of being unheard. While it’s every coach’s job to be an active listener, introverts tend to observe rather than be heard. An extroverted coach might spend more time walking you through an exercise or explaining an idea, while the introverted one spends time listening and only ask questions when necessary. This focus on YOU does two things: it allows you the space to be fully heard and validated in your words, and it allows the coach to understand your intentions so they can guide you into true progress based on your needs.
Abraham Lincoln famously said, “Give me six hour to cut a tree and I will take four hours sharpening the axe.” This same principle applies to coaching. Give a good coach two hours to help a client shift his or her worldview, and the coach will spend over an hour simply listening to the client, trying to glean a more precise understanding of his or her needs.
Take a look at this sample life coaching session for an idea of what a truly attentive coach sounds like.
Safe 1:1 Conversation
If you are new to life coaching, an introverted coach helps you feel safe and vulnerable in situations where you will share sensitive information and your own insecurities. Rather than feel intimidated by a booming personality, you’ll feel open knowing your coach is an active listener who will let your needs lead the conversation. Since many topics of life coaching are personal and hit close to home, you’ll want to feel heard and safe to share.
For example, if you are insecure about your weight or appearance, the introverted life coach will allow you to fully dive into those emotions and probe your thinking with thoughtfulness and sensitivity. If you are nervous or discouraged about your latest career moves, the introverted coach will have paid close attention to the details of what you did well and allow you to lead your progress with those wins.
The right coach for you depends on your own preferences and personality, and you should always feel seen, heard, and empowered by yours. Introverted life coaches have the natural capacity to be impeccable active listeners, thoughtful speakers, and sensitive observers so that you always feel safe and encouraged as you work towards your goals.
Kristie Santana Founder, National Coach Academy