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Coaching Introverts, Extroverts Ambiverts, and Omniverts

We promise, there are only four types...for now...

If you’ve taken a personality quiz before, you have probably enjoyed reading all the traits that come along with the personality type you’ve been given.

  • Introvert vs Extrovert

  • Sensing vs Intuition

  • Thinking vs Feeling

  • Judging vs Perceiving

The question remains though:


Can a few multiple choice answers tell us more about our personality than we actually know about ourselves?


What should we take away from these test results? Do they strictly define who we are; or, can we learn and eventually adapt our personalities?


For this CLCI LIVE, our team took a personality quiz to determine if we are introverts or extroverts. Brooke Adair Walters (MCPC), Jerome LeDuff Jr (MCLC), Anthony Lopez (MCPC), Lisa Finck (ACC), and Jen Long (MCPC), discuss the differences between extroverts and introverts and how both affect coaching.

Defining Introverts & Extroverts


These two personality types are the binary of how we gain energy—and we don’t mean our coffee order. Our body is a battery and we all spend and recharge our batteries differently.


Ask yourself: “Where do I feel most alive?”


If your answer involves being alone or with one other person or participating in a passive activity, you’re probably more introverted. You gain energy from alone time so you can rest and recharge.


If your answer involves being in groups of people or going out and actively engaging with others, you probably lean more extroverted. Your energy comes from other people; you feed off of their energy to recharge.


Whichever way you answered, you may have been surprised with the results of your response. We often identify one way due to our conceived notions of the identity without actually questioning what might put us in that category. Introverts might have negative feelings about being introverted and think extroverted people are cooler or more fun whereas extroverts might envy the quiet power and thoughtfulness of introverted people. Both sides have their own superpowers that can be used (check out our live on turning your weakness into a superpower here).


Ambiverts & Omniverts

There is also a personality spectrum in relation to intro/extroversion; it’s not just a binary. As it turns out, our entire CLCI Live team are all ambiverts, which means we lie somewhere in the middle. They balance between the two sides and are able to easily and comfortably switch between them as needed.


What is an omnivert?

Think of an omnivert like the extreme version of an ambivert. They dramatically swing between both sides and it isn’t always consistent or at will. Their switch will feel much more drastic of a change versus the gradual shift of the ambivert.


Your personality also isn’t static. Just because you feel energized by groups of people today, doesn’t mean that you won’t be energized by being alone with your thoughts in the next five years. As we grow, we can shift into different roles and our personalities change. Even at CLCI, Jen noticed that she became much more introverted as she grew up and experienced more things while our owner, Lisa, became more extroverted as she learned new skills.


Lisa took public speaking and improv classes which helped her gain more extroverted skills. They gave her the ability to express the extroverted side of herself which led to her personality naturally becoming more extroverted. Still, as an ambivert she’s able to switch between the two. In coaching, Lisa uses her introversion to listen to everyone else first and then switches over to the extroverted side when it’s time to ask questions and challenge her clients.


How do we coach the different types of people?


Coaching an introvert:

Never assume that there’s not a world of thought going on within a quiet client. They most likely just have a different process. Introverts take time to process their thoughts before sharing them and are extremely comfortable with silence.


Introverted clients typically like extra time with a challenging thought—they usually excel with the homework aspect of coaching. Something to take home and work on? Spectacular for an introvert.


Their process is: “When I have feeling and emotion, I’m unable to identify what’s going on until I’m separated from the situation.” Introverts need time to think and process before coming to an answer. Just because they don’t have the answer right then and there doesn’t mean that they’re not going to get there, they just require more time.


There are some times in a coaching session where an introvert will feel left out or unable to participate. Take a brainstorming session. Introverts may find it difficult to openly verbalize their thoughts on the fly. We can adopt this into the coaching space by exploring other methods aside from talking it out.


Lisa shared an example of a client where verbal communication didn’t produce many results so she kept adapting and trying different methods. Eventually, she pulled out a whiteboard and wrote down what her client had shared. It was at the point of seeing it all written down that he started to add more details. Lisa adjusted to her client’s needs and enabled him the power to communicate what he needed on his own terms.


Coaching an extrovert:

Jen has intimate experience with both ends of the spectrum. Where introverted clients revel in silence, extroverted clients don’t want to stop talking. It takes an assertive coach to get an extrovert to pause long enough for a question to be asked. With the amount of talking they’ve done, it’s also highly beneficial to get extroverted clients to recap in 1-2 sentences what might have taken them 30 minutes to say the first time. This gives the client the opportunity to dive back into the thought through a new lens.


We also have to analyze whether it’s productive or unproductive talking. Is the client just filling in the space or is the talking meaningful and leading to a point?


Brooke is a self-described babbler when she’s nervous. When she’s not nervous, she can sit silently and be quiet. That’s how she knows when she’s developed a certain level of comfort with someone. Her most powerful coaches are the ones who’ve been able to make her relaxed enough to pause and realize she’s in her head so she can come out of it.


Extroverted clients are also rewarded by external stimulation. They feel good just by going to a coaching session—yielding a short term reward without achieving long term goals. This often leads to clients spinning their wheels which is why the T in SMART goals (time sensitive) is extra important for extroverted clients. Our job as the coach is to remind them of established goals and check in with them on the “due date.”


Is it ever important to ask the client what they are?

While personality traits are a useful tool in helping us adjust to our client, ultimately it’s a box that can confine them if we focus on it too heavily.


Instead, look at the behaviors and respond to them without labeling the client and put them in a box. We come into the session equipped with knowledge of our client and how we can customize our tools for their needs.


How does my personality affect my coaching?

Just as each client needs a different approach, each coach will approach coaching from two different spheres.


Introverted coaches come in knowing they are good listeners. They are quiet and thoughtful but may be afraid to coach, afraid of asking questions because they don’t know what those questions are beforehand. These coaches need time and practice saying things out loud so they can get comfortable failing forward. We don’t want to get it wrong and do harm that will lead a client down a specific path but we need to remember that as a coach, we’re not leading.


Extroverted coaches look forward to their coaching sessions but might find difficulty holding silence for their clients. This is why we train our coaches to get comfortable with the silence and allow clients to reach their thoughts in their own time.


Another difficult aspect of coaching for an introvert is the networking and marketing side. Where extroverts love to talk to anybody and everybody, introverts often feel discomfort in highly social situations. However, introverts have a superpower in one-on-one conversations. Networking doesn’t need to occur on a mass scale. Instead, use the intimate conversation to demonstrate your coaching skills and gain clients that way.


As for marketing, we often think of the most visible parts such as videos and public speaking. But there are other sides like SEO and blog-writing which are just as useful and much easier for an introverted coach.


Ultimately, whether you’re introverted or extroverted, being yourself will attract clients. Be authentic, real, unique, one of a kind and the right clients for you will find you.

 

Thank you,


Lisa Finck, Brooke Adair Walters, Jerome LeDuff Jr, Anthony Lopez, and Jen Long!


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