When you think about the type of person who becomes a health coach, you probably picture someone outgoing, enthusiastic, and extroverted.
But you don’t have to be a self-described people-person to pursue health coaching. In fact, if the thought of shouting about your business from the rooftops makes you want to hide under the covers, listen up. There’s room for all types of coaches in the health world, including introverts.
This is great news, because like a lot of you out there, I’m an introvert too.
First off, let’s squash some misconceptions.
Introverts aren’t necessarily shy or insecure. A lot of times, we’re energetic, charming, and like being around people. The main difference between us and extroverts is that we often feel drained by crowds or being “on” all day. We require time alone to recharge. And in contrast, extroverts tend to get energized by spending time with others.
That’s pretty much it.
So, if you’ve been feeling bad or “less than” for being an introverted health coach, stop it right now. You have so much to give—and in some areas, you’re better suited for health coaching than those in the extrovert camp.
Being an introvert is actually your super power.
According to Susan Cain, the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, one-third to one-half of the population are introverts. And according to this Forbes article, 40% of highly successful entrepreneurs describe themselves as introverted, including Bill Gates and Warren Buffett (not to mention Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerburg, and our own Mark Sisson, as he shares in this post). A lot of the qualities one has as an introvert are actually assets, especially when it comes to health coaching. For instance:
- Introverts are natural listeners
- We tend to be more contemplative and thorough thinkers
- Introverts don’t usually waste time with small talk
- We do well in one-on-one situations because of our ability to focus
- Introverts are often insightful, and quickly pick up on subtleties
- We’re loyal, opting for quality versus quantity when it comes to relationships with our clients
Just because we have these amazing characteristics, however, doesn’t mean we can go out and burn the candle at both ends. Running around meeting with clients all day or replying to hundreds of social media posts can be draining for introverts, and that’s okay! Remember to schedule in downtime. After all, you’re a better YOU when you’ve had time to regroup.
As an introvert, it’s important to keep these things in mind.
- There’s nothing wrong with being an introvert. I’m not a huge fan of labels, and obviously there’s a spectrum, but usually you know if you lean more towards the introverted or extroverted side. Still not sure? Take the Meyers-Briggs personality test to find out.
- Recognize that you need time alone. Even if you think your clients, spouse, kids, friends, or pets can’t do without you, they can. If you don’t take care of yourself and claim the alone time you need to recharge, you won’t be able to fully take care of others. This isn’t intended to be a limitation; it’s actually a gift.
- Stop comparing yourself to extroverts (or anyone else for that matter). You might see other health coaches doing Facebook Lives or talking up the room at trade shows. That’s their deal; it’s not yours. And you’re not a less successful health coach because you’re not doing exactly what they’re doing. As one of my former yoga instructors used to say, “keep your eyes on your own mat.”
- Work where you’re most comfortable. Do you prefer meeting with clients in person? Over the phone? Online? Whatever ways make you feel the most at ease is the model you should go with. This is your health coaching business—structure it however feels right for you.
- Don’t get overbooked. Having 6-8 clients a day might leave you feeling stretched too thin. Consider taking on fewer clients (at a higher rate) so that you stay refreshed and present in your coaching sessions.
- Add more padding between appointments. Many health coaches add in 15 minutes for padding between sessions, but you might find that you need more time to regroup (or go to the bathroom or grab a snack). Try 20 minutes for padding and if that still feels light, go for 30 minutes.
- Be vigilant about your schedule. This is especially important if you have a lot of energy or are a people-pleaser. Make it clear what days and hours you see clients, and don’t make a habit of moving your schedule around to accommodate them.
For me, that last point was the most important. When I started coaching, I thought I had to make my whole week available to clients. It made me feel anxious wondering if (and worrying that) someone would book an appointment when I was busy with other commitments. And as an introvert, I didn’t need any extra anxiety in my life.
Having all of my time out there available to the world was too much for me. It became too stressful to remember to block out time if I needed to take my kids somewhere, if someone had a doctor appointment, or if I just wanted to go for an afternoon run.
When planning your schedule, choose the days and times that work best for you. And remember to factor in enough downtime to feel recharged and refreshed. It’s all part of creating a health coaching business and life you love.
To sum it up…
If you’re wondering if health coaching is a smart career choice for introverts, the answer is yes. Not only are we extremely focused, insightful and efficient, we’re naturally gifted listeners, which is a huge plus for one-on-one coaching sessions. Just remember these things:
- Accept that you’re an introvert and embrace its gifts
- Make time for downtime
- Stop comparing yourself
- Work where you’re comfortable
- Don’t overbook yourself
- Add in padding between sessions
- Be vigilant about your schedule