Career Coaching Introverts


Tony Crosby is the Managing Director of Associated Career Management Australia, a professional career counselling consultancy that has assisted thousands of people Australia wide since 1996. Tony is the first career development practitioner in Australia to have achieved international accreditation by the Institute of Career Certification International with "Career Management Fellow” status and is a Fellow member of CDAA.

Career coaching introverts can be a very satisfying journey of self-discovery for both the client and the coach. Watching and monitoring clients grow and learn to love themselves and their associated talents/attributes is a great experience.

Like all clients, no two are the same; everyone has a unique personality and related traits. The world is full of introverts, ambiverts and extroverts, which equates to managing all in a similar process, then tailoring the assistance to the individual needs.  

I conduct a detailed assessment process on all new clients, with the results being discussed later with the client to really understand their view of themselves and the world. Taking a holistic approach and gaining the client's trust is very important, as many introverts can be reticent to reveal their innermost thoughts and fears (extroverts are the complete opposite).

Using empathy and understanding will unlock most barriers, with many introverted clients commenting on how they have never previously thought so deeply about themselves. This is important as many introverts can lack an understanding of their skill set and value to the employment market (and the wider community).

It is critical that all “pain points” impacting the client are identified and discussed, and specific strategies, coaching and Action Plans are implemented to assist the client in coping and growing.

"Pain Point" Examples:

  • Overt shyness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Stuttering
  • Nervous anxiety
  • Imposter syndrome
  • Abusive past events
  • Fear of failure
  • Poor social and interpersonal skills
  • Negative thinking
  • Overthinking 
  • Catastrophising
  • Isolation

Note: there is rarely only one “pain point” impacting the client (although they initially think otherwise).

It is important for the career coach to carefully explain that whatever the identified issues are that it will take time and effort to mitigate the negative effects on the person. In fact, there probably is no cure; learning the techniques to manage these negative emotions can enable the person to overcome and manage the problems.

The important message to all introverts is that they are not alone; most people will experience many of these symptoms over their lifespans. Notably, younger introverts (under 35 years old) will ultimately mature and learn to manage their issues positively.

The key to coaching introverts to achieve real change is to isolate each “pain point” and focus on one at a time, drip feeding to avoid confronting and overloading the client. Never put time limits or targets on them, as any improvements must come from within the client so that they learn and own their progression.

Introverts are usually good listeners, so clearly articulate the coaching and let them absorb the message at their own pace and learning style. If the client shows little progression or “push back”, revert to the beginning again and rebuild your coaching foundation.

Occasionally you may need to refer the client to a higher level of clinical support. In my experience, this is rare, and sometimes, you may uncover deep psychological issues beyond a career development practitioner’s professional expertise. In these cases, I encourage the client to source their own provider and resassure them that you are happy to work in conjunction with whoever they choose (this will avoid them thinking that you are abrogating their needs and your ongoing professional support).

Power of the Pause.

Behaviours and reactions matter as their consequences immediately impact a person’s short- and long-term relationships, health, and well-being. So here is my core observation: “In general, introverts react too quickly to events and situations without thinking through their response”.

Solution: PAUSE

The Power of the Pause is a strong self-management tool for introverts to utilise in their career and personal lives, and powerful it is! Preparing introverts for interviews focuses on both their technical and social skills and, indeed, the ability to answer questions concisely and informally.  

One of the tactics we coach is pausing and gathering your thoughts before giving a measured and compelling response. The basis for coaching introverts to improve their emotional intelligence is to teach them to listen and PAUSE! Power of the Pause is a fundamental tool to manage all interactions throughout their life.