It’s firing/hiring season which immediately falls into thinking about all the coaching interviews that are about to take place. It’s never been my comfort zone, largely because of my indifference to self-promotion. Unfortunately, this level of apathy can cost you job opportunities. So this has propelled a question surrounding personality differences and any correlation that may or may not exist to being considered a successful basketball coach.

An abridged profile of a successful basketball coach contains a deep understanding of the game, exceptional program management while cultivating a culture, and the capacity to lead and motivate their team to compete consistently at a high level.

The question arises: can introverts be successful basketball coaches?

We all know where this is headed, right? Of course, they can. But coaches have to effectively operate in two separate spaces: between the lines and off the floor.

At the heart of this question is the difference between coaching an actual game versus performing additional responsibilities as the brand ambassador of a program. Coaching a game is probably the safest space for an introvert and the least separation from an extrovert; it requires intense focus, quick strategic thinking, and effective communication with staff or players. This in no way suggests that an extrovert can’t perform any of those job-performing tasks. However, if you have a chance to read Why Introverts Make Great Entrepreneurs you’ll see competencies for being keen observers and having a knack for quietly empowering others, which can be a huge advantage when coaching basketball.

None of this matters without winning the job interview in the first place. During the interview process, extroverted personalities may have an advantage over introverts. Search committees tend to look for confident, outgoing individuals who can easily connect with others. An introverted coach may have all the qualifications to effectively lead a basketball team but may struggle to play to the crowd while articulating their skills and abilities during the interview process. This can lead to them being overlooked for positions despite their potential to be successful coaches.

When it comes to the additional responsibilities of being a brand ambassador for a program, introverts may face other challenges. As the face of a program, coaches must interact with the media, boosters, recruits, and other potential stakeholders. This requires a level of charisma and extroversion that may not come naturally to introverts.

Overcoming the disadvantages of the interview process and the additional responsibilities of being a brand ambassador may require a deliberate and intentional approach. From my most recent experience interviewing for a head coaching opportunity, these concepts were most helpful:

  1. Preparation Is Key: Before an interview or a presentation, take the time to prepare thoroughly. Research the program, study the team, and anticipate the questions that might be asked. This will help you feel more confident and articulate during the interview process.
  2. Stick To Strengths: Self-promotion may be a challenge, but speaking to our passions often comes out more comfortably. Focus on what drives you most as a coach and how it impacts successful coaching.
  3. Flip The Narrative (Pressure): While every situation is different and jobs can be viewed as isolated opportunities; it must be a good fit. The interview should be a two-way street. Flip the pressure of being interviewed to qualify the experience as the right opportunity for you. Ultimately, this is your decision to accept or deny the job – if offered. Can you visualize the people in the search committee as potential colleagues and peers? Will this situation be conducive to family, finances, and the future?
  4. Learn, But Don’t Dwell: Biggest critics often are ourselves. Take from each experience to identify areas of improvement, but avoid the pitfall of dissecting “what went wrong.” Like a loss on the floor, these things happen – the sun will rise the next day and you’ll be better having gone through it.


In conclusion, introverts and extroverts can absolutely be successful basketball coaches. There are clear differences in approaches based on distinguishing personality traits. For introverts, winning the interview can be the biggest challenge as it pertains to emanating a loud sense of self-efficacy for the job. Despite these challenges, it’s important to recognize that introverted coaches have unique strengths that can make them highly effective leaders. The most successful coaches often give the impression of being most true to themselves: extrovert or introvert alike. Stick to your strengths and flip the pressure of any opportunity as a choice to find the best fit for you. Good luck coaches!

#52WeekCoaching Planner

Organization Is Paramount In Our Profession.


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