An Interview with Tom Rose

Can you tell us a little bit about your background to date?

I was fortunate to have had a corporate career and experiences that far exceeded my expectations after struggling to graduate from a local state college. I attribute this to two things. First, I was blessed with curiosity which has fuelled my appetite for personal development and learning, which still inspires me today. Second, I had no fallback plan, money, and a family to support, so the stakes were high to figure it out.

What made you decide to become a coach for introverts and underdogs?

I looked up the definition of extravert in the dictionary and saw these glamorous adjectives such as warm, gregarious, and assertive. When I looked up introvert, it essentially said the opposite of an extravert, followed by the words withdrawn, timid, and sheepish. This did not sit well with me.

Only in the last decade, was more research and effort conducted to understand introversion. Despite roughly 40% of the world’s population being introverted, it was widely accepted to study extraverted behaviour and label ‘introverts’ as the opposite of that.

We live in a world that favours and rewards extraversion. In many fields of work, being an introvert can be a disadvantage, and often, to succeed, we must adapt and play by extravert rules. But there are many tools, techniques, and practices which accommodate and enhance the introvert’s work experience and allow them to thrive on their terms.

As a business leader and a manager, I always endeavoured to use a coaching style of management.  I discovered along the way that my greatest professional satisfaction came from helping others achieve their potential. 

While living and working in London around 2010, I used my spare time to gain a master’s degree in Executive Coaching at Middlesex University. While I’ve always had a passion for coaching, when I started researching introversion, my passion took on a life of its own and became something meaningful to me.

What do you aim to teach your clients through your coaching?

Coaching is about mining for ‘ah ha’s’ that unlock potential. Introverts, especially, spend a lot of time in their own head and process many thoughts and ideas. My approach slows everything down and enhances my client’s understanding and appreciation of what makes them unique, valuable, and valued. 

Importantly, we integrate this with the client’s situation, circumstances, and environment so that the ‘ah ha’s’ are tangible, actionable, and fruitful.

What are the most common problems or challenges you come across when working with your clients?

As a career growth coach, I aim to enhance the client’s work experience in order to gain greater fulfilment and enrichment in their lives and work.

The most common ‘symptoms’ include:

  • Career purgatory: Clients are often stuck between floors in their career elevator and see peers moving ahead, but they feel they are stuck in neutral.
  • Low job/career satisfaction: 10 years into their career, they find themselves wondering what’s missing. Is it them, the job, or the industry?

Now what? A new door has opened in terms of a new job or promotion, and all eyes are on them. Client needs to make an impact, and there is no manual or roadmap for success. 

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Life and work are about momentum. Every day we gain or lose momentum; we are never in exactly the same place at the end of the day where we began. The most rewarding moment is seeing and feeling a shift in our DNA, and the client goes from uncertain to motivated and determined.

When that switch occurs, there is a confidence and conviction that emerges that can be a life-changer.

What’s been your career highlight?

If I had to choose one highlight that I am most proud of, it would be the achievements of a young woman who was very talented but overlooked and without any traction to grow. She had a special skill that was primarily administrative but something she truly loved. 

Together we built her passion into a door-opening opportunity that showcased her talent and gave her considerable visibility. Today, this woman is a Senior Vice President and leader of one of the largest travel companies in the world. And she isn’t done yet.

If you could give our readers one piece of advice to help them enjoy more satisfying and enriching careers, what would it be?

Observe others. What do you admire about them? What do they do well? Appreciate that we all have our strengths and weaknesses. Take little pieces of appreciation from others and see if you can take small steps to make those elements part of your tool kit.

What are your plans for the future?

Be happy. Happiness, for me, is about balance. Balance comes from the proper pursuit of mind, body, and spiritual growth and being true to my nature. It is part of my nature to coach and help others.

What is your motto?

There are risks and costs to any course of action. But they are far less than the risks and costs of comfortable inaction. 

Tom has 64 years of experience being an introvert and underdog. He spent two decades working in senior leadership roles at Global Fortune 500 companies, across six continents, before discovering the source of his greatest professional satisfaction at a leadership retreat in 2007. His passion is helping others achieve their potential, beyond what they previously imagined possible. Tom has a master’s degree in Executive Coaching & Professional Development, three ICF accredited certifications in Professional Coaching, Leadership Coaching and Executive Coaching. To receive Tom’s eight-page guide of tips for having more fun, satisfaction, and success at work, as well as gaining access to other free career tools, visit his website here:

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