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Why You Need A Coaching Niche

The Coaching Academy Blog

Posted: October 2012

The temptation when setting up in business is to try to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. Experienced coaches and marketing specialists warn however this is not the path to success but a fast route to frustration and ultimate failure. Defining your niche and speciality is crucial to your financial success as a coach.

The temptation when setting up in business is to try to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. Experienced coaches and marketing specialists warn however this is not the path to success but a fast route to frustration and ultimate failure. Defining your niche and speciality is crucial to your financial success as a coach.

A niche or target market, is one well defined group like small business owners, stay at home mums, parents, female executives or retirees. You can see that by trying to attract all these different groups your marketing would be scattered and ineffective, whereas if you market consistently and persistently to only one group, offering services and resources that interest them, you’ll attract clients more easily.

You have to choose a target market that you can relate to and have some knowledge about. Contrary to popular opinion, narrowing your focus will result in more not less clients. A good niche will give you between three and 10 times more clients than general or unfocused marketing.

It will also provide you with a long term, sustainable advantage in your marketing that will position you apart from all the competition and attract an endless stream of prospects. The key to finding a great niche is identifying where your passions and strengths allow you to package coaching as a tangible solution to your target market’s biggest unmet needs. One of the biggest mistakes is trying to find your niche too early on in your coaching career.

Unless you know exactly who you will target you are encouraged to explore as many possibilities as possible. Students come to the coaching academy with one main question in the forefront of their mind; ‘how will I find my niche’. The answer is simple… your niche will find you. Throughout all of your sessions you will attract a certain kind of persona, and would prefer coaching them to anyone else.

This is your niche. Once your niche has found you it would be time to focus on ways to target that market effectively. You must reject the ‘all things to all people’ model and adopt a narrow scope for prospecting. Do not fall in to the trap of the “trawl net” method of marketing: they drag their net over a huge area and hope they catch someone – anyone. Sadly, casting a huge net costs a lot of money and the catch is normally bottom-feeders not trophy fish.

This is where becoming a specialist comes in. when you focus on being the best at one thing you gain credibility. For example; would you trust your GP to do brain surgery or would you prefer to be in the hands of a brain specialist? If you truly want to become attractive, and have credibility you need to stand for something. If you’re a generic life coach then know this: people want to be able to turn to someone for a specific area of life – this could be relationships, health, or wealth etcetera.

So ditch the shopping list right now – you can’t be the best at everything and even if you are no-one will believe you. By focusing on providing solutions to customers’ problems, you’ll be able to make a strong, targeted promise. The result? People will seek you out. When considering a niche you need to have the following:

Burning Need – is there an intense, perceived need for the niche in the minds of your prospects? Are they truly concerned with the issue that you can help them solve with your coaching?

Underserved – is your niche underserved? One of the factors to consider is how much training / consulting / coaching is already being offered to the niche. A coaching business will grow faster in an underserved industry than in a highly developed one that has many vendors trying to meet the given need.

Precedent – are there already successful businesses operating in this niche? If so, it suggests that people will pay to have a specific need addressed. Coaches can be more assured that there is a need that will be responsive to marketing than if the niche had never been defined and addressed before. Some of the risk is reduced if you know that there are others who are successfully targeting the niche at a local level.

Being the first – take a successful niche and narrow it further. For example, if you are coaching youths in London, you could be the first to offer coaching specifically to public school youths currently doing their GCSEs in London.

Narrow focus – It’s much better to offer business coaching to a narrow professional industry. For example instead of targeting lawyers, which is very broad, what about targeting only divorce lawyers?

Industry focus – are members of your niche from a single professional group or industry? If you focus on a subset of a specific professional group, the niche is much easier to penetrate. You can email a specific newsletter to your target group. You can make the niche group through its local, national and even international professional organisations. You can forge alliances with suppliers who serve the same niche.

Establish your niche – once you’ve decided upon a niche, you’ll want to launch it. Follow these steps to establish your coaching niche:

1. Research your niche – interview at least three prospects to identify what their needs are, how best to communicate with the niche, learn more about the competition, how to quickly position yourself as an expert, and how best to package your coaching as a solution to your niches greatest unmet, tangible needs that they are prepared to pay to resolve.

Package in this sense means arranging your coaching in some tangible parcel: six months of one-on-one coaching with specific content, workshops, and teleseminars for example.

2. Test market your solution – create a programme to try out your coaching solution, gain testimonials and learn more about your niche.

3. Roll out your finished product – seek every opportunity to speak, write, present or share you knowledge with your target audience to increase your exposure and solidify your position as an expert solution provider to this niche.

The greater the ‘expert’ profile you have with the group, the more responsive they will be to your innovation to participate in your programme.

4. Identify your speciality – your speciality describes the benefit your coaching will offer the target market. With both your niche and speciality clearly defined and articulated, you can come over as credible and knowledgeable rather than foolish.

To begin, create a hub statement, one short statement that demonstrates who you work with and what and how you can help them. All of your marketing materials, your articles, your workshops and public speeches should all be created with your target market in mind.

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