We often talk about niches here at The Coaching Academy. We recommend it to our students and it's a big topic of conversation in our communities. For some, it's a simple question, for others, it's the cause of anxiety and overwhelm. If you're struggling to decide, this article will coach you through finding your niche!
Some students start their coaching journey clear on the niche they are going to work in. They have a purpose, a mission, that speaks to them loudly and drives them. You might be wishing you were one of these rare coaches.
For many, it’s a case of trial and error. Coaching many types of people in different situations, through different topics, while on their study journey. For others, their niche might be the same space they were trying to leave behind in the first place.
The biggest myth about your coaching niche is that it will speak loudly to you, it will raise its hand and shout ‘This is it! I’m the niche that’s meant for you.” But, just like your purpose in life, your niche is often a whisper you notice coming up in your heart or your mind.
Listening to that whisper can be hard so let us coach you through the process.
But before that, let’s take a look at the underlying question that many students have. You love to coach all kinds of topics, why would you niche in the first place?
Most new coaches initially feel unclear about what their niche is or worry that they’ll limit themselves by deciding a specific niche. This can cause some coaches to take on a ‘be all things to all people’ mentality.
Choosing to define a coaching niche allows you to laser into the specific needs of your client, to understand their struggles and most importantly to know where and how you can connect with them. If you aren’t clear on your target market, other people won’t be clear either, making it difficult for them to find and enlist your services.
Most people are looking for an expert and defining your niche puts you in the best position to be seen as one, as the saying goes 'coaches seek clients, clients seek specialists'. Being seen as an expert in your field allows you to serve more people and gives your coaching business the greatest chance of success.
Step 1. Think about your experience so far
Thinking back to your practice coaching sessions, what are your top 3 memorable sessions? Write them down and see what they have in common.
Step 2. When you think of your ideal client, what are some of their traits?
Write down all that comes to mind. Do you prefer working with women or men? Young, middle-aged, close to retirement? Professional or freelancer? New parent?
Jot down everything you can think of concerning demographical preferences, career preferences and even personality preferences, using DISC as a guiding tool.
Step 3. Out of the above list, who can pay for your services?
This is a very important and often overlooked question. As coaches, we want to help everyone, help them change their life for the better, as coaching has changed ours.
But think of it this way – make sure you have the income you need so you can offer pro bono coaching for those you want.
Step 4. Imagine one client of yours. What are their problems?
Put yourself in your client’s shoes. Think about things from their perspective. Think about how they live their day to day life. What keeps them up at night?
Step 5. What solutions are they searching for?
Again, put yourself back into your client’s shoes, look at the list of their problems and think about the solutions that they might be searching for.
Step 6. What are you passionate about?
Looking at all your previous lists, life experiences and the practice clients you worked with, what were you most passionate about? Maybe you were passionate about helping someone find a new job. Perhaps you enjoyed helping them manage big life transitions?
Take one step further. What is one topic, that if we were to ask you to hold a presentation about in an hour’s time, you could speak freely on?
Step 7. Mix and match
Now that you have all those lists, work on creating your niche. This should answer:
Step 8. Find out if there’s a market for your niche
This is where the process gets really good. Most people stop at finding their preferred niche, or if they already have an idea, don’t think beyond that. But having a passion for helping people with a certain topic is not enough to get clients.
So how can you find out if there’s a market for the coaching you’re offering? Do your research.
Step 9. Check out your competition
Thanks to technology, looking up your competitors has never been easier. Take a look at what they are doing and consider what you might do differently? What works for them? What doesn’t – could that work for you?
The market is far from being saturated but if you are having a hard time distinguishing yourself from the competition, so will your clients.
Step 10. Test your niche
If you didn’t trial your niche on step 8, now is the time. Create a coaching programme and take it for a test drive.
For the first 20/30/50 people – listen to their feedback. Don’t be afraid to tweak along the way if it’s necessary. At the same time be aware that all things don’t appeal to everyone so don’t take it personally.
Congratulations! If you reached the end of this process, you found your coaching niche.
Know that you can change your path! As people change and evolve, so do coaching businesses, and as you will grow into your role as a coach practitioner, so will your practice. Try not to limit yourself with preconception and enjoy the journey.
And if you feel that one niche is limiting you, choose more! There’s absolutely no reason why you couldn’t specialise in two or even three areas of coaching if you so choose. You will have to work on branding yourself smartly but don’t let your fear of being locked in keep you from all the opportunities being seen as a specialist can open.
Our Niche Workshops have been designed with our students and graduates in mind. Through these one-day workshops, we aim to give you additional tools and techniques to help you master coaching in a range of specific niches.
This next-level knowledge will help you become more confident, and even more importantly, certified in your chosen niche or niches.
Who is it for?
This training is aimed towards those wishing to advance their coaching knowledge so if you are looking to set yourself apart from the coaching 'crowd' and confidently step into your role as a Niche Coach in your chosen area, then the Niche Workshop is for you!
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