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This episode is about a mindset shift that could free up mental blocks you might have about choosing or sticking with a specific niche.
The two concerns I hear most from coaches about choosing a narrow audience and developing a unique niche to serve them are:
- “But I don’t want to exclude anyone.”
- “But if I limit myself to a particular track — such as career coaching, business coaching or relationship coaching — I won’t get to do life coaching.”
I’ll talk in another podcast soon about the exclusion worry. Let’s tackle this life coaching concern.
Coaching is Coaching
First, repeat after me … coaching is coaching. The skills of coaching are the same no matter what topic you coach around or target audience you serve.
Listening on many levels, asking powerful questions, mirroring what your client said back to them — all those excellent skills and more are the same no matter who you’re coaching or what you’re coaching about.
But also, it’s really critical to realize that all coaching IS life coaching.
Whether you are a business coach, relationship coach, health coach, career coach or some other fill-in-the-blank coach, you are essentially a life coach.
If you’ve chosen a track it’s to help you focus and create a sustainable business. And you might have expertise or experience to apply to that particular territory of life — business, career, relationships or health.
All Coaches Should Specialize
But calling yourself a life coach or specializing in life coaching might not serve you well because it’s non-specific. Life includes everything.
Helping everyone about everything might seem wonderful or a relief to you but if you don’t specialize you might seem like a hobbyist rather than a business owner. You might lose credibility.
Also, it can affect your income. A few years ago statistics showed that coaches who specialize earn at least 40% more than those that do not.
I always encourage coaches towards specificity in everything. The more specific you are in your target audience, niche, messaging and offers the better it will be for you. When you specify everything you’ll find it easier to attract and enroll a client.
Because broad language that tries to be all encompassing doesn’t grab attention. Let me illustrate the value of specificity.
Which of these messages attracts you more?
I help people succeed and be happy.
I help coaches earn more and market less by choosing a highly profitable niche they’ll love.
I don’t know any coach who would respond more positively to the first message over the second. That’s because, as a coach, you want certain things, you have certain challenges. And when I speak of those certain things it piques your interest.
You want to earn more and market less. And choosing a niche might be the biggest challenge you face at the beginning of your business.
You see it’s nearly impossible to consistently grab attention and get noticed with broad and vague concepts like success and happiness. In some part of our brains we know that “success and happiness” are an abstraction.
That doesn’t mean success and happiness is not possible. But it is a moving target. If someone is successful and happy all the time they aren’t likely growing and evolving. We feel the success because of the failures. We feel the happiness because of the struggle.
We all want success and happiness but it’s hard to wrap your arms around how to get there and stay there. But you can get there at least some of the time by achieving more specific incremental goals and overcoming specific challenges.
Shout into a crowd “Hey you!” and what happens? Everyone will look briefly like you are a crackpot and then before the next breath they will turn around and walk away. They won’t take you seriously.
But yell into a crowd “Hey coaches!” The coaches will get curious and move towards the person calling them.
The same is true with all messaging and whenever marketing a service like coaching.
When your messaging, branding, offers, website and social posts all hit the mark for a smaller group of people — a unique target audience and you’re speaking their language about what they want and the specific challenges in the way of that — then you WILL gain traction.
And by the way, that’s how you’ll get referrals too because people know who you serve and how … specifically.
The Least Distinctive Niche is Life Coaching
So I realize, this is bit paradoxical. I’m saying every coach is a life coach. But I’m also saying the least distinctive niche you can choose is life coaching.
Never worry that if you target a specific track, such as career, and you target a specific audience, such as a particular type of career person that you’ll miss out on coaching them on life.
They might bring relationships issues about their team, their boss, their kids or partner. They might even bring health issues or limiting beliefs to the table.
And more than that, if you do what I suggest which is to create a Signature Program, you can address the inner life of that human being you serve within that program as long as you also hit the mark with the specific outcomes they want to achieve and the specific problems they want to solve.
You can’t separate the human being and their life experience out from the different areas of their lives such as career, relationships and health. It’s all one big pot of existence.
But a coach who specializes on one territory will become an expert fast while they still get to life coach, whereas a coach who stays a general life coach won’t have that advantage.
So, as you choose your target audience and learn what’s so important to them that they will invest in your help to get it … know that you will coach the whole person. You will do life coaching even if you are a business coach or a career coach or a relationship coach.