Ep 15 – What’s Your Zone of Genius as A Coach?

This episode is part of the series called Smart & Profitable Coaching Niches.

It’s all about your unique talent and how, when it’s applied to your coaching niche, it allows you to shine. Doors open to you!

Gay Hendricks coined the term in his book The Big Leap.

The 4 Zones

You might have heard of this even if you haven’t read his book, because it made a big splash and has stood of test of time.

He defined 4 zones:

  • incompetence
  • competence,
  • excellence
  • and genius

Most of us operate day to day in those first 3 zones.

You run up against your incompetence and avoid those tasks and experiences. You find a day to day competence in most things and it’s an acceptable place to hang out in but not stellar. And in a few areas you rise to excellence.

If you’re in your zone of excellence, you’re performing better than most people. It feels good and it’s easier than other areas for you.

For me, that’s stuff like coaching, writing, copy-editing and breaking complex projects and concepts into simple steps. Things I truly enjoy and I’m better at than most, but still, it’s not effortless.

Totally Unique and At Your Best

When you are in your zone of genius, you are literally at your best.

It’s where your natural, innate abilities — the ones that intersect with your passion — literally shine and glow. Your eyes shine, you smile is warmer and people can feel it.

It’s a state of being where inspiration flows to, through and from you and you feel deeply engaged and energized.

Your inspiration awakens something in others.

So, you can see how, your zone of genius could super charge your coaching.

Now, if I asked you what your zone of genius is, you might be tempted to say: “Well, Rhonda, it’s coaching of course!”

But that’s not it. That’s most likely excellence.

No doubt, you are an outstanding coach. I believe that.

Your zone of genius is something singular, unique to you not simply something you do better than most people.

As wonderful as it is, the problem with this whole Zone of Genius concept is that it’s not easy to look objectively at yourself and immediately perceive it.

You need someone to recognize it within you.

And if that hasn’t happened yet, you may think you’re not enough or that there is nothing special about you, no unique gifts that you bring.

It’s not true. You know that in your heart.

Part of my Zone of Genius is hearing other people’s Zone of Genius.

It’s the best clue for a smart and meaningful niche for my clients.

One of my clients said I have a super power for helping coaches niche. I loved that and own that, but that is an outcome of my zone of genius, not the definition of it.

Peak Moments are a Clue to Your Coaching Niche

When I work with coaches I ask a lot questions to help them discover their coaching niche. There’s an array of information that gives us clues.

When they start talking about peak conversations they’ve had with friends, family, and clients sometimes something within them kicks into a more effortless gear …

I feel that vibrational shift in my body and their words float up into the air like a hologram.

And that’s when I know they’ve hit their genius.

Their voice becomes more resonant. They go off on a jag and time stops. Words flow from them that are more attuned to their heart, instead of their head.

It’s a clear display of their innate talent and passion.

And that’s a beacon for the rest of our discovery work.

Holding Your Genius Back

Some people have their Zone of Genius bottled up tightly within them.

I’m a good example of that. I didn’t learn about the areas where I truly shine until my 40’s. And I had been looking for it.

The truth is, it took me that long to believe in myself.

I’ve come to think it’s a developmental point. Not everyone at every stage of their life will be SHOWING their Zone of Genius. Allowing it out.

Have you ever felt afraid of letting yourself fully out?

I have deep compassion for that part.

I have noticed that a lot of people who are serious about being successful in their coaching business have arrived at a place where that Zone of Genius is blossoming.

It makes sense to me because when you decide to become a coach you step onto a strong path of inner transformation yourself.

And if you decide to become an entrepreneur you’ve asked yourself to become a leader all on your own volition. I talked about this in Episode 14 .

I’m wondering, as I talk about this:

Are you having any inklings about your zone of genius?

Or, are you wondering how you might be keeping it bottled up inside you?

Gay Hendrickson’s book talks a lot about self sabotage as it relates to the genius zone.

It’s totally natural, when a coach suddenly gets the reflection of their genius, for fear and imposter syndrome feelings to pop up.

They consider centering their business on their innate gifts and something inside them closes doors.

It’s as if they shrink back from getting their zone of genius out into the world.

They fear how that kind of exposure will affect their relationships and sense of normalcy.

It’s true that success changes things. And it’s part of it to look for the day to day balance that keeps you grounded.

And that’s why, it’s also good to have help to navigate that time of letting yourself out into the world.

I hope this episode has given you hope, maybe even some clarity or even better … curiosity.

Curiosity is a great sign. Go with that!

The next episode up is another Coach-the-Coach session where I help a coach choose her ideal target audience.

Mentioned in the Episode:

The Big Leap, by Gay Hendrickson

Ep 14 – The Success Factor: Is It Working for Your Coaching Business?

Okay, so this may sound corny. And I’m not trying to make this like one of those competitive reality shows. But there truly is a success factor that can be applied to anything in life that YOU want to win at.

And when I say win, I mean achievement that comes from passion and commitment, not purely for the sake of fierce competitiveness.

Whether you want to succeed at love, sports, or reaching your full potential, you need this factor.

Olympians have it in spades. And it’s a huge part of the entrepreneurial spirit.

If you want to win at your coaching business, you especially need this thing going for you.

Why especially? Because growing a successful coaching business is a significant effort and accomplishment. The good of that achievement ripples out into a larger community and positively affects lives.

I think that small business is the territory for heroes. And it’s an apt place to grow your full potential.

It’s incredibly rewarding to succeed at business and it will bust your ass on the way there.

And, you’ll be all the better for it.

A Powerful Force

Have you guessed the success factor I’m talking about? It’s DRIVE.

Drive is that awesome force that carries you forward on your journey. It buoys you up during challenges. It gives you the energy to leap and leap and leap.

Trying to build a business without drive is like pushing on the gas with the emergency break on. You’re not going to move much and you might damage something.

Having drive comes down to this … how badly do you want to be successful at your goal?

Do you want it enough to make it happen, to allow yourself to grow into the person who achieves that goal?

Take a moment now. Ask yourself … do I have enough drive to succeed at my coaching business? And don’t say ‘no’ because you don’t yet know enough. That’s not what this is about.

I can easily say ‘yes’ about myself. And that’s why I’ve made it for 20 years despite slipping into all the typical pitfalls.

There’s nothing special about me, that you don’t have within you too.

But still not everyone will succeed in their coaching business.

If fact, less than 1 in 5 will make it year after year. If those numbers intimidate you, I get it. But if that is enough to stop you, then you don’t want this particular goal — of being successful at your coaching business — enough.

Foundation + Drive = Success

When I work with coaches, we do all the foundational things to set them up for success including:

  • landing a smart niche that connects to their zone of genius
  • creating effective messaging that will grab their audience’s attention
  • designing offers their audience will buy
  • developing systems that help them build relationships of trust, and
  • enroll ideal clients with ease into programs that pay the coaches well

Some coaches take that foundation and reach success. THEY make it happen.

Sure, it takes consistent action and an experimental mindset.

And they don’t let mistakes or failures stop them. I heard this said recently:

Failure is not the opposite of success, it’s an integral part of it.

So, you need enough drive to carry you over those roadblocks or pull yourself up out of a pitfall — experiences all business owners face often.

And, having drive doesn’t mean you’re a maverick or that you don’t need anyone else to succeed. Far from it.

Part of the drive is creating support systems for yourself as you need them — a peer group, your own business mentor coach, training.

Support is essential.

4 Possible Reasons You Haven’t Found Coaching Success … Yet

If you confirm that you have the drive to succeed in your coaching business but you’re not there yet, here are some possible reasons:

1. Time. It does take time to get there. This is the reality. Give yourself time. You don’t expect an acorn to be a great oak in a few months.

2. You’re playing it safe and avoiding the actions that scare you, which are often the most important actions to take.

Now I’m an introvert and I have full compassion for the reluctance to get out, to build community, to make connections. I fully understand that desire to do only the things that feel easy or safe.

But staying small and safe won’t build a long term, sustainable coaching business where you get to bring your gifts to the world and make an impact.

Here’s truth … you can’t play it safe and win. You can’t stay small and grow.

3. Getting easily discouraged and becoming complacent.

Disappointment, discouragement — they’re toxic feelings. Something inside you is blocked. You can move past it with help or by employing your own toolbox on yourself. Don’t forget, you’re a coach!

4. No one is getting your message.

All the social media posts in the world won’t do a thing for you if your target audience isn’t engaging with them.

Monitor results from time to time. Don’t keep doing what doesn’t work. But don’t make sweeping changes either. Sometimes you need help to analyze your results and make a small but smart shift.

In any case, when challenged, rise to the occasion.

If you hit a roadblock, find the way over or around it.

When you have a problem, create a solution.

5. Your intention is pure but your goal isn’t aligned

The Right Goal

When I was a kid, my mom worried about me. I dropped out of a lot of things — Girl Scouts, piano lessons, choir, church school, cotillion – ugh! Right?

She thought I was a quitter.

But that wasn’t it. It was because she was picking my goals for me.

Have you ever seen that in yourself or noticed that with your kids? That there’s no enthusiasm for the things you’ve chosen for them.

Sometimes choosing the right goal takes trying a few things out.

Some people love the idea of coaching much more than the idea of being their own boss.

If you haven’t quite admitted that to yourself yet, go ahead.

Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. Let go of that goal and pick another that aligns better with you.

Pick one that will DRIVE you forward.

Here are some options if you want to coach but you don’t want to be a coaching business owner:

  • Incorporate your coaching skills into a job. Negotiate that opportunity with your supervisor.
  • Become a part of a coaching firm. For example, become a Tony Robbins coach. There aren’t a lot of these situations out there, but if you want that enough you’ll search the world for the right place for you. You may have to prove your skills or take training to be accepted into a situation like that.
  • Pay someone to bring you leads. I’ve noticed loads of these people lately. But do your due diligence to make sure they are on the level.

If you do want to succeed at building a meaningful, financially satisfying coaching business and you want that strong foundation under you then I want to work with you!

Why? Because I know that you’ll have the drive to make it happen. I know that my investment in you and your investment in you will bear fruit. What we do together to set you up for success will pave the street and your drive will get you there.

Ready to take a first step? Grab a Strategy Session with me and we’ll nail down a viable audience and smart niche to start.

It’s time to drive baby, drive!

The next Episode is: What’s Your Zone of Genius As a Coach?

Ep 13 – When Your 2nd Coaching Niche Choice is the Best Choice

This episode is the second ON AIR COACHING session where you can listen in while I work with a coach to narrow her target audience and uncover clues about her coaching niche.

Cynthia Brown recently graduated from Coach Training Alliance where she met one of my clients, Audra, who referred her to me. That and my podcast encouraged Cynthia to apply for On Air Coaching with me.

Let me introduce Cynthia Brown …

Cynthia is the founder of New Lane Coaching. One of her main concerns is that women business owners often sell themselves short. She wants women to know that their small businesses can become more than they originally dreamed. All it takes is one small step each day.

Cynthia is currently involved in Toastmasters International to learn to speak at women business own associations. She’s a certified coach and member of the International Coach Federation.

While Cynthia has initially targeted a broad audience — women small business owners, she wasn’t certain about it, partially because she had another audience that was tugging on her heart strings:

high school students to help them transition to college or a career

When she thinks about that audience she feels sheer excitement!

But she had big doubts about this choice for a coaching niche.

We took some time to investigate whether that audience would be viable. In other words, would it pay off in income and clients.

We ultimately agreed that audience wouldn’t sustain her financially.

Parents might invest in her help if her goal was to help those students get into a good college or university. But they might not be as excited about investing much to have Cynthia help their kids choose a vocation.

In our conversation, Cynthia became certain that it was best to only serve the audience of high school kids as a “side gig” where she’ll offer support for lower fees as she has time and inclination.

Cynthia wants to have a thriving business and not be held up by struggling to convince parents.

We talked about the old “follow your passion” adage and how important it is to look for an audience and niche that both feels joyful and will pay off.

Sometimes that means going with your second choice unless earning a living isn’t important to you.

Next, I prompted Cynthia to share a personal story about a previous employee she helped to formulate his career path. Years later he wrote her a thank you note for how her support influenced him.

It was a peak experience for Cynthia that touched her deeply. And I wanted to earmark that story as a potential clue for her niche.

Then, we shifted to talking about the broad audience that she’d set for herself in New Lane Coaching, working with women small business owners.

Cynthia felt it was too broad. And so did I.

First, we looked at whether it was important to her to limit to women.

Cynthia decided that, no, it’s not.

Many coaches are inclined to specify women as a way to narrow their niche. That’s a good idea if it really matters to you, the coach.

If you feel more of a solid affinity with one gender or another, go ahead and narrow that way. That alone won’t help you stand out though.

But there are other ways to narrow an audience that will help you more than simply narrowing by gender.

And narrowing is a good idea if you’re targeting business owners or entrepreneurs because it’s a broad audience that is so highly marketed to, it’s critical to stand out in some way.

Isolate a particular type of business owner, such as an industry or a professional position.

And/or add an adjective that helps to narrow. For example, when Marshall Stern, a coach I interviewed in Episode 11, narrowed by adding the word “driven”.

A personality based adjective can help because not all business owners will self-select to that group. Still that may not be enough to help you stand out in the crowd.

I knew from Cynthia’s life story that she’s a devoted Christian and she could narrow like this:

Christian small business owners

Cynthia didn’t jump at that defining adjective for her audience. But, if a coach wanted to it would greatly help to narrow based on affiliation this way.

Next, I asked Cynthia to tell me about her favorite clients to give us clues to a potential industry she might want to pursue. Cynthia shared about a client who is a hair stylist.

What Cynthia loved about working with her is that this client is clearly a go-getter and wants to be more than a stylist.

We realized that this client is imminently coachable and that’s what excited Cynthia about working with her.

That’s not a good descriptor to put with a specific audience.

But it is important for all coaches to work with clients who are coachable — they:

  • show up
  • take the coaching
  • run everything through their own integrity to make choices for themselves
  • take action and move forward

We agreed that hair stylists as a group may not be able to invest at a level that’s high enough for Cynthia to earn.

I asked her if she’d considered specific industries.

She has a personal interest in Financial and Real Estate professionals. So we explored this group for Cynthia.

When I asked Cynthia to close her eyes and feel into working with people in Financial and Real Estate she said she was EXCITED!

Because of the powerfully positive energy in her voice, I asked her if anything was in the way of deciding to work with that group.


That was the only thing in the way of her choice.

She worried that she wouldn’t measure up with that audience.

I asked Cynthia as a Coach how she manages fear.

She said she puts it behind her. She’s an old hand at moving through fear.

She’s got this!

Listen … everyone has fear whenever we’re entering new territory.

Fear is not meant to stop us from doing what we want to do. In fact, it’s often a signal that we’re approaching something important to us.

Cynthia’s formula for moving through fear: “Readjust, re-evaluate and step back into the arena.”


Cynthia wondered if she should choose one or the other — Financial professionals or Real Estate professionals.

Not necessarily. They are related fields.

The whole idea of narrowing an audience is for your benefit as a coach. So that you know how to market, what language to use to attract clients and how you serve a big enough problem that group has.

Deciding about how to narrow is all about ease for you.

The next step for Cynthia is to do some market research. This is a step I help my clients with because it’s from that market research that all messaging is created. Unique benefit statement, copy on websites, email and social media marketing!

When I asked Cynthia if she was ready to click on the certainty button for Financial professionals and/or Real Estate professionals, she gave a resounding YES!

The next Episode is: The Success Factor: Is It Working for Your Coaching Business?

Ep 12 – What Coach Archetype Fits You?

This episode is a creative exploration of how personality can affect your choice of coaching niche. It’s part of Season 2 – Smart & Profitable Coaching Niches.

When I work with coaches to help them determine their niche, I ask a lot of questions to uncover clues that, when strung together, point us to natural possibilities for them.

I’ve been playing with this idea for years — that coaches often have a natural inclination that can influence what type of audience and niche will fit them best.

This is not usually a conscious choice, but rather a subconscious leaning. I’ve decided to call these archetypes.

I’ll explain those 5 major archetypes and how they emerge to influence the direction of a coaching business. 

They are:

  • Teacher
  • Healer
  • Pure Coach
  • Icon
  • CEO

One of them might be a clue for you.

A few caveats here …

  • Not every coach will have one clear archetype.
  • You might not relate to any of these archetypes. After all, they come out of my experience with clients and colleagues.
  • And for some people this archetype isn’t yet awakened until they launch their business and something blooms within them.

I’ll use myself as an example.

I had no idea when I decided to become a coach that 3 years later I’d be developing coach certification curriculum and teaching others how to coach. I didn’t know that I’d launch a new and specific business 12 years ago to help coaches choose a smart niche and launch with confidence.

I didn’t intend any of that.


If you fit the Teacher Archetype then you have a strong leaning towards teaching.

And it’s born out of your own ideas, not someone else’s.

That’s a key distinction.

It might happen like this …

You struggle mightily with something — in my case it was trying to figure out what my own coaching niche is — and your sense of determination kicks in full force.

You decide that you’re going to study this problem from all sides.

It becomes a bit of an obsession.

You fall on your face a few times but it doesn’t matter because you’re like a dog after a bone. You’re going to figure this out.

And this DRIVE TO SOLVE is a big part of the teacher archetype.

At first, you’re not thinking about helping others with this problem. You simply want to

solve it for yourself.

But at some point, when your ideas start to have a positive affect on you … you realize that you’re not the only one with this very difficult challenge.

And you begin to look at things from a meta-level. While transforming yourself you’re also continuing to study the problem and develop a system or a model.

And maybe, unbeknownst to you, you have a gift for breaking complex things down into steps. And so you write them down.

It’s often the way you respond to challenges.

Over time you perfect the system. And then you realize this could help others. So you create a program, you write the workbook, you put it online or gather together people who have the same problem as you. You walk them through the actions that will solve their problem.

That’s the teacher archetype.

1. It starts with a personal journey of transformation around a key problem.

2. From sheer grit and your own experiential study, YOU create the solution.

3. Then you offer it to others.

Often, but not always, the services you offer will be B to B. Business to Business.

Another example of this Archetype is Tami Stacklehouse of the Fibromyalgia Coaching Institute.

Tami’s struggle with her own fibromyalgia turned into a coaching business serving others with fibromyalgia and quickly became an institute where she trains other coaches, who had fibromyalgia, in her system to help others take back control of their lives.

Wow huh? Check it out at http://fibromyalgiacoachinginstitute.com/

See how specific and narrow this is? But, Tami has made this into a very successful business that is able to help many more people than she can coach by herself.

Later this month I’ll be interviewing Tami and hope to share her story on this podcast.

You can see how your coaching business model would be affected by knowing or discovering that study, teaching and solving is your natural drive.

Can you relate to this? You might fit this Teacher Archetype.

If so, your niche will be very specific, fit one narrow audience who shares the problem you had. And you will create the solution, from your own unique perspective but not by learning it from someone else.


Similar to the Teacher Archetype, the Healer Archetype is born out of a personal challenge.

If this fits you, you’ve experienced something deeply personal and possibly traumatic —in your youth or adulthood.

I know, it seems like we all could fit this archetype, but not everyone has the inclination to heal themselves or others.

Healing yourself through various means, you have a natural inclination to help others who have felt the same source of pain that has created difficulties in adulthood.

The way the Healer Archetype is different from the Teacher Archetype is that the personal transformation doesn’t necessarily become a mentally driven study that results in a desire to teach.

Instead it’s more of a heart based desire to hold space for another person as they work with the fallout of their trauma towards a more whole and healthy existence.

As coaching is not the same thing as therapy, a coaching business built around this type of transformation requires additional training to be ethical.

I had the pleasure recently of interviewing, Jennifer Davoust, who has a popular meditation podcast called Tune Into You. I highly recommend that you subscribe.


Jennifer experienced a traumatic childhood. Then she transformed her life from what she defined as directionless and worthlessness to confidence, courage and a life that lights her up.

You can read her story on her website.

Now, as a Self Love specialist, combining coaching, meditation and hypnotherapy, she’s supporting others who want to learn to love themselves. Sometimes they are struggling with low self esteem, perfectionism, self judgment and anxiety.

Her podcast is how people find her. And, if you listen to her podcast you’ll hear how she uses her buttery voice and hypnotherapy to soothe us all.

This type of support in the Healer Archetype is usually directed at individuals rather than entrepreneurs or companies. It’s B to C, Business to Consumer, rather than B to B.

Another example of the Healer Archetype is Julie Cluff of Build a Life After Loss. http://www.buildalifeafterloss.com/

Julie lost two children in an accident. Her reality shifted to one of just coping. But 3 years in, she realized that she could honor her children and also live a purposeful, joy filled life.

Now Julie helps women who have lost children to build a life of purpose and joy. She’s trained in Grief Coaching.


This is someone who loves coaching in it’s purest forms. These coaches are most likely to call themselves Life Coaches or something similar.

They tend to crave learning and often fall in love with the tenets of a coaching model or a system that someone else has created. For example — a Tony Robbins coach or a John Maxwell coach.

Some of these coaches don’t want to run a business of their own and so may find coaching firms to represent them or be hired by a corporation to coach for internally. Many leadership and corporate coaches fit this archetype.

But others in this archetype will create their own business and the way they serve will be largely guided by that coaching model they love so much.

I recently did an On Air Coaching session with Marshall Stern. I’m guessing that Marshall fits this Pure Coach Archetype.

You can hear that session where Marshall & I work on firming up his target audience in Episode 11 of Prosperous Coach Podcast.


This fits a person for whom coaching is only a small part of a much larger, and often more grand, business model. These individuals have natural coaching and motivational skills.

Think Tony Robbins, Marie Forleo and Danielle Laporte.

These people have a big personality and a strong desire to be a publicly recognized figure. Someone might discover them, recognize their star factor and back a venture where they are the face, voice and personality of the company.

These people are likely to write books, speak on big stages, get TV interviews or other high profile media appearances.

Some coaches may end up in the Icon Archetype only after starting from one of the other archetypes.

Have you heard of Ali Brown? She’s been on ABC’s Secret Millionaire and several other TV channels. She was once named “Entrepreneurial Guru for Women” by Business News Daily.

She puts on large, well known events. For many years, it was called SHINE. Her latest event is called ICONIC Content and I.P. Retreat for entrepreneurs and thought leaders.

Interesting that it’s called ICONIC, eh?

But what most people don’t know is how Ali started. I met her back when she took the coach training, that I co-authored, at Coach Training Alliance.

Close after that, she did a very smart thing. She wrote an ebook to help entrepreneurs create an ezine (what is now called a blog). She was first to the market offering a very affordable step by step how-to.

Do you recognize the Teacher Archetype?

Now and for the last 15 years she’s been the glamorous star of her own empire.

If you have aspirations to be a big name and own the big stage, you might fit the Icon Archetype.


This last archetype is one I’m just testing out because I haven’t had personal experiences with coaches who fit this. But I knew an option was missing in the pantheon of coach archetypes.

Similar to the Icon Archetype, this person has big dreams and goals that might look like this …

They become a professional coach then build a firm with a stable of other coaches who all serve a particular industry.

Or, they build a multi-employee company that isn’t necessarily centered on coaching as the service but incorporates coaching principles or models into a larger idea.

I’d love to hear if this episode sparks an idea for you about the direction of your niche or coaching company. Or, if you have a theory about an altogether different Coach Archetype, email me at moc.hcaocsuorepsorpnull@adnohr

The next episode will be my 2nd ON AIR Coaching session where you get to listen in while I help a coach get clarity on her target audience and niche. It’s called When Your 2nd Coaching Niche Choice is Your Best Choice with Cynthia Brown.

Mentioned in this Episode:

Tami Stacklehouse’s Firbromyalgia Coaching Institute http://fibromyalgiacoachinginstitute.com/

Jennifer Davoust https://www.jenniferdavoust.com

Julie Cluff http://www.buildalifeafterloss.com/

Ali Brown https://alibrown.com/

Iconic Retreat  https://alibrown.com/iconic-ip-retreat/

Danielle LaPorte http://www.daniellelaporte.com/

Toni Robbins https://www.tonyrobbins.com

Marie Forleo https://www.marieforleo.com/

Ep 11 – Clicking the Certainty Button for One Coaching Niche

Hello Coaches!

This Prosperous Coach Podcast episode is a departure from the usual format because this episode is the first ON AIR COACHING episode where you get to listen in on a real strategy session with me and a coach who is ready to choose a smart niche.

First a bit about the coach, Marshall Stern … then we’ll get into the session.

Over the past 35 years Marshall has started & led several businesses. In 2009 he published a book Now is The Time… The Stern Truth on Growing a Business in Any Economy.

In 2011, he partnered with Leadership Expert, John Maxwell, and became one of his certified Leadership Coaches & Speakers.

Currently CEO of Sandbox Signs + Graphics and also Business & Life Mastery, Marshall believes that self-leadership is the key to business & life success. Over the years he has seen many businesses fail and he is passionate and committed to helping others not just build a business that works but also a life they desire and deserve.


Marshall became inspired to coach partially through a John Maxwell leadership training.

With 25 impressive years running his own sign and graphics company, Marshall knew he wanted to work with business owners.

Up until now, Marshall has been on the journey of letting his more specific niche find him. The uncertainty has been confusing.

He heard my podcasts, applied for On Air Coaching and was accepted.

This session covered a lot of points that are valid to all coaches:

  • The downside of a broad or ambiguous audience is that the Universe is also ambiguous with your results. When you put your certainty, commitment  and persistant action behind all you do, then everything you do has a greater impact.
  • Not all potential audiences are seekers — people who readily invest in their own personal and professional growth. See Episode #12 – Why Do Some Coaching Niches Fail? for a definition of seekers.
  • Language has the power to attract or detract. It’s important to use the language that resonates with your audience.
  • Clicking on the certainty button for one specific audience helps you leverage the power of language to attract ideal clients to your Discovery Sessions.
  • What you learn in a training program may not be fully applicable until you are crystal clear about who you serve and exactly what they want.
  • If you have a few solid choices for your target audience, know that there is NO WRONG CHOICE. Choose one. What draws you the most?
  • If you target a narrow audience, don’t worry, you can absolutely work with people who are outside that audience.
  • Choosing a specific audience is about marketing power and ease in enrolling, not about excluding anyone.

Marshall knew that he wanted to work with business owners / entrepreneurs and along the way he’s worked with financial professionals, business owners of all sorts and also with mompreneurs.

He resonated with the moms who were also solopreneurs and they resonated with him, especially around his leadership philosophy.

But, Marshall was hesitant to pick one clear direction even though he felt it would help him in several ways to choose.

He was considering:

  • Mompreneurs. But he had concerns that, as a man, he couldn’t compete with the women coaches whose messages were about women’s empowerment. (At the same time he thought that letting that hold him back was hogwash.)
  • Parents who are also business owners. Maybe it would make sense to include Dads because, after all he is a father who has prided himself in attending all the important family events even while he ran his graphics and sign company for 25 years. But he has found women more interested in achieving balance and that sparks him.
  • Financial professionals because he found that group would more readily invest in their professional growth. But when he imagined himself speaking at an association for financial professionals he was not turned on by the idea.

Through all of these possibilities there were two strong themes:Business owners who are driven.

  1. Business owners who want more time for their family, their community and themselves.
  2. Ultimately, Marshall came away from this session with a clear descriptor — a short phrase that identifies his specific target audience:

driven women business owners

Next steps for Marshall are to do some fun market research to uncover the specific psychographics of that audience. What keeps them up at night? What do they really want and what’s holding them back? What will inspire them to invest?

Once Marshall knows their words for their top challenges and goals, he’ll be able to convert his branding, messaging, website and offers to fit that audience. Marshall is confident that when prospects have his Discovery Session, he can enroll them. Having a more defined audience and niche will help him get those Discovery Sessions.

My next episode is really fun! Check it out – What Coach Archetype Fits You?

Ep 10 – Why Do Some Coaching Niches Fail?

This is the 3rd episode in the series Smart & Profitable Coaching Niches.

It’s heartbreaking but some niches never pay off. They just don’t ever get off the ground.

And it’s confusing because they are often about topics everyone cares about or target audiences that NEED so much help.

But that’s part of the problem.

When people buy support to get what they need they’ll most often turn to free resources or to known resources like therapists or doctors.

It’s WANTS that inspire investment in programs that lead to personal transformation.

WANTS drive investment in things and experiences, not needs.

Seekers and Non-Seekers

Seekers are what I call the type of people who invest time and money —from their own pocket — into their personal and professional growth.

Coaches are seekers.


  • Are driven by their desire to make a meaningful contribution to the world.
  • Have social personalities (even if they are introverted) and enjoy influencing others.
  • Are always actively working on themselves and their top goals.
  • Want to become masters at what they do.
  • Buy and read self help or educational books.
  • Will go to an experiential weekend retreat and invest a bundle in it.
  • Pay for vocational training, like coach training, so they can do something they really want to do.

Not all people are attracted to those things. Sometimes it’s circumstantial. Sometimes it’s behavioral.

3 Types of Non-Seekers

  • People who were taught to be fiercely self-reliant.
  • People who invest most of their time and money on things they value more than their own personal growth.
  • People who don’t value themselves highly right now for whatever reason.

So you can see it’s important to consider whether your target audience is full of seekers or not.

Popular But Usually Profitless Coaching Niches

I’m about to list some audiences who are not generally seekers, which means they are less likely to invest in hiring you to help them overcome problems and reach goals.

Full time stay at home moms

They invest time and money in their kids. Yes, they’ll love your free stuff and Facebook groups but they won’t consistently or significantly invest in support to be a better mom, live a more balanced life, or to thrive in motherhood.

A client once came to me who had put 5 years into building a coaching business focused on moms. She is a highly intelligent go-getter who diligently tried every marketing approach. She had great programs, products, freebies, an effective website. She had a big list of moms but few bought anything she sold and usually only something very low cost. It was heartbreaking for her. She had to abandon it.

Another client decide to work with mom entrepreneurs. That was different because the focus was helping them to build their business and still have energy for family. The goal to build a business shifted their behavior from the non-seeker to seekers.

Empty nesters

These people do have real challenges but the state of being an empty nester won’t inspire them to invest in programs to get through that experience unless they already know they want to fill their time with a business venture. Again the shift from empty-nester to business owner changes the buying behavior.


There is no doubt these people could use some help. I’ve seen many coaches try this audience and not make a good living at it. The only exception was a lawyer who became a coach. She had ready access to newly divorced individuals through her colleagues and past clients who valued her.


Wealthier retirees might invest in experiences. But the average retiree is holding onto their money or spending it on children and grandchildren.

Doctors & Lawyers

These types of professionals have a self-sufficient personality. They might engage you IF you are or have been a doctor or lawyer yourself but aren’t likely to open their mind to working with you if you aren’t in the club.

There are also some topical niches that tend to never launch well.

I’ve seen people putting themselves out there as Fulfillment Coaches, Confidence Coaches, Serenity Coaches, Abundance Coaches and other somewhat abstract or intangible topics.

While we all want fulfillment, confidence, serenity, abundance and happiness – these are all temporary states of being and people may only invest for a short program that doesn’t cost much.

If your heart is set on coaching around these types of abstract topics focus in on a unique and narrow audience, find out what they want so much they’ll invest in your help to get it.

Then apply some of the principles you’d use to coach someone in one of those abstract, intangible topics to help them reach a tangible goal.

Now I’m not right all the time. I base what I say about coaching niches on 2 decades of experience.

So, if I’ve asserted some idea and you can prove me wrong, please, please do. Get in touch and let me know where I’ve erred and I’ll make a public correction. My listeners would enjoy that. In fact, maybe you could be a guest on my podcast and help us understand how you made your niche successful.

A note of compassion here … if you’ve targeted one of these groups or focused on one of these abstract topics I know it hurts to hear it may not pay off.

My guess is that you saw the title of this episode and it resonated because some part of you feels frustrated that your business hasn’t taken off.

Hopefully this episode shows you that it’s not about you, it’s about your niche.

Did you know that I’m accepting applications for FREE On Air Coaching?

The way On Air Coaching works is you and I have a private business coaching session that’s recorded and later that session is aired as an episode in this podcast series.

On Air Coaching is perfect for you if you are a trained coach who hasn’t yet landed your own profitable coaching niche.

It’s okay if you haven’t done anything yet to build your business.

It’s equally okay if you’ve tried one or more niches and, for whatever reason, it’s not working for you.

In our session I’ll ask you questions to uncover possibilities. We’ll identify a fantastic target audience for you, and brainstorm what they most want and how to apply your gifts and skills to help them get it.

Knowing you audience and niche will give you a profound sense of direction and focus for you coaching business.

I’d love to work with you.

Mentioned in This Episode

My next Episode is — What Coach Archetype Fits You?

Ep 9 – 12 Ways a Smart Coaching Niche Empowers You

This episode is part of my Smart & Profitable Niche Series. Hey, I know I’ve been talking a lot of coaching niches in my podcast so far.

And I know that topic might make you groan … because it’s so hard to figure out on your own.

But let me clue you in to my strategy in focusing on this topic for a while.

  • 93% of coaches struggle with choosing a smart & profitable niche. It’s a big issue.

Do you have to choose a coaching niche? No.

Some say let your niche find you.

You can just float around, stay a generalist, coach all sorts of people about all sorts of topics.

I think that’s a good way to go if you haven’t consciously chosen to become an entrepreneur. You’re just trying this coaching skill set on. You don’t expect to earn much. You just love the process.

But if you want to leave your current job and make coaching your job … if you’re serious about being your own boss and being the director of your career why not give yourself all the advantages and take the time to niche your coaching business in a smart and profitable way?

It’s a strategic approach, and an internal shift as well, away from thinking like practitioner to becoming an entrepreneur. Treating your business as a living entity that grows and changes with you over time.

I’m about to illustrate the advantages that come with focusing your business on a unique audience and niche. And notice how one advantage leads to another.

One smart decision makes everything easier and empowers you for long term success and exciting turning points in your business and life that you can’t even imagine yet.

First a quick suggestion … if you are agonizing over your coaching niche fill out an application for FREE On Air Coaching.

The way On Air Coaching works is you and I have a private business coaching session that’s recorded and later that session is aired as an episode in this podcast series.

On Air Coaching is perfect for you if you are a trained coach who hasn’t yet landed your own profitable coaching niche.

It’s okay if you haven’t done anything yet to build your business.

It’s equally okay if you’ve tried one or more niches and, for whatever reason, it’s not working for you.

In our session I’ll ask you questions to uncover possibilities. We’ll identify a fantastic target audience for you, and brainstorm what they most want and how to apply your gifts and skills to help them get it.

Knowing your audience and niche will give you a profound sense of direction and focus for you coaching business.

So apply for On Air Coaching on my website at prosperouscoach.com/8.

I’d love to work with you.

Now let’s roll out this cascade of benefits you experience when you do choose a smart and profitable niche and focus your attention on one target audience:

#1 You Have a Solid Direction and Focus

I remember when I started coaching without a niche how aimless and lost I felt. Every day was a head scratch. My brain searching around for purchase. What should I do?

First, I went to friends and family to convince them to hire me — the low hanging fruit. But those clients didn’t stay long. And I didn’t have the heart to charge them much.

I also noticed how hard it was to get them to focus. They brought weak agendas. There wasn’t a clear enough goal or a big enough why. It was as if my lack of focus didn’t inspire them to commit to serious process or changes.

I came away with some fluffy testimonials about the value of my coaching but little sense of true impact.

After exhausting people I knew, I palpably experienced that uncomfortable sensation of having to beat the bushes to flush out potential clients.

My marketing was pitiful but I worked so hard trying to interest people in coaching.

Having a solid niche replaced that aimless, listless feeling with certainty and focus.

#2 Your Message Stands Out and Grabs Attention

It’s not easy to get attention these days. Humans are more distracted than ever.

We flop around social media and websites in a trance. The only thing that breaks that trance is relevance.

Have you noticed how much of the same message is out there and how quickly you skip over it?

But when someone hits a hot button for you, you snap to attention.

How do we as coaches hit the hot button in our messaging?

It’s not going to be by talking about coaching. Because only coaches and wanna-be coaches pay attention to those messages.

What is personally relevant to you is not personally relevant to everyone.

Our brains in a constant state of overwhelm only hone in on specific words, specific problems, specific desires that are urgent to us.

When you focus your business around a smart niche with a unique target audience suddenly you’re able to speak with relevance about what those people care about.

Relevance is how your message gets noticed, liked, shared.

#3 You Know What to Do Each Day

Because you’ve focused your attention on a unique target audience and found out their urgent challenges and desires, the spotlight comes off of you onto them.

And suddenly, marketing is no longer the big scary.

You know what to do.

And if you need help learning what to do, the money you spend on training applies now, because you are 100% clear about your audience and niche.

Suddenly, you have the understanding about where to go to find these people and the courage to speak in a way that attracts them.

You know what they want. You understand their problems. You know more about why they invest in their transformation.

And you’re no longer throwing out random messaging and offers like spaghetti and hoping it will stick.

#4 Your Marketing Efforts Are Leveraged (So You Can Market Less)

Over time your consistent messaging and strategic approach gains power and momentum.

Attention becomes interest and interest becomes engagement.

#5 You Become Known and Trusted By a Community of Engaged People

Trust turns engagement into investment … in your programs.

#6 You Get More Client Referrals

Because you’ve geared your offers to fit your audience’s challenges and goals, your coaching produces more than just warm fuzzy feelings.

Your clients are getting tangible results. The kind of results you can put into a testimonial on your website.

They will refer other people in the tribe to you. Not just a casual referral but a specific testimonial about how your program helped them.

#7 Prospects Seek You Out Already Pre-sold on Hiring You

You’re known, liked and trusted. You’re on the inside of your target audience now.

They Google and find you.

And when they arrive on your website they’ll go directly to your Work With page wanting to hire you.

#8 You Know How to Enroll Without Being Salesy

Enrolling is easy now. There’s no convincing. There’s just a connective conversation that helps ideal prospects to “YES”!

#9 You Command Higher Fees

You’re a leader now. A sought after guide.

Before you tell them your fees they know it will be a significant investment in their growth and they’re ready to leap.

#10 It’s Easier to Create Irresistible Products & Programs

With your experience coaching one target audience who have a set of unique challenges and goals, you grow expertise quickly.

And it’s easy to turn that expertise into workshops, masterminds, retreats and online products.

Write the book. Launch the podcast. Grow!

#11 Big Opportunities Find You

The natural result of your commitment and focus on one smart niche and narrow audience is invitations

Invitation to speak. Nominations to lead a larger group.

It’s surprise time. Your Magic is fully awakened and alive.

I’ve had clients who because they stood out in the crowd were provided platforms to get their word out in a massive way or offered jobs in coaching firms or brought internally into an organization to coach the organization.

Those opportunities don’t show up if you’re a tiny voice in a sea of voices all saying the same basic thing.

#12 You Build a Legacy Business

Coaches have been sponsored, televised and awarded all because they had the courage to niche, specialize and become an advocate for one narrow audience.

Coaches contribute to their families and their communities in major ways.

Some coaches build a business that employs dozens or hundreds. A business that can be sold for a windfall.

It all starts with a smart & profitable niche.

Mentioned in This Episode

My next episode is W/hy Do Some Coaching Niches Fail?

Ep 8 – 3 Crucial Parts of a Smart Coaching Niche

With today’s episode we’re heading into a new series — Smart and Profitable Coaching Niches.

I know you might be groaning about this topic because the whole niche thing feels so hard.

But this is my super power ya’ll.

Helping coaches design a smart and profitable coaching niche is the first thing I help my clients do.

Because … building a coaching business without a smart niche is like building a new house without a foundation.

Think about it. If the foundation is good, the house is solid and secure. It won’t fall down.

If the foundation is crap, the house feels flimsy.

If you’ve been feeling like your business is a bit flimsy and you don’t know exactly what to do every day to attract clients that pay you well … it’s worth your time to get this centerpiece of your business right.

And I’m sorry to say that a majority of coaches that I meet have glossed over their niche or haven’t decided Instead they put up a website selling a certain type of coaching or all types of coaching and it doesn’t work.

If you haven’t listened to my last episode called — Why is Coaching a Hard Sell?check it out here.

It explains why selling a certain type of coaching is hard — too hard to enjoy and earn well. It’s a great primer for everything I’m going to talk about from here on.

Most coaches only consider what they want to coach about. And it leaves out the most essential thing — who you serve and what they want so much they’d be willing to invest money to get it.

Over the next several episodes I’ll reveal my process for helping coaches choose their niche.

First, a quick announcement …

I’m now accepting applications for free On Air Coaching.

The way On Air Coaching works is you and I have a private business coaching session that’s recorded and later that session is aired as an episode in this podcast series.

On Air Coaching is perfect for you if you are a trained coach who hasn’t yet landed your own profitable coaching niche.

It’s okay if you haven’t done anything yet to build your business.

It’s equally okay if you’ve tried one or more niches and, for whatever reason, it’s not working for you.

In our session I’ll ask you questions to uncover possibilities. We’ll identify a fantastic target audience for you, and brainstorm what they most want and how to apply your gifts and skills to help them get it.

Knowing you audience and niche will give you a profound sense of direction and focus for you coaching business.

I’d love to work with you.

Okay let’s dig into this niche thing!

Most Coaches Only Choose a Track

First, let’s define it because in my nearly 2 decades of studying coaching niches there are some big gaps between what some call a coaching niche and what I’d call a coaching niche.

Some people say that a coaching niche is the area you focus on, for example:

  • Health and Wellness
  • Relationship
  • Career
  • Business and entrepreneurship
  • Executive and Corporate Leadership
  • Spirituality

See, to me, these are not quite niches.

I would call these coaching tracks instead. You might have taken coach training in one of these areas and don’t worry because it will be very valuable to you and your clients.

You might have set up your website, messaging and offers to sell that certain type of coaching. That usually doesn’t work well as I covered in the last episode.

Few people buy coaching for the sake of being coached. But they will invest in help to overcome specific urgent problems and to reach their goals.

To be able to speak about specific goals and challenges focus your efforts on a specifc audience.

Choosing a Specialty is a Smart Step

Now some coaches take a wise step towards a smart niche and name a specialty.

For example, a wellness coach might focus on weight loss, or a relationship coach might focus on dating.

That’s smart because it speaks to a specific PROBLEM people have. I’ll come back to these examples in a minute.

If you’ve specialized on a certain problem, take an additional step and target a unique audience.

The 3 Essentials

1. A single narrow target audience.

2. That target audience’s urgent problems and desires.

3. Your savvy solution for that audience which incorporates your skills, talents — everything in your toolbox.

Let’s take these one at a time.

A target audience, also called a target market or a tribe by Seth Godin, is a unique group of people defined by a common set of specific interests, challenges and goals.

I’m reading his latest book called This is Marketing. He says:

“Find a corner of the market that can’t wait for your attention. Go to their extremes. Find a position on the map where you and you alone are their perfect answer.”

– Seth Godin, This is Marketing

For example, what if you are a relationship coach, specializing in dating and you then decide to focus on single parents as your target audience …

Wouldn’t you agree that single parents have a set of unique challenges and goals when it comes to dating?

They have to consider their kids in every aspect of dating and also as the relationship grows.

Pre-Selling a Coach Client Without Selling At All

So suddenly, instead of selling relationship coaching, you become a dating specialist for single parents. You messages and offers are specific using language single parents relate to. And it makes building your coaching business easier in so many ways.

The single parent feel special because they feel heard and understood by you.

When you speak their language in your blogs, podcasts or videos, they trust you and you are effectively pre-qualifying and pre-selling them on your programs.

Another example … let’s say you are a wellness coach specilizing in weight loss and you target corporate executives.

Execs are overworked, overstressed individuals who need help to enhance their performance, feel more confident and present so they can get short listed for a promotion or garner favor with shareholders.

Do you see how in both examples targeting one specific audience would help you as the coach to stand out and attract attention fast?

Getting Attention is Job #1

And it’s not easy. We live in a too busy and highly distracted world. So your message will only snap people to attention if it’s highly relevant and to be relevant it has to be specific.

If you haven’t chosen a track yet, don’t worry about it. You can actually skip over that part.

Instead target an audience that’s easy for you to find and connect with, find out what they want so much they’d be willing to invest in your help to get it.

Coaches serve people. That’s why your coaching niche should be designed starting with the unique audience you serve and their real problems.

Next week I’m going to give you a clear picture of the advantages to choosing a smart and profitable niche.

You’ll be amazed how it can change your day to day as well as setting you up for long term success and and incredible opportunities. 


Mentioned in This Episode

This is Marketing by Seth Godin

The next episode is 12 Ways a Smart Coaching Niche Empowers You