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We’re taking a pause from the Smart Mindsets & Habits Series. This episode is another On Air Coaching Session (there are 3 previous) where you get to listen in as I work with a coach to decide on a viable target audience for her coaching business.
Today, I have the pleasure of working with Deborah York. Deborah introduced herself this way …
I am a divorced mother of two young
men that are coming into their own. My younger son will be graduating soon and
going off to med school. And my other son is working full time and taking
classes and still trying to figure out what he wants to do.
That kind of makes me think about my coaching and trying to wrangle it in to determine which direction I really want to go into. I tell people all the time that I’m a Jill of all trade and master of some because I have two master’s degrees.
I love working with people in helping them to uncover their purpose or their path in life. And that’s, I guess what’s caused me to struggle a little bit because I want to help everyone. And I understand as a coach, you can’t help everyone.
One of my Masters is in industrial organizational psychology that has a specialization leadership coaching. So when I initially started coaching, and it’s been almost 10 years ago now, I started off coaching people that were in management or are looking to get into management. And through that, it made me look even deeper. So I ended up getting another certification in health and nutrition.
My approach is more of a holistic approach, uh, but still trying to find that right group of people that saw the value that I brought to the table who were willing to pay for it has been the struggle.
Don’t Do This Alone
Deborah isn’t alone in that struggle. Most coaches, including me, start out not knowing who is a viable and ideal target audience for their coaching business. Many simply do not choose and that often means their business doesn’t get off the ground.
And, it’s not the easiest thing to figure out your audience and coaching niche on your own.
I really admire Deborah and all women who are the primary or sole provider for their kids, plus getting advanced degrees while holding a full time job and then starting their own coaching business. Super women! You all have my deepest respect.
All Coaching Is Holistic In Nature
Deborah mentioned that she coaches her clients holistically.
I pump my fist for that!
When I’m working with coaches to help them build their coaching businesses, there are some days I’ll do somatic coaching to get them in touch with the wisdom of their bodies. Some days we’ll talk about what’s going on at home. Sometimes we’re going to talk about mindset or spirituality.
So even though I’m a business coach specifically for coaches, I coach holistically.
Every coach can coach about any topic and work holistically with our clients, but that does not mean that you shouldn’t specialize. In fact, to some degree, the more you specialize on a narrow and viable audience, the easier it will be to attract clients who pay you well.
The best way to go is to create a program for your unique target audience where you help them reach their top goal and overcome related challenges.
And coach them through it all in a holistic way.
So, Deborah was already clear about working holistically with her audience, which is brilliant!
Revealing Her Ideal & Viable Coaching Audience
Next, I asked Deborah whether leadership was a leaning for her. She’d already coached quite a bit in that track.
She affirmed that while also revealing her biggest struggle. Her sweet spot is working with up and coming leaders — what she called future leaders. I took note of that great phrase for describing the goal of her audience.
Because the leaders are up and coming, their finances may not be available to pay for her services. They’ve left home but they are just getting started in their lives. They’re not likely to have the money to invest unless they have a good salary at this point.
I asked Deborah if, in her mind, she imagined that these “future leaders” are employed. She said yes.
And, I asked if they want to stay within organizations or are they people who would want to break free from working for someone else and work for themselves in some capacity?
She said they’d be entrepreneurial.
We were starting to move in a certain direction, which was exciting!
I asked if she wanted to work with clients regionally, nationally or internationally. Deborah said nationally.
Then, I asked about her business model ideas. Deborah would love to speak and hold workshops and groups. She’d already had a number of speaking engagements when she was in sales. Fabulous!
She elaborated that she could imagine her clients straight out of college trying to get their first job. In her current part time job, she’s working in a High School and is always talking to student about their future plans. She uses coaching and mentoring to help them find their sweet spot.
I asked her about the age or stage of life of the people she wanted to work with. Deborah said Grad school.
And, that slowed down our momentum because even though people in that stage of life really could use a thinking partner, we realized it would be difficult to find grad school grads who have disposable income.
I was feeling Deborah’s dilemma and how it had her stuck.
My suggestion was to roll back the age group and work with parents with students approaching graduation to help them choose their direction, discover their sweet spot and prepare for decision making from a place of intelligence and maturity.
When Kids Are Your Audience You Market to Parents
We discussed that the upside was that she’d be marketing to people who are holding the purse strings — the parents. Most parents are emotionally invested in seeing their children leave the nest in a really powerful way. It’s foremost on their minds so it’s an acute problem.
And they’d be likely to invest in solutions.
The challenge is that she’d have two audiences to market to because in addition to appealing to the parents, she’d also have to appeal to the students themselves.
An Audience That Aligns With Your Strengths
I asked Deborah how she is at connecting with young people? She answered that when she was in her early twenties she had a conversation with her mother and said: “I don’t know what my gift is.” Her mother laughed and said: “Your gift is young people.”
Deborah clearly has a gift for helping young people find their sweet spot. Beautiful!
Ready to Click on the Certainty Button?
I checked in then with Deborah and asked … “On a scale of 1 to 10, ten being the most, how excited are you about working with parents and their soon-to-graduate high school kids?”
Deborah said 10! I love hearing that!
My work was almost done.
What to Do Next Now That You’re Clear on Your Target Audience
Deborah’s mind starting buzzing with ideas such as how she could volunteer for some speaking gigs at the school.
I suggested that she wait a bit until she had a more solid foundation.
Jumping ahead now might burn some opportunities that are best leveraged by knowing exactly what you’re offering and having a clear next step for after the talk.
It can be hard to hold yourself back. A previous episode on this topic called How to Spot the Right Opportunities for Your Coaching Business.
We also talked about how critical it is to do market research, even though Deborah has been in the same shoes as her target audience. See the episode:Why Should a Coach Do Market Research?
Deborah and I had a fruitful conversation. And I feel good knowing that another coach who was unclear and struggling about the audience/niche question has now clicked on the certainty button and has a path for her next steps. Yay!
The Next Episode Is: The Irresistible Thing About You That Enrolls Coaching Clients