What Keeps Coaches From Narrowing Their Niche Enough?

Who, besides me, says that narrowing your coaching niche is the shortest, smoothest road to success in coaching? Coach training schools, industry leaders, business gurus – and of course, coaches who have done this. We all agree that choosing a viable coaching niche is the first key step to a sustainable coaching business.

So why don’t more coaches give themselves this powerful advantage?

I want your input on this, and here is what I’ve repeatedly heard from coaches so far:

  • “I don’t know what makes a niche viable.”
  • “I thought I had chosen a viable niche, but I guess I didn’t, because it’s not working.”
  • “Don’t I have to be an expert to target a narrow niche?”
  • “I don’t know how to narrow.”

All understandable. So, let’s break these down one by one.

What Makes a Coaching Niche Viable?

Niche-Marketing

Plainly put, a niche is a segment of the marketplace — a sub-sub-sub-group of everyone. Your niche should differentiate you from other service providers, make marketing much easier, and effectively attract enough clients who stay longer and pay you well.

Your niche works well for you when:

  • You focus on a specific area of knowledge or expertise you have that’s sought after by others.

(Examples: If you have expertise in finances, you could be a financial coach. Or, if you’ve been in sales all your life, you might become a sales coach.)

OR

  • You become the go-to person for a small well-defined target market.

(Examples: Focus on working with mompreneurs; or women pediatricians; or massage therapists; or direct sales people. Specific niche markets don’t require you to have any particular background or expertise. Targeting a narrow market like these allows you to coach them on whatever is most important to them right now.)

OR BOTH

  • You target a narrow market and develop specific knowledge or expertise they want.

(Examples: My niche for 9 years is coaches and now I specialize in helping them choose a viable niche market that will go the distance. You might choose to work with realtors, and as the years go by, realize that closing is their greatest challenge so you specialize on that topic for realtors.)

You know your niche is viable when your efforts pay off quickly with a consistent flow of clients and income.

There are 3 things that together make your coaching niche worth pursuing:

  1. ACCESSIBILITY: It’s easy to find lots of people in your niche and they will talk to you, PLUS
  2. NARROWNESS: Your market is well-defined and they naturally gather into offices, networks, associations, etc, PLUS
  3. MOTIVATION TO INVEST: Your market is full of “seekers”– people who readily invest in personal and professional growth.

Thought You Had Chosen a Viable Niche?

Most coaches start by focusing on a broad topic of coaching: life, business, corporate, leadership, relationship, career, wellness, life purpose, transition etc. These are not viable niches, but rather toolboxes that are useful with all types of clients. Studying these topics gives you deeper skill in certain territories of coaching, but doesn’t make getting clients easier.

Some coaches choose a target market that’s very difficult to find. For example, emptynesters or divorcees — while specific topics, these individuals don’t read the same publications, belong to the same associations, schools, or networks, and so they aren’t easily accessible.

Some coaches choose markets that are unlikely to invest in personal or professional growth. For example, doctors and lawyers. Taught to be solution oriented and rely on their own skills, these folks rarely reach out for paid support. They aren’t “seekers”.

So you see, it’s important for your coaching niche to be all three: accessible, narrow and motivated to invest.

You Don’t Need to Know More to Serve a Narrow Niche

If you have saleable expertise, leverage it. But if you don’t, you can still target a niche market. Coaching is ultimately about listening, asking questions, reflecting and drawing out the client’s wisdom as their solution. In fact, the best coaching happens when the coach speaks less and offers little advice.

You will absolutely develop expertise over time when you’re the go-to person for a narrow market. For now, let coaching do its magic by trusting yourself, your skills and your client! Targeting will give you focus and clarity while it builds your expertise and confidence.

How to Choose a Viable Coaching Niche

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been coaching, if you’ve been holding yourself back from the #1 advantage of focusing on a viable coaching niche, it’s time you set yourself free. I’ll walk you through it with a simple set of exercises in my system, Your Highly Profitable Niche.

For now, share with us: Have you chosen a niche that you know will go the distance? If not, what’s stopping you? If you have, how did you do it? Share your viable niche.

  • Mary Rettig

    I know your right. I need to pick a target market that is viable and stick with it.

    • You've already chosen a viable market — reiki practitioners, right? Now it's about ersistence and consistency. Contact those folks, set up 5 – 10 consults every week and use a simple enrollment process to engage and enroll people in your market. Summon the courage to do this and you'll get results — confidence and clarity come with doing those courageous things as a habit.

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  • Manal K

    Hi,
    If I were to target muslim entrepreneurs, is that narrow enough?

  • CoachHindy

    I’ve been devouring your articles about narrowing your niche, but still have no idea how to come up with one. Unfortunately I can’t afford to do your program at the moment.

    My greatest passion is animal welfare, calling attention to their suffering, and offering ways for people to help. I also had an online internet radio show on the topic. I’ve wracked by brain trying to figure out how to turn that into a moneymaking venture, but can’t. Any suggestions?

    Other areas I’m interested in are: working with abused women and children, and career development for the unemployed.

    Thank you.

    • I can tell that your drawn to coach with underserved populations, Hindy. Here’s the thing, if you can get a grant to work with one of these groups, I think you can have an income but otherwise these niche markets aren’t viable for the long run. The individuals in these groups are not likely to be motivated to invest in coaching. Perhaps you could build up the strength of your coaching business with a viable niche market — on that’s easy to find, eager to evolve, motivated to invest — and then give 10 – 20% of your time to pro bono work with these groups you’ve mentioned. What do you think?

      • CoachHindy

        Hi Rhonda,

        Thanks for replying. Yes, you’re right. I already do volunteer work with animals, sign petitions, tweet, and was volunteering as a career development coach for a welfare to work charity.

        I’ve always been about giving, without being concerned enough about an income. Hence my current situation.

        I do love helping people, and that’s why I think coaching is a great opportunity for me.

        When I get a job, I hope to be able to take your course, because while I’m getting fantastic information from your articles, I don’t know how to figure out that viable niche, made up of seekers.

        • My next teleworkshop — Your Highly Profitable Niche — starts September 25. I hope you can come to that one, Hindy. I’ve just upgraded all the content, I’m doing webinars instead of teleseminars. I’ve added a third Q&A session and 2 private sessions with me. It will be a community implementation program with a lot of support. It’s the best time to get your foundation powerfully set for a profitable 2013 as a coach! I’ll be offering an early bird rate to the people following my blog that’s $700 off.

          • CoachHindy

            Hi Rhonda,

            What’s the cost?

            I’m not sure what a teleseminar is. How do I access it? I’m in the UK, can I take it from here?

            Thanks,
            Hindy

          •  Hi Hindy,

            Of course. Welcome to the world of learning virtually. For a tele-workshop you can be anywhere as long as you have Internet. You click a link and listen in through your computer (or you can dial in using a calling card — there’s lots of low cost calling card for UK to USA).

            I deliver webinars so you can see what you’re learning and you’ll have a focus guide to follow along and take notes.

            There’s lots of interaction during the calls. Then we have group calls to makes decisions and take actions on your business and to work through the exercises I give you. You’ll have a replay of the webinars to watch again.

            The regular price is $1997 but in September it will be just $1297 to those that attend my September 12 preview webinar. It’s  very comprehensive training so you come away with a solid foundation – target audience, marketing research, core message and offers – for your biz.

            Stay tuned, there will be more information in September.

          • CoachHindy

            Hi Rhonda,

            I can’t get enough of your articles!! I’ve learned more in the past couple of days…

            I’d love to be as targeted as you, so focused on your niche, providing incredibly valuable information, that we all wait for. You’ve proven you have the answers, and we’re all doing what we can to learn from you. It’s awesome, and I’d like to be in your position, if only I felt it would be possible.

            I’ve been thinking of targets, and if you don’t mind giving me your opinion, I would be grateful.

            Wedding planners or meeting planners.

            They both have several associations and groups they can join. They also both offer seminars and conferences, to help them keep on top of their game, and provide ongoing support and encouragement.

            I understand a lot of concerns revolve around small business issues like access to capital, health care affordability, frivolous lawsuits, together with the usual marketing and increasing their business issues.

            Do either of these sound like seekers in your experience?

            I have experience as a conference and event planner, but I have no idea how to write articles on things I know nothing about.

            Thanks,
            Hindy

          •  It makes my heart sing that you learn from my blog, Hindy. Just imagine how much more we could do working together.

            Whether a target market is viable or not is in the eye of the beholder. The main thing is can you find them. In Your Highly Profitable Niche there’s an exercise to research them through info interviews. If you can easily find them to do the interviews it’s a good bet!

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