General Coaching Niche or Target Audience: Clarifying the Difference

Last week I put up a post asserting that targeting a unique audience as part of your coaching niche is “more effective” than a selling coaching on a general coaching niche. That claim struck a nerve for many coaches.

Unfortunately, in the coaching world the meaning of “niche” is frequently confused. As much as I try to be clear, I have sometimes contributed to that confusion myself.

When new coaches think of a “coaching niche” they often think about a topic of coaching —transition coaching, relationship coaching or wellness coaching. I would call those general coaching niches. It’s good to choose one because it gives you a focus. But alone, it’s missing some important components that may hold some coaches back from financial success.

General coaching niches  (such as life, relationship, career, executive, performance, transition and wellness coaching to name a few) is one third of what makes up a highly profitable coaching niche. What’s missing? A viable target audience with a specific acute need or problem and your solution to solve that problem.

Focus in on a WHO you’ll serve

There are several dictionary definitions of the word “niche”. Two apply here:

1.     A situation or activity specially suited to a person’s interests, abilities, or nature.

Applied to coaching, this definition is oriented around a WHAT – a topic to coach around, a general coaching niche.

2.     A special area of demand for a product or service.

This definition relates to a target audience – a group of people WHO share common needs or wants that can translate into demand for services in the marketplace – such as financial planners, graduate students, restaurant owners.

If like many coaches you have tried to sell life coaching, relationship coaching, or another general coaching topic, and you have not attracted a steady stream of clients, then you have experienced the downside of focusing your marketing only on WHAT and not WHO.

Not sure if you’ve got a fully formed coaching niche? Test your coaching niche and find out. This free resource will help you suss it out.


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