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This episode is an ON AIR Coaching session where I get to work with with a real human being instead of just speaking out in the air by myself. It’s so much fun for me to do these Coach the Coach sessions and I hope you find value in them.
Today, I’m working with Je’von Ikner to help him finesse his target audience and niche.
Je’Von’s background includes 4 years in Wallstreet and a stint with Club Med working as a personal trainer, which he segued into owning a gym with a partner.
Je’Von explained that he wants to take a more holistic approach to wellness with his clients. He let go of the gym recently to focus in on developing his coaching business.
He is also a new husband and father. His son, Maxwell, is just 10 months old.
Why Not Coach People Like You?
I had an instant idea after meeting Je’Von in a Discovery Session that young men with new families could be a great audience for him. He agreed but he was a bit hesitant, thinking that he needed to have everything figured out before he could help someone else with that.
Do you worry about that too?
If you’ve had an impulse to work with people that are essentially in the same boat as you, it’s a good impulse! As long as the target audience is well defined and narrow enough that you can create compelling messaging and offers that strike a resonant chord, it can work beautifully.
1. You only need to be one small step ahead of your coaching clients.
2. Did you know that most subject matter experts became experts by making a study of how to help themselves through a challenge? You can do that too.
3. Few people have the time or inclination to self reflect enough on how to breakthrough a specific challenge. As a coach, you can do some advanced thinking about your audiences common challenges and goals. Look at your own experience dispassionately for a while. Then create a model to help yourself. Test it out. Finesse that to help others in the same boat.
Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to meet your clients where they are and coach them in the moment. But, if they’re going to enroll you, they only want to know that you’ve thought it through.
A little structure goes a long way!
I reminded Je’Von what coaching is really about. Je’Von laughed because he realized while we were talking that I would ask him that. He said:
“Coaching isn’t necessarily a how-to.
You’re not giving someone the answers so much as
helping them evoke their own answers, gain different perspectives,
then have a choice of answers that allows them to
make the decisions that are in line with where they want to go.”
What Are the Top Challenges of Your Target Audience?
Next, I asked Je’Von what are the real challenges he’s experiencing as a young man with a new family.
What he shared was poignant:
1. The biggest challenge is lack of personal time that can bring up feelings of guilt and resentment.
- time to see friends
- time to take care of your body
- time to develop a new business or pursue a dream
2. The fear that he may have to give up his dream.
3. And knowing how to raise a human being is a daunting challenge for all new parents.
While every new parent struggles with these things, from the perspective of a young man there’s a real limitation imposed on him. An imposition that he both loves, his child and spouse, and that has dramatically changed his lifestyle, routine, freedom.
Through this discovery process Je’Von and I began to develop his niche around the audience of young men with new families. Specifics that he could help his clients (and himself) breakthrough.
I invited Je’Von to step into the crucible of his own experience with an objective perspective so that he could begin to develop messaging, programming and marketing.
Attempting to Narrow the Coaching Audience
I had sparked on Je’Von’s 4 years in Wallstreet, thinking it could be a way that he could narrow his target audience even further — to work with young men in Wallstreet with new families.
He had described that sense of glamor and glamorizing that is Wallstreet. All the perks and promises of money and lifestyle that go with Wallstreet. But also the longing for something more meaningful.
We explored this idea for a few minutes. I asked Je’Von directly if this idea resonated with him. He said: “It does. It actually resonates with me quite a bit.” He liked the relatability of the idea.
But as I probed a bit more, there were two objections that came up:
1. Je’Von was not keen on being yet another person who encourages people to quit their job if they’re not happy with it. He felt it wasn’t the smartest thing to do in many cases.
2. Je’Von also revealed that Wallstreet was not a pleasant memory for him. He said: “There’s a lot of negative feelings that come up for me. And so I’ve been doing my best to try and avoid anything related to that. My body is initially just like no, no, no, no.”
That was enough for me to abandon the idea of narrowing by targeting young men in Wallstreet. I’m a firm believer that our bodies provide somatic intuition that are instructive to us.
So, I checked in with Je’Von about it, and we let that idea go.
Attracting Coaching Clients By Becoming a Thought Leader
As Je’Von was sharing a different idea with me, I heard something in him that I hadn’t before.
He had a strong philosophy about the experience of young men getting out of college and chasing shiny gold nuggets. Then, later those men realize that it’s not a meaningful path that reflects their deepest and most important values.
I had an insight that Je’Von might be able to get his message out through speaking, videos, TED talks, maybe even television. It’s what I call the Icon Archetype route. It’s a way of attracting clients from the stage.
In Episode #12 — What Coaching Archetype Fits You? — I talked about 5 potential coaching archetypes:
- Pure Coach
The Icon Archetype is a coach who likes being on camera and on stage. They are philosophical and can see themselves as a thought leader with something unique to share with an audience.
Famous Icons are Tony Robbins and Marie Forleo.
The Icon uses their bold style and keynote speaking to attract clients.
The Icon pathway is not for every coach. While I like speaking on my podcast and in webinars, there’s no way I’d want to be on a big stage or on TV. I’m an HSP (highly sensitive person) and an introvert. Big groups are cameras aimed at me are not my thing.
You might be able to take the icon path to build your coaching business if you:
- are bold, energetic, articulate and entertaining
- love being on stage and on camera
- know how to deliver a thought provoking talk
- create a compelling message for a tribe that goes viral
And while there are some wonderful things about this pathway to success as a coach, know that it does require significant time, energy and money to be “discovered”.
I asked Je’Von if he’d like to take that path to build his coaching business and he said: “That’s exactly how I envisioned my coaching path!”
Hooray, we landed his niche and way to attract coaching clients too!
Finally, I asked Je’Von if he considered himself well connected. He said that his gym was in a wealthy neighborhood in Austin and he was blessed to have some wealthy clients who have offered support.
That’s fabulous, as often getting onto big stages requires capitol and introductions. Je’Von finished our session with clarity and a strong sense of direction for his target audience and how he would find them through speaking, videos and presentations. He can work towards compelling thought leadership, based on his philosophy of becoming a more anchored young man with a new family.
The Next Episode is: Break Through the New Coach Swirl & Spin