Four Roads to Coaching Success

There are certain topics you love to coach around, right? Things like transition, life purpose, wellness, legacy building, spirituality, full potential… coaches do love the inner realm.

Those are juicy topics. But they’re a hard sell. People aren’t lining up to buy those things. In this economy, if you’re doing self-actualization coaching, your services are likely to be perceived as a luxury. And you know what that means. You’ll be the first to go when they cut their expenses.

It’s time to make sure your services are seen as essential. Let me help you with that.

Icon, Rolodex, Skill Bucket or Target Audience

Top coaches usually take one of four proven roads to success. Here they are, least likely to most likely:

1. Become an Icon

You’ve got a bold original message, a lot of charisma, and you love travel, getting up in front of BIG audiences. You’re willing to do what it takes to become the next Oprah… right? (I ran into Sandy Grason at a meetup recently. I’d say she’s got an iconographic personality.)

Oh, not your style? If the last thing you want to do is be in the spotlight, you’re in good company. Most coaches are introverts, preferring quieter methods to make it big in coaching. That’s okay, there’s three other avenues to success…

2. Use Your Huge Rolodex

You’ve amassed a large active rolodex of people that can’t wait to hire you. It’s a goldmine! You only need ask. (Sandy Vilas, owner of did this when he started his practice. He had coffee with 60 prospects in 60 days to attract his first clients, and never had to market again. Geesh, Sandy!)

Not you? Don’t feel bad. This is a rare person — a master networker, a mover and shaker. We’re not all type A and upbeat in the morning.

3. Teach ’em How

You’ve got a marketable skill that people are scrambling to buy, and you stand out from your competitors. (Check out Nancy Marmolejo of Viva Visibility, the CEO of Sizzibility. She’s all about branding & social networking. That’s some skill bucket, Nancy!)

Do coaching skills count? Um, no, not unless you’re selling coach training. If you’re not sure whether you have a skill to sell, then now’s not the time to push that. And don’t worry about it, because there’s another way — the way that most successful coaches choose.

4. Target an Audience — the fastest and easiest way to build your coaching business.

Instead of pushing a unique message, doing a lot of warm calling or selling that skill bucket you have — you target one very specific group of people, get to know what makes them tick and what is getting in their way… and viola! You have something that certain group will get their credit cards out for every time. This is how you become ESSENTIAL to your clients instead of a luxury.

You don’t even need expertise or credibility at first, because you’ll tailor your offer to fit that specific market like a glove. And then you’ll quickly build credibility and expertise!

Business markets are the most lucrative and accessible — and those things count a lot when you’re looking for a viable market. Business folks will pay you to help them be better at what they do for a living. That’s essential. And you don’t have to be a “business coach” for this to work — or even know a lot about business.

Get creative. Pair a compelling life challenge with a business market. For example:
I help restaurant owners keep their profits and treat their families as well as they do their customers.

Or, even better, select a job title you’ve held before and go after that group. Have you been an executive assistant for 8 years? Then you understand them so well, and can support them from the other side of the table.

If you haven’t already, you will find your niche market for coaching! Just open your mind, release your resistance and fears about having to be an expert, and look for a small, unique business group that’s easy to locate and interested in buying support to be even better at what they do.

Many struggling coaches have done this, and they’ve doubled, tripled or quintupled their income fast! (And they’ve never missed that lonely old Life Coaching shingle one bit!)

If you want to finally choose a viable audience and Your Highly Profitable Niche sign up for my step-by-step system. Click here for more information or to sign up.

Either way, let’s chat about this. Leave a comment below and share your approach. I want to know which road you’re following.

20 thoughts on “Four Roads to Coaching Success

  1. Hi There,
    Great article with good points. I do mentoring for women in leadership positions. I can’t decide if I should push increasing confidence in leadership skills or stick to how to create an internet presence? Would love feedback based on your article ideas.

    1. Hi Consuelo,

      The linchpins for which “skill bucket” to sell comes down to the depth of your experience and credibility. Which do you think you have the most savvy in? Also — all women in leadership may not be interested in creating an internet presence so if you have the most gravitas in that skillset, you might prefer to work with entrepreneurs or a more narrow market.

      Thanks for connecting here!

  2. Hi, Rhonda.

    Really enjoy the information that you provide, and I found this post to be quite timely. Thought I would be brave and share my niche to get some feedback from you (was drawn to your “niche market wizard” statement).:-)

    Originally I started with moms in general, just to get going, but knowing that this category was too broad. Now I am focusing on women who became moms in their 30’s and either are staying home or have in some other way altered their career path.

    What do you think? I appreciate any feedback that you can provide.

    Thanks so much.

    Amy E. Willard’s last blog post..Making a Decision? Go With Your Gut!

  3. Hey Amy,

    Well done on your courage! I noticed your site is called Courageous Moms.

    Have you had a great response marketing to moms? If not, then you’d be among many coach friends who haven’t either.

    This may be a hard thing to hear… I’ve found that mom’s aren’t all that keen to invest in coaching services or much of anything for themselves. They are all about the kids (no surprise there). It’s not a lucrative market. And while mom’s are everywhere, somehow that makes them difficult to find. For the lucrative and accessibility points mentioned in my blog post, mom’s isn’t a viable market. I’ve seen dozens of coaches try and fail with this group. Narrowing by a time of life doesn’t tend to change the results.

    I’d suggest going for a more accessible and lucrative market.


  4. Hi Rhonda,

    Your site is awesome!!! You offer so much valuable information.
    What are your thoughts on college success coaching for students? I thought if I marketed this service to parents and small colleges/universities, I might be on to something.
    Would greatly appreciate your feedback!

      1. Thanks for the prompt reply and additional resources. I will definitely work on fine-tuning my approach.

  5. Hi Rhonda,

    Wow..this article was just what I needed this morning thanks. I keep going back & forth about my niche. Originally, I was working with Direct Sales Consultants to get motivated, boost their self confidence and concentrate on who they are & what they really want. Now after reading your article I was an office exec/manager for 12 yrs and thinking I could focus on my “better” experience. My “gift” as I am told is my energy level & I make people get excited & motivated….I am great with relationships. What do you think?

    1. Hi Maria! I’d think that Direct Sales Consultants would be a great market. Maybe it’s your message and offer that didn’t land — get motivated, boost their self confidence and concentrate on who they are– are probably not the things that will inspire them to get out their wallet especially in this economy. They need to feel like you have the solutions they can’t live without. Have you listened to them to hear what they would buy?
      If you switch to working with Office Execs (another viable market and your experience will help with credibility for sure) make sure that your message isn’t about you but about them. Find out what makes them tick, what keeps them up at night, what elusive goals they have and then tailor your message and offer to fit that. Consider not mentioning coaching or coach-like terminology. Use their language. Think like your ideal client rather than a coach when you’re attracting your market. It’s a subtle but very powerful shift. I think you’ll experience the results you want then.

  6. Hi, Rhonda,

    Great article as usual!

    I love helping small business owners demonstrate their expertise by writing authentic, practical books. Once I settled into that niche, I’ve received so much business I haven’t had time to rewrite my website to reflect it! So, the next challenge is learning to leverage my time, take better care of myself, and choose projects I love, and earn more money.

    In short, a great niche works! And your encouragement over the years has helped me find one I really enjoy.


    1. Hello Anna! Lovely to connect with you again. You are so smart. And you’ve chosen the skill bucket approach and focused it on a broad market — that works really well. What a fantastic service you provide! Congrats on your success. Now you have a “high class” problem and that’s getting off the money for time treadmill so you can build your biz in other ways and enjoy your life. That’s what my clients in my Prosperity Inner Circle are learning too. Check it out and let me know your thoughts.

  7. Great article Rhonda.

    I especially like how you listed various approaches to getting clients – awesome!

    One question I ask coaches when they approach me for website help and they tell me their niche is XYZ, is “Where could you go to be in a room full of people in XYZ-niche?” or how could you write an article that gets in front of the eyeballs of XYZ-niche?

  8. Dear Rhonda,

    Fabulous article and very timely for me. I recently relocated to Hong Kong and I am targeting people who want to change careers, who just got fired or who are re-locating. I am calling myself a transition coach. I still believe that I can coach anybody and that every single person can benefit from coaching. While this is true in some level, I understand how hard it is to tell people what I do and how they can refer cleints to me if they are not clear about who it is that I help. What happened after I read your post is that I signed up for the tele-seminar and I am determined to find a niche that gives joy, money and a sustainable practice. Thanks for “showing up” at the right time for me! With energy,

    Ana Scherer’s last blog post..The Top 10 Steps to Becoming Empowered

  9. Some really great information here. In this economy, finding the right approach, niche is critically important and so necessary. People everywhere are wanting to get help, but don't really know how to go about it or even exactly what they are looking for.


  10. Some really great information here. In this economy, finding the right approach, niche is critically important and so necessary. People everywhere are wanting to get help, but don't really know how to go about it or even exactly what they are looking for.


  11. Hi Rhonda,

    I love your site, there is So much valuable information. I’m a new coahc trying to work out my market. I have a question inr egards to this line
    ” Business folks will pay you to help them be better at what they do for a living. That’s essential. And you don’t have to be a “business coach” for this to work — or even know a lot about business”
    Can you elaborate? How does one coah in business arena w/o knowing business.

    1. Hey Roxine, sorry for the delay. Missed this comment notification somehow.

      Business people are just people. Every one of us has some sort of role. A realtor is a person who has chosen selling real estate for their livelihood, but they still have all the same challenges and wants of someone else. 90% of the time business coaching is life coaching. Most business people just need outside perspective, encouragement to reach for the stars, an occasional challenge to get out of limiting beliefs, organization, compassion — sounds like life coaching right? And, that helps them be better at their role/work.

      I help coaches choose a viable niche market to serve with complete assurance that they have the skills, talents and gifts to support people from any walk of life. That’s not at question. What’s at question is how can you reliably make a good living today and for all your tomorrows? That’s why you want to choose a viable niche market to serve.

      Hope that helps. Consider my upcoming teleworkshop — to help YOU choose and then do market research and craft client-winning marketing messages and programs they will buy.


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